The Haunted History of St. Ignatius Hospital, Colfax WA

Suppose you can imagine a haunted location so infested with demons and angry spirits who attack investigators, visitors, and staff that the Chamber of Commerce suspends ghost tours there. If you can, then imagine St. Ignatius Hospital in Colfax, Washington.

The aggressive demonic activity toward visitors and staff was so intense at this abandoned hospital that the Chamber felt temporarily closing it was in the public’s best interest and safety.

According to the Colfax Chamber of Commerce director, the hospital probably has ‘thousands of spirits’. And most of them don’t play well with others: Hitting. Kicking. Pushing. Scratching. Screaming. Swearing. Apparently, there aren’t many practices these misbehaving spirits won’t attempt.

St. Ignatius Hospital: A Brief History

“CHARITAS CHRISTI URGET NOS – The Love of Christ Impels Us”

Motto of the Sisters of Charity founders, St. Ignatius Hospital

By the late 1800s, a hospital was needed in Whitman County to serve the burgeoning population. So a nun from the Order of Charity named Mother Joseph, who also happened to be an architect, became the mastermind of a project that evolved into St. Ignatius Hospital.

Instead of waiting for the hospital’s projected completion in 1894, three Sisters of Charity began caring for a few patients in a wooden building on the site. After the hospital was completed, additions were added, and the St. Ignatius School of Nursing opened, graduating its first class in 1911.

Providing care to patients by relying on donations and what people could afford to pay allowed the hospital to continue providing care until 1964. It was then sold and became an assisted living facility, with its first floor devoted to caring for the developmentally disabled. This incarnation lasted until 2003 when the facility was closed and left abandoned for almost 20 years.

The facility has changed hands a few times since 2003. The Colfax Chamber of Commerce began providing tours and offered investigation time to ghost hunters until the demonic attacks became so brutal that they temporarily closed it down. The Travel Channel’s Ghost Hunters investigated during this time and were able to corroborate these attacks after being scratched a few times themselves and becoming ill.

Enter Austin and Laura Storm, a local couple who purchased the property on April 23, 2021, and who are dedicated to restoring and preserving St. Ignatius, one of Washington’s “Most Endangered” historic buildings. Luckily for the paranormal world, the new owners have resumed tours and investigations during the renovations.

Paranormal Activity and Evidence

The ghosts of former patients still roam the deteriorating halls of St. Ignatius Hospital, beginning with the spirit of the first person to die there in 1893. F.E. Martin, a railroad employee, was crushed between two railroad cars.

During the 1918 Influenza epidemic, the hospital was the epicenter of suffering, midwifing dying souls to the other side of existence. Many of the dead remained, and their disembodied voices can be heard, as well as shadow figures seen throughout the halls and in patients’ rooms.

The most threatening dark energy here, one that terrified employees so much some refused ‘to ever step foot in the building again,’ has been described as a large black mass, blacker than black, that goes after people like a swarm of bees.

Most of the spirits here are intelligent rather than residual, and at times during one investigation, they used the spirit box to banter back and forth with each other like they were having conversations. One incidence of this was when a spirit said, “Hey Bitch. Turn on the flashlight!” And another spirit turned on the flashlight that was set on the bed.

The length and clarity of communication from the spirit world via the spirit box are extraordinary. Class A, all the way.

Here’s an example of the communications that manifested:

  • One spirit said, “!@#$ you Bitch!” And another spirit answered, “Is that the best you can do?”
  • One spirit said, “This is Mary.” The investigator responded by repeating the Rosary, which prompted the spirit to say, “Stop it. Stop this.”
  • One spirit called the investigator’s name, “Lisa!” and said, “Will she sing?” Lisa responded by singing London Bridge.

There was a mixture of sweet spirits and angry, mean ones, which was evident by their comments coming through the spirit box and the tone of each voice. And the voices were distinctly either male or female. It’s probably easy to guess which spirit is which below:

  • “Go Play in the road.”
  • “Infection.”
  • ‘The pipe.”
  • “Jo?”
  • “Girls.”
  • “Tell us everything.”
  • “Bless You!”
  • “It’s a trap, yes, it is!”
  • “You suck.”
  • “Get close.”
  • “Jesus.”
  • “It’s just a little help.”
  • “That’s better.”

Most above communications occurred within the hallways and in patients’ rooms. At the end of this session, a spirit who identified herself as Theresa was clear that she wanted the investigators to now leave. And when they asked Theresa where she wanted them to go, she told them to go to “Administration 1.”  They honored the spirit’s request, which led them to where the rest of the group was in Administration 1.

Another active area is room 312, which was the bedroom of a man named Michael, who lived most of his life in a wheelchair. He was an angry and aggressive man in life, and unfortunately, nothing changed in death. His room is an anomaly among the other rooms there. It’s the only room where the flies collect.

Rose’s Room is host to her ghost. Rose is an angry spirit who was a resident when St. Ignatius Manor was a care facility for developmental disabilities. Her angry voice has been recorded numerous times.

These are just a few of the phenomena experienced at St. Ignatius. Orbs, green light anomalies, disembodied laughter, wailing, crying, and apparitions are everyday occurrences here. And every night occurrences, too. With all of this activity, it’s no wonder St. Ignatius Hospital is one of the five most haunted locations in Washington State.

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