Killingbeck Mary

In the mid eighties, I was a Staff Nurse at an old hospital called Killingbeck. Many years ago, it was a sanatorium for people suffering from chest diseases like TB. Consequently, ward 1 and ward 2 had large crescent shaped balconies where patients were pushed out on their beds to take in the fresh air.

I worked nights, on ward 2 initially but later in another part of the hospital, on ward 5 (Cardiothoracic surgery and investigations). The ward is described as thus;

The only entry to the ward is a pair of glass double doors that make a loud noise when opened - every time! Opposite the door is the kitchen. Turning left, looking into the ward, there is a visitors room to your left and opposite, on your right, down a short corridor, is the office. The ward on this side consisted of 4 single side wards (two on each side), leading to a 6 bed bay which lead to a bigger occupancy bay. On this side of the ward, from the larger bay through a double door was the patients toilets (on the left) and the sluice (on your right). Going back to the entry doors looking at the kitchen, turning right, is the (almost) mirror image of the first ward). The staff changing room and toilet was on the right and opposite that was a short corridor to the treatment room with laundry cupboards lining the corridor. Then there were the 4 single side wards, the 6 bed ward and the larger occupancy ward. Immediately in front as you go through the larger bay, was the day room. To your left was a longer corridor that lead to the sluice on the left and the staff rest room right at the very end. To your right was the patients toilets and another office which was converted from a bathroom so it still had the frosted glass windows and the sliding door.

One night, I was in the office with 3 other nurses. There was an auxillary (who wore a mustard yellow check dress), a student nurse (who wore a blue check dress), another staff nurse and myself (both wearing white dresses with mid blue belts and white hats). We had done our evening work and settled the patients down for the night. The auxillary was knitting and the student was reading. Nikki got up and said that she was going to do a ward round. I was sat opposite the door (which faced the corridor) above which was the clock. It said 2 minutes to midnight. The door was half shut, so I didn't see which direction Nikki took. Almost immediately, I said I was going to the toilet and left the office. I turned left, past the kitchen (which had the lights on and door wide open) in order to go right to the staff toilet. As I did so, I walked behind a nurse. Same uniform, shorter stature than me, slim, with mid brown hair. I looked her up and down in a casual way, assuming it was Nikki. I used the toilet, washed my hands and returned to the office. I was gone less than 3 - 5 minutes. As I entered the office, Nikki was at the medicine trolley and I said 'that was a quick ward round'!! and she said 'I only go to Mrs X and she needed some pain killers so I came straight back' The eerie thing is, that particular patient was in the opposite direction where I saw 'Nikki', she couldn't possibly have had the time to do that side of the ward round AND see to this patient and NO OTHER PERSON/NURSE came on the ward, we would have heard it!!!!!!

I believe I saw 'Killingbeck Mary' a nurse who was supposed to have died many years previously and been seen on many occasions! She was as solid as you or I and what initially made me thing it was Nikki is that we had a fair amount of light from the kitchen and treatment room. I wasn't scared at first, until I realised afterward - then I was a bit shaky!

Submitted by Roz, Yorkshire, UK