Sunday, October 28, 2007

Patricia Stickler (nee Moore) and the "Patti ghost" -1950

Craig-y-nos viewed from the lake

Another e-mail has arrived from a girl who was in Craig-y-nos at the same time as myself.

Pat Stickler writers:
"I remember you coming in as you were the next newcomer after me and as I was teased about the 'ghost' it was now my turn to do the teasing but I was told you were too ill. At that time you were very quiet. "

Well the girl in the next bed to me, Dorothy Johnson, had no such inhibitions.

Less than a week had passed since I had been lifted from the mattress on the floor in my parents bedroom, next to a big coal fire, the only room in the damp farmhouse which my mother could keep warm, wrapped in blanket, one chill March afternoon, placed in the family car and taken over the mountains to this remote bleak castle in an area that seemed utterly desolate surrounded by high mountains.

Where where the fields of home ?
Mother had promised me I would only be there for three days. Already a week had past.

Ward 2 seemed enormous, I had never before been in a room so big nor seen so many girls much older than myself,and all the windows were kept open day and night allowing the wind to hurtle through as if taking a short cut in this valley from one mountain to another.

Once inside this freezing room where my toys had been whipped away on arrival, and I had been given cold lumpy porridge to eat, shouted at by staff who marched around the ward telling everyone to eat up and all this overseen by some strange person with a deep guttural foreign accent who looked neither man nor woman, my life had indeed taken some very unexpected turns since leaving the farm.

Ward 2 was scary enough in the day.
What could night time bring that was worse?
I was about to find out.

“I saw the White Lady last night” says Dorothy.
“She walks around the ward...all dressed in white.”

I am not surprised. So many weird and frightening things had happened to me in the past week that the announcement of some “ghost” walking around the ward in the night did not seem that unusual.

After all, anything could, and indeed did , happen in this place they called a hospital.

“She always stands at the bottom of the bed of the next girl who is going to die.”

“Where was she last night?”
“Bottom of your bed.”

I am alarmed.
Dorothy sees she has got my attention now .
“She started to walk up as if to touch you.”

I begin to cry, not too loud lest the other girls hear.

Dorothy must have decided she had over done it cause she added quickly:

“She walked away again.”

I am 9 years of age and coughing up blood.

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