The Unbroken Mirror of the Kalamazoo Sanitarium
The Kalamazoo Sanitarium is demolished, gone and nothing more than memory. The legacy of the former building on Blakeslee Avenue includes ghost stories and gave one former Kalamazoo resident the creepiest moment of his life.
The Mystery of Mirrors
A question on Ask Reddit wondered about the most mysterious thing an urban explorer had ever found. User firegecko5 shared this story about the Kalamazoo Sanitarium,
There used to be an abandoned psychiatric hospital in Kalamazoo, Michigan that my friends and I would explore on the weekend nights in 2003. It was four floors plus a basement (which included a morgue) and we explored every nook & cranny of that place. Judging by the most recent magazines in the 4th floor waiting room, it seemed to have closed in 1990. The previous institution just up & left everything Chernobyl-style (furniture, equipment, drugs, patient files...even found some suicide reports!). By 2003, the place was broken and trashed by vandals while the building itself decayed. It looked worse than the hospitals in the Silent Hill games.
That's not even the creepiest, most mysterious part.
I once entered a room and saw a mirror that wasn't broken. Everything in this entire building was destroyed, except this one pristine mirror still mounted on the wall. I've never seen anything more out-of-place and I get chills just thinking about it.
firegecko5 goes on to explain that after 13 years of abandonment, nearly ever window and mirror in the facility was shattered except for the solitary mirror found intact.
The Kalamazoo Sanitarium History and Connection to the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Center
The building served as a sanitarium for those suffering from tuberculosis, and was something of an annex for the psych center. When demolition plans for the San were finalized in 2011, Mlive.com reports,
The building and land have been in WMU possession for some 13 years. When the university obtained ownership of psychiatric hospital property on Oakland Drive, this Blakeslee Street property was part of the deal.
As a scene of trespassing, break-ins and other mischief, the building has presented a nuisance for WMU and area residents in the Fairmont neighborhood.
In the Kalamazoo Public Library's history of the building, they note,
In 1954 the Southwestern Michigan Tuberculosis Sanatorium was constructed at a cost of $2.5 million dollars. A four-story, 45,000 square foot building set on several rolling acres, it held 200 beds for tuberculosis patients who were housed in a modern facility on Kalamazoo's Northwest side. The surroundings, overlooking the city, were pleasant, and treatment methods for the disease were the most up-to-date and successful for the day.
The Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital had housed its own tubercular patients in a special facility at the Oakland Drive campus. In December of 1965, all mental patients from around the state who had tuberculosis were transferred to the sanatorium in Kalamazoo. This included the patients from KPH. The transfers also enabled the mental hospital to eliminate a waiting list for adults who needed admission to the facility.
And yes, before demolition, the TB Sanitarium did have a reputation for hauntings, as told by HauntedHouses.com
Residents who live in the neighborhood around the buildings have heard the screams and cries of mentally tortured souls, coming from the buildings at night.
Sensitive people can feel something watching them from the windows of the place, which is very creepy indeed. Tom and I definitely felt a disturbed spiritual energy and presence coming from the building, from just standing on the sidewalk. We are not particularly psychic, but if the aura is strong, we do feel it.