New Mexico Ghosts
The Organ Mountains and Dripping Springs, a small and rugged 9000-foot high, 32 million-year-old range in south-central New Mexico, just east of Las Cruces, has long drawn the daring into the rocky folds and crevices of the steep granite and rhyolite laden slopes. The evidence of human attraction is hidden in secluded caves, Indian rock art, abandoned mines, crumbling ruins, and lost destinations that once held some of the state's most chronically ill.
The remains of the haunted Boyd's Sanatorium is mostly hidden from view behind clusters of boulders and pockets of thick and thorny desert brush that is located far away from civilization. The rubble appears to be sitting and waiting patiently for visitors to explore the ugly secrets of its past that are hidden behind the remaining walls still standing. The remnants, which were once all part of a tuberculosis sanatorium, were constructed around 1910 by, Dr. Nathan Boyd, a renowned medical doctor and international businessman.
Legends passed down through time concerning the once heavily populated treatment facility have never wavered as to why it was converted into a tuberculosis sanatorium. The original building was built by Colonel Eugene Van Patten in the 1870's as a mountain resort for the sole purpose of escaping the rugged desert heat of the Rio Grande Valley. Many people were unwilling to travel through the mountains to the resorts location, and it quickly went bankrupt.
Hearing about the vacant facility, it is believed that Dr. Boyd had a beloved wife who was suffering from tuberculosis, and that he purchased the abandoned building in 1917, converting it to a fully equipped massive treatment center just for her. He wanted his wife to have a sense of peace while being allowed to enjoy a tranquil atmosphere that included panoramic views of the Organ Mountains and the valley below. He eventually built more structures, including a caretaker's house for the patients that would soon fill up the sanatorium.
As tuberculosis became widespread and more and more people became ill with it, desperate, sickly patients wanting to get well soon learned about the sanatorium, and began to fill up the facility that was built on terraces high in the Organ Mountains that offered privacy from prying eyes and gossipers who knew very little about tuberculosis at the time. Hundreds of people eventually succumbed to the unforgiving disease, mainly because treatment involved rest, diet, and various surgical procedures, which were of little or no benefit to the patient.
The majority of the patients suffered from non-stop pain, and constant coughing fits that usually resulted in spitting up blood. Fever, inflammation, headaches, sore throats, and lung disease created universal disorder of their entire body which was typical of the disease, leaving these deathly ill people in a state of wishing they were dead, rather than living life in such a debilitating state.
It is no wonder that campers and visitors walking the trails today through the Organ Mountains of New Mexico have encountered the tortured spirits that still remain. It is believed that they are possibly looking for peace that never came until their death. Many reports from campers in the nearby canyon campgrounds have been terrified by strange visions, and many have suffered from horrific nightmares that featured torturous treatments undergone by gaunt and ghostly patients, even though some of the campers are said to have no prior knowledge of the nearby sanatorium's presence.
Various paranormal investigations have taken place at this location; with one group claiming to have taken photos of shadowy figures walking through the area of the sanatorium. Camera equipment goes haywire when attempting to zone in on prime areas where the patients would have lived their last days, and the overall feeling of dread can easily be sensed. Paranormal investigators, campers and trail walkers complain of stomach aches and headaches when walking through the area. Mist hovers in and around the area where the diseased patients once attempted to free their soul from the depilating infection.
Directions to Boyd's Sanatorium: From El Paso, take 1-10 West to Las Cruces and exit right onto University Avenue. Follow the road toward the Organ Mountains to reach the recreation area. The hiking trails range from one to five miles. A moderate one mile hiking trail will take visitor's up to the ruins of Boyd's Sanatorium.
There is evidence that humans have suffered from tuberculosis for more than 5,000 years. Whether through crowded living conditions, debilitation, or malnutrition, tuberculosis rapidly became an epidemic in Western civilization and was a major cause of mortality. Identification of the tubercle bacillus as the causative agent in 1882 firmly established the infectious nature of the disease and the development of sanatoriums soon followed.