Later, a hunting ground for at least two killers, the abandoned structures slowly falling into ruin, are now said to be haunted.
This miracle saw the then very small community become a site of pilgrimage and Beelitz began to grow.
Come the late 1800's and with the population size rapidly increasing in the area, especially in Berlin the incidences of disease also grew. Cases of tuberculosis sky-rocketed and in 1898 architect Heino Schmieden drew up plans for a sanatorium in which to quarantine and treat the sick. Beelitz-Heilstätten is both the name of the sanatorium/hospital complex and the district of the town it is located in.
The original building phase of the sanatorium established a then state of the art facility that included room for 600 beds all with access to open air balconies so patients could take advantage of the 'air baths' which formed the core of the treatment of tuberculosis. Within a few years more buildings were constructed which effectively doubled the treatment capacity and added infrastructure that turned the sanatorium/hospital into a self contained town – restaurant, post office, nursery, stables, kitchens, laundries, bakery, butchers, greenhouses and even a power generator.
Towards the end of World War Two the Red Army occupied the hospital where it remained in Soviet hands until 1995. After this time several of the complexes buildings were used as a centre for the research and care of victims of Parkinsons Disease and a few of the other buildings privately owned and renovated. The rest lay abandoned and are slowly falling apart.
A Killers Play Ground
Many of the hospitals fixtures still lay inside the buildings, slowly rusting – examination chairs, surgery lights, beds and other furnishings constantly remind those who visit just what sorts of activities took place in the many rooms.
At the time of writing I could not find an exact number of deaths that took place within Beelitz but some sites state that surviving more than five years within the sanatorium had only a 50% chance. Thousands of people will have drawn their last breaths within the walls and then there are stories of murder (there was a serial killer operating in the area killing some of his victims in the woods near the hospital) and accidents adding to the large numbers of lives ended.
What is probably the most strange aspect of Beelitz is the lack of reported encounters with ghosts. Generally when looking into a story about an old, abandoned sanatorium its usually easier to find out about the ghosts than it is to find information about the history – Beelitz is the complete opposite.
That is not to say the ghosts stories are not there its just they are more of a footnote added at the end of an article. However security guards do tell of strange sounds heard throughout the old buildings when they make their infrequent checks. Doors that they shut are very soon back open, even handles have been witnessed to be turned by unseen hands followed by the door slowly opening to reveal no-one on the other side.
A Ghost Story
Many of the structures are easy to access but some were a little harder (they were trespassing) but access them they did. While they were in one of the old surgeries she heard someone asking her for a scalpel. This was asked in German. She turned to her friends to ask what they needed a scalpel for but no-one was there – her friends were gone.
The next moment she heard them yelling out her name and when she found them they too had a curious story to tell. They had all gone into the surgery and after a few minutes of looking around they had all left. Together they visited a few more rooms until about half an hour later they noticed Anne was no longer with them.
Anne knows she did not leave that surgery and did not venture into the other rooms, she had been alone in that surgery for at least half an hour but for her it only felt like a few minutes at most. It was not until she was asked for a scalpel by an unseen person followed by her name being called that she realised she was alone.
Who asked for the scalpel?
Who had tagged along with her friends for the duration Anne was left alone?
(more fantastic pictures can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/breakdennis/sets/72157604830680529/)