Monster Hospital: Doctors Share Their Creepiest Experiences On The Job
Hospitals are terrifying buildings. Sterile, hollow, and yet somehow full of the stench of mortality, they’re one of the last places anybody wants to end up. Yet for the doctors and nurses who work there, horrific emergencies are a part of everyday life. Still, there are some experiences that stick in their memories forever. Here, medical professionals on Reddit share their creepiest moments on the job.
1. The Truth Is Out There
I work in a personal care home. We used to have a resident who would constantly yell out “hello,” and it drove us a bit bonkers. After he passed, a lady moved into his old room. One night I was working a double, evening to nights, and she pulled her call bell. I went in and she asked me to make him stop. “Make who stop what?” I asked. Her response chilled me to the bone.
“The old man standing beside the bed, he won’t stop yelling hello.”
2. It’s Alive
ER Nurse here. I was doing CPR on a lady whose heart had stopped. They initially rolled her into the room unconscious and not breathing. This lady is pretty much gone. However, in the middle of doing chest compressions, her hands reached up and grasped my wrists, and then fell back to hanging off the table. We never got her back.
3. Going Up, Going Out
I took care of a lady who had end-stage renal disease, and was minutes away from passing and unresponsive in bed. My charting station was right outside her doorway, and while I was waiting for her only daughter to arrive, I was completing some of my paperwork, in full view of the door to the patient’s room. That’s when a terrifying thing happened.
The daughter finally showed up, very upset, yelling that she wanted me to help get her mother out of the elevator. We both ran to the elevator…that was empty. The daughter and I went into the room as her mother took her last breath. The daughter swore up and down that she rode in the elevator with her mother from the lobby to the 12th floor.
When they arrived at the 12th floor, her mother told her to go get the nurse to help get her back to her room, and she would wait in the elevator because she was too weak to walk back to her room.
4. Hidey Hole
My friend used to share stories of when she was a young nurse. She was checking out a patient and following protocol. This guy had been seen multiple times, and given an antibiotic for a lung infection. Again, a nurse and doctor had already seen this guy, and my friend was just supposed to do the last follow up before releasing him.
“What is this?” She asked. “A shirt, I keep them in my hole.” WHAT? Turns out, dude had an abscess so big that he stuffed a T-shirt in it and forgot about it. At the time, it had gotten so large that he now stuffed three shirts in. He neglected to tell the doctor or get it checked out. By the time the last one was pulled out, the smell was so bad it cleared the room.
5. A Real Mouthful
I’m a dental hygienist. The creepiest, most confusing thing I’ve seen is as follows: We had a new patient come in for a cleaning. He was around 3 or 4 years old, and the mom said he had never been to the dentist before. Not uncommon for what I see on a daily basis, so at first I didn’t think anything of it. I did his cleaning, and then went to take his routine X-rays.
This is where it got weird. After looking at the X-rays, I could see that the child had already had a large amount of dental work done. He had around six fillings. When I sat back down at my chair, I asked the parents again if he had ever been to the dentist. They were both adamant that he hadn’t, and also said there was no way a relative could have taken him without them knowing.
What the heck? How did this happen? Who took him? Where were the parents? Had they possibly been away for a long time and not known someone else took him to the dentist and had work performed? What if this wasn’t really their child, and actually some kid they kidnapped? His insurance had no record of him having previous dental work.
I think about it often, but know that ultimately, I’ll never get an answer.
6. Just Say No, Kids
I’m a medical student. While on my Psych rotation, I came across an individual who was a chemistry graduate student. Apparently, he had been taking astronomical amounts of substances, and he was just continuously disassociated. For the entire time I was on this portion of the rotation, I never heard him speak a single word.
Most of the time he was wrapped up in his sheets like a mummy, and he would just periodically laugh a crazy, soft chuckle from under his covers if you tried to talk to him. The creepiest laugh I’ve ever heard. I’ll never forget that.
7. The Subconscious Mind
I’m a nurse. I work with geriatric patients, and there was this incident about three years ago. Before I explain, let me say that I DON’T believe in ghosts. Anyway, this one time I was working the night shift and I was super sleepy, so I decided to skip lunch because I wasn’t hungry and go to my car and sleep for 30 minutes instead.
I got inside my car, covered myself with my sweater, set the timer on my phone, and immediately knocked myself out. Then I’m dreaming, but in my dream I’m still awake, just sitting there. Someone taps on my car window and I see that it’s one of my patients, we’ll call her Dee. Surprised, I asked Dee what the heck she’s doing outside.
She tells me she is looking for her daughter. I tell her to go back inside and that we will call her daughter in the morning. My patient becomes angry and starts banging on my car window. I kind of freak out and try to reach for the door handle to get out and calm her down, but I quickly realize I can’t move. Let me add that I frequently experience sleep paralysis, so even though I am asleep, I realize what is happening.
I fight it and try squirming my body in an attempt to wake myself up. I finally manage to wake up and my heart is racing and my forehead is a bit sweaty. I sit there for about a minute, realize it was all a dream, and roll the window down to cool myself off. If I knew what was coming, I would have screamed my lungs out.
My break is over and I clock back in and see that my supervisor and two other nurses are huddled in front of a room. I am still by the station clocking in when they see me and call me over. I walk over thinking maybe something was wrong with the ventilator or the patient fell, but my supervisor tells me Dee passed while I was on my lunch break.
It took a couple of seconds for the message to register, and I freaked out internally. I got goose bumps, but didn’t mention anything to my supervisor about the dream.
