Next month from the 18-21 April, we welcome the chilling tale Turn of the Screw to the Connaught Theatre; the original inspiration for The Women in Black and The Others. To get you in the mood for this thrilling experience, we ran a competition with Here & Now Magazine for you to submit your ghost stories to us, and we have chosen our favourite three right here… enjoy!
By Anna Birch
As a child I used to scream out to my parents about the man at the bottom of my bed with dark hair and a moustache, staring at me. They put it down to nightmares. When I was about thirteen I was staring in the mirror and saw that same face just behind me for a few seconds then it faded. I never felt threatened, just a bit spooked. I never told anyone as was worried they’d think I was mad! Years went by and I forgot all about it. I left home at 19 and moved into a new home, my neighbours a young Indian family soon became firm friends and they would make rainbow coloured poppadums for their children on a Friday. Their children who were 5 and 7 at the time would pop over my low back garden wall and tap on the window with my treats. One Friday they didn’t appear and on Saturday morning I saw the mum in the garden and I jokingly said, “No poppadums, they been naughty?” She replied, “They came over but saw you had a visitor and didn’t want to come in.” I told her I had been alone ironing most of the evening. I then asked the children what the visitor looked like. They replied “it was a man with dark hair and a moustache, he was standing near you when you were ironing and we didn’t want to come in”…
Non Fictional Story
The Hospital Ghost – by Annette Brampton
As a 2nd year student nurse in 1978 at the London Hospital (now The Royal London) I was expected to work night duty, and I was advised by nursing colleagues to learn every patient’s details for the night sister’s ward round.
“You have to know each patient’s name, age, diagnosis, and their current treatment. ” The staff nurse said “or” and she had swept her hand across her throat in a cut throat fashion and rolled her eyes upwards!
I had barely slept as I tried to commit the details of the 27 patients to heart. The ward round would be done in the dark as the patient’s slept, and you couldn’t see their names or details of the charts that hung on the end of each bed. I was nervous. It felt like an exam!
We had barely settled the patients and done the nightly drug round when I saw the sister standing by bed five. She was leaning over the bed, and seemed to be assessing the patient’s breathing as they slept. When I looked round for support, staff nurse had gone to the end of the ward to answer a call bell and I knew it was up to me to greet sister. I went, confident that I knew the details of that patient at least!
“Hello Sister” I said softly, “this is … ” and I proceeded to tell her the details of the patient, but as I told her, I became aware of a strange eerie light around her and she smiled calmly at me and left the ward.
I had no time to ponder, because suddenly another night sister arrived, briskly asking me to accompany her round the ward. I did my best, but felt flustered and confused!! When I tried to explain to the sister that another sister had been there, she looked pale and asked me the strangest question.
“Did you see her legs nurse?” On seeing my puzzled expression, I learned that there was a ghostly matronly figure who appeared on the wards at night usually drawn to new nurses and usually when she left, they saw she had no body below her matron’s dress! She never did anyone any harm, but a worsening of diagnosis/death might happen for a patient after her visit. We kept a good eye on the patient in bed 5 after that! And although I carried out my duties my hands were very shaky! Both staff nurse and I jumped at every sound. The ghostly matron didn’t return on my set of nights, and the poorly patient did recover. I never took to night duty though! Spooky nights were not for me!
Non Fictional or Fiction Story (Unconfirmed)
Most have heard of Melton Mowbray – a busy market town near the middle of England famous for its pork pies and Stilton cheese.
We were staying in an old fashioned coaching inn in the middle of town. Low beamed ceilings and narrow hallways; inglenook fireplaces and leaded windows except I don’t remember the fire being lit. It was pretty with interesting nooks and crannies and passageways that led you back on yourself so you thought you would never get lost except that you did. It was spooky and reminded me of The Shining. It had that strange unnerving connection.
During the day we had meandered round Melton, tasting of its delicacies – the peppery taste of the Melton pork pie but the Stilton too strong. Then a walk round Rutland water before retiring to the snug bar that was cosy and friendly though the fire had still not been lit it did not lack any atmosphere. The old English ale went down a treat and made retiring to bed easy.
Our room was pokey and angled so that you felt the bed would slide across the room. Although we were close to the centre of town we were away from any streetlights and the lamp in the room only offered shadows. As soon as it was switched off it was if a black sheet had been thrown over us descending into sleep almost immediately.
I remember waking up. It was bright all around, but in the corner of the room by the window it was more than bright. Shimmering and flashing similar to when you have a migraine. You try to focus and try to see what you are seeing but you can’t because it’s in the blind spot of your eyes and you have to look away to one side to be able to see it.
It was curious and wondrous not fearful but inviting and beckoning. I felt I came to my senses reasoning that it must be daylight merely streaming through the leaded windows. I looked again and knew it wasn’t.
I lifted myself up on my elbows staring intently. It was hypnotic holding me in place. It reassured me to reach out and touch.
I never made it: my arm had been knocked from underneath me and I tumbled back in bed. My wife still fast asleep had caught my arm and pulled me back.
We woke next morning. Nothing was said between us. I had felt a strange aura envelope me which for unknown reason I wanted to keep secret and which my wife apparently knew nothing about and I wasn’t sure had taken place.
We packed and as we shut the door one of the hotels maids came up. Smiling, she squeezed past and looking back asked inquisitively how did we like our stay. We looked at each other and replied in unison ‘wonderful’ without any further explanation.’ Ahh’ she said, that’s good because that room is supposed to be haunted.
Chilling stuff… thank you to everyone who entered our competition! Did you know that the Connaught Theatre is officially listed as having a theatre ghost called The Grey Lady who was spotted many years ago? On that note, you can enjoy our latest trailer for Turn of the Screw below… Click Here for More Information and Booking.
“Tightly-wound and deliciously atmospheric production”
★★★★ The Stage