ST OSYTH`S PRIORY
This ancient building, the chapel and tower of which are thirteenth century, now houses an art collection but was, at one time, a convalescent home. Reports of the priory being haunted were well known locally especially in 1969 and 1970 when witnesses were often describing a phantom monk that they had seen in the vicinity of the ruined area. The figure, in a white robe and scapula glided towards the nearby water where, after a few seconds of ` just standing there` he vanished. These incidents, however were unknown to Mrs. Loveridge of Leigh-on-Sea who was a patient in the home in 1973. She woke at 3.50 one morning and saw a door of the small ward . which she shared with two other patients, open and a monk walk in. He was dressed in a brown habit with a cowl over his head and hands tucked in his sleeves, with a small crucifix hanging from the girdle round his cloak. The figure looked at Mrs. Loveridge for a second or two, turned to walk through the door, but disappeared.
On enquiring from her two colleagues it was clear that neither had experienced anything unusual but the matron said that, `many years ago` there had been a doorway in the wall where the monk entered. The aperture had been bricked up and plastered over. She had heard stories of the monk and established the order to which he belonged would have necessitated wearing brown not white. As far as she knew, none of her staff had ever seen the ghostly figure and, obviously had never mentioned the other reports to patients. Whether the first monk in white, carrying a candle, is still haunting or not no-one knows. The clothing might, of course, be a night-shirt or that of a specialist. members of some religious orders wear mauve to indicate their medical qualification but I must admit I've never heard of white being worn, unless he was perhaps a novice. However, in 1975 Mrs. Gillard of Waltham Abbey, whilst convalescing in the priory experienced a strange dream featuring a tall woman, also in white.
© Andrew Green
On speaking to the deputy matron here in September, 1979, I was assured that in one particular room two distinct sets of footsteps have often been heard both by members of the staff and patients. One sound is slow and firm, the other `young and sprightly like that of a nurse`. A few years ago a `client` one of ten pregnant mothers awaiting the arrival of her baby, awoke in a three-bed `ward` to see what she thought was a nun bending over another patient. Being tired, the witness turned over and went to sleep.
Some time later, on re-waking, she saw the figure again but in a different position but as she looked the nun slowly faded away. She heard later, and this was confirmed to me, that the house had once been a home for orphans and administered by a group of nuns.
© Andrew Green
BIRMINGHAM GENERAL HOSPITAL
A few years ago a friend of mine undergoing treatment in this well-established medical centre was assured by several of the nurses that the ward he was in was haunted. Nursing staff are hardly likely to tell patients anything that may upset or disturb the, but the man involved had expressed an interest in the paranormal. Often when with a captive audience, young nurses will embellish and even invent stories to lighten the day's problem, but details of the ghost were consistent and, on one occasion, confirmed by the night sister. She saw the phantom vanish, on reaching a recently-constructed wall. The figure is that of `a kindly old man with a clay pipe in his mouth`. A surprising but interesting departure from the more normal experienced ghost of ` a woman in white`. Unfortunately, no detail is available as to who the old man is, or why he continues to haunt the hospital. Was he a patient, a relative of a sufferer? No-one knows, or it seems really interested enough to investigate. `He is just such a friendly old chap we don't want to bother him`.
© Andrew Green
Coombe Valley Road
This rather sprawling hospital in the South East Kent District houses, it seems, a unique ghost of a young boy on 'a bob-cart'. One of the most recent witnesses was Bill Ridgeway, the then Deputy Mayor of Dover, when he was a patient recovering from a heart attack. One evening late in 1973, he was surprised to see the figure of the lad on a peculiar sort of trolley. `As he neared the end of my bed`, Bill told me, `I thought he asked me if I was dying, I've never heard of a ghost talking before and I must admit that the question may have been raised by another patient nearby, but I didn't think about it at the time. I just told the youngster that all I wanted was the will to live. He then seemed to disappear and no-one else seemed to have seem him or admit to doing so. A few days later Mr. Ridgeway was discharged but only after being assured that no-one matching the description of the young boy had ever been seen in the ward whilst he was there. `I was unable to obtain any categorical statement about any earlier patient of that age or appearance`. However, one of his immediate duties on release was to present a chair to a spina-bifida patient and immediately recognised it was the identical type used by his unknown visitor. Shortly after I discussed the incident with Bill I learnt that another patient had seen the same figure in the same ward.
