This blog contains material I wrote and posted on between the years 2005 and 2011 only. It does not contain any new material. For newer writing, please check my main blog (Bill the Butcher).

Sunday, 25 November 2012

My own little ghost story

This actually happened.

I started my private clinic at the end of 1999. The first year was one of hard struggle, and at times I went days without a single patient. At times I wondered if I would be able to keep it going; whether I would even be able to pay the rent on the premises, let alone repay the loans I’d taken.

This story belongs to that era. Why I mention my problems of the time will become clear when I explain a bit more…

In order to understand the story you have to understand first the layout of the clinic. There are two main rooms, the waiting room and the treatment room (and, to one side, opening from the treatment room, the laboratory and bathroom, but they don’t come into this). There is one door opening from the corridor of the ground floor of the building to the left side of the waiting room, and that is the only entrance to the clinic. The waiting room is long and relatively narrow, lined with benches.

Then there is another door opening from the waiting room to the treatment room. It is the only other way out from the waiting room. That door is directly opposite the door into the corridor, so the doors face each other and as you open the treatment room door you look directly at the exit door. I mention this to make it clear that there’s no wayanyone can leave the waiting room without being seen from the treatment room when the door is open. Right?

Now, there is, between the waiting and treatment rooms, a tinted glass window set in the wall through which I can see if anyone's entered the waiting room while the door between the treatment and waiting rooms is closed. When I am seated at my desk, I can see the door to the corridor through this window, as well as about half the waiting room. I cannot see the right side of the waiting room, but there is no exit on that side. In this photo you can see the waiting room looking from the door side towards the far wall. 

One afternoon, then, I was just finishing on a specimen when I looked up at the window and distinctly saw a woman in yellow pass the window from the left (on which side the waiting room door is) and cross towards the right (on which side there are seats, but no exit, and which I can’t observe from my desk). I did not see her enter from the corridor door, but at the time I was not looking at the corridor door. I saw her in the waiting room, though, walking from left to right. I thought she was a new specimen.

I was talking to the specimen I'd finished working on, sitting at my desk, and all this time the waiting room door and midsection were under my direct observation through the window. The woman did not, repeat not, go out or re-cross the window. There was, as I have already said, no other exit...but when I opened the door to let the patient out and ask her to come in, the waiting room was empty.

Now of course I could theorise that it was the ghost of a dead woman haunting the building, someone who died there years ago. Unfortunately for that theory, it was a brand new building then - I was among the first tenants, and I watched the building come up. No dead yellow-clad women. No dead anyone. And neither I, nor anyone I know of, saw her either before that or ever again.

I have no explanations for this except a hallucination. As I said, I'd just started my clinic and patients were few. I was desperate for more, and, as part of subconscious wish-fulfilment I must have imagined the woman, I'm sure. At least I've never had a comparable experience again.

I wonder why not, though. Did my subconscious decide once was enough?

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