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Halloween fun: Haunted Hospital aims to horrify Dickinson

Dickinson's century old hospital at St. Joe's Plaza hasn't served a patient in nearly a decade, but that doesn't mean everyone has left the building...

Haunted
The Haunted Hospital in Dickinson is open weekends through October.
Contributed / Krystal Kester
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DICKINSON — A mysteriously sealed room at St. Joe’s Plaza was recently opened, leaving some wondering what dark forces may have been released in the process. The Haunted Hospital allows those who dare to explore three floors of terror an opportunity to experience first hand the masterpiece produced from the minds of Andy Mejia, Enne Un, Justin Wall and Brannan Chisholm.

Haunted Nurse
Actors add to the spookiness of the Haunted Hospital.
Contributed / Krystal Kester

This is the first year since the Haunted Hospital began three years ago that the forbidden room has been open. Rumors as to why the room was sealed in the first place include everything from needing storage space to exorcisms, Wall said.

“It was sealed in 1983, the reason — unknown,” Mejia said. “ The only thing for truth is that it has been sealed.”

The four were reluctant to talk about the spooky things they’ve experienced before and after opening the room, but encouraged anyone brave enough to experience it for themselves.

“When they go through the Haunted Hospital, they'll know exactly what we're talking about,” Un said.
Chisholm said he was trying to thread a small camera into the room, when he inadvertently opened the sealed door.

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“It wasn't supposed to open and it did,” Chisholm said.

Un said the building itself is scary, even without the unexplained room, creepy decorations and unsettling actors.

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“The thing about this place is its history,” Wall said. “This building's been here 100 years. And the thousands of people that came through here with all the different experiences. The things that we've actually experienced, you know, weird things with elevators, which yeah, you could or could not explain. Doors opening and closing, cold areas, hot areas. Weird things with little nerf balls that roll down the hallway. Just things like that. You know, it's stuff that plays tricks on your mind. You're not sure if it's because you've heard the stories or if something's really happening.”

The team has increased the number of actors and amount of space used in the haunt this year, utilizing 50,000 square feet of space, Mejia said. They began work on this year’s haunt in February.

“So people always want to know, how long does it take to go through,” Wall said. “And the answer is always the same. It depends on how fast you run.”

He added the average person makes it through in about 20 minutes.
“Each floor has its own energy,” Chisholm said.

Chainsaw
The Haunted Hospital in Dickinson is located at St. Joe's Plaza.
Contributed / Krystal Kester

The haunt will be open Friday and Saturday nights through the end of October. From 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. they put on their classic haunt, allowing guests to wander through halls with actors dressed to terrify. From 10 p.m. to midnight, they have 'lights out' time where those who dare to enter have only a flashlight to navigate all three floors.

“During lights out the reason we have groups of six is because people aren't able to handle it by themselves,” Un said.

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The haunt is geared toward people 12 and over, but anyone brave enough is welcome, he added.

“Since it's such a long journey, if we see kids young enough, we have to verify that the parents are able to carry them through, you know,” Un said. “Because sometimes the kids, they just paralyze in fear and sit on the ground. So they have to be carried out, you know? So if they have an adult with them that can take them out, it's fine.”

He said their opening night this year had the best turn out yet and they plan to continue expanding the haunt yearly.

“Each year we learn and get better and improve,” Chisholm said.

Haunted entrance
The entrance for the Haunted Hospital is the former emergency room entrance.
Contributed / Krystal Kester
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Ashley Koffler is a Killdeer, North Dakota native and Dickinson State University graduate, with a Bachelor’s Degree in writing, and minors in journalism and psychology. Formerly working in Community Affairs for Roosevelt Custer Regional Council for Development, her reporting focuses on Stark County and other rural municipality governments, community features, business and agriculture — among others.
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