At abandoned St. Ignatius Hospital, the Paranormal Lockdown team are in full panic. Nick Groff suddenly disappears from frame as he tells investigation partner Katrina Weidman: “There’s something here with me!”
The location: Colfax, WA, a city with less than 3,000 residents and the hospital, a relic of another time, still purportedly bustling with spooks, haunts and apparitions.
Built in 1893, the hospital was the only one in Colfax county, but the pandemic wiped out the area and killed almost everyone. As the facility aged it became outdated, with the main building becoming an asylum.
The noting of hauntings increased. The apparitions and lore of the building forced the final St.Ignatius to finally shut its doors in 2003.
The Paranormal Lockdown team are summoned by the director of the property who wants answers. She and her workers who manage the property are often scratched, pushed, and crowded down hallways.
We meet up with Nick and Katrina who spend 72 hours in this notorious hotspot of paranormal activity.
Valoree Gregory, the executive director of St. Ignatius, is their guide.
She tells them right out of the gate that the hospital is “active, there are apparitions and physical energy all around”.
Nick and Katrina tour the entire property with Valeree who shares stories she knows about who inhabited what room, and then takes them to the infectious diseases ward.
“There’s something about this floor that is really strange,” Nick says as they tour. Then the group heads to “Rose’s room”, 311. “She was very angry,” says Valeree. The heat of the room is indicative that it is filled with an aggressive spirit according to Nick.
Valeree recounts a human hand on the window from outside, as she was standing in the hallway. A ghost was pushing in the window.
Because the elevator is no longer operational, the team has to access the morgue from outside. “It literally smells like death,” says Nick, adding: “This feels like an altered dimension.”
The elevator that carried the dead was an immediate red flag to Katrina and Nick. Valeree tells them of a worker who died mysteriously in the elevator shaft in a horrific fall.
“We’ve been touched, and had a feeling of we immediately had to get out,” says Valeree.
Nick and Katrina investigate, alone. First night is exploratory as they walk the halls and look at the lead paint and debris all around. “This is the grittiest location we have ever been to,” says Katrina.
Armed with a geobox and thermal camera, they set off — except Katrina screams out. A bat flies into them. Then Rose’s room is entered, and she commands Nick to “go away” in a creepy moment.
Then next door in 312, “Rich” also orders them to leave.
They are exhausted after a night of ghost hunting, and Nick explains it’s time for bed. Katrina reiterates: “This is the worst place we’ve been to” as she shoves herself into a sleeping bag, full makeup, just to secure herself from bats and paranormal activity.
They wake up to a sunny day, and head down to the morgue. Using night vision, they reexamine the scene of the fatal “accident” of a worker as Nick focuses his efforts on the elevator shaft. “It’s really dangerous,” says Katrina as Nick jumps in.
The elevator dangles over his head. “Your voice,” says a faceless being. Screams and voices are coming over the radio. Then Nick hears: “Watch Out.”
Katrina urges Nick to get out as they process the various energies of the location. Cameraman Rob is now glued to them as they try to open the doors to the elevator.
“I felt all of this static energy, weird feeling,” says Nick as Katrina begs him not to enter the elevator. “Who is screaming in the elevator,” she asks as Nick summons Rose and questions her about “Rich”.
An apparition is captured on film as they head back to the room where the hand appeared. Nick is blown away. He says: “This is groundbreaking, I haven’t been to a location where the daytime hauntings are more active than the nighttime.”
The second night sees them really gear up as they test equipment and steel themselves as Katrina tries to lure out a spirit. She asks: “Nick, do you think maybe its residual here?”
Cameraman Rob Saffi is then grabbed as he films Katrina. The team figures that the elevator is where the bulk of the activity is and now focus most of their efforts in and around it.
But night two sees them drained from the experience, suffering from inhaled dust and fully unnerved. A loud noise sends Katrina looking for Nick. “Something was just thrown up here,” he says, adding: “Are you there? Oh, my whole body is just shaken up right now.”
Katrina is desperate to get Val some answers as they finally tuck in for night two.
Day three sees them awake to a sunny day, but the two are drained and starting to focus on the third floor. “Rose, are you up here?” asks Nick.
“Why did we have to come to the third floor?” asks Katrina. Ghosts are speaking to them now. “Tell me your name,” demands Katrina.
“It’s a hotbed of paranormal activity and I don’t know where that needle in the haystack is,” says Nick. Now the night comes.
