I'm sitting here, 2800 miles away from the place I called "home" for the first 23 years of my life. My life is vastly changed from what it was
when I first moved away after college 10 years ago... yet I carry every experience from that dust bowl with me no matter how far I get.
Some of my fondest memories of home include an old abandoned TB sanitarium, the catacombs beneath it, the booze we drank at secret parties there, and
the bizarre sights and sounds I experienced when we went there for amateur paranormal investigations.
Graffiti, parties and paranormal activity -- according to some -- may be the lasting legacy for a local building that has seen two world wars, an
infectious-disease epidemic and the growth of what was the village of Deming.
Originally built during World War I for military training, the facility was purchased in 1922 by the Holy Cross Hospital Association. According to
documents at the Deming-Luna-Mimbres Museum archives, the nuns who operated the organization eventually invested $450,000 into what were 15 buildings
across hundreds of acres to treat tuberculosis victims.
The nuns operated the hospital until 1938, when financial problems forced the facility closure. One year later, most of the grounds were destroyed by
fire, leaving what remains today, a concrete building covered in graffiti.
Because of the varied history of the site and rumors of patient mistreatment, the site has often been the target of thrill-seekers and those seeking
the truth behind ghosts and the supernatural.
When I was in High School, there was a murder there following some sort of illegal business deal gone awry. There were also persistant rumors of
Satanic sacrifices and rituals taking places there, parts of which I can confirm firsthand. (We found a room off the catacombs which had well used
candles and a pentagram painted in red on a large piece of plywood.) We were dumb to ever go there, to be honest. I killed more rattlesnakes in my
handfull of trips there than I experienced anything paranormal. Yet I have 100% conviction that the site is haunted. It has that "feel" about it
and even when we were there just to party, nobody ever felt easy or really wanted to stay around there after the last beer was drunk.
The Holy Cross was originally named Camp Cody. It was the primary training camp for the 34th infantry in WWI. They were dubbed the "Sandstorm
Division" because of the incessant windstorms which plague Deming 2/3rds of the year. They started out as a base camp for the Mexican-American war
and kept as an operational military camp until the end of WWI, after which the camp was handed over to the Sisters from the Holy Cross Association.
The entire facillity burned to the ground in 1939 and became a mere piece of Luna County history and legend.
Holy Cross Sanatorium started out as a military base in WWI and as a TB ward in WWII. Then a satanist cult used it as an animal sacrificing place
at a later date. There is only one building left now. The rest have been destroyed and this place is most certainly haunted. Noises come from the top
stories. Also there is a shadowy apparition in "the alter room" not to mention a pretty disturbing cemetery nearby in which a cross has been knocked
down. Murders occur here quite often. There was a lover's quarrel with a drainpipe and a gang killing a peer for sacrifice. There are many gang signs
in this area so it is watched very carefully by police so don't trespass.
I have little doubt that within a handfull of years the desert will reclaim whatever signs of the camp are left following it being demolished.
Thankfully, my memories and the memories of others from Deming who grew up filled with mistique about the site will remain untouched by wind and sand.
Holy crap dude. I used to live in Farmington and got a chance to go UEing with some guys there while visiting with family. That place was creepy, yet
very interesting, and seemed pretty clean for what it was. I sure am glad I got to experience that place before it got torn down.
I'm actually surprised it isn't on the national historic register and up for preservation. I mean, Camp Cody itself should be restored or at least
protected, but the sanitarium in particular had some major historic significance.
(BTW, on the topic of strange things near Deming, there is also a second Holy Cross East of town. That site is where some priest planned on building
a church, got as far as getting some sort of underground portion constructed, a large entrance area (like a root cellar, only brick and metal), and a
15 foot high crucifix above the steps leading down. The place is literally out in the middle of nowhere and at some point steel bars were meshed and
welded over the sealed door to prevent anyone from getting in unless you wanted to risk using a cutting torch on it. That is another of those hairs
on the back of your neck areas, One of the stories we heard when I was in school was that the builders hit a shallow spot in the aquefer and were
unable to dewater the basement/underbuilding, so the church decided it was a spiritually "wrong" location and stopped the project.)
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