My name is Kurt, and in the year 1939 I was nineteen years old and the head Security Guard at the Sedgwick County Hospital in Wichita Kansas. 1939 might seem like a long time ago to some of you youngsters out there but believe me it's not, and I remember it like it was yesterday. The old county Tuberculosis Ward had just closed down and we were in the middle of transporting patients to the temporary ward we had set up in our Hospital. It was late fall about two weeks before Thanksgiving and the weather had started turning foul. On that day it was suppose to storm, and ooh boy, storm it did.
I was working the late shift 6pm to 6am in the Emergency Ward the night she came in. I knew right away something was amiss by the way they were bringing the old Packard (for you younger folk out there that was a car company that made Ambulances back then) into the bay; damn near at full speed. I stepped out into the bay to offer assistance bringing in the patient. The sky was dark with clouds and the first few drops of rain from the storm to come was dropping lightly from the sky. The Medic jumped out of the back of the wagon, his face was pale and drawn glancing over at me he motioned for my assistance so I joined him at the back of the wagon.
“What we got tonight Rick?” I asked arriving at the rear of the wagon. Rick was older than me, maybe 25 or 26 but he didn't look any older. He was wearing his white on white Medic uniform with large red crosses on the shoulders with the initials EMS embroidered under them. I can still remember the look of concern on his face when he spoke to me, “Goddamn Kurt you're not gonna believe this one.” He pulled the gurney from the back of the wagon and I set eyes on her for the first time. She was a small lass maybe 5' 2”- 5'3” and a buck twenty at the most. Her red hair was dark and matted to her forehead, she appeared to be soaked from head to toe. Much to wet for the light drizzle that was coming from the sky. She was strapped to the gurney with the wide leather straps that were usually reserved for larger patients that were having fits. I turned to Rick about to ask just what the hell was going on when she suddenly lunged forward, breaking the strap on her left arm as if it was a shoe string. She swung her free hand at my face open palmed using her nails as if they were the claws of some wild cat. I pulled back within mere moments of loosing an eye.
“Jesus Christ!!” I shouted as I instinctively stepped back away from the flailing claw.
“Jesus can't help you now, you're mine you son-of-a-bitch all mine,” the woman growled at me. Her voice sounded hoarse and gravely as if she has been screaming for days and there were only a few good working cords left. Jack who had been driving the wagon stepped from behind me and grabbed her loose arm trying to force it back to the side of the gurney. Jack was a young man about my age and built a lot like me too, standing about 6' tall and around 220lbs. What I saw next is hard for me to believe to this day, even though I saw it with my own eyes. That little woman picked Jack up in all his mass with her one arm and slung him to the ground as if he was nothing more than a sack of potatoes.
I was stunned. Over come with fear and confusion, the rain hammering down now in a torrent as Rick was shouting for me to grab her fucking arm before she did more damage. But I could barely hear him over the beating of my heart. I shook off the initial shock and grabbed a hold of her free arm as she tried another swipe at my face. Using all of my 235lbs I tried to force her arm down to the side of the gurney so Rick could fasten another leather strap; but if felt more like I was holding on to the arm of Wild Red Berry's then the arm of the diminutive patient that was lying on the gurney in front of me. After what seemed like an hour of struggling trying to gain control, Jack re-appeared with several nurses and Doctor Hemmerman. Apparently he had gotten wise and had ran inside the hospital for more help after being tossed to the ground. Nurse Brown helped me hold the patients free arm while Doctor H. tried injecting Phenobarbital into the arm still restrained by the leather strap. Despite the combined weight of Nurse Brown and myself the patient was still bucking and wildly thrashing back and forth lifting me off my feet in several instances. The bucking made the injection difficult and when Doctor H. pulled the needle from the patients arm blood ran freely down her shoulder. “That should calm her down, but it may take a few minutes before it kicks in lets get that arm strapped back down,” Doctor H. shouted over the incoherent shouts and obscenity that had continually streamed from the patient. With Jack, Nurse Brown, Doctor H and myself we managed to hold her free arm long enough for Rick to fasten another thick leather restraint around her wrist and to the bottom rail of the gurney.
