Thursday 22 July 2021

The Floating Sister and Other Apparitions...


My latest novel – In Darkness, Shadows Breathe – is largely set in a fairly modern hospital, but one which has been built using material from – and erected on the foundations of – a much earlier structure. It had been a workhouse, hospital and asylum and one in which patients were treated most cruelly.

Of course, two hundred years ago, even methods employed with the best of intentions, designed to cure people of a range of ills would nowadays cause us to shriek and flee in terror. Any doctor employing such (to us) barbaric methods would be permanently struck off, his/her license to practice medicine permanently removed.

Even with our modern science, hospitals can be traumatic places witnessing every human activity from birth through to death and everything in between - surgeries, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, pain, suffering and, finally, the slipping away of life itself. Add to this, the sheer design of the buildings themselves – especially the older ones – and you have the perfect breeding ground for spirits of all kinds, from ghosts of small babies, through to spectres of people who have met violent, sudden or traumatic deaths.

Then there is another category altogether. That which you could only find in a hospital – the caring ghost who nurtured while alive and now cannot stop simply because they have passed over.
Glasgow Royal Infirmary – originally built in 1794 – has all the ingredients for a supernatural hotbed. It doesn’t disappoint.

There are many stories. Some of the most commonly cited are:

The Floating Sister

Should you encounter this lady, you will probably initially think she is just a member of staff on her way from one ward to another. Look down and you will see that there is nothing below the level of her knees. She appears to be floating along the corridor. A nurse working at the Infirmary in the late 20th century, greeted her as she walked past, before seeing the strange lack of lower limbs. Through the years, the hospital has undergone many renovations and it is quite possible that at some stage the floor levels were changed. This ghost is walking on an older floor.

Archie The Whisperer

This ghost manifests in Ward 27 and patients in their last days have reported seeing the same person, who whispered to them. They have said his name is Archie and his aim appears to be to ease their passing.

 He has also manifested on occasions and has been reported as being elderly and wearing a hair bun.

The Grey Lady

There had to be one, didn’t there? This lady has been chased by staff as she walked down corridors, apparently oblivious to their presence. She has then vanished through walls.

Dead Man Walking

One of the more recent additions to the infirmary's catalogue, this one was first reported early this century. On the way to treat a patient who had suffered a heart attack, a doctor was approached by a patient who asked him for directions out of the hospital. The doctor obliged and hurried to help the person he had been summoned to care for. Sadly, he arrived too late. The heart attack victim has already died.

But the doctor got the shock of his life when he looked down at the deceased patient's face and recognized him. It was the same man who had asked him for directions.

At least Glasgow Royal Infirmary's ghosts are benign. The same cannot be said for those who haunt the Royal and Waverly Hospital...

You’re next…

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…