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Hospital Happenings Of The Supernatural Kind

When my Dad died in 1985 (he was only 53) he died in Guys Hospital next to London Bridge.

My sister convinced my Mother to visit a medium several months later and apparently said medium made some big and supposedly accurate statements, but one of the statements that was off target involved someone called Martha.

Mum had no recollection of anyone called Martha but the medium insisted it was important and it would come back to her. Mum questioned dad’s brother’s and sisters who all drew a blank. Then one day the switch clicked and Mum remembered that Dad had died on Martha ward, and the comments made at the sitting seemed to make more sense.

Everytime I walk past Guys hospital, which is very rare now that Mum has died and I no longer have any direct relatives living in the area, I am always instinctively drawn to the window of the side room that he died in.

Edit. I started to question my memory as to whether Martha Ward was on the eighth floor of Guys and checked on the hospital website to find it is no longer listed. Probably renamed the “something or other acute ward“ now.
Another bit of my history eroded away…sigh!
 
OK, this is great, hot off the press. A relative has been in the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford (doing well, fortunately), in Albury Ward. She hasn't been heavily drugged, so is lucid and interacting normally. She is in the first bed on the right in a 6-bed room opposite the nurses station, with a toilet immediately opposite her, a door on the left as you enter the little room. On Saturday she texted me to say she had seen a ghost during the night (Friday pm/Saturday am). Early on Saturday morning, about 2.30am, she was sat in her chair due to cramp in her legs (arthritis causing her too much pain to lie down in the bed). She saw a tall person appear from nowhere, dash into the toilet opposite her bed and slam the door shut. After a few minutes, it opened the door and it came out and ran towards the ward entrance, where a male nurse was standing. The male nurse firmly said "NO" and the figure ran back to the toilet slamming the door shut. My relative wanted to use the toilet, and waited and waited for the figure to come out, but no-one did. After about an hour, she was now desperate to use the toilet and called a nurse, but explained she thought someone was in the toilet. The nurse helped my relative to the toilet and checked to see if anyone was in there - there was nobody of course, yet nobody had come out.

She didn't ask the male nurse if he had seen anything, afraid he would think she was mad. She also hadn't mentioned it to any of the other nurses because she didn't want to scare them. I told her that the nurses probably had more ghost stories than anyone and she would be unlikely to scare them! She said the ward had a very strange atmosphere at night and is very quiet. She described the figure as both a person and a "thing"; she said it did not seem solid somehow, and she could not make out whether it was a man or a woman. She said the sound was very strange, the sound of running and the slamming of the door were noisy, but like they were coming from somewhere else - like it was "not on our plane", the ward itself was in deep silence. She has difficulty describing both the substance of the figure and the quality of the sound. She is sure she was awake and not asleep; I have no reason to doubt her since she has fairly irregular sleeping habits and is often awake at night.

Why not ask the male nurse? She wouldn't appear 'mad'.
She could just say that she didn't know whether she had dreamt it or not.
 
OK, this is great, hot off the press. A relative has been in the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford (doing well, fortunately), in Albury Ward. She hasn't been heavily drugged, so is lucid and interacting normally. She is in the first bed on the right in a 6-bed room opposite the nurses station, with a toilet immediately opposite her, a door on the left as you enter the little room. On Saturday she texted me to say she had seen a ghost during the night (Friday pm/Saturday am). Early on Saturday morning, about 2.30am, she was sat in her chair due to cramp in her legs (arthritis causing her too much pain to lie down in the bed). She saw a tall person appear from nowhere, dash into the toilet opposite her bed and slam the door shut. After a few minutes, it opened the door and it came out and ran towards the ward entrance, where a male nurse was standing. The male nurse firmly said "NO" and the figure ran back to the toilet slamming the door shut. My relative wanted to use the toilet, and waited and waited for the figure to come out, but no-one did. After about an hour, she was now desperate to use the toilet and called a nurse, but explained she thought someone was in the toilet. The nurse helped my relative to the toilet and checked to see if anyone was in there - there was nobody of course, yet nobody had come out.