8. A Sixth Sense
I work at a hospital. I was helping a patient in her bed in the ICU when she started getting all squirrelly. She didn’t speak much English, but kept saying “stand, stand,” so I helped her stand up. After standing for a few seconds, something told me to lay her back down. Before her head ever hit the pillow, her eyes rolled back and she was gone.
She had a massive stroke and was gone on the spot. She all but passed in my arms.
9. Mommy’s Little Monster
As a tech in Psych years ago, there was a 7-year-old kid sent to the floor because the mom didn’t know what to do with him. Sadly, it’s a common thing to happen, even if the kids don’t have psych issues. Anyway, the mom was shaking and crying, and they had to take the kid into another room. She was genuinely afraid of her own son.
She had suspected something was wrong when she kept finding mutilated animals in the backyard, but never heard or saw coyotes or anything around. Then the neighbors’ smaller pets started disappearing. The boy also had an obsession with knives, hiding them around the house but denying anything when the mom confronted him.
Then when the two started getting into arguments, he would get really violent and hit her, push her down and kick her, and threaten to kill her. On multiple occasions, she woke up in the middle of the night with him standing beside her bed, staring her in the face. She put extra locks on her bedroom door to feel safe while she slept. But then there was the last straw.
She lifted up his mattress and found 50+ knives of all shapes and sizes under there. So she brought him to us. I remember talking to him, treating him like he was just any other kid who came through. He seemed remarkably normal…until you spoke directly to him. He had this way of looking right through you, or maybe like he didn’t see you at all while you were speaking.
He would respond like a robot, like he was just saying words because that’s what we wanted to hear. And he would always put on this creepy, hollow-looking smile. Like all mouth and no eye involvement in the smile. Especially when he would get away with something, like taking another kid’s markers and they couldn’t figure out who had done it.
Still gives me chills laying here thinking about him. I had to get up and close my bedroom door. I believe I met a 7-year-old psychopath.
10. It’s All In Your Head
I once had a patient chart on my desk that seemed a little fuller than most charts. When I opened it, there was a baggy stapled to the inside and filled with dead skin, cotton balls, and hair. The chart note said that the patient believed they had bugs crawling on their skin and brought in the baggy as proof. Except there was nothing there; it was just dandruff and hair.
She ended up calling several months later and I somehow got the call. She screamed at me about how we betrayed her because she came to us for help and we sent her away where she got a lot of medical bills that were stressing her out and making the bugs worse. I felt bad for the girl, because she obviously needed some serious help.
11. An Uninvited Guest
I work in a nursing home doing activities and housekeeping. I answered a call light of a little old lady, and she asked me to remove a “large, Black woman” from her bed. Except no one was in the bed. Still, I asked the “lady” to get up so she could go to bed. Didn’t think anything of until I talked to a nurse. Apparently, she had answered a call light the next room over.
The gentleman in that room had asked the nurse to have the “large Black, lady” to stop pointing at him and leave his room. He is bedridden and only gets up for meals. These two patients don’t talk to each other. So there is someone there. It’s made me watch things a little closer.
12. The Man In Black
People turn crazy and creepy as heck when they get really sick. There’s even a term called ICU psychosis…and trust me, it’s real. Anyway, the creepiest that takes the cake for me is this: I had a patient who was admitted for an overdose. She also had a very long history of mental health problems. She was thrashing around in bed, very combative, kicking people’s butts for days, totally incoherent.
Well, the night I had her, she started making decent sense, but still not oriented at all. She was extremely paranoid and kept talking about the man in black in the corner. I’d hear her talking to him and screaming, all night long. So I’d go in there and try to calm her down, but you could see the fear in her eyes and in the strain of her voice.
With certain patients, you try to redirect their “reality,” but what I did didn’t help. She said, “That man in black! Don’t you see him!” And pointed to the corner. I said, “There’s nobody here.” I stepped in the corner she was pointing to and waved my hands around. While I’m waving my hands around in the air, she had the most horrifically terrified look on her face.
It actually scared the heck out of me. I said, “See, there’s nobody here.” Her reply gave me goosebumps. She said in a matter-of-factly, you stupid-dumb-witch way: “That’s what you think.” I promptly got the heck out of there.
13. Black And White
I recall a lady on the ward who was terminally ill and had all the staff on edge. She was constantly talking about a lady in white who kept visiting her. She would wake up to find this lady in her room, but she was very comforted by her presence. At the same time, we had another lady in the ward who, although unwell, was not at the terminal stage…or so we thought.
One night, I was writing my reports when I heard this “healthy” lady shouting. She was extremely upset when I reached her and asked why “the other nurse” kept waking her up in the early hours. I inquired further as to who she meant. She described a nurse in a black uniform who had woken her the past few mornings and would just stand and stare at her, not speaking.
I tried to reassure her as much as possible and suggested she was having strange dreams, but she insisted she knew this nurse was real and why was she so unfriendly. The next night, I came on duty again to discover this lady had suddenly deteriorated and passed. I often wondered about these two different experiences—a lady in white and one in black. I hope the white lady comes for me when it’s my time.
14. A Darkened Room
My friend tells the scariest story about how creepy his first verification of death was. He was on a night shift a few weeks into his first job as a qualified doctor and got a call from a ward to say a lady had passed, and they asked if he could come verify and do the paperwork. It’s a busy shift with lots of sick people to see first, so he takes several hours to get there.
He goes up and they tell him she’s in room 8. The door to room 8 is slightly ajar and the room is dark. Now, she was in a side room, but most patients there were in shared bays of six beds, so you get into the habit of not turning lights on. In his nervous haste to make sure it didn’t look like he was nervous, he slipped into the room armed only with his little pen flashlight.
