Rancho Los Amigos–1880-1986: Scariest Site in California?

Posted: August 10, 2010 in Uncategorized


Very rarely do I feel physically ill when I enter a building, yet that was exactly my experience in several units of what was once a county hospital. The old Rancho Los Amigos Medical Center, closed in 1986 and gradually rotting away ever since, is one of those places where you feel disoriented and frightened at the same time, always expecting something to grab you from behind or drag you into a dark corner. What makes this place so unsettling is that when the staff left, they left EVERYTHING behind. In the old USC labs, there are still test tubes with something resembling bodily fluids in them. There are glass slides and pipettes strewn across tables, science publications still organized by date on the shelves, and machines everywhere whose purpose I can only guess at.

The disarray, however, is complete. Nearly two generations of teenagers, ghost hunters, Satanists, and gangs have left their mark. A bloody stump of a raccoon tail lies in pathetic fashion in a hallway; every glass window has been shattered, leaving a trail of destruction; patient cards dating to the 1800s are tossed into a heap. There is chaos here beyond imagining, and no way to make sense of what has been left behind. There is no longer any natural relationship among the random objects in the hallways, nothing that would hint at the order of a hospital. In the labs, a refrigerator blocks the path down the hall, spilling its unidentifiable contents–next to that there is a heap of old clothes reeking of urine. Step over that, and you find an office that looks almost recognizable as such–that is, until you look closer and find bloody flecks of matter all over the walls.

I can’t write the complete post yet. I am not quite ready. I have been processing this experience ever since Friday, and it took me two days simply to recover physically. By tomorrow, I should have my report up and ready concerning the paranormal activity we experienced while there. Other PHWs will be submitting their impressions, as well. Suffice to say, there was some level of panic among us and that is very, very rare for our group.

There are many dangers in those buildings, most of which are quite human. This is the scariest site I have ever been, by far, and it is definitely not for most people. Stay tuned, and stay away from Rancho Los Amigos unless you have express permission from county officials and the sheriff’s department–you WILL be cited for trespassing.

Kirsten A. Thorne

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