She didn't ask the male nurse if he had seen anything, afraid he would think she was mad. She also hadn't mentioned it to any of the other nurses because she didn't want to scare them. I told her that the nurses probably had more ghost stories than anyone and she would be unlikely to scare them! She said the ward had a very strange atmosphere at night and is very quiet. She described the figure as both a person and a "thing"; she said it did not seem solid somehow, and she could not make out whether it was a man or a woman. She said the sound was very strange, the sound of running and the slamming of the door were noisy, but like they were coming from somewhere else - like it was "not on our plane", the ward itself was in deep silence. She has difficulty describing both the substance of the figure and the quality of the sound. She is sure she was awake and not asleep; I have no reason to doubt her since she has fairly irregular sleeping habits and is often awake at night.
I suspect that there are a lot more ghost stories in hospital wards than we ever hear about. Trauma, people suffering and sometimes dying in terrible pain and observers drugged up to the hilt so faculties are "different". All happening in the very confined space of a ward. Perhaps it would be very strange if unusual happenings were not present.
 
When my Dad died in 1985 (he was only 53) he died in Guys Hospital next to London Bridge.

My sister convinced my Mother to visit a medium several months later and apparently said medium made some big and supposedly accurate statements, but one of the statements that was off target involved someone called Martha.

Mum had no recollection of anyone called Martha but the medium insisted it was important and it would come back to her. Mum questioned dad’s brother’s and sisters who all drew a blank. Then one day the switch clicked and Mum remembered that Dad had died on Martha ward, and the comments made at the sitting seemed to make more sense.

Everytime I walk past Guys hospital, which is very rare now that Mum has died and I no longer have any direct relatives living in the area, I am always instinctively drawn to the window of the side room that he died in.

Edit. I started to question my memory as to whether Martha Ward was on the eighth floor of Guys and checked on the hospital website to find it is no longer listed. Probably renamed the “something or other acute ward“ now.
Another bit of my history eroded away…sigh!

“…in the present Court Room, formerly the Martha Ward, in the central block.”

https://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vol22/pp36-42

figure0740-033-b.gif


Guy's Hospital. The court room (formerly the Martha Ward), 1948

https://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vol22/plate-33

maximus otter
 
“…in the present Court Room, formerly the Martha Ward, in the central block.”

https://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vol22/pp36-42

figure0740-033-b.gif


Guy's Hospital. The court room (formerly the Martha Ward), 1948

https://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vol22/plate-33

maximus otter
That photo was from a different time and different building. The ward my dad was on was a bit more modern than that. I have seen a number of photos attributed to Martha ward at Guys, none of them show the ward he was on.
 
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STOP!

I had a word with my sister. Delete all references to Martha and replace with Esther.
From the ward to the medium.
I had a senior moment…Esther Ward is still there and still a cancer ward.

I need to find the name of the dementia ward and get myself booked in.
 
Listening to Ghosts: Haunted Hospitals, Spectral Patients, and the Monstrous in Modern Medicine
Overview:

Twenty-first century America is haunted. On the big screen and small, the lens of Western popular culture reveals a paranormal renaissance, an undying obsession with the unseen world of ghosts and haunted spaces.1 The population of reality based television programs such as Paranormal State (2007-2011) and Ghost Adventures (2008-present),
supernatural horror films such as the Paranormal Activity franchise (2009-2014), as well as countless websites dedicated to legend tripping and urban exploration, attest to our cultural fears of a horrifying past that hovers just out of sight yet demands to be heard. Across paranormal media, the structure most frequently investigated and presumed to be haunted
is the hospital, in some cases still functioning, such as the Tooele Hospital in Utah, but more often neglected, abandoned, and falling into decay, such as the Linda Vista Community Hospital in Los Angeles. While all hospitals are suspected of paranormal activity, those constructed for the forcible confinement of individuals suffering from mental illness or communicable diseases are held to be the most haunted spaces of all, perpetual prisons for the ghosts of forgotten patients and the wicked physicians who were once their tormenters. Abandoned institutions such as The Willard Asylum for the Chronic Insane and the Trans- Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, to name but two, have been featured on paranormal investigation programs, their dark hallways and vacant wards probed with digital cameras and recorders by purported experts hoping to find evidence of their disembodied and doomed inmates. The Waverly Hills Sanatorium and the Danvers Asylum have both served as the settings for supernatural horror films such as Death Tunnel (2004) and Session 9 (2001). In all of these narratives, the codes, signifiers, and embedded discourses of the abandoned hospital as a haunted institution remain disturbingly salient. The lenses of transmedia storytelling reveal

