Subject: re: Cross-cultural ghosts
From: "Bruce F. Thatcher" <>
Date: 28 May 1997 19:40:04 GMT

While British and American cultures are not radically different (though some might argue that point), I recall a story my father told me dating from World War II. Whether this helps answer your question or not, I don't know.

My father's unit was billeted at a British military post, awaiting transfer to Europe. One night, one of the men in his unit went to use the latrine. The latrine was a temporary facility, built to accommodate the influx of Allied soldiers, and was built of rather shoddy plasterboard. It had a single entrance/exit and the stalls were arranged in a single row. Each toilet was in its own stall, but did not have a door. In any event, while the soldier was sitting there, someone walked past the stall, headed toward a stall in the back of the latrine. The soldier thought nothing of this and didn't even look up to see if he recognized the other man. Moments later, the other man walked back past the soldier's stall. Nothing unusual so far. But then, a few moments later, he walked past again.

The soldier, thinking somebody was playing some kind of a joke looked up and noted that the other man was dressed in British military gear and carrying an old rifle over his shoulder. This was odd, not simply because of the rifle in the latrine, but because the British soldiers didn't generally use the temporary latrines, and the soldier's clothing was antiquated (he especially noted the old style of the helmet).

When the Brit walked past again, the American asked him what he was doing, but got no response. The American hailed him more vigorously on the next pass, with similar results. When the Brit walked past yet again, the American (who was getting a little tired of the fellow's strange behavior) reached out to grab him, but apparently missed.

At this point, the American decided he'd had enough, and, since the Brit had gone down to the dead-end of the latrine, the American knew he'd have to come back. He finished his business, did up his trousers, and sat down again to wait. This time, when the other man walked past, the American stood up and put both hands against the opposite wall, catching the Brit between his arms. To his astonishment, the fellow continued walking, passing right through his arm. The American freaked, and since the apparition was between him and the only exit, he made his own door by going through the wall.

The terrified soldier reported the incident to my father and the chaplain and another British officer who happened to be with them at the time. The British officer nodded knowingly and told them it was nothing to worry about,the 'guard' had been seen many times. It turns out that the latrine was positioned right where the gates of the post had been during World War I. One night, during that war, a soldier who was walking guard duty there had been murdered. Apparently the ghost was simply repeating what he had last been ordered to do.

My father and the chaplain were both intrigued to see this sight for themselves, went to the latrine but found nothing. They had intended to return the

Don't know if this story helps your thesis in any way, but I thought I'd pass it along.

Bruce Thatcher