Haunted History – Newsham Park Hospital

   Construction on Newsham park hospital started in 1871 with that laying of the first foundation stone by Mr. Ralph Brocklebank who was also the first president of the institution.

The building was originally built as an orphanage to house to children of dead seamen, which was a very welcome thing since the area previously had no such institute and had large shipping docks near by. Immediately 321 kids were planted there and even though it was a new facility and was staffed with knowledgeable care takers, it would soon turn into a nightmare. These kids were subjected to some pretty cruel conditions. Many of them were beaten and basically left abandoned within the walls of the institution put there to care for them.

The orphanage closed on the 27th of July, 1949 during World War II. The residents of the orphanage were moved to another site in a more remote area to protect them from air raids. After the war there weren’t as many residents and due to room being needed in the area, the building was sold and the orphans relocated.

In 1951 the Ministry of Health bought the building and turned it into an asylum. The doors opened for this new institute in 1954 by 1992 all the remaining staff and patients were relocated and the building was left abandoned. Well this other institute in the area called Rainhill Lunatic Asylum closed down and those patients were moved to Newsham, which was supposed to be a temporary thing but lasted until 1997.

The building was bought at auction and the current owners had plans to heavily renovate it into an events venue. The building was reopened and now holds various events there, including a ghost tour.

So now we know the history but is Newsham park hospital haunted?

Well folks, asylums almost always have ghost stories, no matter their appearance or age, but when the places looks as old and creepy as this one does the camp fire stories tend to run rampant.

There are tales of hauntings at this place that range from escaped patients rampaging through the woods with an axe, to people being tortured to death within the bowels of the asylum. It seems that most of these stories are pretty much true, though little documentation has survived the multiple owners.

There doesn’t seem to be any mention of ghosts when the building was used as an orphanage, the first reports started coming from nurses after the building was converted to a hospital.

One of the most common occurrences there is the slamming of doors and banging noises from the corridor leading up to the attic on the top floor. Legend has it that the “naughty cupboard” was in this area. Whenever a nurse wanted to punish one of the orphans they would lock them inside one of these cupboards. The banging noises are said to be caused by the ghost of one of these children who died inside the cupboard he was locked in.

The problem is with these older institutions is that they had no cameras or alarms or anyway to find out what happened apart from just “asking” the staff, the same staff who were also responsible for filling out incident reports. As you can imagine the staff would cover themselves the best they could so its no surprise there is no official record of a child dying from being locked in a cupboard.

When the building was used as an asylum the patients who were housed on the top floor where often reported as being seen talking to someone else in full conversation. The only problem with this is that there was never anyone else there. This may seem like something that could happen in any asylum but the odd thing about this place is the patients would always refer to the ones they spoke to as “the children”, always describing them as young children who would just casually walk the hall ways and speak to anyone they felt like.

Various people who have visited Newsham park hospital have claimed to have seen the dark shadowy figures of children within the halls and corridors, as well as the sounds of light, small footsteps running around inside empty rooms.

Orbs can also be captured all over the building, though they seem to cluster in many areas at certain times.

 

A man named John Gray, who used to work there at the Hospital has said the old asylum is so haunted it is ‘pure evil’ and ‘should have been demolished’.

John worked on the hospital switchboard and reception from 1973 to 1986 and said he couldn’t have got out of there quick enough following the paranormal activity that left him so traumatized he still has nightmares.

The 84-year-old also attributes a series of “unnecessary operations” he underwent in the 70s on the ‘bad luck’ brought on to him from working at the Grade II listed building. John has since died at the age of 84, but before he did he left his story in the Liverpool Echo about the ghost at the Hospital.

He said: “It’s evil. Pure evil. That place should have been demolished years ago. “I worked long, hard shifts at night, and staff were terrified of going to certain parts of the hospital. “You could feel the evil when you walked in, it was in the atmosphere. When I was made redundant I could not have got out of there quick enough.”

He said there was a catalogue of chilling incidents but a few in particular stood out. He said: “I remember going down into the basement one night to get a blanket to keep myself warm. As I walked in I saw a man, in a white coat with no head walk past and straight through the wall. I flew out of the room, it was terrifying.

“Another time I was at reception and there used to be a stone staircase opposite. I looked up and saw woman in Victorian dress. She was there for a second and then disappeared. “I found out that she was the old matron from when it used to be an orphanage.”

Since its closure in 1992 the building has fallen into a state of disrepair, inside, it is littered with broken beds, commodes and trolleys from its time spent as a hospital. The winding staircases come with ‘anti-suicide’ grills and lead to seemingly endless treatment rooms and laundry rooms.

Mr Gray said: “There were so many stories, so many people saw things. Staff were terrified of going to parts of the hospital because of the paranormal activity.

“On the old C Ward there was an old cast-iron staircase that no one would go up because it led to a corridor that had lines of cupboards where the children were put if they were naughty. You would hear banging from the cupboards.”

Mr Gray contacted the ECHO after he saw a story about the ‘ghost girl’ that had appeared in a group photo taken at a Haunted Happenings, but said he had no idea who the girl could be.

There are good ghost photos, and then there are fantastic ones, and a set of pictures snapped during a recent investigation of the abandoned Newsham Park Hospital and Orphanage in Liverpool are a perfect example of the latter. The images, which were captured during the Haunted Happenings public investigation this past spring, are some of the creepiest to hit the internet this year. In the group photo of the 30 investigators present there were two additional faces, both were little girls, one face was extremely vivid while the other, directly below was a bit on the blurry side yet clear enough to make out facial features.

Since it’s closure, paranormal teams have flocked to the hospital hoping to make contact with the spirits inside, and many of them have been successful, experiencing phenomena that range from from hearing the phantom sounds of children laughing to witnessing tall shadow figures skulking up and down the abandoned corridors. Its not uncommon for visitors to report the sensation of being watched, or to even feel their clothing or hair being gently tugged at by a pair of unseen hands.

One of the most common reports include that of “a small child on the top floor corridor and shadowy figures on Ward G”, and brave investigators who sneak down to the basement have recorded mysterious dragging noises emanating from the Dining Room, even when the room is clear.

 

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