Post 80 Beware the Hospital Ghost


At the start of my career when I was relatively new to pathology, the department  had two trainees, both studying for their higher national certificates.     The more senior was John Adams, the more junior Steve Wilcox.   Both were pleasant young men who later qualified to become pathology laboratory technicians.

Their training included being on duty both overnight and at weekends.    The 'on call' bedroom for the trainees was situated above the mortuary and those on call often heard footsteps or doors rattling in the middle of the night, thanks to Steve who had a wicked and rather dark sense of humour.  

Joe Cracknall. the mortuary technician was a rather dour, grumpy 60 year old who 
wasn't popular with the trainees.   Always fond of a drink, he had a habit of visiting the off licence each Friday lunchtime  to obtain the supply of ale that would last him through the weekend. 

One day, after Joe had carped and criticised us more than usual, Steve and I sought to gain our revenge.

We put a white sheet over one of the post-mortem room tables and as he returned from his lunch break we switched on a fan which we had placed under the table.   The sheet lifted and Joe and ran screaming

from the room, across the car park and down the street as fast as his legs ( and his beer belly) would carry him.    He wasn't seen again until Monday morning!   It required a great deal of persuasion from the laboratory manager to convince him that there wasn't a ghost in the building, 

I suspect that such a prank would not be possible these days.   It probably would be judged to be 'none PC' and lead to an investigation and disciplinary action.    Indeed, I would probably be the one undertaking the investigation.   How times change!

My thanks go to Carole McGowan who wrote this story.   The names of those involved are fictional. 

Peter Sykes latest book ‘Laughter is the best medicine’– a collection of lively short stories - has just been published.  Search for ‘Peter Sykes’ on Amazon books.