Victorian Ghost Story

by Barbara Dowse

When I was 19, I worked in a very large mansion, one that had been turned into offices and run by the National Coal Board in Sheffield, England.

One lunch break, I recall heating soup in the kitchen downstairs and using the formal staircase which led up to my office. I was walking slowly, carrying the bowl of hot soup. Ahead, in front of me, was a lady with long, dark hair styled in ringlets and wearing a long full dark, green velvet gown. She was about four stairs ahead of me - and at the top of the curved stairway, she turned sharp-left into my office.

As I followed her in, I looked up, and she was nowhere in sight; just the four office girls, my work mates, eating sandwiches at the large table. I asked them where the lady had gone, and they looked at me as though I was mad! I told them the story, and we all laughed - as nothing sinister was felt by any of us. It was puzzling, but I didn't really think too much more about it other than to tell my family when I got home from work.

The next day while arriving at work, everyone was talking about the ghost that someone had seen at work the previous day. I was a bit scared until I realized that they were talking about MY sighting! Then, I realized that it had been a ghost; but it was not a creepy, or scary thing at all.

Forty years have passed since that day, but I can still see her face as she glanced back at me and the beautiful gown she wore. I was telling my niece this story a few years ago on a visit to Sheffield, and she told me that she had heard that ghosts most often appear to girls in their twenties for some reason. Perhaps, they are more open to admit them. She is a teacher and had several sightings herself. One ghost sighting took place in a very old school house that she had taken her class in. She didn't know it until later, but the lady who she had a conversation with upstairs (and dressed in period costume), didn't really exist!