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2010-10-27 / Lone Star Report

A Ghost Story: The haunted old hospital annex in Kingsville

For the longest time people have said that the old hospital annex on 9th street was haunted. The old hospital was built some time in the 1940s and the annex some time in the 1950s.

The annex was first set up to house more patients and then at some point it was used as the children’s ward. This story is about the ghost of a little girl that has been seen in recent time walking the halls of the hospital annex. For several years the Institute of Rural Development, a nonprofit, has hosted a Halloween haunted house on Halloween night.

According to some sightings a little girl supposedly has appeared in the hallways of the building dressed in a white dress wandering the halls at all hours of the night. Before we tell the tale of the little girl it is important to note how Halloween came about and what it really means.

Many of the ancient peoples of Europe marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter by celebrating a holiday in late autumn. The most important of these holidays to influence later Halloween customs was Samhain, a holiday observed by the ancient Celts, a tribal people who inhabited most of Western and Central Europe in the first millennium bc . Among the Celts, Samhain marked the end of one year and the beginning of the next. It was one of four Celtic holidays linked to important transitions in the annual cycle of seasons.

Samhain began at sundown on October 31 and extended into the following day. According to the Celtic pagan religion, known as Druidism, the spirits of those who had died in the preceding year roamed the earth on Samhain evening. The Celts sought to ward off these spirits with offerings of food and drink. The Celts also built bonfires at sacred hilltop sites and performed rituals, often involving human and animal sacrifices, to honor Druid deities.

By the end of the 1st century ad , the Roman Empire had conquered most of the Celtic lands. In the process of incorporating the Celts into their empire, the Romans adapted and absorbed some Celtic traditions as part of their own pagan and Catholic religious observances.

The Roman Catholic Church often incorporated modified versions of older religious traditions in order to win converts. For example, Pope Gregory IV sought to replace Samhain with All Saints’ Day in 835. All Souls’ Day, closer in spirit to Samhain and modern Halloween, was first instituted at a French monastery in 998 and quickly spread throughout Europe. Folk observances like the Samhain evolved through time preserving some links to the past.

Between the 15th and 17th centuries, Europe was seized by a hysterical fear of witches, leading to the persecution of thousands of innocent women. Witches were thought to ride flying brooms and to assume the form of black cats. These images of witches soon joined other European superstitions as symbols of Halloween.

All Saints’ Day, also Allhallows or Hallowmas, is a festival celebrated on November 1 in the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches, and by the Orthodox churches on the first Sunday after Pentecost, in honor of God and all his saints, known and unknown. It became established as a church festival early in the 7th century when the Pantheon in Rome was consecrated as the Church of the Blessed Virgin and All Martyrs. Pope Gregory IV gave the custom official authorization in 835. November 1 may have been chosen because it was the day of one of the four great festivals of the pagan nations of the north, and it was church policy to supplant pagan with Christian observances.

All Souls’ Day, in the Roman Catholic church, a festival falling on November 2, the object of which is, by prayers and almsgiving, to assist souls in purgatory. First instituted in the monasteries of Cluny, France, in 998, the observance soon became general. Among European peasants, All Souls’ Day is a time for reviving many pre- Christian folk customs.

While Halloween history is colorful and linked with religious celebrations, most people associate it with witches, goblins, and ghosts that wander around in haunted places and there are plenty of them everywhere.

Here in Kingsville, the old hospital annex has long been known to be haunted. On one occasion not long ago someone was standing with a friend just outside the back entrance.

His friend glanced up to the window on the catwalk and saw a little girl pass by as the window lit up. The friend asked “who was the little girl in the window?” The other one replied that there was no little girl living there and had never seen one. While looking up at the window on the catwalk, the light shined again and they both saw what looked like a little girl that was about six years old walk across the window.

Legend has it that a little girl, when the old hospital annex was a children’s ward, around ten years old, died there in room number three. For some reason, some believe that her spirit still lingers in the old hospital annex talking to all the other children that were once there. She has been seen many times during the night and some have heard someone calling her Agatha. She has been seen on many occasions during certain nights.

Some people have heard weird sounds at different times like tapping on a wall or someone walking down the hall while no one is really there. The sounds have been heard at different times during the night with no explainable reason for the sounds.

The little girl that wanders through the building on 9th street may be a good ghost or spirit that is there more like a protective angel than a bad ghost. She never seems to bother anyone and has been known to cross the hall from one room to another as if she is still visiting and comforting the other children who were once there in the hospital. Agatha may just be the good kind of spirit wandering the halls and still comforting others to this day.

Some say that spirits are still present in the old hospital because of the people that died there. No one really knows what this means other than spirits or ghosts come and go at different times for different reasons.

Many people claim they have actually seen a ghost and some organizations exist that actually hunt the paranormal or what is known as ghost activity. Seeing spirits or ghosts depends on what you want to believe in modern time. The witches of old Salem were believed to be witches at that time, but it is not known if they really were. Whether you believe in haunted places or not, they are many recorded in towns and places across America. It may be that Agatha passed away there in room number 3 and her spirit decided to remain there to help other children through time.

Ben Figueroa

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