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March 2, 2012

Paranormal Fridays: Old Lehi Hospital Hauntings

Utah has a surprising number of paranormal hot spots, including numerous old haunted locations. One of these locations is the old Lehi Hospital. Lehi sits at the north end of Utah County, which is just one valley south of the Salt Lake Valley where Salt Lake City is located. What was once a rugged frontier town quickly grew into a hub of activity that necessitated the construction of what was at first a bank when the building was constructed in 1891. After the bank moved out of the building, it was used solely as a crematorium for a time. The furnace in the basement was too small to fit an entire body, so workers had to cut up corpses and then stuff the parts one-at-a-time into the furnace. Later, the building was converted for use as a hospital as Utah County's population continued to grow.

Being that it was a hospital that operated for several decades, many people died on-site. Hospitals can also be places of great suffering, which many theorize can also leave a spiritual imprint on the building. To top it all off, the hospital had a mental ward as well as a crematorium in the basement. Unfortunately, the old Lehi Hospital was condemned and torn down in 2009.

Several Utah-based paranormal investigative groups spent time in the Lehi Hospital when it was still standing, collecting evidence such as EVPs (voice recordings of spirits) and spikes of electromagnetic activity. Those who have spent time in the hospital reported hearing strange noises throughout and also seeing full-body apparitions (which are more rare than Hollywood movies would lead you to believe).

A famous urban legend in Utah has added fuel to the fire of speculation about whether the hospital was a center of paranormal activity. The legend claims that the hospital's head doctor had become deranged late one night and attacked the head nurse. Victorious, the doctor hung the nurse on the flagpole outside at the front of the building. Another legend tells of a man who died on his way to the operating room on the second story because the elevator moved too slowly.

The hospital fell into disrepair after it was closed. Windows were broken out and one of the staircases inside fell down. Some people went so far as to claim the ghosts in the Lehi Hospital had done the damage to keep the living out of the building. The owner converted the building into a spook alley to raise funds for its restoration, but he was unable to earn enough. Even though the building is gone, some people speculate that the land might still be haunted, meaning any new building placed on the same parcel of land might also be a hotbed of paranormal activity.

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