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The Hauntings Of ---- House In The Neighbourhood Of The Great Western Road Aberdeen






The following experience of a haunting is that of Mr. Scarfe, who told
it me some few summers ago, expressing at the same time great
eagerness to accompany me on some of my investigations.

I append it as nearly as possible in his own words:--

I was spending Easter, he began, with some friends of mine in
Aberdeen, and, learning from them that there was a haunted house in
the immediate vicinity of the Great Western Road, I begged them to try
and get me permission to spend a night in it. As good luck would have
it, the landlord happened to be a connection of theirs, and although
at first rather reluctant to give me leave, lest by doing so he
should create a precedent, and, consequently, be pestered to death by
people whom he knew to be as anxious as I was to see the ghost, he
eventually yielded; and, the following evening at 8 p.m., accompanied
only by my dog, Scott, I entered the premises.

I cannot say I felt very comfortable when the door slammed behind me,
and I found myself standing alone in a cold, dark passage out of which
rose a gloomy staircase, suggestive of all sorts of uncanny
possibilities. However, overcoming these nervous apprehensions as best
I could, I began a thorough search of the premises, to make sure that
no one was hiding there.

Descending first of all into the basement, I explored the kitchen,
scullery, larder, and other domestic offices. The place fairly reeked
with damp, but this was not to be wondered at, taking in consideration
the fact, that the soil was clay, the floor of the very poorest
quality of cement, cracked and broken in a dozen and one places, and
that there had been no fires in any of the rooms for many months. Here
and there in the darkest corners were clusters of ugly cockroaches,
whilst more than one monstrous rat scampered away on my approach. My
dog, or rather the dog that was lent me, and which went by the name of
Scott, kept close at my heel, showing no very great enthusiasm in his
mission, and giving even the rodents as wide a berth as possible.

I invariably trust to my psychic faculty (as you know, Mr. O'Donnell,
some people are born with the faculty) to enable me to detect the
presence of the superphysical. I generally feel the latter
incorporated in some inexplicable manner in the ether, or see it
inextricably interwoven with the shadows.

Here in the basement it was everywhere--the air was simply saturated
with it, and, as the fading sunlight called shadow after shadow into
existence, it confronted me enigmatically whichever way I turned.

I went upstairs, and the presence followed me. In one or two of the
top bedrooms--more particularly in a tiny garret overlooking the
back-yard--the Presence seemed inclined to hover. For some seconds I
waited there, in order to see if there would be any further
development; there being none--I obeyed the mandates of a sudden
impulse and made my way once more to the basement. On arriving at the
top of the kitchen stairs, Scott showed a decided disinclination to
descend farther. Crouching down, he whined piteously, and when I
attempted to grasp him by the collar, snarled in a most savage manner.
Consequently, thinking it better to have no companion at all than one
so unwilling, I descended without him.

The stairs terminated in a very dark and narrow passage, into which
the doors of the kitchen, larder, store room, etc., opened
respectively, and at the farther extremity of which was a doorway
leading to the back-yard. The superphysical Presence seeming to be
more pronounced in this passage than anywhere else, I decided to spend
the night in it, and, selecting a spot opposite the entrance to the
scullery, I constructed a seat out of two of the drawers of the
kitchen dresser, by placing them, one on the other, bottom uppermost
on the floor.

