Southwest General Hospital – El Paso, Texas

A special thank you to G.H.O.S.T. – El Paso Co-Director Chris Medina for suggesting the building and writing about their experiences in the Southwest General Hospital and thanks to Alyn Macleod GHOST El Paso founder for the picture.

Southwest General Hospital is located in El Paso, Texas. The hospital has approximately 19,000 square feet with 4 floors and has a very interesting history.

Constructed in the early 1900s the hospital was known as the Albert Baldwin Heath Resort which was a sanatorium for tuberculosis patients. In 1910 the sanatorium was purchased by Dr. R.B Homan and renamed the Homan Sanatorium.

In 1924 Dr. Homan decided to build a new hospital and the sanatorium fell into a state of neglect. The building was useless, except for storing things. In 1927, Sisters from the Order at Concordia, Kansas reopened it as St Josephs. Even through tuberculosis cases started to decrease the need for regular hospitals rose. In order to keep pace with this St. Josephs started remodeling in the mid 1930s and was renamed Southwest General Hospital where is received its first patients on Jan 25, 1937.

In 2008 the hospital is currently being remodeled once again. Of the four floors there are only currently patients on the 3rd floor as the other floors are being remodeled. G.H.O.S.T (Ghost Hunters of Science and Technology) – El Paso has witnessed and compiled a lot if paranormal activity throughout the hospital and is still conducting a number of investigations as well as using this facility as a training site for new paranormal investigators, you can see pictures of the G.H.O.S.T. team on their Facebook page.

The hospital has had a long history undocumented cases of paranormal encounters. While conducting historical and personal interviews G.H.O.S.T. – El Paso was asked to document and prove or disprove many of these encounters. The stories from former patients include a nurse in an older nurse’s outfit doing rounds and checking on patients. She died in an elevator accident in the hospital.

The story of Charlie who was a maintenance worker who also died in an elevator accident in the building and still opens and closed the elevator doors for visitors. When it was still the tuberculosis center, there was a special children’s ward set up and now you can hear the voices of children fill the hallways after visiting hours.

While filming scenes of the movie “The Burning Plane” production staff would ask for someone to please ask the Nurse on the 4th floor to stop coming to the window and ruining the shoot. The 4th floor has not been in regular use for years.

G.H.O.S.T. – El Paso has recorded many E.V.P.’s and has even captured photographs of shadow people. Some of these can prove that this location has paranormal activity.


  • Rik Villarreal

    I loved this article! I always knew that El Paso had to be up there with some of the most haunted cities in the country…given such a bloody history since the 1500’s.

  • Dorothy Ruffin

    I use to work at SWGH for about 15yrs as a CNA. I worked in Pediatrics until they closed that unit down then I worked on the 3rd floor on Med/Surg. I also worked on the 4th floor in Labor and Delivery also in the ER department. I heard and seen things also. But I loved working there it was a nice and small hospital where everyone worked together. I still miss that place.

  • Ricker

    My grandmother is currently staying in the hospital on the third floor. I took the elevator to the first floor, in my confusion i hit the B thinking bottom floor, when i finally realized i hit the basement button, the doors were opening. A tremendous fear came over me, i began to panic and started pusing the 1st floor botton. The basement was very dark and cluttered. The only light was from down the hall. I could feel a presence. Today is five days later, I am back in San Antonio and still uneasy about my venture to the basement. My mom told me about someone touching her on the arm to wake it up. That morning my grandmother asked my mom where the little girl went. True stories.

  • Chris Medina

    I am Chris Medina, Co Director of G.H.O.S.T. If anyone has any great stories like these please email them to me as well. We are documenting these stories.

    Thank You
    Chris Medina
    G.H.O.S.T.- El Paso

  • Vero

    My brother also worked at SW gen for a short while. He gave me some fairly creepy accounts from other employees as well as his own experiences. The basement level is not supposed to be accesible to visitors and the employees also know not to venture there. The elevator supposedly takes some people directly to the basement instead of their intended floor. One nurse was trapped in the elevator with gaping doors into the basement for more than 15 minutes. She screamed for help but no one heard her until the doors finally decided to close up and take her back up. The ovens where TB patients bodies were burned were or are still found in the basement.

    There are also many children’s spirits still occupying the hospital. A security officer who worked there claimed that when he stepped outside the building for a smoke he looked up to the 3rd floor and saw numerous little hands pressed up against the windows. These children also left a trail of small powdery footprints on the main floor one night and handprints on the main doors as if trying to leave. The powder came from the drywall construction mess up on the 4th floor. Seconds before the footprints were found a large bang came from the main entrance.

    And according to my brother the floor where the copymachine is located is where there is a restless and angry entity towards the end of the hallway. One other employee was pushed up against the same copymachine. Additionally, my brother heard a loud scream from a male voice and also saw a dark greyish figure behind him when he made copies one night.

    Sounds pretty paranormal to me.