Source: Walter, Brenda S. Gardenour. Listening to Ghosts: Haunted Hospitals, Spectral Patients, and the Monstrous in Modern Medicine. Trespassing Journal: an online journal of trespassing art, science, and philosophy 4 (Fall 2014), 51-62
 

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Spectral Ties: Hospital Hauntings Across the Line of Control
Abstract:

In this article, we trace encounters between humans and phantasmic entities in hospitals in Indian-occupied and Pakistan-controlled Kashmir. In Pakistan, the presence of spectral beings (jinni) in hospitals is linked to state and sectarian violence, which precipitates ruptures between jinni and human worlds. Such breaches permit jinni to manifest in themedical present, where insecure actors harness them to ventriloquize unspoken anxieties. In Indian-occupied Kashmir, jinn-like, chronically mentally ill patients haunt psychiatric modernization projects. In embracing a jinneaological approach to medical crises, we theorize hospitals as multi-temporal and multi-dimensional spaces called “tesseracts,” in which human-nonhuman encounters serve existential and political purposes.

Source: Varley, E., & Varma, S. (2018). Spectral Ties: Hospital Hauntings Across the Line of Control. Medical Anthropology, 1–15.
 

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  • Varley, E., & Varma, S. (2018). Spectral Ties Hospital Hauntings Across the Line of Control. M...pdf
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Ghostly Ethics.
Abstract:

Patients in Madang Hospital Papua New Guinea, where I carried out ethnographic fieldwork in the early 2000s, knew hospitals to be haunted by spirits for a simple reason: people die there. The proximity of death in the hospital – the cold concrete slabs of the morgue lay only a few meters away from wards that housed patient beds – was not unnerving in itself. Rather, it was the unresolved nature of hospital deaths that raised the prospect of malevolent forces circulating. Patients and relatives often perceived hospital deaths as untimely, either brought about by murderous acts (including sorcery or poison) or hastened by the failure of the hospital staff to “see” the patient’s sickness and give it a “name”. But all deaths in the hospital were also unresolved in that they occurred in the wrong place. Admission to the hospital, where a patient is separated from their kin and is unable to contribute to the relationships that sustain life in their home village causes intense wori, which prevents hospital medicine from working, depletes the body, and can ultimately bring about death.

Source: Street, A. (2018). Ghostly Ethics. Medical Anthropology, 37(8), 703–707.
 

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  • Street, A. (2018). Ghostly Ethics. Medical Anthropology, 37(8), 703–707..pdf
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Belling, C. (2020). Haunted Doctors. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 63(3), 466–479.
Abstract:

The idea of being "haunted" appears often in accounts of the experience of health-care professionals and trainees who suffer from unresolved sorrow or regret about past clinical events, in particular the deaths of patients. The trope of haunting draws a direct line between past professional trauma and the dread of future failure, a connection embodied as a spectral patient who revisits the physician with doubt, anxiety, and exhaustion. This article suggests that the sense of being haunted may be a useful index for the unresolved effects of two omnipresent and underappreciated components of clinical practice: emotion and uncertainty. By connecting the aspects of feeling and (not) knowing that lead to physician suffering-in trauma that is inextricably both emotional and epistemological-a sustaining sense of meaning might be generated. Doctors' work is, in several senses, weird, and medicine might benefit from paying closer attention to the etiologies and manifestations of its ghosts.

Source: Belling, C. (2020). Haunted Doctors. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 63(3), 466–479.
 

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  • Belling, C. (2020). Haunted Doctors. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 63(3), 466–479..pdf
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A very interesting book.
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Estep, Richard . The World's Most Haunted Hospitals: True-Life Paranormal Encounters in Asylums, Hospitals, and Institutions, 2016
 
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