In 1974 two student nurses who were flat sharing in Dundee fled and refused to return to their shared home after claiming to being terrorised by a spirit of an old woman. Here is the account of one of the witnesses.
When two nurses run out of an ideal flat in the early hours of the morning and refuse to sleep there again, even though they had no alternative accommodation, their claims are taken somewhat more seriously than those of your everyday reported paranormal encounter.
In the autumn of 1974, Shirley Brown came from her home in Orkney to be a student nurse at Dundee Hospital, and after about six months she was fortunate enough to find a small flat in a tenement in Morgan Street. Here she shared a livingroom-kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom with fellow student Gail Bruce, and for a year life seemed idyllic. Both girls enjoyed their work and studies; got on extremely well with each other; were free to run their own lives, and for Shirley at least, a mainland city was still exciting.
Then in January 1976, something went seriously wrong: one morning, Shirley who was not to be on duty until 1pm did not wake until Gail was about to leave for the morning shift, and found her flatmate looking at her with a very strange expression. Gail asked whether Shirley felt all right, and scarcely waiting for the affirmative answer, said that she would explain at lunchtime. Over the midday meal, Gail said that she had been unable to sleep the night before for no obvious reason - Shirley herself had last looked at her watch at 2.30, but neither of them realised that the other was awake - when at about 3.30 as near as she could guess, the hall light suddenly snapped on. Immediately afterwards she heard someone moving about in the bathroom with slow, padding steps, and not unnaturally she was terrified, although logically she knew that as the door was locked no one could possibly get in.
Gail dived beneath the bedclothes but after a few minutes her natural curiosity got the better of her and she emerged. The hall was now in darkness again, but with a numbing sensation compounded of surprise and fear, she saw standing beside Shirley's bed what she took to be a normal, elderly woman with short grey hair and dressed in a pale blue nightgown or long dress.
The stranger and Shirley were apparently deep in conversation in sibilant whispers, and though Gail could not make out any actual words there seemed an overwhelming impression of evil and menace in the secretive muttering. Momentarily she closed her eyes, then reopened them, and found the figure gone: petrified and uncomprehending she lay tensed in the darkness until, rather prematurely, she got up for duty. Both girls were now very frightened by the incident and decided that they would never be in the flat alone again. One evening a week later, however, just as their fears were beginning to subside and the tension to relax, Shirley was lying in bed just before midnight reading as she waited for Gail to finish in the bathroom. Gradually she became aware, to the steadily-increasing pounding of her heart, that someone was moving stealthily about the kitchen. Immediately the tide of fear flooded back, and simultaneously she thought she could hear Gail still in the bathroom. Apprehensively she tapped the wall that divided the bedroom from the kitchen, knowing that if Gail were in the kitchen she would tap back.
But instead of a reassuring, gentle, feminine knock, there came a terrible outburst as if someone with superhuman strength and steel talons was trying to claw a way through the brickwork, Frantically Shirley called for Gail, who dashed in from the bathroom, and at once the terrifying sounds fell to a silence that was almost as frightening. The two girls sat on the bed, struggling to hold at bay the panic that threatened to engulf them, when there came again the savage clawing at the wall, this time with increased ferocity as if the being on the other side was determined to smash through. For over a quarter of an hour, the frenzied battering and tearing continued until without warning their nerves snapped, and pulling on a few clothes they prepared to dash from the building, although it was now almost 1am.
The instant they were ready they realised with horror that their keys were in the living room, which was now occupied by something dreadful. But not wishing to stay where they were, they plucked up every atom of courage they possessed, raced into the hall, and flicked on the electric light in the living room. There was instantly a brilliant blue flash, and the bulb fused - this may have been a sheer coincidence, but the darkness did not make the perilous dash across the room to the table any less terrifying.
Very upset, they spent the rest of the night in the flat of friends, who had it not been for the very genuine state of shock the two stable and strongminded girls were in, would have dismissed the whole affair as nonsense or hysteria. Neither of them dared spend another night in their own flat, though they did go back in daylight hours to collect their belongings. They noticed that the wall, in spite of the frenzied clawing they had heard, had not the slightest mark on it.
Although both felt that they should try to find out more of the history of the flat - if only for their own peace of mind - and get some idea of what might be behind the haunting, their nerves would not let them in worry of turning up something more dreadful than they had anticipated. In the peace of new rooms they found a week later, they were only too glad to let the terror of those two nights fade gradually from the forefront of their minds.
Miss Shirley A Brown, Dundee.