In culture after culture, people believe that the soul lives on after death, that rituals can change the physical world and divine the truth, and that illness and misfortune are caused and alleviated by spirits, ghosts, saints ... and gods.

STEVEN PINKER, How the Mind Works


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Location - Fort Qu’Appelle Sanatorium













Part One


"Fort San was a medical purgatory where hundreds died and thousands suffered. Isolation, loneliness and pain were a way of life for its citizens; some of whom lost years of their lives, if not life itself.”
Consumption, The White Plague, TB, Tuberculosis - known by many names, was feared by all. This communicable disease can be traced back through the ages and affected many communities in epidemic proportions.
At the turn of the century, Tuberculosis was a concern in Saskatchewan as the number of cases were gradually increasing. To address this problem, the Province of Saskatchewan created the Saskatchewan Anti-Tuberculosis League in 1911. The Anti-Tuberculosis League proceeded with plans to build Saskatchewan’s first Sanatorium to isolate and treat patients. The location was nestled in the Valley near Fort Qu’Appelle and was purchased for a sum of $8,250. Below are a few facts about the History of Fort San.
With the outbreak of war, construction was halted in 1914. As ex-servicemen returned to the prairies, many were affected with TB, the government provided the needed funds to complete the facility. The Fort Qu’Appelle Sanatorium (known as The San or Fort San) opened its doors October 10, 1917. The facility consisted of a 60 bed unit (Main Lodge) on 230 sprawling acres.
With a high demand for beds, the facility expanded to 260 beds in 1918. Construction continued at the facility.
In 1918, World War I Veterans created an extensive library at the facility. Books on TB were purchased so patients could educate themselves. This literary enlightenment led to the creation of The Sanatorium Journal composed of poems and musings that eventually turned into The Valley Echo.

The Red Cross Lodge, a guest lodge, was built in 1919 near the entrance to the facility. The guest book for the Lodge contains over 37,200 names of people who have stayed in the 14 room lodge.
The Recreation Hall was built in 1919. The upper level consisted of an auditorium, stage and movie picture box. The lower level had a barber shop, canteen, card room, reading room, pool room and library.
The Children’s Pavilion was constructed in 1919. It was torn down in 1944 and replaced with a new Children’s Pavilion in 1945. This pavilion better accommodated the patients.
The facility had a school on the grounds for the patients from 1921 to 1967.
A Nurses Residence was built on the grounds of The San in 1922. The facility had expanded to accommodate 300 patients, and almost 2,000 people had been admitted to the facility since its opening a mere 5 years previous.
A Post Office was constructed at the facility in 1926 to manage the large volumes of mail.
At its peak, Fort San could accommodate 358 patients and a vibrant community emerged through activities such as the drama club, jazz band, and internal radio programs.
The numbers of TB patients were dropping greatly. With the end to the battle against TB in sight, a small Medical Research Lab was constructed in 1952. The lab remained open until 1967.
By 1960, only 126 of the 300 beds were being utilized at the facility. The Prince Albert Sanatorium closed in 1961, sending the patients to Fort San.
In 1967, with a small portion of the facility in use for patients, an unused portion of The San housed the Qu’Appelle School of the Arts.
As Tuberculosis had been beaten, the need for a Sanatorium ceased. The Fort Qu’Appelle Sanitarium closed its doors April 1, 1971, and the facility was handed over to the Department of Public Works.
In the 80’s, the facility housed a summer school for the arts and the occasional convention. Fort San was beginning to fall in disrepair and remained a financial burden. The Government began looking for a solution.
The name of the facility was changed to the Echo Valley Conference Centre and in 1992 an agreement was made with Saskatchewan Property Management Corporation (SPMC) and the Department of National Defense (DND) to utilize the facility. SPMC closed the facility September 30, 2004. It is to be leveled to make way for new condos.

On average, since 1917, forty people died here of tuberculosis every year the place was open. Lots of times people died here, and they had no family. If nobody claimed the body, they’d get buried back there in the hills, with no marker.

Part Two

From the doctor’s house on the hill, to the morgue in Pasqua Lodge, spirits have made their presence known. Be it sightings of Nurse Jane or some nameless apparition, lights flickering, furniture moving, or sounds coming from the children’s ward, these sightings and stories are legendary.

One of the first stories came from a man who had attended a summer music camp. On this day, the band members had gathered outside for practice. The young man forgot his music in his room and returned to retrieve it. As he was going through his baggage, he heard the sound of a woman singing.

