Report by Innes Smith
Client: Doreen MacKay
Location: Glyndhall Nursing Home
West of Scotland
Team: Innes Smith, David Melrose, and Jennifer Clocherty
With: Charles Morton
- A Nursing Home which has a history of paranormal activity and has contacted the SSPR before (no report of that visit survives).
- Varied alleged phenomena.
- 3 witnesses interviewed with an additional 4 written accounts.
- Two visits, the final one with Charles Morton who conducted a ‘cleansing’.
Initial Telephone Interview: 15 / 2 / 04
The following is a summary of a telephone conversation, which took place on Sunday evening, the fifteenth of February 2004. The Client initially contacted Archie Lawrie, and gave a précis of her situation. This is an SSPR Case from approximately 10 years ago, the initial investigators being Archie Roy and Trisha Robertson. The original case notes have not been consulted, and according to Trisha Robertson, the case notes will probably not be found.
Doreen MacKay is the General Manager of the Glyndhall Nursing Home. It is family owned and run. The property is an old sandstone villa, which was bought 23 years ago specifically to be converted into a nursing home. Since its purchase in 1981, it has undergone two substantial building projects; in 1987 an extension was added, and again in 1988-89.
It is a residential nursing home caring for a high proportion of senile dementia patients.
Doreen was asked about the paranormal history of the building. We were both aware that the building has already been the subject of an SSPR investigation, but Innes asked her to repeat what she knew. Doreen also emphasised that she “wasn’t around during the early years” and the following examples of paranormal phenomena are second hand, (with the exception of number 1).
- An old Gentleman was seen in one of the windows, in one of the rooms, when no one was known to be there. This was seen before the house was opened to residents.
- Sensations of presence specific to certain rooms.
- Taps being turned on.
- Fleeting glimpses of figures out the corner of the eye.
- Objects being moved about.
Since the first investigation Doreen was asked what, if anything, has happened between then and now.
According to Doreen, the staff have witnessed a variety of phenomena. It is possible that the residents have also witnessed unusual events, but unfortunately they are not reliable or credible witnesses on the grounds that the majority of them have dementia.
- Taps are turned on.
- Objects are moved around.
- There are sensations of presence.
- Fleeting glances of figures.
Interestingly, the staff have noticed a pattern to the phenomena. Although the unusual events were not frequent – she said that sometimes there would be a gap of 2 – 3 years, the phenomena would begin with taps being turned on (and left on).
Doreen felt that the phenomena indicated that “the staff were up to no good”, and when asked to elaborate she used the word, ‘negativity’.
The reason why Doreen has contacted the Society at this time is because of the following two incidents.
Four weeks ago (mid-January) Doreen and a fellow member of staff were in an office when a Heavy File was thrown off a Shelving Unit and landed at their feet. She felt that this could not have happened by gravity alone. Her response was, “Our friend is trying to be more direct!”
Recently a resident was found lying on the floor of her bedroom. She had her legs raised on a stool. Her chair was moved and her bedside table was moved. The bedside table being moved was more perplexing because there was a cup of tea and Irn Bru on the top. If the woman had tried to move the table herself then there would have been spillage. There was none.
Doreen said, “It looked as if she had been lifted out of her chair and laid on the floor.”
The lady was asked what happened. She explained that a lady had come in “with no clothes”.
The lady also complained of “people coming in and watching T.V”.
This worries Doreen because this resident is apparently one of the few not senile. It was noted that the resident is also a ‘strong catholic’.
Doreen suspects that this incident coupled with the S.R.P.K indicates some underlying tension.
“When water starts running we know something’s afoot!”
- Doreen MacKay stressed the importance of confidentiality.
- It seems to the interviewer that Doreen is not particularly disturbed by the phenomena. Rather, having made the connection between the phenomena and underlying stress or anxiety, she seems more disturbed by the fact that it points to an undiscovered source of tension!
Second Telephone Interview 16 / 2 / 04
When making arrangements for a visit the following questions were put to Doreen MacKay (to provide further clarification):
- How long has Doreen MacKay been the General Manager of the Nursing Home? ~ Doreen has been the General Manager since the 1st of January 2004. She has worked in the business for 4 years, but being a family member she is familiar with the home, its staff and residents since its beginning.
- When exactly was the lady found lying on the floor? ~ Last week, either Tuesday or Wednesday. (The 10th or 11th of Feb).
- How confident is she that the lady could not either move out of her seat, or move the table and chair? ~ The lady is obese, and has severe mobility problems. It takes three staff to move her.
- How certain is she that the lady is not exhibiting the first signs of dementia? ~ The lady is in her mid-nineties, but shows few signs of dementia (a percentage was given – 90% dementia free!) The lady only talks in a bizarre manner when referring to the bizarre incidents.
