1158. To raise an umbrella in a house is a sign of an approaching death. Pennsylvania; somewhat general in the United States. 1159. To open an umbrella in the house is a sign of ill luck. An action of this sort seriously distur... Read more of Death Omens at Superstitions.caInformational Site Network Informational
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The Ghost Of The Hindoo Child Or The Hauntings Of The White Dove Hotel Near St Swithin's Street Aberdeen






In the course of many years' investigation of haunted houses, I have
naturally come in contact with numerous people who have had first-hand
experiences with the Occult. Nurse Mackenzie is one of these people. I
met her for the first time last year at the house of my old friend,
Colonel Malcolmson, whose wife she was nursing.

For some days I was hardly aware she was in the house, the illness of
her patient keeping her in constant seclusion, but when Mrs.
Malcolmson grew better, I not infrequently saw her, taking a morning
constitutional in the beautiful castle grounds. It was on one of
these occasions that she favoured me with an account of her psychical
adventure.

It happened, she began, shortly after I had finished my term as
probationer at St. K.'s Hospital, Edinburgh. A letter was received at
the hospital one morning with the urgent request that two nurses
should be sent to a serious case near St. Swithin's Street. As the
letter was signed by a well-known physician in the town, it received
immediate attention, and Nurse Emmett and I were dispatched, as day
and night nurses respectively, to the scene of action. My hours on
duty were from 9 p.m. till 9 a.m. The house in which the patient was
located was the White Dove Hotel, a thoroughly respectable and
well-managed establishment. The proprietor knew nothing about the
invalid, except that her name was Vining, and that she had, at one
period of her career, been an actress. He had noticed that she had
looked ill on her arrival the previous week. Two days after her
arrival, she had complained of feeling very ill, and the doctor, who
had been summoned to attend her, said that she was suffering from a
very loathsome Oriental disease, which, fortunately is, in this
country, rare. The hotel, though newly decorated and equipped
throughout with every up-to-date convenience, was in reality very
old. It was one of those delightfully roomy erections that seem built
for eternity rather than time, and for comfort rather than economy of
space. The interior, with its oak-panelled walls, polished oak floors,
and low ceilings, traversed with ponderous oaken beams, also impressed
me pleasantly, whilst a flight of broad, oak stairs, fenced with
balustrades a foot thick, brought me to a seemingly interminable
corridor, into which the door of Miss Vining's room opened. It was a
low, wainscoted apartment, and its deep-set window, revealing the
thickness of the wall, looked out upon a dismal yard littered with
brooms and buckets. Opposite the foot of the bed--a modern French
bedstead, by the bye, whose brass fittings and somewhat flimsy
hangings were strangely incongruous with their venerable
surroundings--was an ingle, containing the smouldering relics of what
had doubtless been intended for a fire, but which needed considerable
coaxing before it could be converted from a pretence to a reality.
There was no exit save by the doorway I had entered, and no furniture
save a couple of rush-bottomed chairs and a table strewn with an
untidy medley of writing materials and medicine bottles.

A feeling of depression, contrasting strangely with the effect
produced on me by the cheerfulness of the hotel in general, seized me
directly I entered the room. Despite the brilliancy of the electric
light and the new and gaudy bed-hangings, the air was full of gloom--a
gloom which, for the very reason that it was unaccountable, was the
more alarming. I felt it hanging around me like the undeveloped shadow
of something singularly hideous and repulsive, and, on my approaching
the sick woman, it seemed to thrust itself in my way and force me
back.

Miss Vining was decidedly good-looking; she had the typically
theatrical features--neatly moulded nose and chin, curly yellow hair,
and big, dreamy blue eyes that especially appeal to a certain class of
men; like most women, however, I prefer something more solid, both
physically and intellectually--I cannot stand the pretty, pretty.
She was, of course, far too ill to converse, and, beyond a few
desultory and spasmodic ejaculations, maintained a rigid silence. As
there was no occasion for me to sit close beside her, I drew up a
chair before the fire, placing myself in such a position as to command
a full view of the bed. My first night passed undisturbed by any
incident, and in the morning the condition of my patient showed a
slight improvement. It was eight o'clock in the evening when I came on
duty again, and, the weather having changed during the day, the whole
room echoed and re-echoed with the howling of the wind, which was
raging round the house with demoniacal fury.

I had been at my post for a little over two hours--and had just
registered my patient's temperature, when, happening to look up from
the book I was reading, I saw to my surprise that the chair beside the
head of the bed was occupied by a child--a tiny girl. How she had come
into the room without attracting my attention was certainly
extraordinary, and I could only suppose that the shrieking of the wind
down the wide chimney had deadened the sound of the door and her
footsteps.