  • ef edgar

    i used to work for southwest general hospital.. there by myself (security guard) doin the graveyard shift..i experienced so many things there that made me believe in ghosts.. well this one time i got a call from my boss to go to work there asap.. i asked why and she told me that the guard that was working there left after seeing a small boy thru the locked doors that have windows on the fourth floor.. i was once doin my rounds so i desided to take the elevator.. i knew bout charley cuz the staff told me bout it…anyways the elevator closed and it hesitated to go to the fourth floor.. so i said. “quit your shit charley” and the next thing i saw scared the f*** out me.. a hand print appeared in front of me while i was in the closed elevator.. after that i used the stairways to do my rounds.. i got more stories i just got tired of writing.

  • De La Rosa

    i also used to work at the SWGH grave yards by myself (security guard) their was couple occasions when i was working at night weird things unexplainable happened. Their was one time when i went to go do my rounds and i went to the 4th floor with another officer i was training so i was showing him what to do when we started walking down the dark hall we started hearing a typing noise so we walked towards the noise so when we opened the door we saw a type writer their in the floor. that made the hairs on my back stand up so we took off back to the 1st floor. so thats how that happened the other guy never went back to work again. In another occasion i was doing my rounds so i went to the 2nd floor i walked thru the hall way checking each room and they were perfectly fine by the time that i got to the end of the hall way and i was walking back to the elevator as i passed a couple of rooms i saw that the blankets from the beds were thrown on the floor. And their was no one in the hall way but myself. also the charlie story is true when i would be in the lobby at nights sitting down their was no one their and all night long the elevator door would open and close i would tell charlie to stop playing and he would stop for a while but then he would start again.

  • Edna Baeza

    I had my firstborn on the 4th floor of SWGH, I was also the service elevator operator. The elevator took the life of a Respiratory Therapist not a nurse. She didn’t wait for the service elevator and took the public elevator, pushed her tank in and the door behind her shut, she was caught between floors. It should have never happened the elevator didnt move unless the gate was closed. She was a nice young lady. I would also eat downstairs in the basement, it never creeped me out, but I would hear noises. Fear will kill you, Ghosts don’t, but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect them and their space.

  • Bahar

    I have to refute this because I had spent one night there and never witnessed any paranormal activity and I did work on the 4th floor as well as a student in training in medical records and never witnessed any paranormal activity and constantly road the elevators and again never witnessed any paranormal activity!!

  • Dorothy Ruffin

    Chris I wrote you sometime last year about me and when I use to work at SWGH. To this day I do beleive that hospital is haunted.When I worked there as a CNA I use to hear and see things and to this day I still do. If you would like to get a hold of me you can contace me at home. My phone number is EDIT . Thank you Dorothy Ruffin

  • Lucien Campbell

    LOL, I used to work on the 4th floor XD

    Big Shout out to Charlie the 2nd floor Ghost haha

    BIG FU to the third floor staff. You know who u are!

  • samantha partida

    my uncle is currently staying there on third floor we swore i pressed 1 floortook me up to 4 floor kreepy but awasome i herd about charlirlie maitnence and nurse betty but im scared im only 11 but i love him alott so i need to go =)

  • samantha partida

    my uncle in the hospital saw some paranormal activity he saw charlie and betty standing and asked the nurse he described them and he said they dont work there so we got freaked out we left and we went on the elevator wth 2 doors it didnot close we went on the other one it closed so we pressed 1 and it took us to the 4th floor we panicked so it finally closed after 2 min andwe left all scared



  • jacob

    I work across from this hospital and go to buy snacks there it feels weird the moment u step in its also creepy looking at the fourth floor from across, its the only dark floor level

  • Lily M

    When me and my family wennt to SWGH we did experience some paranormal. as my brother and his friends were tryinq to get on the elevator (Charlie) closed da doors on dem. we were also playinq with some little boy..we would roll a car and he would roll it back. what we experienced was pretty amazinnq and hopefully one day we could go back

  • sarah lozano

    my name is sarah i was born there in 1965 and i also was a pactient there 2003 for a heart attack .for about a month and when the nurses would come a draw out blood i would tell them they are worse then vampier’s . one night i heard the door open and turned around to see if it was the nurse it wasn’t i guess it was the air that opened it i asked the nurse if the story’s were true about this place all she did was laugh and said i’ll be back for more blood i said ha ha and turned back to sleep

  • irving

    After my boss in Dallas purchased the old building. They had my director and I come to the old place to pick up some old gurneys and computer desks. I went in the elevator down to the basement to see if there were any medical closets. As I walked in to the darkness, the smell of perfume passed my nose. I didn’t think much of it thinkin that one of the ladies from the LTAC went down there before me. As I was searching, I heard the cry of a child and a lady tell him “everything will be alright, I’m here” I was chilled and the hands stood on my arms and neck. I pushed the elevator button and it was taking forever. As I waited, the crys became louder and louder and in a split second, it stopped. I go audit some of the med records for our docs at the ltac from time to time and I’m always curious to speak to this crying child and compassionate lady I heard in the basement.