First Visit to Location 19/2/04
Our first visit to the property was on a cold, clear night in February. The building is an impressive size with substantial grounds. We arrived at 7 o’clock, and were met by a member of staff who signed us in after she had momentarily disabled the door’s alarm system. Visitors were coming and going, and we were privy to a few conversations; it was apparent that this was a busy nursing home with a high quotient of dementia patients.
We met with Doreen MacKay, the Manager, who in turn introduced us to the Staff Nurse, Maureen McLaughlin. The resident – who was found lying on the floor of her room – was about to go to sleep, so we decided to interview her first.
Following the interview with the resident, we moved to a small office on the ground floor and asked Doreen MacKay and Maureen McLaughlin to elaborate on the resident’s account and seek clarity on several points.
Then we moved to the old stable block part of the building, and took statements from both Doreen MacKay and Maureen McLaughlin. They both felt that this part of the building was of interest.
Finally we moved to the upstairs office and asked Doreen MacKay and Maureen McLaughlin to reconstruct the SPK incident. They also told us about any other paranormal experiences they, or other members of staff, had had on the premises.
In total we spent two hours in the Nursing Home, and left with an open arrangement to return to the property to properly sketch out its layout.
The Moved Resident
Agnes McDonald is in her mid-nineties. She has been a resident at Glyndhall since August 1997. She is morbidly obese and has severe mobility problems. In her own words, “Oh, I don’t move about – the nurses move me.” She has a history of infrequent epilepsy, but has not had an epileptic fit since coming to Glyndhall. She had Deep Vein Thrombosis before Christmas, 2003. Agnes McDonald shares the room – room nine – with a thin woman, immobile due to a stroke.
According to both D.M and M.M, Agnes is one of the few residents to be mostly dementia free.
On Tuesday the 10th of February at 4.30 p.m Agnes was found lying on the floor. Both Agnes and staff agree that she may have been lying like that for up to half an hour.
However, when questioned about how she got there and in what position she was found, Agnes’ recall was not perfect or continuous. She took some prompting and cues from Maureen McLaughlin who was sitting at the back of the room.
Agnes’ account will be given first.
“Well.. I was sittin’ round there and I got up on ma feet, and this woman was at the back here and she came over and shoved me down. And she shoved me out. Well, I couldn’t get up. Cos, I can’t walk myself.”
When asked, Agnes said that she didn’t stand up. She did not see the person come in. She had her back to the door.
“I didn’t see her face…but she was wearing ladies’ clothes…oh, I didn’t know her, I didn’t know her at all… ”
Agnes at first couldn’t recall being found on her back, although she remembered lying on the floor. She couldn’t recollect how long she had been lying there. She didn’t notice the ‘person’ enter or exit the room. She didn’t recall any noise before, during, or after the incident. Any further details about the incident were either a yes, no, or can’t remember to M.M’s prompting.
Maureen McLaughlin and Doreen MacKay provided the following information when we moved to the small office.
Agnes was found lying on her back, with her feet elevated upon a footstool and her head cushioned by a blanket. The seat she was sitting on was still in an upright position, with the cushion still in position. A bedside table (on wheels) moved approximately one metre. A cup of tea and a glass of juice on the table were not spilled. Agnes’ Rosary Beads were found at the bottom of the bed – not in their usual position and irreverently placed.
Both D.M and M.M are confident of the following:
- That if Agnes fell or was pushed the chair would have moved from its position, or would have toppled over.
- That Agnes, if pushed, would have landed on her front, yet was found on her back. Both D.M and M.M are confident that none of the residents moved Agnes. The residents were all accounted for in one of the dining rooms. They are also confident that members of staff did not move Agnes, and repeated that it takes two to three staff to move her.
- Agnes’ feet were elevated upon a footstool. Her head was also cushioned by a blanket. D.M and M.M are confident that Agnes could not have moved her legs by herself, or reached her arms behind her head to position a blanket.
- The table, albeit on wheels, must have been carefully moved to avoid spilling the drinks on top – and therefore not moved during a fall.
The Phantom T.V Viewers
Agnes was asked about any uninvited or unwanted guests or residents coming into her room.
Her response was, “No, I’ve not seen them.”
Maureen McLaughlin prompted, “What happens when you’ve got your television on?”
Agnes responded with a fairly mundane answer about not liking the television.
Margaret prompted again, “Remember that was why we were putting that television on, and you said, ‘don’t put on that television on, I don’t want it on, because they all come in and I can’t get rid of them’. Mind you’ve said that to us? You’ve said that to us quite a few times!”
