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Exorcising a ghost at the Royal Hospital in Derby

The Today programme had an item about a ghost at the new Royal Hospital in Derby. A hooded figure is stalking the corridors and terrifying people. "Experts" (sic) say it is the ghost of a Roman soldier, disturbed because the hospital was built on the site of a Roman road.

The programme interviewed Dom Anthony Sutch, formerly a headmaster of my old school, Downside. He agreed that it was quite likely to be the case that a ghost of a Roman soldier would be patrolling the hospital but thought it probably wouldn't be malevolent, so prayers to reassure it that it was safe to move on would be more appropriate than exorcism. However, he does believe in possession of people by evil demons and in the power of evil. We need to distinguish between spirits (i.e. ghosts) and demons, he thinks.

Subsequently Today had a phone call from the chaplain at the hospital; she refused, in the time-honoured phrase, to confirm or deny the truth of the story.

It occurs to me that if dead Roman soldiers object to disturbing Roman roads they should be popping up all over the place, since many of our modern roads and motorways are built over Roman roads.


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