EATON RAPIDS, Mich. — The plum-colored building at the corner of South Main and West Plain streets in Eaton Rapids has been many different things over past century and a half.
Somewhere along the way, its owners believe, something left a supernatural mark.
They think it's haunted.
Christopher Sturgill and his wife, Pam, bought the property four years ago, planning to turn it into a bed and breakfast. They knew little about the history of the building until they put an offer in.
“We started to do a little bit of history and research into the building and structure and determined at that time that not only did it have a very storied past but it was also a very active paranormal site,” Sturgill said.
It was built in the early 1870s. Sturgill said it was a home for almost 40 years then became the Harriet Chapman Hospital in 1919 which was later known as the Stimson Hospital. Later on the building was turned into apartments.
“The hospital had one of the first X-ray machines in the state. They held pioneer cesarean sections and had one of the first few where the mother and the infant both survived,” he said.
Sturgill said almost 4,000 people were born at the hospital. And there were roughly 2,000 patients who died, there because it was a trauma center.
Six months after the hospital opened one of the primary physicians, Dr. Francis Blanchard, went to step into the elevator shaft and fell 40 feet to his death according to Sturgill.
“The doctor stepped off into the darkness and landed right down here. Doctor Stimson was actually just down in this other room the morgue area at the inspection table and heard him land here,” Sturgill said.
Sturgill said he still hears equipment being moved around on the third floor and has seen shadow figures. They’ve had three dozen paranormal teams come in and do investigations.
“When you’re upstairs in the one main patient room, which we turned into a bedroom, and have the door shut you can hear conversations going on in the other room," Sturgill said. "And every once in a while you hear a child laughing or a woman crying or sobbing or something.”
The couple is still working on converting the building into a bed and breakfast and expects to have it mostly open by next fall.
The owners offer history tours and paranormal investigations for those looking to experience the Stimson Hospital.
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