Agnes said, “I don’t like them coming in here to where I am. At night. Sure I don’t? …I keep to myself and I don’t bother anyone… Sure I don’t let them in…I don’t let them in. I just tell them to get out, and shut that door…”
Agnes could not recall anything else of note to tell us, and we excused ourselves before causing any further inconvenience to the resident.
Maureen McLaughlin and Doreen MacKay provided more information on the ‘Phantom T.V Viewers’.
“She loved her television. But recently now, when you go in, she won’t let you put the television on because she’s convinced they’re in when the television’s on… ‘This is when they come into my room, and they start to change the channels, and I can’t see the telly so I hunt them out.’ ”
They said that they kept a very close watch on Agnes, but the channels would still change. M.M & D.M said that according to Agnes, it didn’t matter if the door was open or closed, they’d still come.
The Old Stable Block
Room eighteen and room nineteen are located in the part of the Nursing Home that used to be part of the old stable block. It was converted, extended and refurbished into accommodation in 1989. Before that, the nursing home utilised the old stables as storage.
According to both D.M & M.M, this past of the building has an uncomfortable atmosphere. They talked about a sensation of presence in both of the rooms, but particularly in room eighteen. Apparently residents in this part of the building would become “distressed, agitated and aggressive.” Although, this sort of ‘effect’ has not been active recently. It was when the block was first occupied the residents reacted in the most alarming manner.
The Falling Folder
Doreen MacKay and Maureen McLaughlin were both in the upstairs office. It was mid-January and approximately 2.15 p.m. They were standing in front of a substantial shelving unit engaged in conversation after a work related meeting, when a heavy file and two small pads slid off a shelf and landed right at their feet. The shelves have been screwed to the ground, and are not leaning. The file is heavy – the folder’s title is ‘Quality Management.’
Both D.M and M.M believe that this incident was trying to tell them something.
D.M: “Our friend is trying to tell us something, basically.”
M.M: “Mrs Mulgrew, Doreen’s Mum, the owner, has always said that, there’s always things going on…just before it, and it’s a standard joke~ what are we missing? And something always turns up – always.”
Doreen MacKay stressed that the taps being turned on were the first signs of paranormal activity. She, her mother and other members of staff, felt that the activity was attention seeking and was alerting them to some hidden problem.
D.M felt that the file falling off the shelves was in reaction to them not picking up from the cue of the running taps. The taps started to run just before Christmas, 2003.
The taps would run for “a couple of days, all over the place… When it first started, it was always the flat. That’s where it definitely started – the flat.”
- Mrs.Mulgrew was in the kitchen and was tapped on the shoulder. When she looked over her shoulder, no one was there. This happened more than once.
- Maureen McLaughlin has been working at Glyndhall since 1990. She had her first experience in the stairs leading up to the flat. She felt that somebody brushed passed her. Nobody was there.
- In late autumn, 2000 Maureen McLaughlin was walking along a corridor going from the kitchen, and turning round a corner to her left. As she turned the corner, an old woman passed her on her right.
“It was as vivid as anything. And it was this woman, all dressed, and really fresh faced and the colours, it was all like light pastel colours and this really fresh faced wee woman – old woman but, but very fresh. And I looked, and I looked again. You know, that sort of thing.”
M.M stressed that the colours were very vivid, and although the woman looked in her eighties, she looked a very fresh-faced eighty-year old.
“Something just stopped me! …And I can always remember stopping and thinking, ‘Who’s that?’ And it was the colours! Very fresh Pastely, pastely-blue colours – I can always remember the colours, and the bright hair and the very fresh, fresh face. ”
She looked around, even checking nearby rooms, but no one was there.
- Doreen MacKay remembers when she was about 13, or 14 years old, playing in the garden with her younger sisters. It was 1981. She had the feeling of being watched and looked up at the house. There was an old man looking out of the window. The old man was dressed in a black waistcoat, with a black jacket, with the shirt-cuffs showing. D.M thought the dress was late Victorian, or Edwardian. He had ‘pure white hair.’ “It was as though he was a butler – to be honest!” When she asked her mother ‘who was the man?’ her mother replied; “Uch, it’s just a friend come to visit.”
2. When the family first moved into the house, they lived upstairs in the one room while the house was being converted into a nursing home. When the conversion was finished the family moved down into the flat. It was at this time that Doreen’s younger sister talked about seeing a boy and a girl. Doreen’s sister, called Helen, would have been 9 years old at the time.
3. Objects would disappear and then reappear. One object disappeared in front of four witnesses and reappeared six months later.
- The previous owner of the building was the headmaster of St.Patrick’s School.
- Doreen MacKay’s mother, Mrs.Ina Mulgrew, is described as being ‘perceptive’.