We managed to move the patient into the hospital proper. Getting her into room one, being the closest to the ambulance bay doors, and all the while she bucked and spat and screamed. Sometimes just pure obscenity, sometimes in what sounded like a foreign language. But it never ceased. Several times she had thrust her tongue out until it seemed it would tear from her mouth and fall to the floor. Meanwhile the storm had reached a tempest, lightning brought the windows to brilliant white flashes while thunder rocked the walls of the building. “You will all roast in the fires of Hell, and be the damned whores of Satan,” echoed though the halls of the hospital as the patient continued her barrage of obscenities, blasphemies and insane laughter.
I was right in the room with her, trying my best to keep calm. Though to be honest I had never been so scared in all my life. I had been in the rooms of the mentally ill, the suicidal, hell even the homicidal in the coarse of my job. But nothing had ever bothered me half as much as that little woman strapped to a gurney with restraints designed for men three times her size. I couldn't explain it then, and I can't much explain it now other than somewhere deep inside, I knew, I was in danger and not just in the physical sense.
Through a small gap between the privacy curtain and the wall of the patients door I could see Doctor H. talking to Jack. I knew Jack had to be giving Doctor H. his notes on the patient call so I moved as close as I could to hear the conversation while remaining close enough to re-act in case she decided to get frisky again. I could just barely make out what Jack was saying over the patient describing to me how I was to be sodomized by demons upon my demise.
“The call originally was of someone drowning in the Arkansas River,” Rick was saying, his voice trembled slightly as he retold the story. “When we arrived she was standing in the River up to her waist in what had to be freezing ass water and that's when we noticed the child.”
“Child! What child??” interrupted Doctor H.
“There was a child with her Sir, about 5 maybe 6 years old. She was dunking the child's head into the river over and over again. We asked her what the hell she was doing and she yelled that she was baptizing her daughter in the name of Satan.”
“My God! Where is the child now?”
“Down at the Orphanage Sir, she was unharmed other than being cold to the bone,” Rick finished his story with a shudder that shook his entire body.
Rick and Jack left the hospital, Doctor H. and I stayed with the patient. The Doc looked troubled, it had been over 30 minutes since the Phenobarbital had been administered and the patient was still thrashing, shouting blasphemies and obscenities. Add to that the fierce storm raging outside and the flickering of the hospital lights that eerily seemed to sync with the pitch of the patients screaming and let me tell you the shorts I was wearing that day were not fit to ever be used again.
Finally the Doc seemed to come to a conclusion, he requested a nurse to bring him Phenothiazene and the patients chart. Again Nurse Brown and myself held the patient by the shoulders using all our weight to try to steady the patient as Doctor H. gave the shot. He then grabbed up the patients chart wrote something hastily and stood staring at what he had wrote as if he was second guessing himself. Finally he resigned, let out a heavy sigh and tossed the chart on the counter where it landed open. Doctor H. turned to me and said, “She needs to be moved. Out back to the Treatment Center, we can't have her disturbing the other patients.” His normally well tanned face was nearly paper white. I must have had a shocked look on my face as well because he placed his hand on my shoulder and said, “I know, but under the circumstances...” he looked at the patient again who was still thrashing about, “Just do it o.k.?”
The treatment center the Doc had referred to was an old brick style one story building that sat in the back of the Hospital. It was originally used when the Hospital had been the Kansas Sanitarium back in 1926 for less than conventional forms of medicine like electroshock therapy and Light Baths. It was just an empty building now, the last time it was used was to store rabbit food when that swindler Rajah convinced a bunch of people that Rabbit fur coats was going to be the next big thing and had turned the Sanitarium into a damn Rabbit farm.
The Doc left the room informing me that he would send Brown back in as well as a couple of other duty Nurses to help transport the patient back to the Treatment Center. After he left I went straight for the patients chart, I just had to know what the Doc had written that bothered him so badly. Oh how I wish I hadn't looked, though I guess now it wouldn't have change things if I hadn't. I glanced through the chart that was mostly blank, as no identification or vitals had been obtained, till I saw the diagnosis line, written there was three words that sent a bolt of ice cold fear right down my spine, it simply said, “possible demonic possession”. Now we had all been thinking it, and murmurings had floated around the Nurses Core since we had brought the patient into the hospital. But to see it written, by a respectable Doctor, it just made it seem too real. And not for the last time that evening I felt like I was going to run.