The window was slightly open and (he swears) the blind rattled against the sill as he crept towards the bed, the tiny circle of light from his flashlight picking out the rumpled white hospital blanket, only a very slim rise showing where she lay, as she was a tiny old lady, just skin and bone. Finally, the light plays over her face. He has to bite back a little scream.
For whatever reason, her pose is one of a horrified and horrifying snarl, lips drawn back to bare (likely false) teeth, the whites of her eyes showing in a fixed blind stare, and both hands up close to her face curled into claws, slightly over-long nails shining grimly in the meagre light. Now, to verify a passing, the doctor has to listen for heart and breath sounds for two minutes while feeling for a pulse, check for pupil reactions, and check for no response to pain.
He flicked the flashlight dutifully across her glaring eyes, forcing himself to shuffle close enough to touch—first to check for response to pain and then to settle shaking fingers on her throat, so close to those furiously grinning teeth, to feel for a pulse. To get his stethoscope under the collar of her gown under the blankets, he has to lean in even closer, almost nose-to-nose with her now, and is unable to draw his gaze away from hers.
And he has to stand like that for two minutes. The seconds crawling away as he stares into that screaming face. He says there’s no way he would have heard heart or breath sounds even if she had been alive. All he could hear was his own racing heart in his ears and, on a loop in his head, “Please don’t let her move, please don’t move, oh dear god don’t move…”
15. Your Own Worst Enemy
When I was working as a critical care nurse, I sent my patient down for a heart catheterization. She was so sweet, and I remember that she and I were joking about a bunch of different things before she went down for her procedure. When she came back, she was very drowsy, as is expected, but also very, very acutely confused.
She proceeded to have ICU psychosis due to the sedatives. Every time I would come in the room, she would throw cups of water at me and yell at me. She would make this guttural noise, and tell me that I was the devil. I walked in one time and she said, “Dear Lord, please come down and slit this woman’s throat.” She continued to say this kind of stuff.
She told her husband that I was walking into her room with poison balls and trying to hurt her. She said that my skin was falling off of my face. She scratched and hit me. It was very sad and scary, and I hadn’t seen this happen prior to this. We had to give her anti-psychotics and restrain her initially to keep her from hurting herself. It was pretty terrible.
16. Returning To The Scene
Several times over the years, we’ve had patients who were victims of violence where the perpetrator turned out to be a family member who’d been visiting them in the hospital the whole time. This was all while the patient was comatose and the said family member had not yet been named as a suspect. Some of the patients would go on to pass from their injuries.
It takes a lot to creep out a trauma team, but knowing you’ve been in a tiny room with a violent person and their victim makes you uneasy, even if you know you’re never going to see them again.
17. My Time Has Come
I’m a nurse who works in an intensive care unit. I took care of a patient who had a history of esophageal cancer. A while back, he had surgery, got better, and eventually went home. Months later, he got pneumonia and came back to the hospital in respiratory distress. He had to be put on a mechanical ventilator while he was with us.
He was stable; no blood pressure issues, heart rhythm looked great, breathing wasn’t terrible, responsive and following commands. All of a sudden, his blood pressure suddenly drops and he lost his pulse. We called a code blue and began CPR. We brought him back after an hour and continued to run tests to figure out why he crashed.
None of the results of the labs or imaging were remarkable. 15 minutes after we had brought him back, his blood pressure drops again and he lost his pulse. We continued coding him for another hour until it was clear he couldn’t be brought back. The doctor pronounced him dead, and his wife came in after the fact. Then she made a confession that drained the blood from my face.
She said she couldn’t stop thinking about the conversation her and her husband had just before he had come in. Wife: “Honey, don’t forget you’ve got an appointment with the home health nurse this Saturday.” Husband: “Well, I won’t be here this Saturday.” Wife: “What do you mean you won’t be here this Saturday? Where are you going?”
Husband: “I don’t know…I just won’t be here.” This conversation happened Wednesday. He was admitted to the hospital Thursday and he passed Friday at 11:30pm.
18. The Voices In My Head
A 13-year-old boy came in for a routine check-up and vaccines. At first, he was already acting like an angsty teenager, giving only one-word answers and pouting while his mother was in the room. At this age, I ask parents to step out of the room to ask personal questions. He answered no to everything, but after I asked, “Is there anything you want to ask me before I have mom come back in?” his tone completely changed.
He started to tear up and shudder and talk about seeing bloody shadows in his periphery, and that he has been hearing voices for four years. He always thought it was literally his subconscious and everyone could physically hear their own voices. He only started to worry recently when his best friend passed in a car wreck, and now the voices were yelling at him he’s stupid, it’s his fault.
Then he said they were telling him to hurt me. They’ve been telling him to hurt others for weeks. I could not believe what I was hearing. I had a psych team see him immediately, and he was brought to a psych ward. The mother was shocked and had no idea. I saw him two months later, and he was a completely different kid. Sarcastic, but funny and interactive and happy. It was like night and day.
19. Karma Is Real
My wife works on the oncology floor of our local hospital. Often, she has elderly patients who are severely confused. Recently, they had a patient on their floor who was mean to everyone. He was a wife beater, and got physical with some of the hospital staff on multiple occasions. His health quickly turned VERY bad—and soon after this happened, karma came for him.