Recommendations made to Client
- In general: that a log is kept of all paranormal activity, noting time, place & witnesses.
- In regard to Agnes McDonald: that a log is also kept attached to Agnes McDonald’s television. Notes should be kept on who changed the television channel, and to what channel it was changed to. Discrepancies between channel and channel logged should be noted.
- In regard to Agnes McDonald: concern was expressed about Agnes’ health. It was noted that Agnes was on a carbamazepine to combat her epilepsy. The brand name of the drug is Tegretol. Agnes’ eyesight was also of concern; it was suggested that an optician should test her eyes.
An open arrangement to return to sketch out the property, and plot out the paranormal events on a ground plan was made. The SSPR team left the property before 9.00 p.m.
Third Telephone Interview 15 / 3 / 04
Doreen MacKay was contacted to arrange another date to visit the property.
She was asked if there were any other incidents – they were not. However, when asked if she had kept a log, and a T.V Channel Log, she replied (the following is paraphrased);
“To be honest, we haven’t done anything. After you left we looked at each other, Margaret and myself, and felt a bit foolish… It wasn’t what we were expecting. I mean, I wasn’t there the last time the SSPR came out, Professor Roy, but it was different than what happened last time… They came out and said there was something here…”
Innes Smith explained that the first visit was very much a fact gathering exercise. He apologised if he did not affirm their experiences, or had made them in any way feel uncomfortable about sharing their experiences. He explained that this is the way the SSPR works now- and we must be cautious and thorough.
Doreen MacKay accepted this explanation. She asked what would be done now.
Innes Smith said that he would arrange another visit, perhaps with a dowser, and phone her back.
After I. Smith contacted David Melrose and discussed the third telephone conversation, they decided that they would visit the premises again.
Before arrangements could be made, the following phone call overtook events.
Fourth Telephone Interview 22 / 3 / 04
Doreen MacKay phoned Innes Smith seeking help. Apparently on Saturday evening, the 20th of March, the following phenomena took place.
- At approximately 5.00 p.m, the Nurse-Call system was activated in Room Eleven. Nobody was in the room.
- Members of staff were in the dining room having a tea break. They were discussing the afterlife when the table they were leaning on lifted a couple of centimetres off the floor and turned 180 degrees.
- A member of staff went into a resident’s room to find the pictures taken off the wall and put on the floor. The member of staff replaced the pictures on the wall, and then dealt with the patient. When the staff member turned back again, one picture had been taken off the wall again and placed on the floor. There was no one else in the room.
- A patient was being moved. A crucifix was moved from the wall and placed on a bedside cabinet. The member of staff exited and on re-entering found the crucifix lying on the floor. It was at this point that, in Doreen MacKay’s words, that “the staff went hysterical!” Doreen was phoned and came out to the nursing home.
- Doreen went upstairs and noticed that a pile of bedding placed outside the officehad a strong perfume. It smelled of incense, “the type they use at funerals, catholic funerals.”
- Finally, on Sunday morning, a resident reported to a member of staff that a man had been sitting on the end of their bed all night. The resident thought it was another resident, ‘Albert’. According to Doreen, Albert has severe mobility problems and is wheelchair bound.
Innes Smith told D.M that he would try to contact a Spiritualist Medium, and arrange a visit as soon as was possible.
It was explained that the SSPR are not a Spiritualist organisation, but we used mediums because people found them useful. It was also explained that the SSPR would be studying and recording the medium’s statements.
Furthermore, Innes Smith requested that the witnesses to the events of Saturday the 20th should make written accounts of their experiences. I.S asked D.M to ensure that the staff did not consult each other when doing so, and each statement should be signed and dated.
Witness Statements from Staff
The following witness statements were handed to Innes Smith by D.M at the end of the visit on the 24th of March. Their content was not looked at or discussed. The reports are presented here with few corrections. Alterations have only been made to the punctuation or grammar where the intended meaning is unambiguous. Where there is ambiguity, the reports are presented unchanged.
Afternoon nurse call pagers activated room 11 on investigation no residents within this room or the vicinity. Nurse call system activated a further two times, again on investigation no residents within room or vicinity. Residents who normally wander were all accounted for in lounge.
At this time staff were having their lunch in dining room.
Staff were discussing life after death, did they believe, etc. One member of staff spoke about their mother’s house had activity when they were younger, and they sought intervention. This member of staff also stated that within her own house she thought she had seen her father-in-law and aunt, who had recently passed. She also stated her daughter would appear to speak to someone who no one else could see. Later her daughter saw a picture of this lady at her gran’s house and stated to her mother that was the lady who came to visit her and if she told her gran she would not visit her again.