The woman's voice was loud and clear and surprising, since this lodge was assigned to the men. The singing was accompanied with the sounds of running water. The young man walked over to the doorway and saw a woman, young and pretty in a conservative dark dress that fell past her knees. The taps were running, and as she washed, she was looking at her reflection in the mirror. The young man called out to her.

"Excuse me? Lady? I think you are in the wrong lodge." She gave no indication she had heard him. Instead of turning towards him, the woman backed away from the sink and out of his range of vision. He then entered the bathroom and she had vanished.

The young man was not frightened at first. He had been trying to figure out how she could have left the room without him noticing. Walking to the sinks he checked them for wetness, they were dry. Now he became frightened!

He ran out and rejoined his band mates and refused to go back to the lodge until later when it was filled with people.



One very common apparition is known as "Nurse Jane," or "Jane, the folding ghost". She had been called the folding ghost as she was often seen folding linens. On other occasions, she seems content to push a wheelchair around the premises. According to folklore, Jane was a distraught nurse who committed suicide while working at the sanatorium. On a doorway at the end of a long hallway, a shadow of a wheelchair can be seen. The ghostly shadow is so distinct that it always draws someone down to investigate. By the time they reach the end of the hallway, the shadow would disappear.

“In the middle of the night, we heard what sounded like a bed being dragged down the hallway above us. The loud noise continued down the stairwell towards the Main Lodge.”

“Late in the night, we heard little girls laughing and playing down the hallway. We went out in the hallway and looked around to see who was out there, but there was no one there.”

"They were all awakened at three o'clock in the morning by a noise. It was as if someone was dragging heavy chains and slamming heavy doors while walking up and down the hallways."

Site Background & History care of the Memories of Fort San website. http://www.freewebs.com/fortsan/ Thanks Linda! :)








36 comments:

spirithunter said...

I have recently read on a website theat Fort San Sanatorium was demolished back in June of this year. Yet, I see here on prairie specters new pictures of Fort San taken in August. I am perplexed. after a few phone calls, emails i am no closer to the truth. I have wanted to visit Fort San for sometime to work a paranormal investigation into the claims of the haunting. Can anyone shed any light on this?

Creepella said...

The developers of the facility are attempting to save a few of the buildings;however, some of the buildings cannot be saved. The developers do not want people on the grounds without making arrangements with them. I was able to do so this past fall and take pictures of the buildings and saw how safety is a major concern. We were only able to take pictures of the exterior of the buildings. I will be posting them on my site soon http://freewebs.com/fortsan

Could the administrator of this site please contact me. I have a few questions. Thanks.

Lazyowl said...

Hey there Creepella. Sorry in taking so long to get back to you. Blogger should be dropping me a email when someone posts but I didn't get one for your post. Weird, anyways I don't have any contact information for you. Could you post it? Thanks.

britty22 said...

alright. a friend of mine and i just had to see fort san before its torn down so last night we drove the half hour from regina to make it there. we finally made it there, parked the car and headed in to explore. unfortunately, the owner followed us in then told us he was calling the cops and booted us. justa heads up. it was really creepy.. but i did get a few pics. we're planning on heading back soon so.. hopefully that helps anyone out. the place is still around and kicking. for sure. but not for long it seems??

Anonymous said...

Can anyone help me? I was a patient
for 13 mths 1954-55 (April to year later late May).
I would like to communicate with anyone from the "Three Boy's Ward",
Twelve Boy's Ward" or the "Girl's Ward".
Thank You
Owen

Mike F said...

Recently me and a friend of mine that travel around and search places like these, late at night during "dead time" have travelled back and fourth on various occasions, and searched what we percieve to be almost all of the grounds. We have searched the childrens ward and a series of underground areas, on the grounds we have found a small tunnel underneath the main building that appears to run all the way around the grounds and to every building, we have yet to search through it. the plan is to go back and follow the tunnels as far as they go. Despite many rumours and legends the two of us have experienced nothing on the grounds at all. other than a creepy atmosphere. we have been through the crematorium and over the back hills and to the doctors house, childrens ward and even underneath in the crawlspace of the hospital. If you intend to investigate this place as thouroughly. BEWARE unsound building conditions and high levels of asbestos. oh and rcmp officers. The furnace in the crematorium was bricked up at the entrance where the bodies would go in. so i couldnt go inside the furnace. Spending a night in the morgue perhaps? not sure as of yet. The structure still stands. last time we went was March 26th 2010. Extreme decomposition and deterioration of the building especially the origional part and vandalism has left the building in complete ruin. I plan to also return to the weyburn hospital for an extended and complete "dead time" self tour.

contact me for any questions; mikeflegel@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

Went there today, one building looks like it has been torn down but not hauled away yet. Some cabins have been built down a little road to the west of the site. Nothing to report about today. However, last week my mom and sister went out and as my sister was about to take a picture with her cell phone it shut off and rebooted itself. They had also seen a little boy walk out the front dorr off the main building and then a second and then a third, they both were in complete shock...

lori said...

i stayeed in the sanitariume for a week during sea cadets camp i had left early because of my experinces there it is one of the most pharinormal place i have ever stayed at the time i was only 12 but it is what it is ...and creepy as all everywhere you go there you have the sence of the ghost and belive me i wouldnt wish my experince on anyone!

