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Collection of hospital ghost stories including the ghosts of Woolwich hospital, soldier ghosts, oncology unit ghosts, elderly care ghosts, nun ghosts and children ghosts:
Hospitals and hospital staff see and care for people at the best of times such as child birth and the worst of times such as death. Hospitals, like any other building, soak in the emotion and spirits of people and some do this literally by being home to hospital ghosts.
The ghost stories, strange occurances and unnatural sightings on this page and the army ghosts page have been reported or narrated to the QARANC.co.uk team. We have not witnessed any supernatural occurrences; though have seen first hand the effect they have had on fellow nurses or patients who have talked about what they have seen. Here we describe the unusual and unexplained events in various hospitals throughout the UK.
Woolwich hospital in the South East of London was a military hospital known as the Queen Elizabeth Military Hospital. In 1996 it was closed by the army as part of the defence costs review and the changing role of army doctors, nurses and health care support teams. It was rebuilt as the Queen Elizabeth Hospital National Health Service Trust and retained some of the original features and extended upon throughout the surrounding area.
The article continues further below, in the meantime:
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The Drummer Boy continues the adventures of QARANC nurse, Scott Grey, who has the special gift of seeing military ghosts. In this novel he is haunted by the ghost of a Gordon Highlander Drummer Boy from the Battle of Waterloo. It is based on the legends of the Tidworth Military Hospital Drummer Boy.
Chapters take place in modern day Aberdeen, at the Noose & Monkey bar and restaurant as well as His Majesty’s Theatre and Garthdee. Other scenes take place at Tidworth and during the Napoleonic War where I describe battlefield medical care of this era.
Read the first three chapters for free on most devices.
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Oncology Unit Ghosts
When the hospital was the QEMH many army nurses, student nurses and care assistants reported unusual occurrences and hospital ghosts. These occurred on ward ten, which was the oncology unit. General unusual occurrences included the ward keys going missing on night shift, despite nurses adamantly stating that they were definitely last found in his or her pockets. The ward would be quietly searched so as not to disturb the sleeping cancer patients. They would not be found until just before they were needed by a patient requesting medication in the middle of the night. Then the keys would mysteriously appear in an obvious place, like the office desk, that had previously been searched thoroughly by the two nurses on duty.
This often happened to one QA Captain Nursing Officer. She was so fed up being haunted by hospital ghosts that she would openly say to the hospital ward ghost: "Look I need the keys so stop messing about and hand them over!" She reported that she would always find them near her.
Was this mischief hospital ghost a former army patient having a bit of fun with the QA nurses!
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A more spookier story of soldier ghosts involves two cancer patients who were also serving soldiers. One was a male senior non commissioned officer and the other was a female junior rank. Both were expected to be treated and make a full recovery. They were in adjacent side rooms at the bottom of the word, near to the large corridor. During their chats they joked that if one died they would come for the other and ask if they were ready to join each other in heaven.
Sadly the male SNCO died unexpectedly but peacefully in the early hours whilst all the other patients were fast asleep. When the nurses were laying him out and preparing his body to be taken to the mortuary they heard a blood curdling scream from the bedroom next door.
When they rushed into the room the female NCO was cowering terrified against her bed shouting "Tell him I'm not ready. I don't want to go". She had been woken up by her friend asking if she was ready to go.
When the QEMH became an NHS hospital in 1996 it was decided that only a small contingency of the Greenwich District Hospital, would migrate to the QEMH building. That contingency involved two elderly care wards from Greenwich District Hospital (GDH) and enough nurses and support staff to enable the patients to be looked after properly. This included physiotherapists, occupational therapists, ward clerks, a pharmacist, security guards, etc. The original idea was that they would be the first phase to be moved from GDH to QEMH, closely followed at regular intervals by the rest of the GDH patient, staff and department population. However in 1997 the plans changed because of the election of a new Labour government. The two elderly care wards and support staff and departments would stay for another year and move back to the Greenwich District Hospital. Then the former QEMH would become the QEH NHS Trust over the next 2 years. With the changes came the QEH ghosts.
Elderly Care Ghosts
During the time of the 1996 to 1998 running of two elderly care wards at the QEMH these two wards were situated in the old wards of 3 and 4 which had been the main army general medicine wards. Wards 1 and 2 housed a minor injury and orthopaedic clinic. These had been a rehabilitation (ward 2) and a closed ward (formerly a children's ward on 1). Ward 10 stayed as a small oncology unit. No other wards of the hospital were being used; in fact all were chained up away from prying eyes and for security. Other areas in use during 1996 to 1998 were the physiotherapy department, pharmacy, nuclear medicine dept, microbiology and phlebotomy and a newly refitted canteen. If patients needed treatment such as a CT scan, surgery or an ITU bed, they were transferred back to GDH.
