Haunting In Aberdeen: The Strangling Ghost Of An Over Protective Grandmother

In 1976, in Aberdeen, Scotland, Diane Samat claimed that she endured a terrifying encounter with the ghost of her husband's late Malaysian grandmother.

Mrs Samat claimed that in 1976 the spirit of her husbands grandmother attempted to strangle her
Mrs Samat claimed that in 1976 the spirit of her husbands grandmother attempted to strangle her

In 1975, Diane Glaze and her three children returned from Malta where her marriage had broken up, to live with her sister. Here she was introduced to Isa Samat, A Malaysian studying dietetics at Aberdeen: in the next six months, acquaintance turned to love, and in September 1976, as soon as Diane's divorce was absolute, the couple married. Shortly before this, however, they moved in together. One night in late July 1976, Diane woke, noticed that it was 2am, and despite the hot summer she experienced, rather felt, a sensation of chill that seemed to be of the spirit rather than of the body. Almost immediately out of the darkness there came an inexplicable feeling of panic. She looked up and to her amazement saw a tall, gaunt woman standing near the door of the bedroom. The room was, she knew, in pitch blackness, but the figure seemed lit by some internal illumination. In an instant the details burnt themselves into her mind, sharpened by fear: the grey hair drawn back into an untidy bunch, but straggling loose at the sides; the yellow and grey dress in a rough diamond check pattern; the sleeves rolled up to the elbows and pale brown of the face and arms.

Diane closed her eyes to make sure they had been open before and then shook her head to convince herself that she was awake. Again she opened her eyes hoping that reason would dispel the frightening vision but to her horror, the figure had moved along the side of the bed and was very close to her: it held out two arms that seemed little more than bones tightly encased in dark, ridged skin with talon-like fingers.

As Diane shrank back against the bed head the hard thin fingers seemed to encircle her neck: she had the sensation of them tightening, shutting off the air to her lungs. Terrified, Diane clutched at the throttling wrists and, sickened by the icy coldness and putty-like feel of the flesh, she pulled for her very life. But she might as well have tugged at the girders of a steel bridge. As the inexorable grip tightened, and as the forearms pressed more heavily on her chest, a horrible gurgling came from Diane's throat. In a mind paralysed by the terror of the unknown and the dread of death, she prayed in the one lucid corner of her brain that the frantic sounds would waken Isa, but he slept on undisturbed.

Then suddenly, relief: the fingers relaxed, the arms dropped back as the old woman with a sardonic sneer turned away. Although Diane was not certain she actually heard sounds, she knew the woman was communicating over and over again. "And now you'll believe in ghosts, and now you'll believe in ghosts." Diane began to scream hysterically: the old woman hurried towards the door as if to make a normal exit, and then suddenly faded. Isa leaped from sleep and snapped on the light. Diane sat up clutching her neck which, like her chest was sore for days afterwards, and babbled incoherently.

When she had calmed down and looked at the experience logically, she wondered whether the apparition could have been of the old widow who had occupied the flat for forty years and had died there. But gradually she became aware that Isa was not following her speculations: he was sitting with a strange, far-off expression as if he was peering with disbelief into his past. Only reluctantly could he be persuaded to talk, perhaps because he did not wish to open himself to ridicule, but more probably because he did not really want to believe it himself. Again and again, he asked Diane to describe the figure to him, and then said simply, "That was my grandmother." The only detail which did not tally perfectly was the dress: the old lady had indeed usually worn material of yellow and grey, but the patterns were invariably floral, not check.

Isa's parents, it seemed, had split up when he was two months old, and from that age, he had been brought up by his "grandparents" in Molucca - they were in fact a couple who had adopted his own mother as a child. The grandmother had been a powerful personality, dominating the family: she had indulged her grandson, but at the same time had been insanely jealous and possessive of him as she was of her own husband. Grandfather had scarcely a life to call his own: he was questioned endlessly if he was a few minutes later from work than usual, and was followed even if he went to a neighbour's for a chat.

Grandmother died when Isa was six but though he was so young her influence was dominant through his childhood and adolescence. His grandfather, who was still alive at the time in Malaysia, said that he constantly felt his long-dead wife about him, watching, checking, prying, and that he frequently dreamt of her standing beside Isa's bed, stroking her grandson's hair. But that is the old lady's home ground. It seems now that she may have found her way across half the world when she felt her authority and influence challenged. But perhaps she was satisfied by what she saw. Perhaps she found in Diane someone who could take her place as protector and companion to her beloved Isa, for never since that night was there been any hint of another visitation. A strange postscript to Diane Samat's story occurred in January 1977 when Margaret Collins, a reporter from BBC Radio Aberdeen went to her home to record, in the haunted bedroom, her experiences. The interview went perfectly but when the tape was played back in the studio it was quite unusable because of an uncanny undulating noise in the background. The recorder had been checked both before and after the interview, and a second attempt with the same machine in a different room was faultless.

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