Anonymous said...

I was out there this past weekend, and while we didn't cover much of the grounds, it was quite creepy. I too noticed my cell doing funny things, but then again, there is very little reception out there. Some of the buildings seem to be intact.

Anonymous said...

So i was just out there today. And there are people guarding the property and began yelling at me for going on the grounds and taking photos. And i didn't even go inside. I was wondering if anyone knows who owns the property and the whole facility now?

Anonymous said...

i belive the her majisty canadian ship still owns it (sea departmentof the armed forces) ,i dont think they sold the property from when i was in sea cadets they just closed it off to the public with out reason and now gaurd the place i think only way there is to connect with one of them then u can go therebut not shure its been awhile since i was there

Anonymous said...

The property was sold to a friend of mine's husbands father. They will be ripping down all of the buildings and making way for condo's. I have searched these entire premises and i have tons of photo's! Some very creepy apparitions as well. If anyone would like to see them or hear our stories you can email me at laceyfink@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

In the summer of 2010 I went out to Fort San with a couple of friends. They wanted to see the place one more time before it was torn down.

I happened to have my dog along with me. He is a 3 yr old rot/dober cross, and afraid of nothing. The dog noticed that the front door of the main building was open and he went inside. After about 10 minutes it was time for us to leave. I called into the building for the dog, but he never came to me. A friend went inside, up the stairs, down the hall, and found him in an empty side room, nose in a corner, refusing to respond.

I went up the stairs, calling to the dog. He came racing toward me, past me, terrified. He was back and forth along the hallway, up and down stairs, at top speed, ignoring me and my friend. It took us about 10 minutes to corner him by blocking the hallway and we managed to get him herded back out the front door. It wasn’t the playful running of a happy dog. It reminded me of a nature show with a scene of a rabbit running away from a wolf. Immediately upon getting outside the dog was back to his normal self.

The incident really bugged me. I don’t believe in ghosts (but would really like to see one and be proven wrong). A few days later I intended to mention the weird incident to a trusted, reliable friend. I started the conversation with something along the lines of, “You don’t believe in ghosts, do you?” She answered, “Not until I saw one.” (Damn! I want people who see ghosts to be nutty, so I can easily dismiss their nutty opinions. But this lady is rock solid.) So I asked her, “Where?” She said, “When I was in sea cadets at Fort San.”

A couple of months passed. It was around Xmas at the end of 2010. I was talking with an RCMP officer. We were talking about dogs and I recounted the story about my dog running like crazy inside the main building at Fort San. The officer listened, then commented - matter of fact - that it might have been the same ghost she had seen there a while ago when she was sent out one night to get a group of young people to leave the place. (Double damn!)

Anonymous said...

I stumbled upon this video the other day. There are some shadows that I don't think are theirs on the stairs and there are a few whispers throughout that don't really sound like them either but it's hard to tell. It looks and sounds like the chair at the beginning of the video jerks forward an inch or so too when they walk past. Creepy stuff.

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgGMQndHIe8

Anonymous said...

back in 1963 to 1965 I spent two yrs as a toddler I was only two yrs old at the time but i still remember being led to the treatment wing and the big tiles they used to have on the floors, mb someday i will revisit the old place where i spent my days recovering from TB

Lazyowl said...

Thanks for posting on this location as well as the video link.

sam said...

I really hope they don't tear it down. I went out there lots when I was a little kid with my grandparents. My great grandmother used to work there and told me all sorts of crazy stories. I never saw any ghosts but there is a strange vibe as soon as you enter the grounds.

Anonymous said...

i dated the son of the owners of "fort san" they have to tear down the buildings. When the goverment shut them dow in 2004 they turned off the heat but not the water pipes burst and the damage was so extensive that the places were condemmed. They watch over fort san for legal reasons and i know that it is very unsafe. it was a beautiful in its day but it is now private property. They are only saving 2 or 3 of the doctors house that were worth saving. However the other building have the water damage and alot of asbestos that was damaged with the water. One by one they are continuing to deconstruct Fort San to make way for a housing project on what happens to be indemand land. I ask that people have some respect and stay off that private property it is no longer owned by the province. Please respect the owners.

