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The haunting of Seaside Sanatorium

A slide is one if the few playground pieces sill standing at Seaside.
Lauren Neslusan

I have made a hobby of exploring Connecticut’s historic, abandoned and haunted places. With my camera in hand, I seek out both photos of these building’s beauty but also the slim chance that any spirits roaming the grounds may appear as well.

A chance day trip with two friends led me to the quaint town of Waterford yesterday. With a high of sixty degrees and a light breeze blowing, how could I say no to a trip to the abandoned Waterford Sanatorium?

I spent hours Saturday evening researching the building’s history and came across some dark findings. Seaside was built in the 1930’s and was designed by renowned architect Cass Gilbert. His other designs include the U.S. Supreme Court and Union Station in New Haven.

Seaside was built as a sanatorium to house victims of the dreaded disease Tuberculosis. Its first patients were young children, whose doctors believed that fresh air and the exposure the sun would aid in treating the illness.

When you walk to the side of Seaside that faces Long Island Sound, you will see the decrepit remnants of a playground. The swings are gone, the merry go round is rusted and has no seats. A feeling of sadness washes over me while examining the playground, how many children were brought here and played only to not survive tuberculosis?

Seaside was converted to a nursing home in 1958 and was changed again to a home for the mentally challenged. Seaside reamined open until 1996 when allegations of violent patient abuse became quite evident. The hospital also experienced a higher mortality rate than normal.

Since the doors closed, as with most abandoned places, vandalism ran rampant and it entered of state of decay. You can roam the grounds of Seaside as you wish but do not attempt to enter the hospital itself. The once stunning building is now a boarded up mess because of vandals breaking in repeatedly.

I peeked some of the unboarded windows yesterday, the walls are peeling and the ceilings are caving in. Beyond the reach of the daylight, there is nothing but darkness and shadows. I half expect to see something move in the blackness. I shudder when I think of what abuse the decaying walls have witnessed.

Due to the building’s dark past, there have been many claims of paranormal activity at Seaside. Shadows are seen peering around the corners of old corridors, ghostly voices echo around the building’s grounds, strange lights and mists have shown up in photos that the paranormal investigation group, The Connecticut Ghost Seekers have taken.

I decide to sit down in front of the right hand tower. I take my black voice recorder out and began to ask questions. Sometimes disembodied voices appear on recordings that paranormal investigators have made. It is called E.V.P or electronic voice phenomenon. I have two other people with me who decide to ask questions too.

We hear something from the room we are sitting outside of. It sounds like some thing being dragged on metal. I get up and peer in the window only to see nothing. Was it simply the wind blowing in a broken window or something else? I review the recordings later and find that I have recorded a male voice replying yes when asked if he had worked there for a long time.

I walk over to the old swing set, there are distinct holes in the ground where children’s feet have dragged for years. It is an odd and eerie sensation to be standing there. I decide to try to contact the spirits of the many children who probably played on these swings.

I sit down and lean against the old metal pole that supported the swings. I ask several questions and am shocked that get a physical response when I ask, “did you have a lot of friends here?” The post I lean against shudders roughly, almost if someone is shaking it.

My first thought was that the ocean wind must be shaking the post but then I realize that the wind has been blowing the entire and the post had only moved that one time. I lean back against the post and ask if they could please move the post again. There was a slight pause but again the post shook.

Were these the spirits of the children of Seaside trying to make contact? The post shook another two times before I had to depart Seaside for the afternoon. I would like to visit the grounds again but who knows what the future will bring for Seaside and its spectral patients?

If you choose visit the grounds, please abide by all the no trespassing signs. If you wish to look inside, do it the safe way and peer through one of the windows, who knows who or what may be looking back at you from the inside.


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