The White Dove Hotel in Aberdeen has been demolished, but the story of its haunting is well known.
One of the guests at the hotel had fallen sick. The woman was an actress, apparently, and her name was Miss Vining. She had become quite ill shortly after her arrival at the hotel. When a doctor was called to examine her, he decided that she was suffering from a rare disease, thought to be tropical in origin. The patient's condition grew worse and was causing concern. The doctor pronounced that she required constant care, so a nurse was called in to attend to her.
The nurse noticed a strange, eerie atmosphere in the room when she arrived, but put it down to the condition of her patient and the stormy weather raging outside. Miss Vining was too ill to speak, so the nurse spent some time attending to practicalities, monitoring her patient's condition and assuring her comfort, and then settled in a chair beside the bed to wait quietly beside her, reading. After a while something made the nurse look up. Her eyes passed over her sleeping patient and came to rest on another chair at the opposite side of the bed. There, seated quietly, was the figure of a small girl. It was hard to make out the child's features, for she was wearing a large hat.
The first reaction of the nurse was to protest with the child: how and why had she come into the sickroom without permission? But as the nurse rose from her seat, the child raised a hand to motion her back. The child seemed to be possessed of some strange power, for the nurse found that she could not move any farther. The nurse then tried to turn to her patient, who was showing some signs of distress. Once again, she found she was unable to move. It was a very strange feeling. She sat back in her chair, and although she had not been feeling tired at all, she could not prevent herself from falling asleep.
When the nurse woke up, the child had gone, but Miss Vining was delirious with a raging fever and needed attention. The nurse, thankfully, was now able to rise and care for her. When morning came, the was re-interred, the cobbler reclaimed the shoes that he had made. They were a fine pair, after all, and what use could they be to a dead person?
He had made a big mistake. Next morning, before dawn, the neighbours had a rude awakening. Sounds of a terrible struggle were heard coming from Rabbie Heckspeckle's cobbler's shop. Several people, who had all been disturbed by the thumping and screaming, ran to the shop to investigate. They could find nothing except a set of footprints leading from the shop to the graveyard. The footprints led right up to the grave that had been dug up the day before.
There was nothing else for it - the grave had to be dug up once again. When the coffin was lifted out and opened, the townspeople shuddered when they saw what lay inside. The corpse, it seemed, had got his new shoes back. There they were, on his feet, just as before. Of Rabbie Heckspeckle, however, there was no sign, apart from a piece of his shirt, which the corpse held in its pallid, decaying fingers. Rabbie Heckspeckle was never seen again. The people of Selkirk were left to wonder, with fear in their hearts, what had happened to the cobbler at the hands of the ghostly stranger. Fife | Aberdeen | Boxley | Chesterfield | Connemara | Cornwall | Hampshire | Kiveton | Lanark | Lancashire | Lincoln | Lowestoft | lreland | Room 3 | Royal Hotel | Scotland | Scotland |
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