Annonymous said...

Does anyone know if it is still there? I keep hearing things of it being torn down. I use to go there when I was a kid all the time, and I'd like to go see it one last time before it gets torn down, if it's not already. Anyone have any information on this?

Anonymous said...

Was there last night. 2 buildings and the hospital is still there didn't go around the grounds too much as it was way too dark and our flash lights weren't enough, so maybe there's more. But went inside the 3 buildings creepy stuff and got weird vibes instantly. Took a few pictures that have strange silhouettes and faces in the windows and doorways.

Anonymous said...

There's a place just like this one in Edmonton Alberta. I've been to fort san a couple times. take your cell phone with you or a digital camera. you'll getvsome weird pics if you go inside and take random pics of anything. i got 5 good pics from going in there. the basement is the best spot to go in if you go to the main building. the doorway is in the back of the building.

Anonymous said...

Is it still there! I am going Wednesday (the 10th of July, 2013). I WANT to see this! What is the address?

Anonymous said...

Is it still there! I am going Wednesday (the 10th of July, 2013). I WANT to see this! What is the address?

Anonymous said...

Article in Fort Quappelle Times says they have been charging several people with B&E, trespassing and Mischiff it was in today's issue.. I wouldn't go there it is privately owned now.. Not owned by the town.. I guess they are charging everyone

Nadine Tyree said...

Does anyone know how to get records of patients who stayed at the sanitorium from 1940-1944?

Chris Oxtoby said...

Hey there, thanks for you post on Prairie Specters. I'm not sure where you could get that information. The local museum in Fort Qu'Appelle has a large display from the Sanitarium. I would start there.

Anonymous said...

49 yrs after i left i went back there to rejoin the little boy i left behind after walking the grounds i felt at peace

Anonymous said...

I was in a band camp at For San and it was definitely spooky! There were lots of "bumps in the night" and that sort of thing. I don't think I slept a wink the whole week I was there.

willpower willpower said...

This place is now private. There's many gates and no trespassing signs. The owner is watching you and will call the police. Many people ended up being arrested, handcuffed and escorted to the police detachment. Their vehicle were towed at their own expense and they were charged. Simply not worth it...

lala f said...

I have always beeen interested in visiting the fort san again!! I went their when I was in high school for a conference and it was a little creepy. I wish they would open it again to do the over night ghost tour thing!! I know sooo many people who would PAY to stay their over night and investigate! I wish it can be preserved because this is a NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE!! If anything I think the governement should take it over again and preserve it! There are so many people who don't want to see it torn down...If they do build condos I would sure hate to be the one living in one of them because they are sure to be haunted with all the ghosts that roam there now!! Anyway if there is anyone out there who agrres with me please leave a comment!!

Amanda Crittenden said...

Just curious if you were ever able to locate records? I too am on the search...

Anonymous said...

I spent a week there . When it was sea cadet camps one of the tunels leads to where the morge use to be . But the floor is welded shut there .beforehand they said when they re -opened it up there were mummified bodys still in the tunels 100 bodies after the tb hospital closed .. all I know during my time there alot had happened I couldnt explain I felt alot of different feeling flood saw alot of different reflections like they were traped in loop others times it was more real .c.o had to get involved because it got intense he was the reason I was allowed to go home under such circumstances .when I got back base c.o wanted to talk to me I thought he was gonna be so mad because I left early .but he was tge opposite he was very appoligetic he didn't want me to give up. But my parents at the time felt with what happened I could no longer go...always been intrested in going back to re visit now im older and have knollage of what I be facing.I often Wounder if the same things would appear to me now that I am a adult .I will never forget this place it will always be appart of me now. josie.small.petite.otwmc@gmail.com

Tammy Lough said...

Does anyone know if there is a cemetery on the Fort San grounds or where patients were buried when they died? I am trying to locate where my great grandmother was buried. She was a patient in Fort San and died in 1927.

Joe said...

I remember you. I bounced between 3 boys and big boys for a year and for days in 55-56. It's amazing how many of our colleagues ended up dead or in jail

Joe Campbell

Joe said...

I was a patient in 55-56 and worked there on moving records from hard copy to punch card. I also worked in central registry - I suspect some of the newer records were moved to Regina and the rest were left to rot or be burned in the 3 most north easterly rooms on East 1 where they were archived