Ghosts, Haunting, and Legends
Home Archives Being Watched in the Sanitarium

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Witness: [Name Withheld Upon Request]
Location: Cherokee, Iowa
Date of Encounter: 2001-2004

To be honest, I have always believed in the supernatural. I've had feelings like I was being watched and saw things that weren't really there. My mom and dad thought that I was acting a little strange and that I needed to think about other things and not some ghost or spirit. They said that those things didn't exist. But, all that changed one summer day when I decided to head up to Cherokee, Iowa to visit my mom. Two years earlier, her and my dad had divorced. I stayed home in Illinois with my dad and my mom, wanting to get away from everything and start over, moved to Iowa. 

My actual first encounter with any kind of spirit or entity happened when I lived back home in Illinois. I was visiting a male friend when it happened. Of course he told me all about the ghost he dubbed "Casper." He had told me that Casper loved to play pranks; i.e. move things, make appearances and the like, and that he seemed to be attached to a very old dresser. My friend also told me that he watched as something "brushed" its fingers through his now ex-wife's hair! 

The encounter I had with "Casper" was my first (although before that I would just have ominous feelings and nothing interesting would happen). It was a normal day when I went over to visit him. He was working up in the attic. As we were talking he asked me if I wanted anything to drink. He ended up getting me a Coke from his fridge. Deciding he was going to go up in the attic again, we placed our drinks on a bookshelf in the living room. His drink was on one shelf and mine under his. While up in the attic, I would constantly look into the living room as if something was there. I had a very clear view of this room and could easily see anyone enter or exit it. Even out of the corner of my eye, I could see fine.

Once done in the attic, my friend climbed down the ladder and we went back to the living room and went to grab our drinks when I noticed that mine was missing. I looked at my friend and asked him what he did with my Coke. He smiled at me and said it wasn't him and that it was Casper who did this. Now, I would have known if my friend had moved it on me, as there was a lot of clutter about in the living room and of course the view of the living room that I had. 

Finally we started to look for the Coke can and after searching his whole house, wouldn't you believe it, we found the Coke sitting on the dresser that is supposedly inhabited by my friends resident ghost! After that, I was definitely a believer!

My next encounters would happen in Cherokee, Iowa in the years 2000 to 2004. After traveling for 10 hours and arriving in the town, I met up with my mother and we then headed to her apartment which was located on one half of the upper floor of a house that is over 100 years old.

The house, which I found was dated back to about the late 1880s or 1890s and had once been some kind of hospital where cancer patients had been treated — it was called the Cherokee Cancer Sanitarium. This place, once I arrived, I could feel that it had some kind of a background to it. The strange feelings that I got from it when I walked up to it almost became unbearable. There was one particular room in the house that made me feel uncomfortable and it also gave me a strange feeling that something traumatic happened in there. Also of note is that this house supposedly had a tunnel running from it to the house(s) across the street and next door. However, as far as I can tell, if there was a tunnel there, it has been sealed off and you are unable to tell exactly where it was.

My first true encounter in the house happened at night. I was lying on the couch when I had the feeling that someone or something was watching me. I looked up toward the closet door saw someone standing there, hidden in the shadows — it looked like a tall, burly man wearing a suit and what looked like a bowler hat. After seeing this, I thought I was dreaming, but I knew I was awake. After seeing this I became slightly frightened by "his" appearance. I figured that maybe it was the former doctor who owned the building. But unfortunately I couldn't see his face, only what looked like a black shadow where the face should have been. Needless to say, I covered up my face with my blanket and kept my eyes closed. 

After that event I told my mother, who is pretty much a non-believer in that sort of thing. She always tells me that unless something happens to her, then she isn't worried about it. However, one year later I also found myself living in Cherokee with my mother. The strange things that happened when I came up the first time didn't end there. 

Around the year 2003, me and my mom wanted to go somewhere, but her checkbook had somehow been misplaced. We looked absolutely everywhere: behind cabinets, in cabinets, in the bathroom, bedroom, living room, and pretty much just about anything that could be opened and moved. My mom thought I had taken her checkbook and hidden it as some kind of mean practical joke, but I would never do that to her. The checkbook was on the table in the kitchen earlier that day. 

After about four hours of no luck and continued checking of the locations, I finally came upon the checkbook; know where it showed up at? In the cabinet sitting on a dinner plate! I couldn't believe it! My mom to this day still thinks that I took and hid her checkbook and cleverly replaced it somewhere else.
Other strange events also followed: hearing noises downstairs when the house was empty (we lived in an upstairs apartment attached to the main level of the house). Sometimes I would hear distant music and not know where it was coming from and the strangest and most frightening things that happened occurred after me and the landlord's daughter decided to take digital pictures of the house in the dark — that was a big mistake on our part.

This next-to-last incident happed one evening in 2004. I was downstairs visiting our landlords and her daughter. While down there, me and her had this idea to take pictures of certain places in the house that seemed very eerie: mainly the stairs leading up to the landlord's half of the upstairs and the particular bedroom that always seemed as if the air was heavy when I would enter it. The pictures we took of one of the downstairs bathrooms, kitchen and computer room came up nothing. However once we decided to take pictures of the stairs and the unused bedroom, me and the girl had felt as if we had started to anger something. That same evening, me and the landlord's daughter were there by ourselves and we decided to take a picture of the other downstairs bathroom and as soon as the flash went off, it felt as if we had really made something angry. 

After the last picture was taken we went into the living room and sat down. We started flipping through the pictures and nothing had shown up at first, but going through them a second time, we found many different sizes of orbs. The one room that seemed to have the most orbs was the unused bedroom that gave me the bad feelings that something had happened in there. This feeling was coming from a certain part in the room. Most notably, the left corner looking into the room. Another picture we looked at was a picture we took from down on the landing looking up the stairs. When viewing this image, about half way up, there was a cluster of orbs as if to almost make the shape of a person. Also in the same picture, you can see the ceiling fan. There was also an orb up by this.

Soon after these photos were taken, however, and after I had gone back upstairs to our half of the house and the landlords were out on the road (they were truckers) and her daughter had left to go back to New York, I felt as if a presence; unseen of course, had been following my every move for at least the next five months! Eventually the feeling started to wane, and I felt that the entity or whatever it was, was satisfied by how scared I had become.

This last incident was described to me by my mother. I was at work when this supposedly happened. When I got home, my mom sat up from the couch and asked me if I had been home earlier. Naturally I shook my head and said I had been at work and I had just gotten home. I then asked her why. She told me that she opened her eyes and swore she saw a little girl with long hair and in curls tied with a bow and wearing a dress that was popular back in the 1800's. she said she was looking down on her and I told my mom that I had a feeling that somehow a girl about 10-12 years of age was also attached to that house in someway. My mom, once again thought I was crazy and that she was hallucinating or dreaming the girl. 

However, I will leave these stories to the imagination of those who read it. But to me, the incidents and feelings that happened in those houses are still with me today and I have yet to deny what I felt and saw in that place.

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