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Fact or Fiction Part 3

The Vampire Doctor of Page Hospital and other questionable stories...


When you write a column on spooky stories, people end up telling you their own spooky stories. Some will genuinely send a shiver up your spine while others... well, they might grace the pages of fiction, but it wouldn’t be really good fiction. Most common, however, are the vignettes that people share, hints and pieces of what might—or might not—be a good story to tell.

Most of this month’s accounts are just that... hints at a story that might be worth telling if only I could find out the rest of it. I share these with you now, and ask that any readers who have more information on these haints and apparitions, information that could flesh them out, so to speak, get in touch with the River Journal and share what you know.

I’ll start with the Vampire Doctor of Page Hospital, a little-known (or completely un-known) tale from the early days of Sandpoint.

Page Hospital was the original healing house here in Sandpoint. And I mean “house.” It was at the location of the building that currently contains Athlete’s Choice and All Smiles (at the end of First Avenue where it turns into Cedar St.). I’m old enough to remember when Penney’s, and Sprouse-Reitz before that, were in that location. But the Page Hospital was a large, two-and-a-half story house that was converted to a hospital.

A few years ago I made the acquaintance of a self-proclaimed paranormal investigator who, at the time, was about to investigate the apparition of a man, presumably a doctor, who would stroll through the Pine Street baseball field in an old-style white surgical gown, drinking what appeared to be blood from a beaker. Now what this has to do with the Page Hospital is anyone’s guess, but the story is reminiscent of another account from Naples of a phantom surgeon, with a blood-covered gown, sitting at a table at a certain store in Elmira. Different location, same basic story.

Anyone had an encounter with this (forgive me) bloodthirsty shade?

Continuing with Naples, I’ve been told of a phantom pregnant woman searching for a hat under a Dodge just before sunset... a young man in a heavy coat wandering the aisles of a Naples clothing store (The trouble here is that I don’t believe there is a clothing store in Naples)... and the shade of a decapitated man supposedly howling at people late at night near a vending machine. Uhhh, late at night in Naples is about as busy as a graveyard at midnight (discounting ghosts, that is). Also, how could he howl without a head?

Maybe someone in Clark Fork could shed some light on this one: A house just outside of town near the river that’s supposedly haunted by the spirit of a young man killed in a logging accident not long after graduating from high school. Involved here is the sound of footsteps up and down the house’s hallway, luminous mists near the ceiling and a white cat sitting on a kitchen counter, jumping off and turning to smoke.

More from Hope and Clark Fork... a skeleton riding a bicycle on the old upper highway. Well, I may have an explanation for this one. A number of years ago, I parked at the Hope mini-mart with my then best friend. We took a trail up behind the old Hope store and eventually came out in Montana. Riding back to the Clark Fork mini-mart/gas station, I felt like a skeleton and drove home. My then-best friend chose to bike back to Sandpoint.

Has anyone seen a young phantom in a winter jacket, covered with slime, at Denton Slough at night? Does anyone go to Denton Slough at night?

Other accounts... a shape-shifting ghost moving from flat to flat... isn’t that an English expression for apartment? Maybe that rumor of a story isn’t even local.

How about the ghost of a young man wearing a leather jacket near Boyer Slough staring wrathfully at bypasses? Well, the only ‘slough’ possible is the waters of Sand Creek, in the dip on Boyer just north of the fairgrounds near La Grace. It isn’t called Boyer Slough, though, unless some newer residents refer to it that way.

Other questionable sightings include the ghost of a charred woman near Bottle Bay just before sunrise... a headless woman drinking diesel from a pump... an old prospector with a hook for a hand walking a cocker spaniel at night... a cleaning lady watching cable TV... and a young female or waitress searching for her lover near the Coeur d’Alene National Forest. 

I’d love to learn more about any of these stories, or feel free to share your own stories from the Shadow Side of the Valley. Email trish(at)riverjournal.com, or call 208-255-6957, and let us know what’s been going bump in the night.

Next month I’ll have a story on a UFO sighting in the south end of Sandpoint between the Dover Highway and Memorial Field, as well as an introductory tidbit from down in Nampa, Idaho. Oh, and turkeys. Let’s not forget the turkeys next month.

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Author info

Lawrence Fury Lawrence Fury is an inveterate letter-to-the-editor writer, and a conservative conscience for this area of North Idaho. He's also an expert on local ghost stories, and is compiling a group of them for future book publication. You can read more about him in a Love Notes feature for the River Journal

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