The conversation continued along these lines. We spoke about boards, and how another member of staff during their training had participated and how everyone had reacted, conversation continued along these lines.
Staff who were sitting near the dining room table started to scream, they stated the table rotated, I personally did not see this happening, as I was not looking directly at the table.
Myself and another member of staff went to check on a resident who was on bed rest, on approaching the resident the staff member said look at the picture. I thought she meant the picture that was lying on the table at the bottom of the bed, but she stated, no, look at the pictures on the floor.
The two pictures that were lying on the floor were face up and a distance from the wall where they were hanging, these pictures also have glass fronts.
The pictures were placed back on to the wall.
At no time did any other resident enter this room, they were all accounted for in the lounge, our usual suspects either had visitors or were dozing.
Again we entered this room and one picture of a man was again lying on the floor face up some distance from the wall. Again it was placed back on the wall.
Myself and another staff member entered the room at 6.15 p.m, the pictures were on the wall, the other staff member opened a wardrobe to collect a jacket and shoes for a resident who was going out. I turned to look under a bed for this resident’s handbag, when I looked up this single picture of the man was again on the floor some distance away from the wall. There was no other person in the room apart from myself, other staff member and resident who was on bed rest.
We cannot explain why this picture was subsequently found on the floor.
On the 24th of March, as I walked by Room 2 I noticed a picture had fallen from the wall. The picture that had fallen was the photo of the priest.
On Saturday the 20th of March myself and three work colleagues were sitting in the dining room. When my bleeper started to go off I went into the room where the bleeper was telling me to go and found nothing or no one in the room. I went back to the dining room rejoined colleagues when I heard doors banging. And then the dining table suddenly moved. We went to check on a patient and some pictures were on the floor and tabletop. A short time later one of my colleagues were in the bedroom again and one of the pictures had fallen down again.
Saturday the 20th March.
Whilst sitting round the table in the dining room with three of my work colleagues for our afternoon tea-break, out of the blue the dining room table moved round to the left, causing great fear amongst the members of staff. About an hour and a half later, me and a fellow member of staff went into bedroom number 2 to check on a patient and noticed that 3 photographs of this patient’s relatives were down off the wall, 2 on the floor, 1 on the tabletop. Lifted the 3 photographs off the floor and placed them back on to the wall. Half an hour later, 2 fellow members of staff asked me to come and witness the photograph being off the wall for the second time.
Tuesday the 23rd March.
At about seven fifteen tonight, me and another member of staff were putting a patient to bed, whilst putting the patient to bed we heard a scratching noise inside the room. Other member of staff opened the bedroom door thinking that someone was wanting in. Carried on working again and about five minutes later we both heard the same noise again, this time I went and looked out the bedroom door but saw nothing. Ten minutes later when we were just finishing our work in the room the lights in the bedroom started flickering alternativly (sic), lasting a few seconds each time.
Wednesday the 24th March.
At approximately 4.20 p.m today, I went to the kitchen to collect an item. On entering the kitchen I noticed that the container containing the hot chocolate was emptied all over one of the worktops in the kitchen. Asked another member of staff to come and witness this incident before cleaning up the mess.
On entering the kitchen again at about 5.30 p.m tonight, I noticed that the carton of cream that we were using for the pudding tonight had been emptied out onto another worktop. Another member of staff was already present in the kitchen at this time but did not notice that this happened.
Second Visit to Location 24 /3 /04
Our second visit to the nursing home was at the request of Doreen MacKay, who was seeking some sort of positive action. Innes Smith decided to contact Mr.Charles Morton, who agreed to be available on Wednesday evening, from 6.30 p.m until 9.30 p.m. No information on the location was given to Mr.Morton except approximate travel times to and from the location.
On arriving at the location, David Melrose, Jennifer Clocherty and Innes Smith discussed the plan for the evening: that Mr.Morton would be toured round the building by staff while the team would record his statements, and note any reactions by the nursing home staff.
Doreen MacKay was contacted by phone prior to the team arriving at 7.30 p.m. She was advised to do two things:
1.To give Mr.Morton a tour round the premises, which would include the ‘active’ locations, but also ‘inactive’ locations – so that we could test if Mr.Morton could detect a difference.
2.To give Mr.Morton no information, and only respond to Mr.Morton’s questions. It was stressed that we had given him no details about the case, and that we would be recording his statements and analysing them.
It was also, again, stressed that the SSPR is not a Spiritualist Organisation, but we use mediums because ‘people find them useful’. It also gives the SSPR an opportunity to study mediums ‘at work’.
Mr.Morton was introduced to Doreen MacKay. We were joined by Maureen McLaughlin and Kirsty Law. It was explained that the evening was for Charles to ‘do his thing’.