The man, who was in a cold room, began telling people he was literally on fire. He even called 9-1-1 to report him burning alive in his room. He reported seeing people in his room telling him how horrible he was. He also claimed to see a horned creature emerging over the end of his bed telling him that “you’re coming with me.” My wife requested not to have that patient anymore.
20. Not Quite Right
I took care of a lady once. She’d nearly died of sepsis, and she’d had multiple strokes and coded multiple times in the ICU. They’d given her the medicine Levophed, which shunts blood from your extremities to your vital organs, but usually results in necrosis of peripheral tissues. This means when she came to me, her fingers and toes were all black.
Oh, and she wasn’t quite right. And I’ve seen lots of crazy, but she truly unnerved me. She never talked, only whispered in this bright bubbly voice, like a little girl’s, but she said awful things, like “Can you push me outside so I can chew my fingers off?” And she would smile all time. She also had some really bad bedsores from just basically being immobile for so long.
We had to dress her wounds daily, but she’d usually rip the dressings off pretty soon after we put them on. One night, I went into her room and saw a piece of what I thought was dressing on the floor. Upon closer examination, it was a chunk of her own skin. A partially healed skin graft to be exact. Still gives me shivers.
21. Take Me Home
A long-time younger patient whose mentality was comparable to 4-6 year old would cover his head with the bedding when he went to bed. When staff playfully asked him what he was doing, he’d tell staff he was, “Hiding from the ghosts.” He never identified the ghosts and did this for years, so staff always thought it was just the patient being playful.
At one point, this patient didn’t want to do his normal routine like eat, drink, stay up to watch television, or use the restroom. While bathing, the patient said he was seeing ghosts and pointed. Staff replied, “What ghosts?” And the patient said, “My mom and dad. Goin’na take me home.” Staff gently reminded the patient that his parents had already passed, and that they couldn’t possibly take him out that weekend.
Within 72 hours of telling staff he saw the ghosts of his mom and dad, that patient went to the ER, was admitted to the hospital, and passed. I was the one who had spent half the night in the ER with that patient. I had taken him to the ER before and for other routine medical appointments. This patient was known for being rather combative during such visits, but he was unusually peaceful the entire time the last time he went.
When I went to his memorial, I told the patient’s family that I thought he knew it was “his time” based on how calm he was. I didn’t disclose the part about seeing ghosts of his parents shortly before the ER visit, though.
22. Code Blue
I watched a patient’s heart stop on the monitor once. There are false alarms sometimes, of course. However, I was experienced enough to know that it was a true alarm. I called the nurse and told her she might want to check the patient. I remember her laughing nervously to tell me that she was talking with the patient at that very moment, so she could not possibly be dying.
I could even hear the patient talking to her cheerfully in the background. I double-checked the monitor and saw a few beats here and there and looooong lines. Just as I was advising the nurse to manually check the patient, I heard her drop the phone and go…”Oh no!” followed by the code blue alarm. That patient did not come back.
23. A Ghostly Presence
I worked in the dementia unit of a retirement home for a while, and I can tell you that it was by far one of the most interesting jobs I’ve had. It was sad in many ways, of course, but I think what some people don’t understand is that we’d never known our residents before the Alzheimer’s or whatever else. We just know and care for them as they are.
Even some of the most advanced cases are able to demonstrate that they are unique individuals who enjoy life and need love and belonging like everyone else. That said, strange things happened every day. I’d say the strangest and most unnerving would be what happened with a resident that I will call Nancy. Nancy had very advanced Alzheimer’s, to the point where we had not heard her say a word beyond incoherent mumbling for 6-8 months.
Every day, she would just pace the halls until it was time for bed. Pacing is a very common behavior with moderate to advanced dementia; in Nancy’s case, she pretty much never stopped unless we made her come and eat or something. We would commonly try to walk with her and talk to her to keep her stimulated, but she would hardly ever even look at us. Just pace.
Nancy had a husband who also lived in the community—this home had a section for dementia separate from a normal assisted living facility. Her husband, whom I will call Wayne, lived in the other section. He would visit his wife every day, until he himself became so sick that he was confined to his room. When this happened, we started to grow worried.
Even though it sometimes doesn’t seem like it, frequent visitors make a big difference to even our most advanced cases. Nancy and Wayne had been married for over 60 years. Even through her disease, Nancy still received some comfort through Wayne’s daily visits. Well, Wayne passed early one morning. We have a policy that prohibits bringing negative energy where it would not do any good, so Nancy was not supposed to be told.
Later that day though, during her usual pacing, Nancy stopped. She stared into the upper corner of the room for several minutes, and then all of a sudden started screaming. Now, this isn’t as alarming as it may seem; there are a lot of screams happening all the time in dementia units. But it made all the staff come around to see what was wrong.
She abruptly stopped screaming, and I swear by everything I hold dear she started repeating her husband’s name. “Wayne Wayne Wayne Wayne Wayne” over and over again. Keep in mind, she had not said the smallest word in almost a year. I go up to her, touch her on the arm, and ask her gently if everything is ok. What she said back was terrifying.
Nancy looks straight at me, which was also very abnormal for her, and says “He’s bothering me. Tell him to leave me alone.” Then she goes back to staring into the upper corner of the room. Half of the staff just noped right out of there, while the rest of us tried to get her distracted by giving her a snack and a different activity.
From that day on, she started talking again. Not anything lengthy, but she would occasionally start trying to talk either to us or herself. Many times, she referenced someone she called “grandpa” and started speaking to him in an otherwise empty room. While this isn’t an uncommon thing for our residents to do, the fact that it did not start until that incident the day her husband passed seriously gives me the creeps.