© Andrew Green
CENTRAL MIDDLESEX HOSPITAL
In this large building accommodation many hundreds of patients the ghost of a child is seen in one of the wards. Few details are available though the figure of a little girl has been observed on a number of occasions since her death in the early 1970`s. It would perhaps , prove too distressing to actually name the phantom but it is of a young patient who was taken in for a minor operation and was accidentally given the wrong anaesthetic, with the result that she died in the theatre. He ghost, however, is seen in the ward in which she was temporarily houses prior to surgery. Maybe, associated with this incident, is the inexplicable `clinking noise` heard in the corner of the ward where she lay. Some of those visiting parents who have reported the sounds suggest that they are the last noises the young patient heard before undergoing the 'pre-med'injection, for she was a 'terribly nervous and frightened little girl'. Yet another phenomena is that the lift taking patients to the surgical ward has, on a few occasions, moved up and down without being operated by any human hand. Perhaps it acts as a formidable reminder of the human error which, thankfully only occurs very rarely.
© Andrew Green
Stoke Park Hospital
A few of the visitors to this hospital, the main building of which was the home of the Duchess of Beaufort, have sometimes been surprised to see the figure of what appears to be a woman riding a horse moving through the trees near the lake. Some have ignored the couple, others have spent a few minutes in vain waiting for her reappearance. In 1965 a group of youngsters exploring the woods also saw the woman and was convinced that she was the ghost of the Duchess herself. `She is know to have frequented the lakeside`, one of them said.
© Andrew Green
DUDLEY ROAD HOSPITAL
During a BRMB. radio programme in 1978, three nurses from this well-known hospital, situated some two miles from the City Centre, told Colin Smith, the local expert researcher, that one part of the building is regularly visited by a ghost. As is usual, no-one has been frightened by the sudden appearance and disappearance of the figure of the nurse who is known to have died some years ago. Probably connected in some way with the haunting is the often-repeated sighting of a ` middle-aged man in a long white coat` seen walking beside the service station immediately opposite the hospital.
Assumed to be a doctor, the ghost has been witnessed by so many of the staff of BMP. Motors, opposite the hospital as well as by casual and regular visitors, that the local police no longer bother to investigate claims of `a mysterious figure in white`, gliding round the service station. The maintenance and repair buildings were built on the site of a mortuary originally owned and administered by the hospital authorities. The brief is that a staff-nurse who had an affair with one of the house surgeons died suddenly ` under mysterious circumstances` and the medical executive involved was so disturbed that he continued to visit the mortuary for several days after her death. Concerning the authenticity of the haunting of the Neurosurgical Wing of the hospital, once a fever hospital, is a letter from a former patient who saw the phantom staff-nurse during the autumn of 1976. She claims that she saw her more than once and was thus able to provide a good description. `She was good-looking, a blonde in her twenties, wearing a grey uniform. When I asked another staff-nurse who her companion was, she looked slightly apprehensive`. So adamant was the patient about the `visitation` that one doctor questioned her about it. The ghostly nurse seems to visit those who are very ill and the belief is that if a patient sees her they will rapidly improve in health. Four witnesses claim that, in fact, there are two phantom nurses both in grey uniform that haunt this hospital, and this was confirmed by a couple of the medical staff who called in at the service station whilst Colin Smith was researching the case. If this is correct, and there is no reason to doubt it, then obviously, it would be confusing and practically impossible to clarify which ghost was which. Perhaps it does not matter.
