The Quest for the Bando Morgue
Sugarbomb's method of finding the morgue in abandoned hospitals
Morgue cooler at the Asylum | Photo © 2012 Kayla
Abandoned hospitals have always been one of my favorite places to explore. The photos I get in them are often a great mix of eerie and fascinating and the shock value of seeing a derelict operating room with surgical instruments still laid out or a wheelchair sitting alone in a shadowy hallway is priceless. It always feels a little like being in The Walking Dead or Silent Hill. Sometimes you can delve so deeply into the twisting halls of an empty and decaying hospital that you almost forget the world hasn't actually ended.
Morgue cooler at Parkway Hospital | Photo © 2013 Glades Kaine
For me at least, the morgue is a spot I always try to hit up in abandoned hospitals, both because I am morbidly fascinated with being so close to death and also because the photos are usually pretty awesome. Because I have no chill – pun intended – I always climb into the morgue coolers and take selfies. To date I've been in no less than six morgue coolers...which is 600% more than most living people! Morgue coolers are kinda like Pokemon to me; gotta catch - or in my case lay in - 'em all!
But how does one find these often elusive morgues in the entirety of a building? In a large hospital like Carraway, you could wander the halls for hours and only succeed in getting yourself lost.
Even in smaller hospitals made up of no more than a single building, finding the morgue can be a challenge if you don’t know where to begin looking – after all, it’s often just a single room among hundreds.
After wandering the halls of a fair few abandoned hospitals, I've found that there is a reliable way to narrow down the location of the morgue.
This process uses simple logic based on society's out-of-sight-out-of-mind take on the concept of death. We fear our own mortality and that fear is often only outweighed by the fear of the mortality of our loved ones. This feeling of fear at the idea that death could touch our own lives is prevalent enough that you’re probably feeling uncomfortable just reading this paragraph.
It’s a natural fear, and a nearly universal one.
Morgue cooler at A.G. Holley Tuberculosis Hospital | Photo © 2013 Glades Kaine
This fear is amplified a thousand-fold in a hospital where it's likely that either you or someone close to you is potentially facing a life-threatening situation. Patients and their families don't want to see gurneys covered in white sheets being wheeled down the hallways or body bags being transported to a waiting hearse because that leads to the thought they’re all trying to avoid; that could be me.
With this in mind, the morgue of a hospital will be located in a place that the majority of people in the hospital, with the exception of employees, will not be casually wandering the halls. Average patients won’t be transported back and forth throughout this area and it won’t be directly connected to a waiting room or lobby.
It also won’t be in the center of the building but rather closer to the outside of it.
Hospitals need to be able to move bodies without the general public losing their damn minds. Morgues will always have their own door nearby that leads outside and this will likely be toward the back or side of the building; an area patients or visitors are unlikely to go.
The morgue will most likely be on the lowest level of the building. When a body is ready to be taken from the hospital, the car can simply pull up to the door near the morgue rather than wheeling a corpse throughout the halls and elevators of the hospital and freaking everyone out in the process.
Morgue cooler at Everglades Regional Medical Center | Photo © 2016 Glades Kaine
Morgue cooler at the U.S. Marine Hospital | Photo © 2018 Bullet
In hospitals like A.G. Holley and Parkway, the front of the buildings were built up and a lower basement level which was only visible from the back and/or side of the hospital was half above ground and half below. In these cases, the morgues in both hospitals were on this lowest basement level around the side and back of the buildings.
In Everglades Regional and Carraway, the morgues were on the first floor near a separate driveway or the back part of the building. Whatever the case, the morgue will be on the lowest floor of the hospital.
The morgue will probably also be located very close to the elevators. If there are separate elevators for service and staff, those are the elevators the morgue will be closest to. Whichever elevators will provide the least contact with the public. The morgue will be just next to or around the corner from those because once you get a body down the elevator you don't want to roll it through the entire first floor.
In the case of Everglades Regional, the door to the morgue was literally right next to the elevators. In the A.G. Holley and the Asylum, it was just around the corner in an area only staff would have access to.
The Marine Hospital in Memphis is an outlier because it was originally built in a time before elevators were a thing, but still follows the rule that the morgue will be on the lowest floor and have its own exit away from the general public.
In our culture, the subject of death is kinda like a woman's bra straps; it's not a secret but if you put it on display then suddenly everyone freaks out.
Finding the morgue in an abandoned hospital comes down to common sense - it'll always be on the lowest floor of the main building, close to the elevator, with its own door nearby to the outside. It’s often easier to find it from the outside door than searching the inside, especially in huge places like Carraway that can be like a maze at times.
Or you can just ask some wise heroin addicts squatting in the hospital.