The Cumberland ghost

The ODT reports:

A “sighting”of a ghost known as the Grey Lady has terrified residents at Cumberland College, and staff have called in the University of Otago chaplain to calm students at the hall of residence.

Oh Good God. They should have called Ghostbusters instead. Or told people that intelligent students should not believe in .

The “ghost” has been linked to the story of the Grey Lady, which in one account involves a tragedy at the now closed and nearby Queen Mary maternity hospital.

The story goes that the woman haunted a nurse who stayed at Cumberland College when it was a nurses’ home, after the nurse took her baby for being an unfit mother.

Yeah I used to tell ghost stories also – when I was 12.

College resident Mareck Church said the “ghost sighting” happened on the night of Saturday, May 5, when two female health science students noticed a weird smell and a chill in the air as they walked down the hallway after coming back to the college from studying.

“One of the girls saw a black figure beside the fire hydrant, turned to the other girl to point it out and as they both turned round, they felt a cold whoosh of air pass them,” Mr Church said.

A weird smell, a figure in black and a whoosh of cold air. Must be a ghost.

In the week following, a “substantial number” of female students at the college had slept with their lights on and shared rooms with other students.

Ha, the ghost was probably a male student, hoping he’d get to shack up with some terrified girls.

Some of the other students, Mr Church included, took advantage of the situation to play pranks on other residents, including going around the corridors with pillowcases over their heads.

Heh. I would so be doing that. In fact this is a good time to confess a couple of my meaner pranks at my university hostel. One day around 20 of us watched The Exorcist in the TV Lounge. Now this is one of those rare movies which is truly scary. As it ended, one of my mates suggested we play a prank on his girlfriend, so we slipped into her room, and hid under her bed. A few minutes later she crashed, and a few minutes after that we started applying upwards force to the mattress. At first lightly, but then heavily enough so that she was bouncing into the air. Now fans of the Exorcist will know of the bed scene where the bed lifts itself up. Sure enough the poor girl started screaming absolutely terrified that the Devil had possessed her bed. Half the hostel could hear her screaming. They all came running, and it took her around three minutes to calm down enough to explain what happened. Then the two of us popped our heads out from under the bed with huge grins on our faces. Everyone dropped to the ground laughing except the poor girl who spent several minutes quite seriously assaulting (quite deservedly) the two of us. We’re talking serious bruises and we were so convulsed with laughter we couldn’t defend ourselves and I think the fact that we kept laughing while she was punching us, just increased the intensity of the fist smashing. But again, quite deserved.

I should point out I was also very very good friends with her, and wouldn’t have played such a prank on someone who wasn’t such a good mate. She did see the funny side of it – eventually 🙂

There was another time where the day before a group of us went into the bush for a weekend, we watched Friday the 13th on Thursday night. Then out in the bush (and yes it was a Friday the 13th) at the hut we were playing spotlight. I crept back into the hut and put on a black jersey, black balaclava and grabbed the axe that was there. Then rejoining the game I deliberately  rustled the bushes where I was standing so the person with the torch would shine it my way. I stepped out all in black with balaclava and axe raised high and started running towards them. My God, I think you could hear the screams a couple of miles away.

No I wasn’t always the nicest 18 or 19 year old in the world. People can make their own judgement about whether my sense of humour has got better or worse since then! Anyway back to this story:

University chaplain the Rev Greg Hughson said he and a local kaumatua were brought in to calm students after they had been through a “genuinely frightening experience”.

“We reaffirmed God’s presence and God’s love and God’s peace and God’s power in that place and then we said the Lord’s Prayer together.”

Would have been far better to give everyone a paintball gun so they could fire at any “ghost” and quickly determine they are not in fact a ghost.

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