It was now half-past nine; the traffic in the street overhead was
beginning to diminish--the rumbling of drays or heavy four-wheelers
had almost ceased, whilst the jingling of hansoms and even the
piercing hoot-hoot and loud birr-birr of motors was fast becoming less
and less frequent. I put out my candle and waited; and, as I waited,
the hush and gloom of the house deepened and intensified, until, by
midnight, all round me was black and silent--black with a blackness
that defies penetration, and silent with a silence that challenges
only the rivalry of the grave. Occasionally I heard sounds--such, for
example, as the creaking of a board, the flopping of a cockroach, and
the growling of Scott--sounds which in the daytime would have been too
trivial to attract attention, but which now assumed the most startling
and exaggerated proportions. From time to time I felt my pulse and
took my temperature to make sure that I was perfectly normal, whilst
at one o'clock, the hour when human vitality begins to be on the wane,
I ate some chicken and ham sandwiches, which I helped down with a
single glass of oatmeal stout. So far, beyond my feeling that there
was a superphysical something in the house, nothing had occurred.
There had not been the slightest attempt at manifestation, and, as the
minutes sped swiftly by I began to fear that, perhaps, after all the
hauntings were only of a negative nature. As the clock struck two,
however, Scott gave an extra savage snarl, and the next moment came
racing downstairs. Darting along the passage and tearing towards me,
he scrambled up the overturned drawers, and, burying his face in my
lap, set up the most piteous whinings. A sensation of icy coldness,
such as could not have been due to any physical cause, now surged
through me; and, as I got out my pocket flashlight ready for
emergencies, I heard an unmistakable rustling in the cellar opposite.
At once my whole attention became riveted in the direction of this
sound, and, as I sat gazing fixedly in front of me, the darkness was
suddenly dissipated and the whole passage, from one end to the other,
was illuminated by a phosphorescent glow; which glow I can best
describe as bearing a close resemblance, in kind though not in degree,
to the glow of a glow-worm. I then saw the scullery door slowly begin
to open. A hideous fear seized me. What--what in the name of Heaven
should I see? Transfixed with terror, unable to move or utter a
sound, I crouched against the wall paralysed, helpless; whilst the
door opened wider and wider.

At last, at last after an interval which to me was eternity,
Something, an as yet indefinite shadowy Something, loomed in the
background of the enlargening space. My suspense was now sublime, and
I felt that another second or so of such tension would assuredly see
me swoon.

The shadowy Something, however, quickly developed, and, in less time
than it takes to write, it assumed the form of a woman--a middle-aged
woman with a startlingly white face, straight nose, and curiously
lined mouth, the two front upper teeth of which projected considerably
and were very long. Her hair was black, her hands coarse, and red, and
she was clad in the orthodox shabby print of a general servant in some
middle-class family. The expression in her wide-open, glassy blue eyes
as they glared into mine was one of such intense mental and physical
agony that I felt every atom of blood in my veins congeal. Creeping
stealthily forward, her gaze still on me, she emerged from the
doorway, and motioning to me to follow, glided up the staircase. Up,
up, we went, the cold, grey dawn greeting us on our way. Entering the
garret to which I have already alluded, the phantasm noiselessly
approached the hearth, and, pointing downward with a violent motion of
the index finger of its right hand, suddenly vanished. A great feeling
of relief now came over me, and, yielding to a reaction which was the
inevitable consequence of such a severe nervous strain, I reeled
against the window-sill and shook with laughter.

Equanimity at length reasserting itself, I carefully marked the spot
on the floor, indicated by the apparition, and descending into the
basement to fetch Scott, made hurried tracks to my friends' house,
where I was allowed to sleep on till late in the day. I then returned
to the haunted house with the landlord, and my friend, and, on raising
the boarding in the garret, we discovered a stamped and addressed
envelope.

As the result of our combined inquiries, we learned that a few years
previously the house had been occupied by some tradespeople of the
name of Piblington, who, some six or seven months before they left
the house, had had in their employment a servant named Anna Webb.
This servant, the description of whose person corresponded in every
way with the ghost I had seen, had been suspected of stealing a letter
containing money, and had hanged herself in the cellar.

The letter, I gathered, with several others, had been given to Anna to
post by Mrs. Piblington, and as no reply to the one containing money
was received, Anna was closely questioned. Naturally nervous and
highly strung, the inquisition confused her terribly, and her
embarrassment being construed into guilt, she was threatened with
prosecution. As a proof of my innocence, she scribbled on a piece of
paper, which was produced at the subsequent inquest, I am going to
hang myself. I never stole your letter, and can only suppose it was
lost in the post.

The mere fact of the accused committing suicide would, in many
people's opinion, point to guilt; and as the postal order was never
traced, it was generally concluded that Anna had secreted it, and had
been only waiting till inquiries ceased, and the affair was forgotten,
to cash it. Of course, the letter I found was the missing one, and
although apparently hidden with intent, the fact of its never having
been opened seemed to suggest that Anna was innocent, and that the
envelope had, by some extraordinary accident, fallen unnoticed by Anna
through the crack between the boards. Anyhow, its discovery put an end
to the disturbances and the apparition of the unfortunate
suicide--whether guilty or innocent, and the Judgment Day can alone
determine that--has never been seen since.





Next: The White Lady Of Rownam Avenue Near Stirling

Previous: The Floating Head Of The Benrachett Inn Near The Perth Road Dundee



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