    My father Rubio, worked there for many years in maintainence and he never said a word about anything( again, he would never say anything to scare us). Yet he never wore a rosary around his neck or start attending church until he started working there.I had my second child there 28 years ago and the only thing I remember is the elevator opening and closing and at times taking you to the wrong floor.

  • anthony olivas

    my grandfather is currently staying at the hospital 3rd floor room 324 . the first day i was there me n my brother got on the elevator as we wre gonna go down the elevator we couldnt find the button for 1st floor. we press B and it takes us to the basement. dark dull n u could feel a presence. my dad then tells me oh the other day i was waaiting for the security up front. n the elevator kept opening going up coming down n opening again as a joke. but he really didnt think much of it. till he read that this has also happened to millions of other ppl.
    i still go there n im going today. ill try to see if i experience more stuff.

  • bambi la tejana

    currently at this moment i have a family member that has been there already 3 weeks and ive only gone once but my other family members have told me and my husband that on the 2nd floor she saw a little girl running and hear noices at night cause they spend the night there with the family member so she won’t be alone cause she see’s things to but we were actually going to the 3rd floor and took us to the baesment so we pushed the elevator button again and again til it finally took us to the 2nd floor the doors open and i told my husband lets walk around and he said no are you crazy so i just told him your a chicken…lol! but eventually we got to the 3rd floor and we told them what had happened and they say that there very scared but they have to go and visit! i’m hoping i can go back again to visit my family member soon!

  • Sterling

    In 1957, my mother was hospitalized there for a short period. I was 6 years old at the time. I recall that many people also referred to Southwestern General Hospital as Hotel Dieu. When my mother was there, the main elevator had an operator who asked “what floor please” and he sat on a small stool near the control panel. A flexible metal grate had to be closed before the elevator would move. I recall with clarity how it was interesting to watch the floors go by as the elevator went up and down. There were numbers painted on each floor so you could read them as they passed by. Unlike in modern times where elevators are very precise and stop within a fraction of an inch (perhaps 1/16th of an inch) of the same level of the floor they go to, in the “old days” at Southwestern General Hospital, the elevator operator had to guess when to stop the elevator in order to get it fairly level with the floor. I recall on any number of occasions when the operator would miss the floor by as much as a foot, and would have to ease the elevator up or down a few times to get more accurate prior to allowing a passenger to disembark. Obviously with the metal grate, no one could exit the elevator until the operator was ready to open it and let them pass.

    I stayed there myself in 1962 when I had to have my tonsils removed. I recall being in a room on the third floor. Just as I was about to undergo surgery, I recall a nurse placing a mask on my face and I was told to breath deeply. The mask had ether and back then, ether was used to make a person fall off into a deep sleep prior to surgery. Ether was not nearly as effective as the substances they use these days. When the mask was immediately placed on my face, the ether had a peculiar smell and I remember dreaming about cigars.

    Once out of surgery, I stayed in my room on the 3rd floor overlooking the front of the hospital into this incredible courtyard. Back then, there was a circular drive and steep stairs leading up to the main lobby in the hospital. The courtyard had magnificent Cottonwood trees and they grew up to and a past the height of the third floor. I recall hearing how wonderful they sounded when a gentle wind blew through the trees, making the leafs rustle. The shade the trees cast on the ground made for a great escape from the blistering El Paso sun, and in the late afternoons, the entire hospital would be bathed in a shadow from Mount Franklin, because the hospital was on the east side of the mountain and as the sun set in the west, the afternoons were very pleasant there at Southwestern General Hospital. I was discharged after a few days and I would next return as a patient in 1965 after I had a motorcycle accident in the desert area near Scottsdale Elementary School where I was a student on the far east side of El Paso off of McRae Blvd.

    I never recalled any odd or “ghostly” events on the three times I stayed in the hospital, but if indeed a nurse died in the elevator, I can tell you it might have been because part of her clothing may have been caught in the opening of that elevator at the front. I believe in the very old days, that elevator might not have had the flexible metal grate in front of it and there certainly wasn’t an elevator operator many, many decades ago when the building first opened. More than likely, the nurse probably entered the elevator, pressed the button to go to another floor, and she was distracted while standing too close to the opening and her skirt got caught in the opening and became lodged on something as the elevator was going up. What a terrible way to die. I can only imagine the poor woman being forced to the floor as the powerful motor of the elevator propelled the elevator up.

    I believe when I was a patient here, the kitchen where meals were prepared for patients was down in the basement and the laundry was located here also. I don’t recall anything like a cafeteria on any floor where people gathered to eat and meals were consumed in the patients rooms.

    I do not believe that at any time there were furnaces located in the basement for the purpose of “burning” bodies of tuberculosis patients. For hundreds of years, bodies of anyone who died in a hospital were handled by mortuaries and a certified crematory off-site would have been used, if the family of the deceased did not want an actual burial.

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