I worked at the Whitby Psychiatric Hospital from June of 1988 to April of 1989 as a contract Security Guard (a.k.a. Rent A Cop). I was assigned to Mobile Patrol while the second guard on duty was assigned to the Admitting Building (#19). Our office was located in Building #27 (Administration) in the back on the second floor. As a note, I remember some really nice wood trim and lighting fixtures in this part of the building. This building was demolished along with #25 (Neuro-psychiatric Ward) and #26 (S.T.A.T. ‘Short Term Assessment and Treatment’) in 1994 or 1995. We had two different patrol cars at the time (depending which one was in the garage) to use. One was a silver 1988 Ford Topaz and the other one was a dark blue 1984 or 1985 Chevrolet Malibu. Mobile patrol duties included the following:
1) First response to emergency calls. (e.g. Fire alarms)
2) Checking out fire and other alarms.
3) Moving medication and equipment to the ward that required it.
4) Transporting staff and patients to the various wards. Most commonly to S.T.A.T. from the Admitting building when they are admitted.
5) Assisting in ground searches.
6) Patrolling the grounds and buildings that were unoccupied during the weekend.
7) Morgue duties (signing in and signing out bodies).
There was a second guard on duty during these shifts. This guard was assigned to the Admitting building (#19) and was responsible only for the building. S/he would essentially patrol the building, keep the admitting nurse company and provide back up when someone being admitted became stressful (the buzz word for aggressive) and ensured that they didn't have the opportunity to escape. This building was kept at the tightest security possible with ALL doors being kept locked at all times. I was reamed once for forgetting to lock a washroom door during a training patrol.
My shifts were Saturday and Sunday from Noon to Midnight. I swapped shifts one weekend with the regular midnight guard and had to work Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day for 1988. (What a drag although the Christmas meal I was served was good).
During the time I worked there I found the place could be quite depressing but I actually have a number of funny memories of this place as well as sad ones. I left when I graduated in 1989 and worked in a computer department until I got laid off in 2002. I was rehired by the same company last year. Our Health and Safety manager noted that they got rid of the contract for the site because it was considered too dangerous. I told him that the site was more depressing and that it was safer than an apartment complex that I worked at. When I left, I thought that I would never miss this place. In a small way, I was wrong. Here are some of the memories that I would like to share about this place.
1) This was my first weekend there and I was still in training. We got a call from the switchboard to go to Neuropsychiatry Ward, pick up an orderly and patient who had fallen from his wheelchair and take them to the Whitby General Hospital’s Emergency Department (when they still had one) for treatment. We went over to the ward and picked up the orderly and the patient. The patient’s wheelchair was loaded into the trunk of the car, the orderly and patient were in the back seat and I rode shotgun. We headed up to the Whitby General Hospital and while the orderly was supporting the patient (his condition made standing impossible), my partner unloaded the chair from the trunk. Suddenly, the patient’s pants fell down to his ankles with his incontinence briefs and everything was left dangling in the breeze. The man’s eyes opened wide and he started giving a choking sound. "Oh crap, he can't breathe!" I thought. I then saw a couple of tears running down his cheeks. He knew what was happening and couldn't do a damn thing about it. I figure he may have been in his mid 50's at the time so he wasn't that old. I pointed it out to the orderly and the orderly was able to pull the guy's pants back up. I felt pretty rotten about it (even though I didn’t cause his humiliation) and couldn’t shake the feeling. Monday morning, I called the office and told the office manager that I wanted a transfer off the site as soon as possible. The following Saturday, the area supervisor came in. We went to the staff cafeteria that was located in the back of #27 and I told him the same thing. He gave me some advice that proved to be helpful and told me to give myself a chance to get used to the place. If I still can’t handle the place after a couple of months, then I will be transferred as quickly as possible. A couple of months later, he came and asked me if I still wanted to be transferred. By that time, I was used to the place and said no.
2) I had been working there for about a month and a half at this time and on this evening, I was on patrol. I parked in the lot that is west of Building #30 and went in through the west door. I walked past the elevator and headed to the east corridor of the building. There is a room to the right (if you’re facing east) and I didn’t have my flashlight with me. I thought about getting the flashlight since it was dusk but figured I could just easily turn on the lights in the building. I opened the door and froze at the sight of a human head on the table in the room and the outline of the rest of the body on the floor. I’m a fan of those tacky B horror movies and what do you think was going through my head? The typical scenario: Victim #1 posed on the table and the floor. Victim #2 at the doorway frozen at the sight of Victim #1 and the Murderer hiding behind the corner waiting with an axe or other suitable weapon (probably a little impatient as he/she/it has a quota to meet) for Victim #2 to enter the room. I was so wound up that if someone had touched me at that time I would have either died on the spot or tore them apart getting out of there. What do I do? The wall extended into the room a bit (for the closets) and the switches for the lights were at the end of the wall and not right next to the door. I thought about backing out of the room, radio to switchboard to call the police and watch the door or jump ahead quickly, slap on the lights and jump back very quickly ready to run like hell. I went for option #2. I jumped forward, slapped on the switch and jumped back. The head on the table was the headpiece for an Annie doll with the rest of the mannequin being the rest of the body on the floor. For those who don’t know what this is, it is a mannequin for practicing resuscitation techniques. I was told these were called Annie dolls because the inventor had a daughter named Annie who had drowned. The people who pulled her out of the water were unable to save her because they were not trained in mouth to mouth. He invented the mannequin to help in training people in these techniques to help prevent further deaths. I found out there was a first aid class held in this room earlier that day and either the staff forgot to pack the mannequin away fully or they decided to have a little bit of fun. I almost needed CPR and a change of underwear that night.
