In Woolwich, in the southeast of London, stood the Queen Elizabeth Military Hospital (QEMH) Before its closure in 1996 – when it was rebuilt as the Queen Elizabeth Hospital – it housed a plethora of ghosts in a number of departments. Interestingly, when they built the new hospital, they retained some of the original features. In my latest novel – In Darkness, Shadows Breathe – the Royal and Waverly Hospital is also built using material from the old structure. This opens up a whole can of dark and sinister worms, allowing evil forces from the past to infect those in the present day.
Back to the old QEMH. In the Oncology Unit – Ward 10 – the ward keys had a habit of going missing but only on the night shift, even though the nurses in charge would be certain beyond any doubt that the keys had been in their pockets. A systematic search would be made, taking care not to wake the seriously ill patients. Time and again, those keys would stay missing until mysteriously reappearing right at the moment a patient needed urgent medication in the middle of the night. The keys would turn up in plain sight – on the office desk which had been painstakingly searched earlier – on two separate occasions. One Nursing Officer became so infuriated that she demanded the ghost return the keys immediately. It did. And this demand worked every time thereafter.
Another instance of haunting on Ward 10 concerns two cancer patients – both serving soldiers. One was a male senior non-commissioned officer and the other a female of junior rank. The two were expected to make a full recovery and used to meet for a chat. They would joke that – as they were in adjacent rooms at the bottom of the ward, near to the main corridor - if one were to die, the other would come and ask if they were ready to join them in heaven.
Unexpectedly, the male officer died in the early hours while the other patients were all sleeping. As the nurses were preparing his body for transportation down to the morgue, they heard a scream from the next room. The female soldier was cowering by her bed, terrified. She said. “Tell him I’m not ready. I don’t want to go.” Her friend had done as he said he would – and come for her.
Following the rebuild and opening of the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), parts of the old hospital building were still being utilized. Wards 3 and 4 housed elderly care, Wards 1 and 2 ( formerly a closed ward and rehabilitation ward respectively) were minor injury and orthopedic clinics. Ward 10 remained as the oncology unit. No other wards were in use and were chained up for security purposes. Physiotherapy, nuclear medicine, microbiology and phlebotomy remained, along with a newly refitted canteen. All other treatment was carried out at nearby Greenwich District Hospital.
By now Ward 10 was only half in use. The rest of that ward lay in darkness. It was in this darkness that something was busy, making banging noises. The occurrences were so frequent (and unexplained), that staff had grown accustomed to them. They gave the perpetrator a name, “Jimmy” and wisely let him get on with it.
Around six months after the changes had been made, an auxiliary nurse from Ward 4 went out of the ward and down to a small office area to have a smoke at around 1a.m.. but instead of a few precious moments to relax, she had the fright of her life. A huge, smoky black shape drifted through the wall to her left, floated in front of her and disappeared through the opposite wall. She raced back to the ward, frightened half out of her wits.
Some time later, a patient of Ward 4 was looking out of her window into the garden and saw what she was certain was a nun, dishing out soup. Needless to say, there were no nuns on the premises – and no soup kitchen either! As for what may have happened in the past…
Ward 4 seems to have been a veritable hive of activity – and from a variety of causes. One elderly lady reported that she had heard and seen little children running around the corridor and her room. Thinking maybe she was having a mental episode, the nursing staff ignored her comments. But soon after, another patient reported exactly the same occurrence. She told the staff that children had been in her room at 5a.m. The two patients were not in the same room and had not met up, yet both reported the same events – in two different locations.
In the ten years that followed, the hospital was extensively remodelled. New buildings were added. Old ones demolished or repurposed. Some, like half the corridor leading to wards 1,2,3, and 4, were retained. Where the old building has been kept, it has been given a facelift. But the original bricks and mortar remain. Is this the reason that ghostly activity is still being experienced there?
Two occupational therapists both witnessed a clock fly off the wall in the new therapy services assessment unit on the ground floor. It didn’t simply fall straight to the ground – it landed n the middle of the room as if it had been thrown. In the old QEMH, in a similar location, army ward stewardesses had reported the same incident years earlier. In the same room, a stool wobbled, fell over and slid across the floor. When one of the occupational therapists doubled over in pain and fell to the floor, she said it was as if someone had punched her hard in the stomach.
It was then they decided to bring in a professional to psychically ‘cleanse’ the room. Since then, all has been peaceful.
Carol and Nessa are strangers but not for much longer.
In a luxury apartment and in the walls of a modern hospital, the evil that was done continues to thrive. They are in the hands of an entity that knows no boundaries and crosses dimensions – bending and twisting time itself – and where danger waits in every shadow. The battle is on for their bodies and souls and the line between reality and nightmare is hard to define.
Through it all, the words of Lydia Warren Carmody haunt them. But who was she? And why have Carol and Nessa been chosen?
The answer lies deep in the darkness…
Flame Tree Press