The Grey Lady of Cumberland College

A ghost is rumored to roam the corridors of Cumberland College, leaving resident students absolutely petrified by its presence. One such sighting of the ghost, known as the Grey Lady, caused chaos amongst students at the college in May 2012.

So much so, that staff at the college requested that the chaplain of the University of Otago pay the college a visit to help calm the terrified students.

Many years ago, Cumberland College was a nurse's home, just a short distance from the now closed Queen Mary Maternity Hospital.

A young mother gave birth in the psychiatric unit of the Queen Mary hospital, and one of the nurses took her baby away from her, claiming that she was an unfit mother.

The young mother died soon after the birth of her baby, and the story goes that her spirit went over the road to the nurse's home, to look for her baby, which she has apparently being doing ever since.

Every time the Grey Lady is sighted, turmoil is caused among the students, and Cumberland College all but comes to a standstill for a while, until things calm down. 

One of these sightings of the Grey Lady occurred on May 5, 2012, when two female health science students, while walking down the corridor after studying together, noticed a strange smell in the air, which also suddenly became icy cold.

According to one of the girls, she saw a black figure standing next to the fire hydrant and, after pointing it out to the other girl, they felt a cold rustle of air go past them, and the apparition disappeared.

Naturally, the two girls where extremely frightened after their experience, and went immediately to tell the college's deputy head all about the terrifying incident.

Some of the other female students also reported that for no reason at all, their room lights would flick on and off, which also caused a lot of panic at the college.

The Grey Lady sightings had caused quite a large amount of hysteria amongst many of the more than 300 students residing at Cumberland College!

Other students too, reported more strange happenings at the college since the first incident, one of which was of a student who woke up during the night, to find a figure dressed in black, standing at the end of her bed. 

Needless to say word got around very quickly about this strange occurrence, which resulted in many of the other girl students at the college sleeping with their lights on, or sharing their rooms with other students.

Some of the students at the college were not phased at all by the experience however, and took full advantage of the situation to play practical jokes on those that were frightened out of their minds, by sometimes walking the dark corridors with pillowcases placed on their heads!

Staff at Cumberland College decided on May 10, to arrange a blessing on the premises, to calm down the tense, hysterical atmosphere among the students.

The Rev Greg Hughson, the University chaplain, as well as a local kaumatua were asked to come to Cumberland College and do what they could to calm the students after their harrowing experience.

The frightened students seemed to calm down somewhat after the two men reaffirmed God's presence on the premises, as well as His peace, love, and power, and joined in with the students, to say The Lord's Prayer together.

According to Rev Hughson, he has been asked on two previous occasions in his twelve years as chaplain of the university, to do blessings on premises after ghost sightings.

A certain Mr Andrew Smith, the owner and operator of Hair Raiser, a ghost tour company in Dunedin, reported that there were a few other stories surrounding the Grey Lady ghost.

Sightings had been experienced on previous occasions in the psychiatric unit of the Dunedin hospital, which had recently been moved to another location, and also at the site of the original Dunedin hospital.

According to Mr Smith as well, it was extremely fashionable in Victorian times, to name ghosts the Grey Lady, and that new ghosts always appeared to be white in color, and that the more the ghost was sighted over time, its color would fade from a bright white, to a more greyish color. 

The Grey Lady, the uninvited guest that has been terrorising students at Cumberland College, according to one of Dunedin's experts on the paranormal, has all the characteristics of an unfriendly spirit.


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