24. Eyes Everywhere
My trauma nurse friend told me she was caring for a patient who unexpectedly coded. She had to run out of the room for more supplies, and when she got to the supply closet, what she needed wasn’t there. She let out a string of swear words and got supplies she needed from somewhere else in the hospital. The patient survived.
The next day, she was tending to the patient who said, “You know, you shouldn’t use words like that.” The patient went on to explain that she saw my friend, the nurse, swearing in the supply room. There was no way she could have. She was dead on the table down the hall. But the patient described exactly what happened as if she was there.
25. Show Me The Light
I was a certified nursing assistant for about eight years. I worked in a memory card facility. We handled everything, from the early stages of dementia to end-stage Alzheimer’s. We had around 30 patients, all living together under one roof, and a normal night was anything but that. Yelling, combative patients, poop…So much poop. But when someone was dying, the other patients seemed to sense it and it was calm. So calm.
On this particular night, a gentleman who I had taken care of and built this amazing relationship with—I became what the family described as his unofficial grandson—was on his deathbed. I would come in and check on him to make sure he was comfortable and give him a dose of medicine for the pain. Did vitals on him each time and I could tell he was failing fast.
With his daughter and his son in the room, I knelt down on the bed and held his hand and said, “Bob, we are here for you. We love you and it’s ok to go.” He ever so slightly turned his head and winked at me. It was something he would do when he would tell a joke or make a comment that went over the other patients’ heads.
He gripped my hand hard with his giant farmer hands. I cracked a joke about how I wish I was a young, beautiful nurse doing this, but instead you got a 6’4″ guy. He chuckled. I checked his vitals and he was going. I was taking his pulse and could feel it slow. Then, nothing. I heard his last heartbeat. It was surreal. I could feel the emotions rising in me while I closed his eyes for him one last time.
His daughter knelt down and hugged me from behind and we both sobbed. After what seemed to be forever, we stood up and I made the call to have a doctor come and verify the time and to have the body removed. I wasn’t in the right state of mind because I lost someone who I had become so close with. After all the craziness of the night calmed down and he was gone, I was sitting alone at the dinner table.
While I was there, two of our other residents walked up to me. This is the creepy part. These two believed they were married and thought it was still the Reagan era, and even on a good day they were pleasantly confused. Well, they came out of the living area and sat down next to me. They said I did a good job. And that when it’s their turn, they hope I’m there for them, too.
That moment of clarity from two people slowly losing everything to Alzheimer’s. That moment struck me as creepy yet heart-warming.
26. Surprise Inside
When I was on my OBGYN rotation, we had a patient who had to come in for an MRI scan. Usually before MRIs, you have to declare if you have any metal implants. Her reply made my jaw drop. She was like “Uh, yeah I do.” And then she pointed “down there.” Turns out, she had a bottle cap inside. And it was lodged in there for 12 years.
The bottle cap was so fused to the inside of her that we had to use bone forceps to break off the fibrous tissue that was encasing it. After we removed that cap, we found another two more inside. Fun times.
27. Crowning Glory
Dentist here. One time, I had an old lady come in with a porcelain crown in a bag. She asked me if I could re-cement it for her. I looked at her tooth and it was in pretty good shape. Looked at the crown, and realized that it had some brown gunk in it. That’s when she told me the most disgusting thing I have ever heard.
She reported that she had accidentally swallowed the crown and then had been extra “vigilant” as she sat on the toilet for the next couple of days. “It’s okay, I soaked it in sterilizer for 24 hours,” she told me. Without being rude, I surmised that the brown material must have been poop. Gross huh? Well, it gets even better than that…
In order to re-cement the crown, it needs to be clean on the inside, and at the time I didn’t have our fancy sandblasting air abrasion machine. I had to do it the old fashioned way: with a drill. So here’s a quick, practical dental lesson for you. A crown that has come off, sans fecal matter in it, has an incredibly pungent smell already, lovingly called the “under the crown smell.”
It is a combination of skunk, old man pits and mothballs. As you drill it out, it produces heat, smoke, and dust. If you use water to minimize the smoke, it splashes all over you and then you stink like the aforementioned trio. So I elected to remove the poop and old cement without water so at least I wouldn’t smell like a Stanley Steamer sandwich for the rest of the day.
I took my diamond-impregnated crown drill and went to work on what I can only describe as a poop hotbox. My whole office smelled like someone had made a sacrifice to Pele the volcano God. Now, if you’ve ever sat next to a campfire, you’ll know that smoke can make your clothes stink, thus the awesome strategy of not using water as coolant backfired and I wound up smelling like roasted dingleberries for the rest of the day.
Anyway, we re-cemented the crown and saved her $1,000 at the expense of our olfactory functions. Every time we see her now, we think of her poo-tooth headset.
28. A Shared Delusion
I used to work on a ward where one of the side-rooms was allegedly haunted. One of our Filipina nurses refused point-blank to even go in there. I started off thinking it was all fantasy, but after the eighth or ninth time a patient called me into their room in the middle of the night to ask why there was an old woman standing at the foot of their bed, I became a believer.
29. The Woman In The Wall
I have been a nurse for 20 years, and 13 years of that time was spent working nights. All of my colleagues have experienced creepy events that cannot be explained. My most creepy experience was when looking after a man with mental health issues. He had requested a private room, as it was too much for him to interact with other patients.
We were very reluctant, as he was depressed and we wanted to keep a close eye on him. He begged, though, and we agreed with the arrangement if we could check on him frequently throughout the night. I checked him as he was settling for sleep and he seemed agitated. I asked him what I could do to help, and he explained he was upset because he kept hearing a woman whispering in his ear and kept feeling that there was someone behind him.
