Fairfield County Infirmary

This old Ohio poorhouse reportedly houses restless spirits from its downtrodden past

Ghost Stories of
Fairfield County Infirmary

  • The spirit of an elderly former resident has been seen throughout the building
  • Disembodied voices are said to be heard often in the building
  • People who venture to the attic are said to experience strange unnerving feelings
  • The ghost of ‘Willy’ is reportedly spotted on the second and third floors
  • Equipment anomalies have been reported by past investigators
  • Many claim to have collected EVPs from recordings taken in the building
  • Past workers have claimed to see the apparition of a little girl

Fairfield County Infirmary’s History

In the rural outskirts of Lancaster, Ohio sits an overgrown and almost forgotten relic of local past: Fairfield County Infirmary.

Its sturdy red brick cut by thin window frames and touched by few ornamental features, the Fairfield County Infirmary is simultaneously a simple, old building and a remarkable sight to behold.

Fairfield County Infirmary's basement, known to house both an operating room and morgue, is said to be the most active part of the building

But, while its old age might be obvious to most passers-by, but like other asylums such as Edinburgh Manor in Iowa, the real intrigue of Fairfield County Infirmary might be more difficult to see.

In recent years, stories of ghostly encounters and paranormal happenings inside the building have brought ghost hunters from across the nation to Lancaster. But just what is the story behind this mysterious brick building and the spirits that call it home?

Timeline of Fairfield County Infirmary's History

Swipe or use timeline points to see Fairfield County Infirmary through the years


In 1828, the growing community of Lancaster built a simple wood-frame almshouse, a place for the poor and outcast to find home. Almshouses and poorhouses accepted many people, but, inevitably, most poorhouses ended up home to the elderly, the infirm or disabled, widows and/or orphans, the insane, and even criminals and vagrants. As a result, conditions in these homes were often suspect. But the first residents of the new Lancaster poorhouse enjoyed good conditions for the era, for the early years anyway.


As often happened at almshouses, Lancaster’s quickly became overcrowded. By the late 1830s, the cramped quarters demanded a new building, and in 1840, they got it. Built of brick and stone, the new facility was a big step forward for what was coming to be known as the Fairfield County Infirmary. But by 1865, expansions were needed to handle an explosion of new residents from Civil War widows to permanently disabled veterans.


For the remainder of the 1800s, the Fairfield County Infirmary continued to expand the main building and expand into outbuildings. By the end of the century, the property included a farm, a laundry facility, tenant houses, and a pauper’s cemetery at the back of the property. By 1903, the population of the infirmary had reached a peak at 83 residents. Over the next few decades, the building continued to modernize, adding gas lighting and heating in 1917 and indoor plumbing in 1926.


After the Great Depression spurred new interest in social safety nets and elder care, the population of Fairfield County Infirmary and other places like it swiftly dwindled. But, unlike many other poorhouses, the advent of Social Security didn’t close down Fairfield immediately. The building continued to hum along well into the 1950s, mostly tending to the sick, elderly, or permanently disabled residents of Lancaster rather than the poor or widowed. By 1958, electric lighting was finally added to the structure.


County budget cuts and population reductions continued to chip away at Fairfield County Infirmary as the years went on. The old farmland on the property was sold to Ohio University in 1965, and over the next 20 years the facility went on a slow decline to closure. The final workers and residents left in 1985, and Fairfield County Infirmary was swiftly renovated and reopened as county offices the following year. During this time, it was known as the Clarence E. Miller Building.


The Miller Building housed the county health department for 27 years, until the decaying building was finally closed down for good in 2013. But that wasn’t the end for the historic almshouse. Local residents and paranormal enthusiasts soon took interest in the old building due to its storied past, and tours of the space soon became commonplace. The building was sold in 2020. In the few years since, it has opened up for full-fledged ghost hunts. But just what sorts of spirits still call this old almshouse home?

The spirit of
Mysterious ‘Willy’

With a past so riddled with death and misfortune, it may come as no surprise that the Fairfield County Infirmary is filled with ghost stories. The building has so many reported spirits, a few have been given names.

One of the most well-known is ‘Willy,’ a listless apparition who is said to haunt the second and third floors of the infirmary. Many say Willy seems lost, or like he’s looking for something. He’s almost always seen walking aimlessly through the halls, stopping occasionally to peer out windows.

Fairfield County Infirmary’s Little Girl Ghost

Another oft-reported ghost around the Fairfield County Infirmary is a little girl some have dubbed ‘Susie.’ The spirit of Susie has been reported in a few locations, including doorways of former offices and areas around the morgue.

Susie is said to be a young blonde girl who appears sad or lonely. Some have tried to interact with her, only to have her disappear before their eyes.

Fiery Phantoms at Fairfield County Infirmary

Perhaps the saddest ghost story of Fairfield County Infirmary is that of Jane Householder. Jane was once a resident of the infirmary who burned alive after a gas stove caught her clothes on fire. Now, the specter of Jane is a regular sight throughout Fairfield County Infirmary.

She is most often encountered as an apparition of an old woman wearing a dress. Unlike Susie’s spirit, no one has reported the results of interacting with Jane’s phantom.

Spooky Sounds from Within
Fairfield County Infirmary

Fairfield County Infirmary is seemingly a hotbed of paranormal activity. Visitors and workers in the past have often claimed to hear disembodied voices, and even whole rooms’ worth of chatter in certain areas. But, whenever they investigate, they find the spaces devoid of life.

Some have also reported mysterious banging sounds and the sounds of slamming doors throughout the building. Additionally, those who have gone into the attic have reported strangely unsettling experiences and feelings up there.

Fairfield County Infirmary’s
Paranormal Evidence

Unsurprisingly, the Fairfield County Infirmary has become a popular Midwestern destination for paranormal enthusiasts in recent years. Past investigators have reported countless experiences in the building.

Investigators often say that equipment will malfunction in certain areas of the building. Additionally, many have claimed to come away with recordings rife with EVPs.

Haunted Legacy of
Fairfield County Infirmary

Though it’s only been vacant since 2013, Fairfield County Infirmary has built up a far-reaching reputation in the last few years. Positive word of mouth from visitors and tourists, as well as a recent appearance on the Travel Channel series Destination Fear, has brought ever more paranormal enthusiasts and investigators to Fairfield County Infirmary.

So, if you’re planning a trip to Lancaster, Ohio, be sure to plan ahead; their schedule fills up faster all the time. But, if you do happen to find yourself at the Fairfield County Infirmary, you may just realize that this former poorhouse now carries a wealth of paranormal activity.