Here's a personal account of a very scary adventure that occurred back in my high school days.
It was the summer of 1966. I was a senior at William Chrisman High School (go Bears) in Independence, Missouri. I had been working for a couple of years to get enough money to buy a car. I finally found the one I simply had to have. It wasn't a Corvette, but it was as close as I could afford at the time.
It was a 1964 Chevy Impala Super Sport. It had a 327 cubic inch engine and a four-speed on the floor. Plus it was a convertible — midnight blue with a white top and silver blue, vinyl (they didn't put leather in them back then) bucket seats. It even had a Vibrasonic radio, which they don't make any longer. Besides being pretty, she ran like a speed demon.
On that particular summer night a few of us were driving around and trying to decide what to do. One friend suggested we visit the old Kansas City Tuberculosis Hospital. (If you click that link it will take you to a very nice photo of the building in its heydey.)
This facility had been built by the prisoners at Leeds back in the forties. Since TB had basically been brought under control a few years earlier, the hospital had been closed down. But the building was still standing, high on a hill on Raytown Road overlooking the city.
We all agreed that it sounded interesting. It was a dark night, cloudy with no moon. Fortunately, I had a flashlight in the car. After parking in the abandoned lot, we began walking toward the building. It was a bit spooky. Even in the darkness it was easy to see that all of the windows had been broken out. There was a little wind whistling through the trees and a dog barking in the distance. As we walked around the building, we found a window that was low enough for us to climb through, and we began exploring the vacant halls.
The further we went, peering into the rooms with the flashlight, it became apparent that the building had been abandoned in a rush. Most of the furniture and equipment, including beds and linens, had been left behind. It was a bit shocking to see overturned wheelchairs strewn haphazardly here and there. We also saw large pieces of equipment that looked like "iron lungs."
In some of the patient rooms there were framed photographs remaining on the walls. One of these photos was of particular interest in a macabre sort of way. It was a photograph of a pretty young nurse decked out in her white uniform. The photo was signed, "Wishing you the best." The part that was startling was that someone had taken a red marker and drawn slash marks on her face and a knife sticking into her chest with the word "BITCH" written in large letters.
The further we explored, the more desolate and depressing it became. Finally, we descended the stairs and headed toward the morgue. The stench met our nostrils long before we reached the small operating room or whatever it was. As we walked through a heavy steel doorway, the flashlight illuminated an enclosure with stone walls and no windows. There was a stainless steel operating table in the center with bloody, or rusting, instruments scattered on it.
Along the wall there was a sink with a rusting faucet. As we approached this sink the smell became even more overpowering. When I shined the flashlight into the sink it illuminated a huge slab of meat, bloody and rotting. It was at about that time we decided to leave.
We never found out whether this was the remains of some poor soul, perhaps a serviceman who had served his country during World War II, or if it was a practical joke that some of the Van Horn High School, or Raytown High School hoods had decided to pull to scare some unsuspecting victims. We'll never know. But even after all these years, I still remember that evening quite vividly.