We visited Room 5, Room 7 (when we were joined by Kirsty), Room 8, Room 4c, Room 4a (now a store cupboard), Room 2, Room 19, Room 16 and the Kitchen. We finished at approximately 9.30 p.m.
Mediumistic Statements Made by Charles Morton
Have you recently had someone who’s psychiatric? …I’ll tell you why, because I’ve got someone here who saying, “It’s so quiet”…. I’m getting a lady who in the daytime could have had panic attacks. She could have got violent…. Has someone been suffering from Vertigo attacks? It may not all link in with the one person. I also have someone who is very dyspeptic… Someone calling the name ‘ Edith’.
I’ll just do a simple dowsing. Just to see if I get a strange reaction. I feel that everything’s okay…. There’s a slight disturbing influence left in the room, but it’s not threatening in any way. Someone must have found peace and had possibly had been violent in the past, and this has subsided now – and I’m getting the peace and the calm now… That’s settled.
Now if there’s a particular room where there’s a lot of disturbance, what I will do… Have you ever done a cleansing? That’s okay. We normally do it with a balanced force, gent, lady, gent, lady, as far as possible… If there are any rooms where there is a lot of disturbed atmosphere, but as I say, this room is now very calm, because the people who have made contact have moved on and found peace. And that’s the important thing. That seems to be one of the jobs you do really well here: to bring about states of calm.
But I’m certainly not picking up anything that’s in any way harmful or malefic. Just lots and lots of memories, lots and lots disturbed conditions in the past, which have now subsided. There’s no sort of violence or threat in here in any way whatsoever.
No a fine calm atmosphere…
But a lot of folk seem to have found peace in here… Somebody is saying the colour scheme is so reassuring, right down to the carpets… Is this room nice and bright in the morning?
Now, is there somewhere that’s got gold curtains that’s flooded with light in the morning?
Yes? We’ll see that in due course….
Has there been a recent murder somewhere in the district?
Not a murder. A boy died last week in a car accident, round here. – Jennifer Clocherty.
A sudden death?
Yes. – J.C
That’s okay then, because what I’m getting is someone who’s quite literally been cut off, and to me that’s a sudden death, by accident, suicide, or murder. And it’s still causing a great deal of consternation to friends’, family and those who knew him.
Have I got green fields and horses nearby? …Would that have been near the site of the accident?
Do we have a factory site nearby? Somebody’s talking to me about working in Beardmores…
Can anybody link me with that? Can anybody link me with forges? …. I can hear the ring of the anvils. I can hear somebody singing the anvil chorus… Do we have a singer amongst us? Somebody who would have loved the Anvil Chorus?
We had a lady in this room who loved singing. – Maureen McLaughlin
This room is even more calm and peaceful than the previous room. There must have been something special about this place. What was the place when it was first built?
I think it was a Merchant House. – Doreen MacKay.
I’ll tell you why. I’m getting a link with China, Sri Lhanka and the tea trade… Does someone link Ivory? …Also I get a very strong Catholic influence, as if someone had many visits from a Catholic priest… Is there a Catholic Church nearby?
Is there a Catholic School nearby? I’ll tell you why, I’m getting the old starched Coif…
These things are random; these things don’t come in a specific order. They just throw these things at me and I see what I can make of them…
The Headmaster used to live here… -(sotto voce) Doreen MacKay.
No, I’m not picking up anything harmful… but I am picking up a different kind of energy.
Does the home have a permanent link with one of the local funeral directors?
Because I’ve got a gentleman here with an old Lum Hat… He says, ‘I used to come here whenever I was called, but now I’m here, and it’s good to see you still doing your good work… I used to have a terrible fear of death…but now it’s marvellous.’
There’s been some disturbance here recently… Someone must have been it a state of delirium… They were so thankful that it was peace and calm. They were getting all the treatment… They went to sleep one night and simply forgot to wake up… Simply a matter of leaving this haven for another one…
The Overhead Fluorescent Lights flicker.
Thankyou. Don’t worry. Things happen around… I don’t think it was an electrical fault. I think it was purely and simply a case of “We love it!” but the fact that we can come back and let you know that all is well….
Mr.Morton went into some detail describing the ‘visible parting of the spiritual body of the physical body’, and illustrated this with two personal anecdotes. He then talked about death, and how it was made easy by spiritualist belief.
Oh, does someone have asthma? …There’s someone calling Mabel, Mabel, Mabel… And Henry’s calling in, but he hated to be called Henry. He’d rather be called Harry.
It’s so peaceful in here. Infact I love it!