© Andrew Green
DUMFRIES AND GALLOWAY ROYAL INFIRMARY
Dumfries and Galloway
Although demolished some 16 years ago the original Dumfries Hospital, once owned by nearby St Joseph's College, is still recalled by the `weird atmosphere` and `appalling feeling` experienced at a particular spot in the grounds of the Royal Infirmary. Here on a site near the current building stood the original hospital which, in the early days of medicine, had catered for the mentally-disturbed by chaining the more violent to walls of the cells, known somewhat as a `treatment room`. The building eventually became modernised and the cellars and `special rooms` sealed off or used merely for storage, though retaining the iron-barred doors and manacles in the walls. Partly as a result of an increasing number of complaints concerning ` weird shrieks and moans`, the hospital was closed and it became a boarding school. However the incidents continued unabated and the building was then used as a dormitory for parents visiting their children in a new school associated with the college. Eventually the authorities decided to renovate and re-develop and carried out a complete modernisation programme of the old hospital and it became a block of flats. Unfortunately, the reputation of the site ensured that none were ever occupied and, in 1963, the whole construction was levelled to the ground, leaving the grim reminders of the days of Bedlam untouched but buried. Many visitors to the grounds have been affected by the sudden and inexplicable ` feeling of terror` or even being ` completely disorientated`. Dogs flatly refuse to venture anywhere near the spot. nothing has ever been seen, but ghost are not always visible are they?
© Andrew Green
SCUNTHORPE GENERAL HOSPITAL
One afternoon in 1975 Barbara Goodall a qualified SRN and RFN. Nursing sister working part-time in this major hospital, was slightly puzzled by the smell of violets in one of the children's wards in the war memorial wing. Since then she has experienced the phenomena two or three times. She had originally assumed that a mother using rather out-dated perfume had unknowingly visited her child and slipped out again unnoticed by the staff. Later she was to learn that it is associated with the ghost of a nurse 'from the Old Frodingham Hospital'who has actually been seen in recent years. The woman appears wearing long clothes partially covered with a long, white apron and is surrounded by the smell of violets which also seems to herald her sudden arrival. Little in known about this phantom nurse, except that she nearly always seen `when one of the young patients, normally a tiny baby under six months old, is desperately ill. After her visitation the child recovers.
© Andrew Green
SOUTHAMPTON GENERAL HOSPITAL
In the early part of the nineteenth century this building like many other old hospitals, was a workhouse administered by a group of nuns. Known as `The Borough` it also accommodated a number of sick and dying unable to afford medical treatment. Sometime during those appalling years of poverty and disease one of the sisters allocated to the medical nursing wing accidentally administered an incorrect medicine to an ailing patient, with the result that the sufferer died in agony. This incident so affected the young and inexperienced nun that she committed suicide shortly afterwards by taking an overdose of the same liquid. In June 1972, Kathleen Bury of Chandler Ford, who had been admitted for treatment following an accident to her head, was lying in bed, `waiting for the morning` fully awake, she could hear the gentle sighs and soft moans from fellow patients in the ward and was beginning to feel slightly drowsy. `Suddenly I was fully awake`, she said ` for I saw two figure standing at the bottom of my bed, apparently looking at me. It was too dark to actually distinguish whether they were male or female but I got the impression that they were wearing some form of religious habit.
They mad no sound and I was getting slightly concerned, so rang the bell for the night nurse. As I did so, the figures drifted away out of sight`. When the ward-sister arrived Kathleen described the incident and asked who the visitors were. The staff members told the patient that no visitors has entered the ward but the experienced was probably associated with the unusual haunting of the suicide nun accompanied by her patient. It seems that in the early days of ` The Borough` patients able to walk were sometimes given spare cloaks of the nuns to wear as `temporary dressing gowns` and therefore figures would appear identical, `rather like twins`. `There is nothing to worry about though` Kathleen was assured` it means that you are going to get better` Kathleen did and was allowed home a few days later. Since the, on discussing the incident with former patients of the hospital, she has heard that the witnessing of `the ghostly pair of nuns` is not unusual. It is in fact a comforting occurrence.