About six months into their stay the first strange occurrence happened. From the main entrance at the QEMH if you walked left down the corridor, then left again, which brought you to wards 1 and 2 on the left, and wards 3 and 4 on the right there was a smoke room provided for the staff. To get there you carried on straight down the corridor, turned right, through a heavy swing door, which opened out into a small office area.
One night, at 1am, one of ward 4's auxiliary nurses went there for a cigarette. The following day, a different auxiliary nurse told the staff on duty what the first auxiliary nurse had told her she'd seen. She was completely incoherent when she ran back into the ward. She had been enjoying her ciggie when she saw the huge smoky black shape of a "person", drift through the wall to her left, move across in front of her, and then drift through the opposite wall! This hospital ghost had completely freaked her out.
The next hospital ghost sighting, was some time after this and again involving ward 4. This time it was a patient, who swore blind she had seen a nun in the garden, outside of her room. She said it looked like she was dishing out soup. The event was reported directly to the three nursing staff (one of whom has kindly helped compile this page) in the morning.
Other hospital ghosts involved ward 10. It was being used as a very small oncology unit, so small in fact, that only half of it was used, the rest was in darkness. Here the nursing staff would often hear bangs and scraping noises from the darkened end. The nurses would say, "Oh, that's just Jimmy" - bravado at getting used to the noises!
More hospital ghosts were seen on ward 4 some time later. One of the elderly ladies one morning said to the nursing staff that she had seen and heard little children running around in the corridor, and in her room (she had one of the side rooms at the far end of the ward). At the time the nurses and carers just politely acknowledged what she had said; thinking that maybe she was a touch confused that day. However another elderly patient told them the same thing, a very short while after, saying that small children had been in her room at 5am. She was in a bay of 6 beds, nearest the doorway, but nowhere near the first lady. This really got the nursing staff thinking. Two ladies, independently of one another couldn't possibly say the same thing, unless, they had actually experienced seeing those ghostly children!
Ten years went by and no hospital ghosts were reported. In 2006 the QEMH had been redesigned, rebuilt and extended. It had become renamed to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The only original features of the front entrance, half of the main corridor (where it used to be very wide, it's now very narrow) the ramps up to the 1st floor, the canteen block, half of the corridor that led to wards 1,2,3 and 4 and the physio dept (only downsized, with half the gym size the QEMH originally had) were retained. The rest is all new prefabricated buildings, even the exterior of the bits they kept have been recovered. All the glass lined corridors have gone, replaced by small push out blue framed windows. The swathes of grass and rolling hills outside of the coffee pot cafe have all gone; being replaced by new buildings The original wards 1 and 2 are still there though now called ward 2. Ward 1 is the over flow for the Accident and Emergency department. Where wards 3 and 4 used to be there is now one of the therapy services departments. This houses all the physio's, OT's, speech therapists and dieticians that work on wards 1 and 2, and the new wards of 3,4 and 5. There is the same again on the first floor, servicing wards 6,7,8,9,10, (ward 10 is the high dependency unit), 11,12,14,15,16,17,18,19,20 and 21. Though this sounds a lot of wards and departments some are only 4 or 6 bed units.
Ghostly Moving Objects
Two of the occupational therapists were in the assessment kitchen towards the back of the new therapy services department where they both witnessed a clock fly off of the wall. Only it didn't just fall straight down, it landed in the middle of the room! Strangely this has been reported to have happened at the QEMH by army ward stewardesses on some of the ground floor wards.
Again, twice more in the OT assessment kitchen, a perching stool, (a bit like a barstool) was seen to wobble, fall over then slide across the floor. Then finally, one of the OT's was witnessed suddenly bending over double then falling to the floor, once she had recovered, she said she felt like she had been punched in the stomach. The witness to these events told me that they had got someone in to "cleanse" the room, and that so far, nothing else has happened.
In July 2006 another nurse, who has only been at the QEH since 2001, and knew nothing of previous mysteries and sightings of hospital ghosts at QEH, worked on the stroke unit which was the new ward 3. She said that that she thought that all of the patients on ward 3 were going mad. When asked why she said that several of the old ladies had seen children on the ward.
