Every nurse has a ghost story.
That’s the hook for Season 4 of “Haunted Hospitals”. The show returns for another 10 episodes airing during T+E’s Creep Week.
“We have a tagline that effectively says every nurse has a ghost story, and that is so true,” Kate Kung, series producer, said during an October phone interview. “This season is a good reflection of it. There’s incredible representation across the board.”
The surprise for Kung was the emotion the new season has. She points to a stark ghost story about a nurse’s aide taking care of a palliative care patient, who dies during her care. The aide sees evidence that the patient hasn’t passed on, and it shows the bonds that remain.
“It took a conversation between (the aide) and (the patient), to allow her spirit to pass,” Kung recalled. “We all cried in the interview. I found it to be so incredibly powerful and just deeply emotional.”
Each episode features three stories that run the gamut from overbearing presence to inexplicable horrors, but they all tie into the experiences nurses have on the job that go unshared.
Gritty Nurse podcasters Sara Fung and Amie Archibald-Varley both shared their encounters on two separate episodes. The duo hosts a weekly audio cast discussing the issues facing the healthcare industry and nurses. And every October, the two open up their show to share the spooky stories of working in hospitals and other healthcare facilities.
Archibald-Varley’s experience involved having to sleep in a room that was allegedly the initiation room. Other nurses had uncanny experiences in Room 144. The room had been the site of multiple deaths due to amniotic embolisms.
“Talking about those things is always kind of nerve-racking. I mean, as healthcare providers, we’re rooted in science. Science is what we believe in, but there’s still that underlying superstition and fear of the unknown,” Archibald-Varley said.
She had previously shared her experience on one of the Gritty Nurse Halloween podcasts, but “Haunted Hospitals” opened their story to those who don’t listen to podcasts.
“I was saying in the interview that the stories that I told, I never really shared with anyone before,” Fung said. “The way that they asked me questions, I almost felt like it was a debrief, or a kind of deconstructing of the whole situation so that I could feel better about everything that happened.”
Fung’s experience involved transporting a neonatal ICU patient through a sub-basement tunnel to another hospital. During that experience there was an uneasy feeling in the tunnel, the sound of someone breathing behind her back and a phone rang while going through the tunnel.
Both Archibald-Varley and Fung were contacted after their Halloween podcast was heard by the “Haunted Hospitals” team.
“What was interesting is that this very sobering podcast, that deals with a lot of crucial nursing issues, like policy and the day-to-day, but when Halloween rolled around, both Amie and Sara said, ‘Hey, let’s create a space where we can talk about things that nurses don’t normally talk about,” Kung said.
Archibald-Varley’s episode appears in Episode 1, and Fung’s appears in Episode 5.
For Kung, interviewing healthcare professionals revealed a correlation between empathy and the uncanny events that many professionals experienced early in their careers.
“It’s not surprising, that it would be nurses who are having these experiences because I think (empathy) is a hallmark of the profession,” she said.
T+E’s annual Creep Week event runs from October 8-16, with Season 4 of Haunted Hospitals premiering Wednesday, October 12 at 10 p.m. ET/PT and Season 2 of Eli Roth Presents: A Ghost Ruined My Life premiering Friday, October 14 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
Editor’s note: Brian Baker appears as a subject matter expert in “Haunted Hospitals”, Season 4