I reassured him as much as I could. He asked for his night sedation and other regular medications, and I asked if he might like to speak to his doctor. Still, he thought it was exhaustion and he wanted to settle in for the night. Around 3 am, it was my turn to check on him. I went to his room and his door was closed. I immediately panicked and tried to open the door but it wouldn’t open.
I pushed and pushed, and it felt like something was behind it. I called for my colleague, and as she ran to me, the door flung open abruptly and hit the wall. The patient was in bed, tucked in, facing away from me. I walked around the end of the bed to check he was okay. Then the dread hit me. As I got to the corner of the room, I was hit with the worst wave of nausea.
It almost bent me double. I thought I was going to pass out, and according to my colleague I was as white as a sheet. The patient was fine; he slept all night and the next morning was more settled. However, he had dreams of a woman in his room hiding in the corner—she had ” come out of the painting on his wall.” I don’t know what happened that night, but the feeling I was left with was that whatever was in that room was inherently bad. I have never been so afraid.
30. Darker Than A Dungeon
When I was a student nurse, both my friend and I were working at a psych unit, and there was a patient who invited my co-worker to play a game of Dungeons and Dragons with him in his room after lunch. I requested that I go along too, because I didn’t want something dangerous to happen, as you never know when you’re working in a psychiatric unit.
The patient adamantly refused me being there and wouldn’t even allow me to play with them later. My friend agreed, but I still felt a little uneasy by the request. I went over to his chart to look up information on the patient. Its contents shook me to my core. Turns out he was a convicted pedophile, and inside the notes there was a description saying, “prefers slim white males with blonde hair and blue eyes.”
I realized this matched perfectly with how my co-worker looked, and I gave him the heads up that something weird might go on behind closed doors. Since safety is always a priority, he called it off and the patient threw a tantrum, needing to be restrained. The patient was a really big guy, too, and my friend on the other hand was easily less than half his size. We both avoided that floor from there on out.
31. Cycle Of Life
When I was on an ER rotation during medical school, we got a call about a 23-year-old woman who was shot in the head, and who was already completely gone, but was reportedly five months pregnant. They were doing CPR until they got her to the hospital to see if the baby was viable. They got her in and did an ultrasound.
It turned out the baby was full-term, and they did a C-section in like under a minute and got the baby out. It was pretty surreal to see a baby delivered from a deceased person.
32. The Corner Of Your Eye
Geriatric nurse here. I had a resident on hospice who was about to pass. She had been talking about seeing her husband at night for about a week at this point. She was very reassured, however with her dementia it was difficult to distinguish these visits between confusion or if they were actually taking place. She would have one-sided conversations all the time.
One morning at the end of my shift, I went in to give her her medications and asked how she slept. She says, “Oh not much. ‘Edgar’ has been here alllll night.” I turn around after making sure she is all tucked in—and witness a heart-stopping sight. I see this 6″ figure with a black suit and top hat standing next to the bookshelf at the end of her bed.
Then I blinked, and he was gone. The resident passed just 48 hours later.
33. The Ones Left Behind
I was working on a medical floor and taking care of a man going through his first psychotic break. He would be pleasant and kind, then his eyes would fill with terror. He would just look at you, his eyes pleading for help, as he ripped his hair out and screamed, “I’m traveling though time!” During one of these moments, he jumped out of his bed and started bashing his head against a wall, screaming for help.
After two days, they were finally able to get him into the state psychiatric hospital. About two months later, I read in the paper that he was found drowned in a small stream behind his house. I felt so sorry that the system had failed him.
34. Staring Contests
I was on psych rotation at the state mental hospital. I went in to evaluate a middle-aged woman with a history of visual hallucinations and erratic behavior. Through most of the interview, she looked at the floor and responded slowly with one-word answers. Very flat affect and clearly schizophrenic, but not really endorsing any of the symptoms that brought her to the hospital.
All of a sudden as I’m thanking her for her time and about to leave the room, she jumps up and grabs the lapels of my white coat, pulls surprisingly hard, and gets right up in my face, close enough for her breath to fog my glasses. Didn’t say a word, just had the most intense look of fear on her face and just stared right at me, breathing hard.
I froze. I didn’t know whether to push her away or to say anything, and I had no idea what she was going to do. It only lasted maybe four seconds before other staff came in to help, but those few seconds were so terrifying.
35. A Woman Scorned
Someone brings in a young man, about 25. His posture—stiff, hands in partial fists, turned out—indicated deep brain damage. According to the EMTs, his significant other had found him in bed with another woman, either passed out or deeply asleep. So the vengeful woman took a pistol and fired it 10 times from various angles.
The rounds were powerful enough to enter his skull and bounce around, but not to exit. All higher brain function was destroyed, but autonomic functions remained. We intubated him, but this caused the patient to fight against the ventilator with deep “coughs.” It was so haunting seeing him appear to live. I was pretty well protected by “clinical distance” at the time, but I must admit, this really got to me.
There was really nothing that could be done for him other than supportive care, and he passed a few weeks later of a massive infection.
36. The Stopped Clock
Nurse here. Once I had a hospice patient. I went in to check on them and asked if they wanted breakfast. They said, “No, I’m dying.” After a few minutes of assessments and small talk, I went to get their pain medication. I was gone for ten minutes. When I got back, they were indeed gone. But that’s not the creepiest part.
