Infirmary for Women
Jennie Casseday’s Free Infirmary for
Women offered medical care for those of low income.
Some patients died from labors gone bad, while the newborns were saved.
DESCRIPTION & HISTORY
The Infirmary for Women is a three story, New England style building with very pretty windows, white-washed trim, grey clapboard shingles, mansard, grey slate roof and a delicate, yet grand decor, which is different from any building in Louisville.
Jennie Casseday, who was a dedicated Christian, and a devout Methodist, felt called to help the poor women of Louisville, who couldn’t afford medical care. Besides collaborating with fellow social reformer Jennie Benedict to start and organize King’s Daughters & Sons Training School for Nurses at City Hospital, they also planned an infirmary for women, which was built in 1892, and appropriately called Jennie Casseday’s Free Infirmary for Women. Jennie’s supporters and friends built this beautiful, state-of-the-art facility, set back on its property in this residential area, just outside the St. James Court area.
As time passed, it was converted to housing and divided into apartment units in the early part of the 20th century. The building has been kept in good shape, and still is used as apartments.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS
The Free Infirmary for Women offered hospital and medical care for low income, mostly Catholic women, who were worn out, ill (with such things as T.B., cholera, 1918 Influenza), pregnant or abandoned. Some patients died of their illnesses, or as a result of a difficult labor. While the children were sometimes saved, the mothers too often died. These tragic occurrences are fodder for the creation of anguished entities, which have appeared to the living, occupying the apartments now found here.
Author David Domine had to do some deep research into the secrets of this place, and by good luck ran into someone who had an extreme experience as a resident in one of the apartments years ago. He gives a rather scary account of the man’s experiences in his book, Ghosts of Old Louisville.
David interviewed an older man who had lived in one of the apartments after he’d left the armed services in the 1940s. Little did he know that his living room was part of the infirmary’s maternity ward, because it was a room away from others, in a quieter part of the building. Two beds in this spot were reserved for women undergoing a labor gone bad. Thus, it was often a place where women in a difficult labor suffered and died.
Paranormal activity began slowly and built up in intensity. A priest was consulted to come and bless the apartment. When that didn’t work, he came back to do a full blown exorcism, which really got the joint jumping, paranormally speaking.
This young man then began to notice odd occurrences that one doesn’t see every day in one’s living room.
A steady stream of music came from a radio which had been turned off and unplugged.
A floor lamp continued to emit light, despite being unplugged.
At this point, a blessing was done, but the activity just increased.
Besides the odd behavior of the radio and light, he began hearing long, mournful moans which began softly and grew in intensity, ending in sobs.
As time went on, the moans turned to screams and pleadings.
The light and radio in the living room began to float in mid-air, while the hysterical screaming of women in pain filled the apartment.
A force overcame him, that made it hard for him to breathe, forcing him into the living room, where he watched the dial on the unplugged radio spin and the floor lamp rotate. He felt the temperature in the room drop sharply. Water droplets dripped formed on the wall behind the radio and lamp, and a foggy mist filled the living room. It began to rain in his living room.
It was time to call the professionals for a more serious effort. “Who you gonna call?” … The Parish priest once again! This time he told the young man that over the years, he had performed the Holy Rite of Exorcism in his room twice before.
During the exorcism, the cross flew across the room, the floor and walls shook, the dial on the radio went crazy, room lights flickered, mist formed, a big ball of light appeared, and the pleading screams of three women grew in intensity. Three female apparitions appeared. The young man realized that they wanted to know something from him. Suddenly he knew what they wanted. He told them that their children were fine, and these suffering entities left the apartment, finally free of their torment.
To read the original hair-raising account with all the details, be sure to buy David Domine’s book, Ghosts of Old Louisville.
David Domine reports that the young man had a quiet, normal living room for the two years he lived there after that. However, there may be more entities hanging around the building, but their existence hasn’t been reported yet. More secrets may exist, but no one is telling them.
1412 South 6th Street
Louisville, Kentucky 40208
- Kentucky Historical Society – Historical Marker Database Search Results: Hospitals
- Pictures © Tom Carr
- Ghosts of Old Louisville
by David Domine
McClanahan Publishing House, 2005
Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr