Grounds of former tuberculosis treatment center is a haunting place
Many know Sanitarium Hill by its impressive building that’s perched atop the best sledding hill in all of Madison, but this location may hold darker secrets than most realize. From 1930-1966, Sanitarium Hill was known as The Lakeview Sanitarium, where it served as a treatment center for the more severe cases of tuberculosis, a deadly disease that attacks the lungs. Those infected take years to recover if the disease doesn’t kill them first.
After the need for Sanitariums dwindled, due to the advent of new medications to treat and cure tuberculosis, The Lakeview Sanitarium was sold to the county to serve as the department of Dane County Human Services, which it still does to this day, and its 48 acres of woods that sit behind it were turned into what is now called Lakeview Woods. Soon after the facility became open to the public, there were whispers that it was haunted.
While many may think that the actual building would be the spot that’s rumored to be haunted, it’s not. In fact, it’s the woods and the trails that snake through them that seem to be the epicenter of all the reported paranormal activity. This leads some to question if the paranormal activity is even related to the deaths that occurred at the Sanitarium.
The site is on a tall hill overlooking a lake, a location that Native Americans believe is sacred, some associate it with a location that may have been used for Native American ceremonies or burial grounds. This may explain why there are claims that an angry presence (or presences) haunt the woods. While the cause of the haunting may not be definitively clear, gennerally agree upon the locations for the hot spots of paranormal activity.
By the former Sanitarium, right off of the woods, is an old little cemetery. The eastern side that’s nestled right up against the woods is a paranormal hot spot, and the location where odd occurrences are reported most often. Accounts of strange mist formations, cold spots, and feelings of anxiety or that watched are some of the things most commonly reported in this area.
The trails in the woods are also a hotspot. There seems to be more menacing experiences reported here, which leads many to believe that an angry presence (or presences) haunt the woods. Intense feelings of being stalked, apparitions, low toned voices, and even hair being pulled are among the things reported in this area. In the woods there is also the ruins of what is rumored to be a crematorium, and a large depression over the spot that used to be an underground tunnel that housed the dead, due to the fact that they could only cremate the bodies once a week so as not to constantly diminish the air quality for the patients.
The now abandoned building that used to serve as the nurse’s quarters, located off the side of the former Sanitarium, is the last hotspot. Its dilapidated condition is eerily contrasted by the lights that are left on through the night in certain rooms and the red glow from the exit signs that can be seen through some of the windows, some of whom are missing their glass panes. On the side closest to the Sanitarium, there’s a glass paned door which people have reported seeing an apparition behind. Intense feelings of general anxiety and discomfort have also been reported in this area as well as accounts of hearing noises and voices around the whole building.
After hearing about the Sanitarium, a friend and I investigated. I ended up having to go on a Sunday at 8:45 at night; needless to say, is not exactly the prime or preferred ghost hunting time, but we made do, staying out until about 10. Nothing interesting happened on the journey, sad to say.
We went to the cemetery hotspot first, walking by the edge of the woods. The cemetery did have some very weird vibes, but beyond that, nothing happened.
We next took a trail through the woods. Towards the end of the trail, I did hear low voices, but I’m very confident that these can be attributed to the people that live in the houses nearby, so close they can be seen from certain parts of the trail. It also felt pretty creepy in the woods, but this could be a self-fulfilling prophecy, since I knew going into it that the specific location was reportedly haunted, so I, in turn, subconsciously felt nervous.
Next, we headed over to the former nurse’s building. The whole building is exceptionally eerie. We went over to the place where there are reports of an apparition seen behind the door, and it definitely had a spooky feeling.
Sanitarium Hill was uneventful for us, it does have a lot of reports of haunted activity, so I’m not willing to dismiss it as a dud. Its beautiful location alone is worth the trip up there.