The Haunting of San Haven Sanatorium – Dunseith, North Dakota

  • By: Gareth Popovic
  • Date: 8 December 2023
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Introduction of San Haven Sanatorium

Dunseith, North Dakota has a peculiar and unsettling link to San Haven Sanatorium. It seems as though the very air on these haunting grounds whispers tales of the past, calling you to discover the secrets concealed there. Are you prepared to take a very personal trip into the gruesome past of this mysterious sanitarium? As we explore the unsettling mysteries of San Haven, get ready to face your anxieties and deal with the ghosts of the past.

History of San Haven Sanatorium

San Haven Sanatorium, located in the scenic surroundings of Dunseith, North Dakota, has a complicated and eerie past. It was first built in 1909 as a tuberculosis treatment center, and its original name, San Haven Tuberculosis Sanatorium, reflected the time’s predominating medical concerns.

During its early years, the sanatorium played a critical role in the fight against tuberculosis, a devastating and often fatal disease. Patients were isolated in hopes of preventing the spread of the illness, and innovative treatments were explored. San Haven became a self-contained community, complete with its own dairy, power plant, and even a post office.

Within the doors of San Haven Sanatorium, a history of great suffering and demise brought on by the effects of tuberculosis played out. Early therapies only made the pain worse and distanced sufferers from relief. The countless remaining spirits could be explained by this legacy of suffering. The precise quantity of these restless spirits is still elusive, hidden in the cryptic shadows of San Haven’s tragic past, in spite of several paranormal studies.

San Haven Sanatorium
Historic San Haven Sanatorium – Credit grandforksherald

Haunting Legends and Supernatural Phenomena

Haunted Elevator Death

A fatal event occurred at the unsettling San Haven Sanatorium in 2001. A terrifying incident that will always reverberate through this abandoned institution’s walls. A 17-year-old teenager who was lost in the building’s shadows had a terrible fate when he fell 40 feet down the elevator shaft and perished too soon. This tragic occurrence served as the beginning of a spooky folklore that still gives anyone who dare to enter the shadowy hallways of San Haven Sanatorium goosebumps.

In 2016, the infamous San Haven Sanatorium became the focal point of a spine-tingling episode of Ghost Adventures. The fearless crew embarked on a journey into the heart of this foreboding place, where they uncovered a history steeped in tragedy and despair. As they explored the property, they encountered individuals who had been profoundly affected by their encounters within its walls.

The crew ventured into the very halls where the young man had met his tragic end. Witnesses had long reported sightings of an apparition, a ghostly figure resembling the ill-fated teenager, eerily making its way towards the dreaded elevator. These encounters sent shivers down the spines of all who crossed its path.

During their investigation, the Ghost Adventures team captured something truly chilling—an Electronic Voice Phenomenon that seemed to echo the tormented whispers of the past. It was as though the voice of the young man, forever trapped within those walls, was pleading to be heard.

Spirits of Patients – Haunted Fifth Floor

An area where terrifying lore comes to life is San Haven Sanatorium. The fifth floor sticks out as a hub of unease among the stories. It is said that the ghosts of people who died in this location, whether as a result of tuberculosis or misdiagnosed mental diseases, still remain.

For those who dare to venture into San Haven Sanatorium, a relentless and hair-raising legend awaits them. The specters of all the patients who met their demise within these walls are believed to roam the premises, their restless souls on a mission to terrify any visitors who dare to tour the place.

The 5th floor, in particular, has gained a chilling notoriety. It is said that random screams pierce the silence, echoing from that ominous height. Sometimes, the heart-wrenching sounds of a woman crying and sobbing pierce the air, as if her grief has transcended the boundaries of time.

Visitors recount feeling an unsettling presence, as if the very air is thick with the residual anguish and torment of the past. Those who have dared to explore the 5th floor have reported encountering apparitions and experiencing inexplicable phenomena that defy all logical explanation.

The Sanatorium stands as a dark testament to its haunting legends. The souls of the tormented patients are believed to roam, especially on the 5th floor, where random screams and the heart-wrenching cries of a woman are often heard. It’s a place where the past’s horrors never truly rest, and visitors are forever reminded that the line between the living and the dead can blur in its eerie depths.

Interior of Sanatorium – Credit Dan Turner/substreet

Popular Culture and Media Coverage of San Haven Sanatorium

San Haven Sanatorium has been featured in several films and television shows about the paranormal because of its mysterious past and spooky allure. This terrifying establishment was extensively featured in one of these series, “San Haven Secrets: Unraveling the Haunted Enigma,” where intrepid detectives investigated its eerie legends and spine-tingling experiences.

Within the realm of literature, San Haven Sanatorium has left an indelible mark, inspiring works like “Spooky Creepy North Dakota” by Lori L. Orser and “Haunted Dakotas” by Andy Weeks. These literary creations peel back the layers of the sanatorium’s supernatural lore, weaving captivating narratives of its spectral past.

Due to its enigmatic appearance in popular culture and the media, The Sanatorium is now a must-visit location for history buffs and people looking for the paranormal. All who dare to enter its eerie and mysterious atmosphere will be drawn to this historic building’s aura of mystery and the paranormal.


Know that you’ve entered a realm where the distinction between the real and the otherworldly is hazy as you reluctance leave the creepy grip of San Haven Sanatorium. Your adventure through the eerie hallways and whispered secrets has permanently changed you. This location encourages meditation and thought due to its disturbing past. You will be accompanied by the ghosts of San Haven, who will serve as a reminder that, in the world of the inexplicable, some mysteries are supposed to be left unsolved and other fears are meant to survive.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Where is San Haven Sanatorium located?

A: San Haven Sanatorium is located in the eerie town of Dunseith, North Dakota, USA.

Q: Is it true that the 5th floor of San Haven Sanatorium is particularly eerie?

A: Yes, that’s correct. The 5th floor is notorious for its chilling atmosphere and is believed to be a hotspot of paranormal activity.

Q: Can you share more about the legend of the 17-year-old who fell down the elevator shaft?

A: Certainly. In 2001, a tragic incident occurred when a 17-year-old boy fell 40 feet down an elevator shaft at San Haven Sanatorium. It’s believed that his restless spirit still haunts the premises, often seen heading towards the same elevator.

Q: Are there any documented paranormal encounters at San Haven Sanatorium?

A: Yes, many visitors and paranormal investigators have reported encountering apparitions, hearing unexplained screams, and even capturing Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) during their visits.

Q: Is it safe to explore San Haven Sanatorium?

A: The abandoned building can be hazardous due to its deteriorating condition. It’s important to exercise caution and, if possible, visit with an experienced guide during authorized tours.

Q: Are there any other legends associated with the Sanatorium?

A: Besides the tragic incident of the 17-year-old, stories abound about the lingering spirits of patients who suffered from tuberculosis and misunderstood mental illnesses within its walls. These spirits are said to continue to haunt the site, making it a place of eerie encounters and unexplained phenomena.

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