3) It was a sunny day in late September and I had just started my shift. I was on patrol and next to Building #7. This building housed housekeeping services on the top floor and the south wing of the ground floor housed the outpatient cafeteria. There were vending machines and tables in there so the patients could go in, buy a treat from the machines, sit down and have a smoke and the treat. This used to be left open on the weekends for the patients, as they had nothing better to do. Unfortunately some asshole started using the cafeteria to sell street drugs to the patients, other patients were meeting there for sex and a couple of other assholes started trashing the place. The machines and furniture were smashed and the walls were scribbled on. Because we couldn’t monitor this building properly during the weekend, the cafeteria was closed on the weekends and security was given written orders not to open it for the patients. This had been in effect for a couple of weeks at the time so the patients were trying to get in still. One of the patients approached me and this is the conversation that ensued.
Patient: Excuse me, could you please open the cafeteria for me?
Me: Sorry sir. I’ve been told this cafeteria is to stay closed.
Patient: Oh come on! I only want to go in for a coffee.
Me: No sir. I’ll be fired if I open it.
Patient: If you don’t open this, I’ll tell the nursing supervisor and he will fire you.
Me: Go ahead.
Patient: This is your last chance! (And started walking northward). I’m going now!
Me: Sure go right ahead.
Patient: That’s it! I’m telling. (Walking northward).
Patient: (Stops and turns around.) You’re opening it?
I pointed southward in the direction of the nursing supervisor’s office
Me: No sir. But the office is in that direction.
The patient turns and heads in the right direction.
Patient: Right, I forgot. Okay, you’re getting fired.
I waited until the patient was out of earshot and radioed the nursing supervisor.
Me: Bill, a patient is heading over to your office to get you to fire me.
Me: He wanted me to open the out patient cafeteria and I didn’t.
Bill: Your orders are to keep it closed.
Me: Yeah I know but he was rather insistent.
Bill: I’ll take care of it. (I think I heard him chuckle.)
Afterward, when I was talking to Bill, I asked if the patient came by. Bill said no. Gee, I wonder why?
4) It was after dark in October and I was on patrol. I received a call from the switchboard to go over to Building #30 and check why the doctor’s dog was freaking out on the elevator. I went over, parked and came into the building. I noticed that the elevator was on the third floor. I called it and took it up to the second floor. At the time, the ground floor was used for archives and classes. The second floor contained the doctors’ offices and the rest of the floors were deserted at the time. The doctor’s office was in the southwest corner of the building and I noticed that she had her door locked at the time. I knocked on the door and she opened it. She told me that usually when the elevator goes by (it had a habit of starting up on its own and travelling the floors), her dog ignores it. Tonight however, the dog started freaking out and wanted badly to get at the elevator. That’s when she called switchboard and they called me. I asked if I can borrow her dog for the patrol and she agreed. The dog and I went into the elevator and headed up to the third floor. We started checking out the various doors and headed around the corner. Until we reached a door on the right hand side about ten feet away from the corner of the hallway we had went around, the dog would just take a quick sniff in the room, and head to the next one. At this door however, Max (the dog), stopped and started sniffing.
“What do you hear Max?” I said.
The dog looked at me, and returned to the door.
I took my keys and started to unlock the door. All I had to do was turn the key, push and the door would be open. Without warning, I felt a wave of terror go over me, the hair on the back of my neck felt like it was standing on end and my hand would not obey the command from my brain to turn the key. I pulled the key out, put it back in my pocket and said, “Let’s go Max.’
The dog kept at the door. I started to panic and pulled on the leash. The dog still kept at the door. I thought of dropping the leash and running back to the elevator. I started pulling with all my weight saying “Come one!” and “Move it!” and the dog was still trying to get at the door. Max was not a big dog (about medium size). When we were back at the corner, Max finally came with me. We got onto the elevator and headed back to the second floor. I handed the dog back to the doctor and said “I found nothing Anne.” (My voice sounded shaky to me.) “I have to go now!” and I quickly left.
I was back in the car and driving away for about a minute when I started feeling like a chicken. I turned around and went back but her car was not in the parking lot. She had her papers on her desk and she looked like she was ready to work all night. Maybe it was the expression on my face but she left pretty quickly. I went in the next day during daylight and retraced our steps. I could see the drag marks in the dust from Max and I, and opened the door to the room. I found only undisturbed dust in the room. I learned later that years ago, a patient named Bill had killed a nurse on the third floor and committed suicide. Apparently, he likes to scream at staff members who go on to that floor after dark. Who knows? I may have narrowly avoided being screamed at myself that night.
I have many other stories of this place. One of them occurred in the same doctor’s office in February when I missed the deadline to submit my resume for the TD Bank. I was really mad at myself and the doctor could see that. She asked me and I told her. She said, “Put it in anyway. The worse they could do it is say no.”
I agreed and said I would do it on Monday. She pulled out one of those punching clowns and said, “Here. Hit this. You’ll feel better.”
I smacked it and she said, “No. Hit it really hard!” So I did. I belted it around the office for a few minutes and did that ever feel good! Strange how I forgot about the punching bag in the Recreation hall’s gymnasium. Whenever I was in a snit, I would go a few rounds with the bag bare knuckles and that would feel good.
Another time, (this was the first week of November) and I was on patrol. I entered the Recreation Hall through one of the doors on the south side and walked through a web full of spiders! I am scared of spiders and started freaking. I knocked some of them off me onto the floor and I noticed that they weren’t moving. I picked one up and realized it was plastic. Then I remembered that there was a Halloween party in the gymnasium and these were the left over decorations. I felt like an idiot to say the least.
Many memories of this place. Brought back by the pictures posted on the site.