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the 1970s styled grim reaper.

September 13, 2016

Intensive care nurse here: I have many stories ranging from sheets being ripped apart, to old women in rocking chairs, but the one which ‘haunts’ me is the time I think I actual saw the grim reaper. It was 1999 late in the day, it was summer and turning dark in a busy 12 bedded ITU, in London. I was in charge and at the nurses station, there were a few people milling around, but less than during the day. I looked up to see this man opening and coming through the double doors into the unit. What was so striking about him were his clothes. He looked like he had been picked straight out of 1974 and dropped in 1999. He was wearing brown cord flares, the platform shoes men wore then an orange, yellow and brown check shirt with a cream and brown patterned tank top, over the shirt. He was white with shortish brown hair (not quite 1970’s) and about 30 years old. He walked calmly (like he did this all the time) towards a bay of patients. Not recognising him and knowing he wasn’t a relative of other health care person, I said ‘Hello, can I help?’ He looked at me directly, nodded as if to say ‘Hello’ and carried on walking. I watched him and he stopped at the end of a patients bed and turned to look at them. He never touched the person or do anything other than look at them. This unwell, but stable patient suddenly and unexpectedly deteriorated. As the staff went to assist they all acted like they didn’t see him. He turned round and as calmly as he came in he left. I never saw what direction he went as I left the nurses station to go and help with the patient, who ultimately despite our best efforts died. I spoke to the some of the staff later on about our 1970’s visitor and no-one else saw him. 17 years later it is vivid in my mind.

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