Brown and several other duty Nurses came into the room and I quickly sat the chart down. Brown had informed me that they had moved the other patients out of the east hall of the E.R. so we could move the patient without exposing anyone else to harm. The plan worked well as we moved quickly though the hall, out the back side of the hospital and out into the storm. Lightning flickered through the sky, lighting the rear of the hospital to almost day light illumination while thunder blasted our ears thankfully deafening us to the sounds of the manic laughter and horrible blasphemies pouring still from the young woman’s mouth.
The Center was dimly lit and still smelled of rotting rabbit food and dung, even though those items hadn't been in the area for almost a decade. We wheeled the patient into one of the specialty treatment rooms that thankfully had a thick wooden door that could close. Brown turned to me, “Doctor Hemmerman wants you to stay here with the patient. He has arranged for an, uh counselor of sorts to come see her, you'll know him when he gets here. You are to let him in and close the door and do not leave until he is finished understand?” I nodded noticing the sudden panic rising from my stomach threatening once again to make me bolt out of that building and straight for home.
It was an hour before anyone arrived at the Treatment Center, during which time the patient never ceased yelling obscenities and speaking in that strange language that made me feel sick inside when I heard it. When he arrived I recognized him instantly as a Catholic Priest, I couldn't believe it, I had known Doctor Hemmerman well before I had worked for the hospital and he never struck me as a religious man. I was shocked enough at his diagnosis, but to send a Priest?
I nodded towards the Priest as he walked to me and simply said, “Father.” I've never been a religious man myself so I wasn't sure if there was anything else I should say or not so I stood there feeling uncomfortable about the whole situation.
The priest spoke to me, “Son, what is to happen here tonight must never be spoken of. Doctor Hemmerman has told me that I could trust that of you, is that so?”
“Yes Father, but what..” that was as far as I got before he walked past me into the room and firmly shut the door. At first everything was quiet for the first time that night, all I could hear was the tapping of the rain against the metal roof of the center. The thunder seemed to have calmed and if the patient was still making noise it did not penetrate through the thick wooden door.
Then I heard it, barely audible at first but it was definitely there, it was the sound of chanting. I guessed it to be Latin, based only on the knowledge that the Catholics often did their prayers in Latin. Soon after the chanting I began to hear the patient again, her high pitched voice echoed inside the room before spilling out into the hall through the door giving it an even more demonic tone than before. What she was saying I could not tell you, for again it was in that strange language. It wasn't the same language the priest was chanting what ever it was. The priest's voice rose, chanting louder and more intense, the patients voice rose to match switching from the unknown language back to English and the things she was saying, the blasphemies, to this day I cannot repeat. Not even in type, and they made me break into tears and I found myself apologizing to God for even hearing such things.
The lightning and thunder had came back with a vengeance, the strikes coming with such intensity and consistency it was as if one continuous burst of electricity filled the air 'till I felt as if I was going to die from the anxiety of the situation. Suddenly a scream shattered through the center driving me to my knees. The scream was from nothing that ever walked this Earth and it shook me to the very core of my being, and then there was silence. I sat on my knees on the floor crying for a good three minutes before I could regain enough composure to stand. The storm had seemed to have ended, there was no thunder or sound of rain on the roof. There was no chanting, no sound from the patient. So I stood staring at the wooden door wondering if I should open it and check or just leave it alone.
After about 5 minutes the door finally opened, the Priest stood in the doorway, his gray face looked like it had been molded from wax, blood dripped down the side, I think coming from his ear. Behind him lay the patient, a sight I will remember 'till my death. Her skin had gone a pale green color, her jaw looked like it had been nearly torn from her face leaving her mouth agape in a strange way that made me think that something large had crawled its way out of her corpse. Her tongue lolled outside of her mouth laying on her cheek and her eyes had rolled into her head leaving nothing showing but the whites. There wasn't any doubt that she was dead.
I quit the hospital that night, after swearing to Doctor H. and the priest again that I would never speak of the incident. A promise I guess I have broken, not that it matters, all the people who were there are either my age or dead by now. Nothing ever came up in any of the papers, not that I expected anything like that to ever be reported. The hospital closed and was torn down in 53 and there's nothing left now but a broken side walk and a barren field. But that night did happen and let me tell you, it changed my life.