Where the new therapy services are now is right where the old wards 3 and 4 were. Where the OT assessment kitchen is now located is roughly where the two side rooms used to be (left and right of the entrance corridor to wards 3 and 4. Where ward 3 is now is where the far end of ward 4 used to be.
Other Occupational Therapists have heard strange and unexplained noises coming from the assessment kitchen. They have heard banging and a sound like a plastic bag rustling, coming from the assessment kitchen, when they are working in the OT assessment bathroom, which is right next to the kitchen. When something is heard it is always when an OT is alone in the bathroom and no-one can be in the kitchen - if anyone was to try and get into the kitchen to imitate ghostly goings on, they would be seen entering and leaving, as you have to walk past the door of the bathroom to get to the kitchen.
Other OT’s who are the first to open the therapy department on the ground floor at 7:30 am every day have described the whole department as having an oppressive feeling and that as they go around unlocking doors, they have a definite feeling of being watched. The feeling of someone being there is so great, that they actually call out "good morning" as they enter the department, to appease whatever force or whoever is there.
Some nurses have spoken of a hospital ghost that has been witnessed by several different patients in single room 8 of ward 14. They describe seeing a man standing at the foot of their bed.
The QARANC.co.uk team know from first hand that the Paediatric ward at the QEMH was located on ward 1, but was it ever on ward 4? If so this would account for the children ghost sightings. If not was there something built in that area prior to the hospital. We know that prior to this there was a barracks, a veterinary hospital and stables for army horses.
An old ordnance survey map of Charlton, Woolwich and Plumstead for 1866 shows in the bottom left hand corner a small bit of Ha Ha Road. In this small area of what is now the QEH, opposite Cemetery Lane, Charlton, there used to be an area called "The Cottages". Further along, where the main fenced car park is bordering Ha Ha Road and Stadium Road, was an area called "The Gravel Pits". These cottages may have houses the workers and their families and perhaps the children played in the area that now houses ward 4? Unfortunately this area was not shown on the map.
Could there have been a work house or children's hospital prior to this? This would account for the nun ghost too. Or was there a place run by nuns for the poor of Woolwich? If you can help with information then please contact me.
The hospital ghosts sightings have been in 1996 and 2006. Has anyone seen any hauntings in 1986 and why are the sightings every ten years? Is it a coincidence or something ghostly? Can you help with details about this haunting? Though we have heard from a reader whose mother heard children running about the wards and been keeping her awake when she was a patient in 2013.
Other ghostly goings on at Woolwich hospital include patients seeing things in their rooms. Some may say that this is the side effect of drugs and medication whilst others consider them hospital ghosts hauntings. These include seeing a man in military uniform and another patient saying that a man comes into her room every night, opens the windows, and sits on the window ledge smiling at her!
Headley Court Ghost
It is thought that the Officer’s Mess and other parts of Headley Court have a ghost. A pharmacist describes an unusual event in the pharmacy:
I was working at the PC and there was a noise, like something had dropped on the floor. After looking around I couldn't find anything but then when I got up to dispense a prescription there was a small stone on the dispensing bench. Nice & clean......I still have the stone!
Paranormal investigators have long experienced spirits trying to communicate by throwing stones. Was this an attempt by the Headley Court ghost to get attention, otherwise where would a clean stone have gotten onto a clean work surface? If you have experienced any strange events at Headley Court Rehabilitation Centre or the old RAF Hospital then please contact me with information.
If you would like to contribute a ghost, unusual occurrence or paranormal story to this page then feel free to contact me with information.
For ghost stories specific to the hospitals in which members of the QARANC (Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps) served please go to the Army Ghosts Page. These include several grey lady ghosts and a blue nurse ghost.
Forces War Records
Forces War Records are a genealogy site where you can find military records of over 6 million British Armed Forces personnel cross matched with over 4000 Regiments, Bases and Ships. This link includes a free search and a special discount of 40% off membership offer for visitors who use the discount code AF40 if they decide to become a member.
Search Now. A unique feature is their WW1 Soldiers Medical Records section.
If you would like to contribute to this page, suggest changes or inclusions to this website or would like to send me a photograph then please e-mail me.
Official QARANC webpage.
QA Association website.
In The Company of Nurses Book.
The Grey Lady Ghost of the Cambridge Military Hospital Novel - a Book by CG Buswell
The Drummer Boy Novel
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