Tina is convinced this building is haunted.
My dental hygienist leans close and whispers, “There’s a morgue downstairs, you know. It’s eerie.” The former caretaker told her they did autopsies down there. The building’s been around since 1931, when it was and for years its mostly empty hallways and retro color scheme definitely gave it a vibe from “The Shining.” One client told them she couldn’t come in any more because the building gave her the creeps so bad.
(That’s a view from the front lobby down the main hallway above, although on today’s visit I noticed they’ve updated the carpeting to be Tasteful Greiges.)
From two bays away, the doctor’s weary voice echoes: “Stop telling people our office is haunted, Tina.”
It turns out that the Lois Grunow Memorial Clinic is associated with death, in a way: Back when it first opened in 1931 as the Grunow Medical Clinic, one of its offices was the workplace of Winnie Ruth Judd, who was convicted of Phoenix’s “Trunk Murders.”
It’s also where Judd first met Agnes Anne LeRoi, one of the two shooting victims. LeRoi’s body was stuffed into a large trunk, while the other woman’s body was dismembered and the parts were stuffed amid three different cases. Judd boarded a train with the luggage and made it all the way to California before she was stopped at the train station because the trunks smelled awful and were leaking. It’s a fascinating true-crime story that involves an insanity defense, an eventual conviction, multiple escapes from the state mental facility (and an eventual parole, followed by an absolute discharge).
In the here and now, though, I’m reclined in the chair while Tina polishes my teeth. I had thought she meant there was a full-on morgue in the basement, which a clinical building wouldn’t have … would it?
“You don’t believe me, do you?” she says, standing up. “Well, we’re done here—and we’re going down to the basement right now.” Continue reading