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My latest novel – In Darkness, Shadows Breathe – spends a significant amount of time in the frighteningly haunted Royal and Waverley Hospital whose walls conceal many dark secrets. Although a fairly modern hospital, my creation is built on land formerly occupied by a hospital, asylum and workhouse and is fairly typical in this. Many of today’s hospitals had multiple functions in their past – or are built on the foundations of earlier institutions whose practices would not be considered appropriate in this day and age.
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One of these event companies is Haunted Happenings. Newsham Park is a regular venue for them, and Philip Barron is one of their most experienced ghost hunters and guides. In more than twenty trips around the former hospital, he had witnessed his fair share of the unusual and unexplained and become accustomed to the many individual different experiences members of the same party might report But, on one fateful night, something happened that he had no way of explaining. It all started when, at the beginning of the all-night vigil, the group posed for the obligatory photograph.
The vigil passed off spookily as usual. Everyone had a great time and went home satisfied.
The next morning, Philip uploaded the photograph – again, as usual. What happened next wasn’t usual. The photograph quickly went viral. There were all the smiling, happy faces. The problem was there was one too many smiling faces. No one – and I mean no one – remembered the additional member of the group, a smiling girl. She wasn’t on the tour, well, not officially anyway. Maybe she had somehow sneaked in, and gained entry for free. Except...the simple fact was, she lacked substance somehow. The team tried to find a logical explanation and failed. Equally no one else has come up with one either. It remains one of the many mysteries of the stubbornly haunted Newsham Park Hospital.
Maybe she’s one of the former orphans, or a nurse from its psychiatric hospital days – maybe a patient. Whoever she is, she doesn’t seem too upset by being there.
The mystery ghost joins an ever-expanding collection of phenomena that includes: mischievous poltergeist activity such as workmen’s tools being moved and objects being disturbed when essential work was being carried out on the premises, the sighting of a small child in the attic along with voices heard coming from there, shadowy figures seen in one of the former wards, dragging noises coming from the former dining room, eerie screams and crying coming from the basement and other parts of the building. Then, there’s the overall heavy feeling of dread experienced by many visitors from the minute they cross the threshold. Only to be expected, I would have thought!
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.