I don’t know if you all notice it, but there’s a completely different atmosphere to this room than the other rooms we were in. We’re all the other rooms female? I’m just picking up the difference.
One man that has recently been in here… I don’t know if he’s called Wilmot, but he’s calling Wilmot… Again, I’m getting someone who had a touch of vertigo…
I’m getting another one, Ted or Edward? Do they call him Ted or Edward?
Ted. – Maureen McLaughlin.
That’s okay then… Now, I’m getting someone who was a flyer… I’ll tell you what I’m getting; I’m getting taken out over the water…
A lovely peaceful condition. Nothing untoward.
Has anything happened in this room to alarm staff?
Not in this room, but in this area. – Maureen McLaughlin.
You see, that’s what I’m getting. This area was a safe haven, but something happened somewhere nearby.
There’s another room – .if you wouldn’t mind. And it’s across the hall. It was a bedroom, but we’ve changed it into a storage area. – Maureen McLaughlin.
…I detect that. I work in colours and auras… Do you do contact healing? …Don’t worry if you’re auras clash… Accept the fact that they don’t always attract.
Who felt hands on their shoulders when they were in here?
Quite a few. – Maureen McLaughlin.
…I’m not sure if you had a mentally ill patient in here, or if you had someone in here who had remorse for someone who had done something in the past, and I have a feeling that it was linked to a murder in the Thirties or Forties, so it goes back quite a way. Can someone link me to the name of Harris or Harrison? …What I’m picking up here is that someone must have been absolutely livid… I’m not sure if it was the war, or just before the war, but there was a local murder, a local killer, and I don’t know if he came back here as a workman or a patient, or in both roles. …I feel that he was fairly tall, with fair hair. In his early days he would have been quite athletic. But in his days here, there was quite a lot of hatred and disgust at the treatment he had received. …But whatever he got was well deserved. He should have been jailed for what he did, but for some reason he escaped. I can hear a lady’s voice saying, “don’t do that David, don’t do that David, don’t do that David”, so whatever it is there must have been witness to what had went on.
But this is the first truly disturbed room we’ve been in. And it’s simply a case of one person being responsible for it all. But for some reason or other, whoever this David is, whoever this character is, he hated women – laterally.
There was a positive response from the staff.
He hated women. And he would do anything to scare the life out of them, get his own back on them.
Did trams run in this part of the city? I’ll tell you what I’m getting. He was killed in a tram accident. He stepped in front of a tram. And it was all over. I’ll tell you what – he’s coming back to get his own back. The female that said, “don’t do that David” must have been a patient here or a member of staff. He wanted justice, but his version of justice is more a matter of revenge…
Now who’s coming in to do a cleansing?
Mr.Morton then invited all present to join him in the room to perform a Spiritualist Cleansing. The ritual took four minutes. Mr.Morton said that from now on things should be calm.
Now, this is the most peaceful room we’ve been in… I’m getting Katherine… Kittie? Kittie?
We have two Kitties. – Maureen McLaughlin.
Beautiful room with a calming atmosphere… There used to be only two beds in here.
No. There’s always been three. – Maureen McLaughlin.
I’m getting Doctor Findlay’s Casebook…. There must have been a Doctor Campbell, who used to come and visit.
I’m getting a Jenny…
That’s my niece – Doreen MacKay.
And a name I haven’t heard for a while – Bunty?
The staff laughed. They do/did have a Bunty.
I’m getting Rose… no. That seems to be it… they’re telling me that my work has been done… whatever has been the problem has been sorted….
An entirely different atmosphere to the original part of the building… What I get is a sense of fulfilment… “We managed to get extra space…” What I get is that the patients get a little disconcerted by the change of levels. Do the staff feel that it takes a little while to get used to?
Do you have a German lady on staff? Or as a patient. Because someone’s talking about Greta. Could be Swedish, could be German, could be Belgian?
I’m getting a Janet, or Jinty? Do you have a Jinty?
Yes. – M.M + D.M
What is it about this room? I’m getting someone that used to be quite disturbed. They could have been violent if they were not feeble.
Who is very fond of Classical music? …Is there somebody that’s very moved by classical music? Is there somewhere where you play music? …That’s okay then.
Who works in colour, because I’ve got a lady who works in old-fashioned embroidery?
But nothing untoward in here. Very happy memories in here.
There’s been a lot of disturbance in this room. Has there been somebody here with mental afflictions? …Somebody who was in here used to be in restricted ward regimes. I’ve got a Dottie here – I don’t know if they mean Dorothy, or Dotty, round the twist. Do you have somebody who could have been in somewhere like Creighton Royal?
I’m getting a minister…Church of Scotland. A visitor, rather than an inmate.