Their watch stopped five minutes before I entered the room. I was only gone for 10 minutes… I can’t explain. Also, I checked: The pin was in the watch, so he didn’t turn it off.
37. Not A Way To Go
A man had agreed to be “mummified” in a rather extreme “intimate” bedroom practice. Essentially, he was placed in a full body plaster cast covering even his face, and was given breathing tubes through the cast. Other than that, he was fully encased in the cast with the exception of his toes and intimate areas. To him, this extreme degree of helplessness turned him on.
The normal practice was to use a cattle prod or some similar device. But in his case, either through ignorance or malice, he was directly connected to 220 volts with one probe. He had third degree burns over his entire area down there, deep burns on his foot and, from the smell, severe burns elsewhere. We tried removing the cast to see if any degree of resuscitation was possible, but by the time it was even partially off, it was clear he was quite gone.
All of us just stood there with our mouths open, utterly unable to say anything. The authorities came and they too were mute. I volunteered to remove the entire cast and render some level of post-mortem care. I found deep lacerations over much of his body, deep bruising, and quite a few other burns. We sent the body to the medical examiner, and I spent the rest of the shift trembling.
38. Bugging Out
Nothing I can say can possibly describe the year I worked in Psychiatric Intensive Care. Creepy isn’t the thing that comes to mind when I think back on it…more heartbreaking and horrifying. But creepiness was a part of it. Especially evening and night shifts, naturally. There is always something disturbing about watching someone while they hallucinate.
You can tell it is 100% real to them, and something about that makes you believe it, on some level. A lot of stories end with, “And of course, I had to look over my shoulder to make sure.” You see the emotions it brings out. There was a woman who came in and sat down across the table from me for her admission interview.
She had bandages all over her arms and scotch tape over her mouth and ears. She looked very uncomfortable and wouldn’t really sit still. When the nurse would ask her a question, she would peel the corner of the tape back and answer, then stick the tape back on really fast. We eventually found out that she saw and felt bugs crawling all over her, and they were trying to get inside her body.
The tape was to keep the bugs out. The bandages were because some bugs got in and she had to dig them out. She couldn’t sit still because she felt the bugs all over her even while we sat and talked. The worst part was, she had some idea that it was her mind playing tricks on her. Can you imagine going through your life, feeling like someone is continuously dumping buckets of cockroaches on your head, all while knowing intellectually that none of it is real?
39. There But For The Grace Of God
I had a patient who was signing her admissions paperwork. Everything was going normally and she seemed coherent…until she looked out the window and asked me, “Did you see that?” I hadn’t seen anything, so she then said, “A man just jumped off the building.” Then she shook her head and mumbled to herself how her mind isn’t right anymore.
It freaked me the heck out. Now I’m terrified of getting old and having dementia.
40. What We Do In The Shadows
I was working the night shift as a medic on call. I’m easily startled, so I already don’t like night shifts. It’s around 3 am, and I’m back on a ward where I started my night to see how an unwell patient from the start of my shift is getting on. I have a chat with the nurses at the desk, and they tell me he’s much better, but that his chart is on the end of his bed.
No problem, I trot off to the bedside. In I go, pull the curtains round and, to not wake the other sleeping patients in the bay, I use my flashlight to check his chart. All looks good and I’m happy. I turn around, and suddenly in the dark I’m toe-to-toe with a hunched over old man, who has obviously noiselessly crept in behind me.
Well, I just about have a heart attack of my own right there. I jump back, scream, and knock over a drip stand. He starts to yell, and the nurses come running, someone wheeling the crash trolley. “Oh Doctor, that’s just Albert, he likes to have a wander at night!” Think you could have told me that before I went into a darkened room?!
41. Who Ya Gonna Call?
A girl spent my entire eight-hour shift in the psych ward fist-fighting the same ghost. She would throw a few punches, and obviously landed knockout blows, so she’d bend over and twist her hand around like she was wrapping some long hair around her wrist. She’d drag her opponent down the hallway, give a few good kicks, and then set up for a curb stomp.
Starts off kind of funny, then gets really disturbing when you think about the graphic things going on in her mind, then just sad after you watch this replay for hours on end.
42. Going Snakey
After “retiring,” dad worked in geriatric care for a few of the nursing homes around town. One guy had this really weird affliction where he had these bizarre hallucinations, like snakes coming out of his nose and mouth. The strange part was that he was completely lucid and actually really intelligent, and my dad would talk to him frequently.
They would be discussing films or philosophy, and the guy would occasionally calmly say, “Hang on a second,” and then proceed to pull a two-foot invisible snake out of his nose. He’d lay “it” on the ground, and then it apparently would slither away. He could talk about them and describe them in complete and vivid detail.
43. You Had One Job
When I was an EMT, I had an experience with a young man who was crushed by a falling tree…Such a gut-wrenching day. The young man was due to marry the daughter of the guy who felled the tree just a couple weeks after the incident. But that wasn’t the worst part. Everyone in emergency that day knew the internal bleeding could have been stopped if it weren’t for one thing.
The supervising surgeon was a pompous jerk and refused to come in that day, leaving it instead to a less-experienced doctor. I hate that surgeon to this day for deciding that kid’s fate as we all squeezed bags of fluid and blood into him and exhausted ourselves believing he would make it. His life was worth more than what that doctor decided.
I miss helping people, but I never miss being helpless and losing these battles.
44. Knock On Wood
I was on my vascular surgery rotation and was partaking in an above-knee amputation for this gentleman with terrible peripheral vascular disease. His PVD had progressed to the point that his distal right leg from his mid-calf to his toes was entirely affected by dry gangrene and had essentially mummified. His foot was cold and hard to the touch.