Nick goes to the first floor, and Katrina heads to room 311 looking for the elusive but seemingly chatty Rose.
Cameraman Rob hears a woman’s voice. Nick says that whenever they hear voices, it is always when they are apart from each other so no one witnesses the same voice.
“These spirits want to address us alone,” says Nick in a voiceover as Rob and Katrina explore the premise.
Katrina asks the spirits to send their pain to Nick. Nick immediately gets pain in his back. Rob is on the second floor as Nick feels hands on his back on the first floor.
“I don’t know if I have any answers for Val,” says Katrina. Nick heads to room 310 for reasons he does not fully understand.
“Suddenly I feel like I am connecting,” he says, as Rob and Katrina go look for Nick, who is now in a deep, sleep-like state.
“Holy s**t” he says as he opens his eyes and he cannot recall what happened or how he got in the room when they awaken him.
Disabled people in their thousands came through the premises, and while there are no exact answers for Valeree, the mystery of Rich is resolved.
Richard was a higher functioning patient and lived on the third floor, before passing away on the premises. A photograph shows that he was a contender for the Special Olympics; handsome and gregarious in person.
Nick is filled with many emotions as they realize that the spirits that inhabit St. Ignatius are just most likely lonely, confused, scared and looking to speak to someone and connect. Not to cause any evil mayhem.
Monsters and Critics spoke to Nick and Katrina about this key episode:
Monsters and Critics: The emotions in this episode were so dramatically whipsawed — you went from terrified to almost melancholic as the stories of Rich were made available to you by Valeree. At what point in the 72 hours did you all feel a bit of relief?
Katrina Weidman: I think towards the end we felt some relief. It’s really easy to get wrapped up in the grittiness and unexplained phenomenon that we sometimes forget that what we might be dealing with are the souls of those who once called this place home.
I think during our final meeting with Valeree it all came full circle. Talking about our experiences and relating them back to Rich was pretty emotional. Especially when Valeree personally knew him.
We got to hear more about his personality and it, I think, takes away a lot of the initial fear we had coming into a place like this.
Rich wasn’t a scary person, he was a nice man. So it kind of makes the experiences we had a little more comforting rather than scary.
M&C: At one point Nick notes that the voices are not heard at the same time by all, so why do you all separate at night — wouldn’t you bunk down in the same room with the equipment set up to record things so all could experience and see and hear the same paranormal events and voices?
Nick Groff: Some locations are extremely big, so we like to separate at times, in order to gather more evidence. We also feel when we are isolated the activity intensifies, as we are at our most vulnerable state.
M&C: Did we ever find out anything about Rose in 311?
KW: Poor Rose. Rose was a patient at the hospital who had some mental disabilities and was also known to not be too pleasant to anyone who crossed her path.
She would scream and yell a lot so much that her old room has different material on the walls to absorb the sound in hopes of not disturbing the other patients.
Many people feel like they experience Rose. Some people get smells while others feel threatened in various ways.
According to those who knew her, Rose didn’t exactly welcome company so it’s interesting that people who know nothing about her or her personality feel uncomfortable and unwelcome while in her room.
M&C: How would you rate St. Ignatius in this season’s scariest paranormal-rich locations?
NG: This location is definitely up in the top five for the most gritty to live in for 72hrs, and the bats were terrifying at times!
I think I am honestly traumatized for life from this location, being attacked by bats!
St. Ignatius Hospital was very creepy to investigate, so much energy still lingering.
M&C: Production question — where do you shower, bathroom and eat during this 72 hours. Is there a production trailer right outside you can use in between set ups?
NG: There was no working water, or bathrooms in this location. We had to get a port-o-potty to use right outside of the location door.
It was the worst living conditions we ever had to go through on an investigation and the most challenging.
We did not shower for three days straight and lived out of our clothes, which were completely destroyed when we were done. I threw my clothes away after we left.
M&C: Wow, interesting that you all had to really camp out. Bonus round: Most haunted location on your bucket list to film is…?
KW: I keep hinting at Hawaii. I think that would be amazing because the native culture has a rich history in regards to spiritual beliefs.
It would be fascinating to see what we would encounter on an investigation.
Watch the clip as darkness falls over Colfax, and Nick and Katrina discover they are not the only ones at old St. Ignatius Hospital…
Paranormal Lockdown airs Fridays at 9/8c on TLC.