Somebody used to love the childish hymns… Possibly a Sunday school Teacher?
…There is blanket of peace gradually descending.
Mr.Morton then talked about his ministry and how he must be doing something right, because he is asked back.
No, nothing in here.
Did you have a sudden death in here at some point? Did one of the female staff die suddenly in the street? …I’m simple getting someone who did their daily chores, went home, and suddenly was gone. And I couldn’t tell anyone about it.
We did actually a few years ago have a girl who came out to work, done her shift and then.. – Maureen McLaughlin
She was young? …The impression I get is that she should have been able to run a four minute mile, but nobody knew she had a heart condition… It came out in the autopsy.
Mr.Morton then said that he was getting a message about the dangers of salt, and went into some details about the perils of salt.
Who’s on paracetamol? I can taste paracetamol…. I was just told I shouldn’t have my hands on the table. Did you have a male chef who was in charge? He would be in his eighties now…
I’m sorry, but that’s it. Everybody’s going home.
Who’s got a taste for old fashioned Jamaican Ginger Cake?
Jennifer Clocherty volunteered David Melrose as the avid consumer of Ginger Cake.
Well, from the other side they’re thanking you for being very patient, very understanding.
They’re telling the ladies to welcome in the new conditions. There should be no atmosphere in that room… Well, thankyou very much.
Fifth Telephone Interview 06/05/04
Innes Smith phoned Doreen MacKay to find out if anything of note had happened since the second visit, and arrange another visit to interview two members of staff.
Doreen said that nothing has happened since the last visit. Although ten minutes after the team left, all the lights went out which caused great alarm. Their initial reaction was, “Oh no! What have they done?” But apparently a local junction box was vandalised by youths, and this was the source of the power loss. The coincidence, once realised, made them laugh.
Doreen agreed that two of her staff could be interviewed; Amber McIvor & Patricia Mulgrew.
Innes Smith contacted Doreen MacKay on a further two occasions to try to arrange another visit. Wishing not to inconvenience or harass the client, Innes Smith asked to be contacted if another visit could be arranged. Innes Smith was not contacted again.
Personal Comment on Case
In my personal opinion there is no reason to doubt the sincerity or veracity of the witnesses. The management and staff seemed to accept paranormality in connection to the Nursing Home: what was interesting was the interpretation of that paranormality.
To quote Doreen MacKay, if the property started behaving strangely, “the staff were up to no good”. It is telling that the book that fell from the shelf was a manual on ‘Quality Management’ ~ a fact that undoubtedly did not escape the attention of Doreen, the new manager.
One wonders if the SSPR were being asked to validate paranormal experience or to calm the nerves of a new administrator? And not necessarily in regard to the paranormal.
Despite the underlying issues of change, stress & uncertainty: the accounts of paranormal experience were not unduly unbelievable, despite the confusion of the four witnesses who provided differing accounts of the events starting on Saturday the 20th.
The best first hand account we get is ‘the dining table moved to the left’.
I did attempt to speak to two of these witnesses to further clarify their accounts, but without success. It is interesting as it is frustrating to note the difference in quality of the four reports submitted: and none of the reports reflect the following summary of events provided by Doreen MacKay, “the table they were leaning on lifted a couple of centimetres off the floor and turned 180 degrees”.
The most problematic witness was of course Agnes McDonald: a resident in her mid-nineties with a variety of health problems, notably epilepsy. She was interviewed with considerable sensitivity, and we were not introduced as paranormal investigators, or members of the SSPR.
Our suggestions in regard to Agnes’ experiences were not adhered to
(see below*), so the ‘natural explanation’ was not exhausted.
Incidentally, when consulting with a senior investigator with the SSPR on the issue of epilepsy and associated medications, she provided the following assurance that ‘epileptics and TV’s/electrical equipment and paranormality’ is ‘common’. How common? I don’t know, but this is probably worthy of further investigation.
Finally, Charles Morton was brought into the property ~ which was the kind of validation and ritual that the client evidently wanted from the beginning.
It provided me with an opportunity to record Mr Morton at work, which has been – I think – illuminating. Of course, I made it clear that we were studying Charles at work as much as I was studying their experiences. Amusingly, shortly after we left, the building was plunged into darkness: a pleasing coincidence noted by all.
With the perceived problem sorted, there was evidently little desire from the client to accommodate further probing, and the case has been closed.
This was my first case as Senior Investigator and I would like to thank David Melrose and Jennifer Clocherty for their assistance and advice.
* I was initially upset by the client’s distress at my perceived sceptical indifference to their ‘paranormal experiences’, but on reflection I am glad that my paranormal bedside manner errs on the side of dismissal rather than acceptance. There is less chance of doing harm.