So Halloween is merely a handful of days away now. In keeping with seasonal tradition I have decided to share one of my personal ghost stories with you all, as well as providing a possibly mundane explanation for what really happened too. The tale begins many years ago now, after an operation to remove an abscess undertaken at a relatively well known East London hospital. This had required a general anaesthetic, and once the surgeon had finished slicing my underarm up like a slab of salt cured bacon I was left in a sparsely furnished side room away from the rest of the patients to recover my strength.
Bored and preoccupied, I sat on the end of my bed around fifteen hours later watching the quickly gathering clouds. Suddenly finding myself overtaken by an irresistible compulsion to sleep I snuggled down, still facing the window, and soon fell into oblivion. Then, snapping awake again to a black and white parody of my already colourless hospital room the realisation soon dawned on me that something was very, very wrong. Despite leaden limbs and an irrationally mounting terror I forced myself to roll onto my other side towards the door at the far end of my room, where something truly horrible was waiting for me.
The anomaly in question appeared at first to be a young girl of no older than ten or eleven. She wore an old-fashioned pastel blue party dress, the kind with puffy sleeves and an ankle length pleated skirt. Her hair was tied into ringlets that fell heavily to the shoulders, unmoved by the indistinct blur of motion that passed for a face. When she eventually did speak to me those words were deep and forceful in a way that did not reflect her seemingly tender years, though sadly mostly gibberish as I remember it now. The whole time the entity was speaking the images she presented continued to change, and the most notable example of this shift was in her own appearance.
As I watched fabric evaporated and flesh dissolved, both replaced by a clear blue and gelatinous substance. Yet her face was still hidden from my perception by the quivering movements of the ooze which made up her now bloated and hairless frame. Then she turned and faded from view, to be replaced by an extreme close up of a human brain, the experience suddenly darkening as a blood-red filter was placed across my vision. I stared awestruck as a gnarled and rusty pair of tongs began to lift clear plastic bags full of oddly inconsequential items and place them into draws which appeared for a second or two in the surface itself. Then the voice over stopped and the world went black.
Needless to say when this numbing darkness took me for the second time I was more than a little grateful, though still awoke numb with shock and sweating profusely upon regaining consciousness a few hours later. Heading over to the door of my room I was surprised to find it locked, and for a second questioned whether the nightmare had failed to release me from its eldritch grip after all. A minute or two of banging on the glass later and an orderly appeared to explain that staff were removing the body of a woman who had died in the room next to mine while I was asleep and my door must remain closed until they were was finished.
Upon finally being discharged a day or so later I tried to put the whole ordeal out of my mind, but failed miserably. As a person who had already experienced many a spooky event up to that point, something just felt wrong about the whole thing. So I began to see if there was another explanation aside from the paranormal, and found my answer in the medical literature relating to anaesthetics. You see, the reason why medical professionals refuse to allow postoperative patients to drive themselves home for the first twenty-four hours after a dose is administered relates to the risk of impaired judgement and bad trip style hallucinations these compounds can cause.
And that is exactly what I am saying my gibberish spouting blubber girl actually was. A prop within a swirling internal narrative, itself the product of resurgent anaesthesia that trapped me within the walls of a drug induced nightmare from which I was unable to escape. The sudden fatigue, odd visual distortions, fleeting surgical images; all these aspects of the experience point to an unwanted chemical interaction. A sceptical evaluation of an event others might view as some transcendent meeting upon the astral plane, true, but knowing the difference between real terror and imagined dread is a valuable life skill for any occultist who wishes to remain at least partly sane.