BUREAU INVESTIGATION #3: ST ALBANS SANATORIUM
ST ALBANS SANATORIUM
FIRST 10 PURCHASES WILL GET A PHONE CALL AND PERSONAL GROUP MEET-UP WITH PRS (FULL PAYMENTS ONLY)
SEPTEMBER 13-15th, 2013
ST ALBANS SANATORIUM
6248 UNIVERSITY PARK DRIVE
RADFORD, VA 24141
Join PRS for a weekend investigation in Radford, VA of the St. Alban's Sanatorium. This location is not only rich in history, but rich in paranormal experiences as well.
The new world was shrouded in death and mystery for the pioneers that sought to settle it back during the American Colonial period. The promise of new freedoms, new lands, and new wealth was a hard one to resist as so many set sail across the Atlantic waters to find promises of riches and fortunes yet unbeknownst to them. This brave new exploration, however, came with a price. Famine, disease, and conflicts with other colonials as well as the local natives were rampant for the time period and the area surrounding the St. Alban’s Sanatorium was no different.
The land was once proudly held by the Powhatan, Cherokee and Shawnee tribes which lived in abundance in these lands in the late 1700s when settlers tried to stake out their claims. Tensions were already raised as the colonials were starting to claim and push out the native inhabitants from the land they had flourished in for so long. When the French and Indian war started in 1754, raids on settlements became an increasing fear for those who lived there. The 7,500 acres of Draper’s Meadow soon became an unfortunate target to the Native American attacks. Unlike other colonies that had armaments and soldiers to prompt attacks and aid in defenses, the little settlement posed no opposition to a group of Shawnee who rode in late July attacking the settlers. Accounts vary on how many were killed, 4 or 5, including one infant child, but one story surrounding the incident insinuates that Phillip Barger was decapitated by the raiding party and his head was given to a neighbor in a bag stating that an acquaintance had come to visit. Accounts of the hostages that were taken back to their own camp to live amongst the tribe have been immortalized in the 1981 novel Follow the River by James Alexander Thom and the 2004 film The Captives.
The bloodshed on the land where the sanatorium was built, however, does not stop with this senseless slaughter. Grant’s march toward Richmond, during the Civil War, laid more souls lost into the soil during the battles of New Bern and Cloyd’s Mountain. The death total at New Bern was 154 (Confederate 64, Union 90) men with several wounded and the total of lives lost at Cloyd’s Mountain was 1,226 (Confederate 538, Union 688) but the impact of those battles was more than the death total could foretell. The Union and Confederate Armies suffered their losses as they juggled for control over the rail and shipping lines vital to the Confederate war effort. With the loss of the fort and the Virginia rail lines for the Confederate army, now under Union control, these would impede the Confederates war effort for the remainder of the conflict. The Union army had laid siege to the settlement of Central Depot, now Radofrd, on the very ledge where St. Alban’s stands today giving the latent sounds and smells of artillery fire whispering its echoes upon the winds. The mists that crept up over the battlefield the morning of the New Bern engagement and the coveted rail line lost at Cloyd’s Mountain would play prominent roles in yet other tragedies associated with the land surrounding the sanatorium.
Taking a break from the war time strife, St Alban’s was then established as a boy’s school in 1892 but it was far from conflict inside its walls. Bullying of the smaller boys or those deemed weaker by the “stronger” children, were often abused and beaten. As the sanatorium’s website indicates, there were officially no documents relating to any homicides or suicides at the school but it is rumored that several lives were loss during its operation. An excerpt from the site’s main page tells tale of how intense this behavior would get:
“The atmosphere at the school was rough and competitive. It clearly favored the stronger boys (or bullies as we would say today) and made short work of the more cerebral types like one E. Blackburn Runyon, whose painful experience at the school was poignantly summed up by a yearbook editor in 1904: “E. Blackburn Runyon did not return after Christmas, much to our sorrow, as it put a stop to the football games on the terrace in which he figured prominently as the football.”
Due to failing attendance record by the local population, after the stock market crash of 1893, the school would close in 1911. Though it is reported that the close was due to financial difficulty and lack of attendance, one must take in consideration the reputation that has survived the annuls of history.
Five years later, however, St. Alban’s and the land on which it sits, would once again be transformed. Dr. John C. King would start what is now known as the St. Alban’s sanatorium which would dutifully hand out care to the mentally ill. Implementing methods now deemed “cruel” or ”unusual” for our day in age, treatments included Insulin Coma Therapy Electroconvulsive Therapy, better known as electro shock therapy, and Hydro Shock Therapy. As a result, the therapies yielded in a high number of associated deaths as well as a number suicides and otherwise non-specified deaths which came to be expected on the grounds. Though consider one of the best facilities for the care of the mentally ill in its day, the sanatorium struggled financially throughout its beginning trying to bring more attention to it by expanding services offered by the facility. To accommodate all the patients and the farm attached to the property, staff were housed on the grounds and worked a 6 day week. By 1945, the total number of patients treated within its first 29 years was 6509 with a staff of 48 to maintain them.