It felt almost like hollowed-out wood. You could knock on it, and it would sound like you were knocking on a door. The thing that made it particularly creepy was that with his hospital gown on, I could see his mummified leg, but not where it stopped, and the rest of him was as normal and functional as could be expected.
It looked like it couldn’t be coming from the same person, especially one who hasn’t been gone for thousands of years. We proceeded with amputation, and he is doing fine.
45. It’s All A Game
Former nurse here. I used to work at a nursing home and definitely the creepiest moment I had was with this Alzheimer’s patient. Incredibly difficult man, he would cycle between being basically zoned out and staring off and being very violent. A lot of times, he would talk to people who weren’t there, or to inanimate objects, or he would say he couldn’t do simple tasks.
For example, he’d claim he couldn’t put on his shoes or go to the bathroom, but with a bit of a push he would get up and do these tasks with zero problems whatsoever. On this particular day, it’s one of his calmer and more lucid ones. We’re sitting out in the nursing home’s patio area and looking outside and he leans over to me and whispers, “Hey, you know what?”
I ask what is it, and he tells me with complete seriousness, “Everyone thinks I’m really losing it, but I’ll tell you a secret, I’m pretending. I’m just playing a game.” He then laughed and said, “But don’t tell anyone!” I side-eyed that guy for the rest of the time I worked there.
46. Seeing Things
I work in a dementia ward, so you must know how creepy it can be there at night. It’s around 3 am and it’s pouring rain. POURING rain. Thunder, all that jazz. My partner is on break and I’m sitting at the nursing desk. I hear a moan and assume it’s a patient getting agitated by the rain. Well, from the corner of my eye I see a figure in a white dress.
There are only men down that hall. So I look again, and there’s this frail woman standing there just staring at me. It took me a second to register that one of the female patients snuck by me while I was doing rounds and was walking back to her room.
47. An Inch Away
My mom was an ER doctor. One night, a guy came in who had tried to commit suicide. He had used a shotgun, but had stuck it under his chin instead of in his mouth and had angled it wrong. Apparently, he only lived about a block from the hospital, so he just walked over with holes in his face. He was in such a state of shock that he just calmly walked in and sat down in the waiting area.
48. A True Psychopath
I rotated at a hospital that was essentially a full time psych ward for folks who have pleaded insanity or were eventually transferred here because they could not become well enough to get home. The place was actually very nice, and it was nothing like you see on TV. It was essentially like a college dorm with six or eight wings total. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t monsters there.
I met many patients with many crazy stories, but one always will stand out. This young guy, about 25 years old, was there. He had these delusions just after college about some girl he had a crush on from his freshman year. She wrote for a popular magazine and he supposedly had these delusions that she was writing about him to make fun of him.
So he hunted her down in her hometown, attacked her, and tried to kill her, but she escaped. He then plead insanity and was placed here. I went up and talked to him as a little third year med student. I started asking about his delusions and what not. Then I made a chilling discovery. It turns out, his father was higher-up in an international corporation worth millions.
The kid, who was hauntingly normal on the surface and incredibly creepy once you started digging, told me that he basically plead insanity only because his lawyers said to. He never had delusions. Never had hallucinations. Nothing. He basically thought the girl was hot in college, drove 400 miles to attack her, and then freaked out.
Hiis lawyers advised he plead insanity because as a soft, upper class kid, they knew he’d do much better in the psych hospital than in clinker. So there he was. Luckily, he’ll likely spend longer in there than he would have behind bars, because generally that’s how it works. But he seriously creeped me the heck out. His poor victim.
49. The Lifeline
Whenever you admit a patient, you have to inquire about their Do Not Resuscitate status. I had one elderly patient who was severely demented and chronically ill. He was in and out of the hospital every month and barely holding onto life—basically a horrible, miserable quality of life. I asked the patient’s family member about the DNR status. Their response made my blood run cold.
She flat-out stated, “Oh, we want everything done for him because we really need his check.” I didn’t understand at first, but apparently the family was living off of his social security and could not have cared less about his pain and suffering or his wishes. I’m pretty sure that was the creepiest thing I’ve seen. These people were supposed to be his loved ones taking care of him, and they were using him like an inanimate object.
50. Watch Your Six
I’m an EMS. Call goes in for reports of a woman calling for help through her door. The address this lady is at has a big problem with elderly people wetting themselves or falling and needing help getting back into bed. We arrive as a four-man team and are joking in the elevator about how this is going be the one time it’s real and this lady really needs our help.
We hop off the elevator and use the master key to enter the room. What we saw was an absolute horror. I’ve never seen four grown men in stunned silence before, but darn if jaws didn’t touch the floor. This lady has around 200 deep lacerations all over her body, several large kitchen knives are on the ground, and there’s a pool of blood covering most of the floor.
I’m ashamed to say it, but the shock of the situation made for some bad tunnel vision. We go right to work trying to help this poor woman, and don’t think for a second about what caused it. The authorities arrive about five minutes later from our distress call and search the remainder of the apartment. One officer comes back out of a room white as a ghost.
He asks us if we knew what happened. We explain what we came across, and the officer, with the most poker face I’ve ever seen, stares me square in the eye and asks, “Were you guys aware he’s been five feet from you this entire time?” My heart sank to my feet and I spent the remainder of the call in a bit of shock after realizing the danger we had been in.
Fortunately the lady made it fine, dude got detained, and I think he was pleading insanity.