© Andrew Green
STOBHILL GENERAL HOSPITAL
133 Balornock Road
Statistics suggest that few people see more than two ghosts in their lifetime. Someone who has seen two is Mary McLellan who, in 1975 saw the phantom of a previous patient at one Glasgow hospital, but had about 20 years earlier seen another in Stobhill. She was then a student nurse. Whilst in one of the smaller wards she had seen the figure of a woman in a white uniform `slip into a side ward near the door` and assumed it was that of the night-sister. `There was only one patient in that ward` she says, `and she was to be discharged in the morning. As I went to meet the sister a voice called out from the side ward and, on hurrying towards the patient, found her alone and unconscious.` Who had summoned the nurse was a mystery but Mary is convinced that the patient would have died if she had not been called. Those ready for discharge are left to sleep undisturbed so who was the `visitor` who would certainly have been seen leaving the room? Perhaps the McLellan family are natural sensitives for Mary's daughter, when only five years old, would often talk to an unseen person. On one occasion she asked her mother, `Anne is my sister too. Why did you let her go away? The girl had never been told that a sister had been born years earlier but died when only 10 months old. In theory she should have had no knowledge of this, one supposes, a telepathic link with her mother's subconscious could account for the incident, or could it?
© Andrew Green
UNIVERSITY COLLEGE HOSPITAL
Here the ghost of yet another `nurse in bluish-grey uniform` but seen, apparently, only by certain patients in a particular ward. She appears only when screens are put round a patient for the administration of intravenous injections and at no other time. Several women and a few men have enquired about the, 'Strange new nurse who just stands watching the procedures'and the explanation given is 'She's a student'. Many a new nurse has obviously been puzzled by the question for as far as they are concerned there is no colleague with them at the time wearing the clothes described. Some believe she is the ghost of a trainee who accidentally administered morphine to a relative who died from an incorrect dosage. So disturbed at the calamity was she that the girl injected herself with poison and died.
© Andrew Green
Whilst carrying out her duties as night-sister in this hospital one night early in 1975, Mary McLellan was 'preparing a machine, facing a well-lit corridor'. Suddenly she became aware of a 'Tall, silver-haired man wearing a blue dressing robe standing near the doorway of the ward opposite'. He stood still and silent for a moment and then vanished. Mary, Who wrote to the Midlands Association of Ghost Hunters following an appeal for information concerning hauntings, assumed that he was a patient and had gone back to bed. `Almost immediately`, she continued, `the ward nurse came over to me. She was very upset having seen the apparition. As she neared the figure she recognised him as a patient who had died two days previously`. This incident is, I find, more than a little interesting, for the figure must surely have been three dimensional in order that two witnesses could see him from different angles, one presumable face-on. the other in profile. It is also unusual for two unrelated individuals to see the ghost of someone who has died within 48 hours, yet this is what happened, apparently.
© Andrew Green
WEST KENT GENERAL HOSPITAL
One of the older hospitals in this rapidly growing town on the Medway, the West Kent with 163 beds, associated with an Ophthalmic Unit nearby, has an excellent reputation but also a crying ghost. The hospital was founded in the eighteenth century and, like many others, has been altered, modified and enlarged over the years so there is little likelihood of ever establishing the identity of the phantom woman who cries so pitifully in one of the wards. Although she has not been seen in living memory, her sobs have been heard on numerous occasions, the most recent being during the autumn of 1978 by Mr. Day, a charge-nurse on night duty. Like some of the other members of the staff he has often been puzzled and has spent some time trying to gain further information regarding the distressing sounds `The woman is obviously heartbroken about something`
© Andrew Green
WOODLANDS ORTHOPAEDIC HOSPITAL
Mrs. Grinsell was a patient here in 1848 recovering from a serious illness. One night at 10.30 p.m. she woke to find a nurse standing at the foot of her bed, but so unconcerned was she that she turned over and went back to sleep. `I thought it was merely a night-nurse checking up on me, but I was a little puzzled by the unusual butterfly type cap she wore`. On making some enquiries the following morning, Mrs. Grinsell was assured that there was no relief staff on duty that night and certainly no-one had visited her. However, the description she gave matched that of a ward sister who was killed when the hospital was bombed during the war. `The ward you are in` her informant told her ` was her favourite, the one in which she spent most of her time`. The phantom sister was seen by a number of other patients and nursing staff during the following years but, `less frequently` She was last witnessed in 1971.
© Andrew Green