I was naturally, of course, very indignant that she had dared to come
in without rapping, and, getting up from my seat I was preparing to
address her and bid her go, when she lifted a wee white hand and
motioned me back. I obeyed because I could not help myself--her
action was accompanied by a peculiar,--an unpleasantly peculiar,
expression that held me spellbound; and without exactly knowing why,
I stood staring at her, tongue-tied and trembling. As her face was
turned towards the patient, and she wore, moreover, a very
wide-brimmed hat, I could see nothing of her features; but from her
graceful little figure and dainty limbs, I gathered that she was
probably both beautiful and aristocratic. Her dress, though not
perhaps of the richest quality, was certainly far from shoddy, and
there was something in its style and make that suggested foreign
nationality,--Italy--or Spain--or South America--or even the Orient,
the probability of the latter being strengthened by her pose, which
was full of the serpent-like ease which is characteristic of the
East. I was so taken up with watching her that I forgot all about my
patient, until a prolonged sigh from the bed reminded me of her
existence. With an effort I then advanced, and was about to approach
the bed, when the child, without moving her head, motioned me back,
and--again I was helpless. The vision I had obtained of the sick
woman, brief though it was, filled me with alarm. She was tossing to
and fro on the blankets, and breathing in the most agonised manner as
if in delirium, or enthralled by some particularly dreadful
nightmare. Her condition so frightened me, that I made the most
frantic efforts to overcome my inertia. I did not succeed, however,
and at last, utterly overcome by my exertion, I closed my eyes. When
I opened them again, the chair by the bed was vacant--the child had
gone. A tremendous feeling of relief surged through me, and, jumping
out of my seat, I hastened to the bedside--my patient was worse, the
fever had increased, and she was delirious. I took her temperature.
It was 104. I now sat close beside her, and my presence apparently
had a soothing effect. She speedily grew calmer, and after taking her
medicine gradually sank into a gentle sleep which lasted until late
in the morning. When I left her she had altogether recovered from the
relapse. I, of course, told the doctor of the child's visit, and he
was very angry.

Whatever happens, Nurse, he said, take care that no one enters the
room to-night; the patient's condition is far too critical for her to
see any one, even her own daughter. You must keep the door locked.

Armed with this mandate, I went on duty the following night with a
somewhat lighter heart, and, after locking the door, once again sat by
the fire. During the day there had been a heavy fall of snow; the wind
had abated, and the streets were now as silent as the grave.

Ten, eleven, and twelve o'clock struck, and my patient slept
tranquilly. At a quarter to one, however, I was abruptly roused from a
reverie by a sob, a sob of fear and agony that proceeded from the bed.
I looked, and there--there, seated in the same posture as on the
previous evening, was the child. I sprang to my feet with an
exclamation of amazement. She raised her hand, and, as before, I
collapsed--spellbound--paralysed. No words of mine can convey all the
sensations I experienced as I sat there, forced to listen to the
moaning and groaning of the woman whose fate had been entrusted to my
keeping. Every second she grew worse, and each sound rang in my ears
like the hammering of nails in her coffin. How long I endured such
torment I cannot say, I dare not think, for, though the clock was
within a few feet of me, I never once thought of looking at it. At
last the child rose, and, moving slowly from the bed, advanced with
bowed head towards the window. The spell was broken. With a cry of
indignation I literally bounded over the carpet and faced the
intruder.

Who are you? I hissed. Tell me your name instantly! How dare you
enter this room without my permission?

As I spoke she slowly raised her head. I snatched at her hat. It
melted away in my hands, and, to my unspeakable terror, my undying
terror, I looked into the face of a corpse!--the corpse of a Hindoo
child, with a big, gaping cut in its throat. In its lifetime the child
had, without doubt, been lovely; it was now horrible--horrible with
all the ghastly disfigurements, the repellent disfigurements, of a
long consignment to the grave. I fainted, and, on recovering, found my
ghostly visitor had vanished, and that my patient was dead. One of
her hands was thrown across her eyes, as if to shut out some object on
which she feared to look, whilst the other grasped the counterpane
convulsively.

It fell to my duty to help pack up her belongings, and among her
letters was a large envelope bearing the postmark Quetta. As we were
on the look-out for some clue as to the address of her relatives, I
opened it. It was merely the cabinet-size photograph of a Hindoo
child, but I recognised the dress immediately--it was that of my
ghostly visitor. On the back of it were these words: Natalie. May God
forgive us both.

Though we made careful inquiries for any information as to Natalie and
Miss Vining in Quetta, and advertised freely in the leading London
papers, we learned nothing, and in time we were forced to let the
matter drop. As far as I know, the ghost of the Hindoo child has never
been seen again, but I have heard that the hotel is still
haunted--haunted by a woman.





Next: Glamis Castle

Previous: The White Lady Of Rownam Avenue Near Stirling



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