A view of the rear of the main building in the Henryton complex. Originally built in 1922 as a sanitarium for African-Americans with tuberculosis, it was employed four decades later as a facility for developmentally disabled adults.  Closed since 1985, there've been 70 fires there over the past decade and other acts of vandalism. The abandoned buildings are slated for demolition, but no date is set. (Kim Hairston/Baltimore Sun)

This is another ghost story, and another loosely based true story.  I have placed a picture I found online of the Henryton Sanatorium in Marriottsville, Maryland.  I was there years ago, before the demolition (which just makes me want to cry because those buildings were beautiful).  This picture above is actually a picture of one of my darkest moments at the hospital.  The ground floor door of the front most part of this building is where I experienced some very macabre emotions.  There was something evil in that doorway and I never wanted to go back.  Although I did not return to that part of the campus, I returned many times to witness other paranormal activity.  This is the story of my last visit.

The Unknown- Part 1

Sarah, Cameron, and Jacob had been visiting the Henryton Sanatorium in Marriottsville, Maryland for years. It was a prime ghost hunting location. Originally built in 1922 to house African Americans suffering from tuberculosis, the place was riddled with troubled spirits and sometimes they even encountered evil things in those halls. The place was full of asbestos and vandals over the years had set fires and spray painted the walls, and the state had discussed several times the notion of tearing the buildings down. But this place was special to these three inseparable friends. Sarah had not put much stock in ghost hunting before she met Cameron and Jacob, but before long they had convinced her to go with them and she decided she needed something to toughen her up. She was kind of a scaredy cat.

The first time they had visited Henryton, Sarah swore she saw something in one of the windows of the administration building. She did not want to sound neurotic but whatever it was, was watching them. Cameron suggested they investigate the building not knowing she had seen something. She did not want to object, but she was afraid that she was not going crazy; she was afraid that she would see whoever was watching them. Once they were inside the building, Sarah had to wait for her eyes to adjust. The moonlight outside illuminated the old parking lot but inside the dark played tricks on her eyes. Shadows moved inexplicably and noise seemed to reverberate off of every remaining stick of furniture. There in the corner, sitting on a green metal chair, was a man. He was an African American wearing jean overalls and a blue flannel shirt. For the first time, Sarah felt what Cameron referred to as The Feeling. She did not feel cold or spooked like the movies made you believe you felt whenever a ghost was present. She did not feel scared or terrified as if this was an evil spirit. This man was just lingering, observing. She wondered why he was not wearing a white hospital gown when she remembered they were in the admin building. He was waiting to be admitted.

“Sarah?” Jacob’s voice sounded behind her, causing her to jump. “You ok?”

“Yeah,” She replied breathlessly. The man was still sitting there, watching them. He looked almost real, as if a solid piece of flesh sat before her, but then the moonlight shone through the window revealing his transparency.

“You see something don’t you?” Cameron stated.

She nodded.

“It’s ok.” He assured her. “Take the camera and try and take a picture of whatever you see. Then we’ll go.”

He handed her the camera and she raised it, pointing it at the man in the corner. She snapped the photo. The man did not even flinch. She slowly handed the camera back to Cameron as they exited the building. Sarah took one more glance behind her. The man was no longer looking at them but staring blankly out the window. She wondered if he saw a dark, abandoned parking lot, or if he saw a bright sunny day as it had been the last time he sat in that chair.

She had come a long way since that first visit. They had taken several photos. Mostly orbs showed up and occasionally a misty haze, as was the case of that first picture Sarah took of the sitting man. A slight haze appeared around the chair. Cameron said the apparition probably did not generate enough energy to appear on the photo.

“Does that mean he was weak?” She ask him.

“Not necessarily. It just means that his need to remain was not as great as others.”

She wasn’t sure she completely understood that concept, but she just accepted it.

Over the years they had brought outsiders with them. One time they took Sarah’s college roommate who drew a picture of a vision she had had the week before they visited the grounds. The image she drew was an exact replica of a long narrow corridor in the morgue wing of the building. Every detail was exactly how she had envisioned it. Having said that, no one wanted to go down the corridor.

Another time they brought one of Sarah’s boyfriends who had the idea to drive up into the parking lot and make siren noises to scare teenagers off the property. It had worked. Normally Sarah would have felt guilty, but she had reasoned with herself that those kids were the type to set fires and vandalize, making it harder for legitimate trespassers to gain access. Police presence had already escalated since they started visiting and it was only a matter of time before the state made a final push for demolition.

This trip, however, was different. After all the unexplained occurrences they encountered, one would think they’d be prepared for anything. But nothing prepared them for their encounter this night. This encounter was not even on the property. After this night, they would never see Henryton again.

[To be continued…]

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