St Alban’s eventually closed in the 1990’s after being obtained by the Carillion Heatlh System who moved the facility to the New River Medical Center. The sanatorium was then left abandoned, its surrounding lands and buildings given to the Radford University Foundation in 2004. The University, however, has its own tragic tale to add to the land’s already infamous history. In 1980, Gina Renee Hall, a freshman at Radford, disappeared one night in June after coming home from the lake with a friend. Gina had just finished her midterms and decided to go out dancing to celebrate. She borrowed her sister’s car and drove to the Marriott in Blacksburg for the evening. It was there she met Stephen Epperly and his friend, Bill King who also frequented the establishment, though they had never met before. Stephen and the shy Gina had seemed to hit it off and, after being asked by Stephen to go swimming at Gina’s nearby parent’s house at Claytor Lake, she got in the car awaiting the party she assumed that would be going with them. However, as it turned out, it was just her and Stephen that proceeded to the lake. Later, when Bill and his date would finally arrive, they slammed the door to the cottage so that Gina and Stephen would know that they had arrived, but only Stephen answered. Bill and his date went for a swim and Stephen and Gina were going home. Only Gina never made it home. When the cops spotted Gina’s sister’s car near the railroad trestle with the trunk open, they hadn’t thought much of it as the site was a popular fishing spot. When they drove by later and found the car in the same position, they ran the plates. Finding the car registered to Hall, and not reported stolen, they noted it in case they car would come up again. Gina’s sister, however, went looking for her sister and her car. Finding it the same place the cops had with the seat pushed all the way back, which was unusual for the very short Gina, then called the police.
Gina’s body was never found, but do to a plethora of circumstantial evidences, Stephen Epperly was convicted with the murder of Gina Hall. Epperly is still serving a life sentence for the murder, one to which he continues to plead innocent too, but the blood stained cabin, the opened trunk, the fabrics of clothing left behind and the search and rescue canine that connected the scenes and pieces together say differently. Perhaps this tragedy, along with the others that have coated this area over the past 260 years, are what continues to ail the haunted remnants of St. Alban’s Sanatorium. The full bodied apparitions in the “suicide bathroom” on the 3rd floor, the shadow figures, the E.V.P.s, video footages and the sensations of beings touched by a small child in the pediatric ward all may stem from this bloody past. Join the Paranormal Research Society as we pay our respects to those who have gone before, ripped from their mortal coil and journey deeper in to the dark and mysterious past of the St. Alban’s sanatorium.
Individuals will be broken up into groups with an opportunity to learn, experience and participate in different types of investigative techniques. We will have access to the site all day and night. Hopefully, this prolong exposure to the location will lead us to uncovering the truth.
Individuals are welcome and encouraged to bring their own equipment to help collect any potential evidence and share it with the rest of their team mates. If you do not have equipment, PRS will provide some for you to use during the investigation.
Investigators, will also be given access to a virtual HQ where they can the discuss with one another and the team leaders prior to the investigation, as well as after. Prepare yourself and meet your potential team mates, as well as share and discuss any evidence you may have caught.
For our investigations the teams will be dispatched to several rooms. Each room will be uniquely tailored for the investigation. In one room, investigators will get to participate in the Ganzfeld experiment. Other rooms will include bi-naural beats, an EVP session, a fringe room, a seance room, and finally a tech room. This will allow you to participate and observe a variety of investigative techniques.
Investigators will also get a chance to learn, observe and participate in a set of experiments involving bi-nuaral beats, ganzfeld, lucid dreaming and more. Many of the experiments are variations of what has been done in the past. Now, we take what has been studied in parapsychology labs, and apply that knowledge into the investigation. Some experiments will involve you tapping into your subconscious, while others will be much more group reliant.
Along with investigating, the weekend will also include workshops from PRS. Workshops will include a variety of educational topics such as basic investigating, different theories on ghosts, detecting psychic frauds, the Ganzfeld experiment and more. We will also explore the various theories as to why the Sanatorium is haunted.
PRS will be staying at the Inn at St. Alban's, and we are inviting 5 people to stay with us! Spots are only limited to 5 people at $600 each (includes the investigation), and you will be sharing accommodations with PRS in a house with bathrooms, kitchens, and a TV. The VIP rooms will be on the second floor with a shared bathroom. It is your responsibility to find roommates. There are no refunds for unused sleeping space. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in this option.
The Room Breakdown
- Room #1: 3 Twin Beds (sleeps 3)
- Room #2: 1 Queen (sleeps 2)
Friday, September 13th, 2013
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM - Check-In & Dinner (not included)
8:30 PM - 9:15 PM - Welcome Orientation
9:30 PM - 10:30 PM - Lecture #1: History of St Albans
11:45 PM - 1:45 AM
o Investigation #1 - Group A
o Workshop #1 - Group
1:45 AM - 2:00 AM - Break
2:00 AM - 4:00 AM
o Investigation #1 - Group B
o Workshop #1 - Group A
Saturday, September 14th, 2013
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM – Group Discussion of Previous Night
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM - Break for Lunch
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM - Daytime walk through of St Albans
5:30 PM - 6:30 PM – Lecture: Haunted Asylums
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM - Break for Dinner
9:00 PM - 10:00 PM: Stone Tape Theory Discussion
10:30 PM - 12:30AM
o Investigation #2 – Group B
o Experiment #2 – Group A
12:30AM – 1245 AM – Break
1:00 AM - 3:00AM
o Investigation #2 – Group A
o Experiment #2 – Group B
Sunday, September 15th, 2013
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM - Regroup Discussion & Goodbyes
**PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE ARE NO REFUNDS UNLESS THIS EVENT IS CANCELLED. ALSO PRS DOES NOT GUARANTEE THE ATTENDANCE OF ALL PRS MEMBERS.**
St. Albans Sanatorium
6248 University Park Drive
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