‘The Bed’, Dowanhill, Glasgow

This tale was shared with me by historian and storyteller par excellence, Alan Steel, who writes:

“This story came from a curious source. He was probably the most boring and least imaginative man I ever encountered.  I found it difficult to believe that he’d just completed a degree course and had a girlfriend, for his life, past, present, and future, was focussed only on table tennis. He couldn’t have made up the incident, and I think he recounted it only because it interfered with his bookings at some Sports Centre.

I showed a bit of interest when he described his girlfriend’s new `digs’ for it was in that first straight stretch of Dowanside Road – on the north side, where my girlfriend had stayed. At that time [1971] the interiors were closely modelled on the Bates House. There was dark at the end of each corridor and at the top of each flight of stairs…”

For the sake of ease, we’ll call our table tennis enthusiast Alex, and his girlfriend, Mollie.

One night, it was arranged that the pair would meet up at Mollie’s room. When Alex arrived, he was somewhat surprised when Mollie answered the door in her pyjamas. Obviously, she had just got out of bed. Alex didn’t think very much of it . The visit was short, as it appeared that Mollie wasn’t a mood for company. They arranged that he would pop round again in a few days time.

When Alex returned, he was even more surprised to find Mollie was still in her pyjamas, the same ones she had worn a few days earlier. Worried, he asked if she was okay. She said she was fine, although her demeanour being slightly ‘off’, it was again a short visit.

After a week, Alex heard that Mollie hadn’t been into work, which was completely out of character. He went round to her digs. There he found Mollie still in bed, still wearing those same night clothes. As for her room, it was in a state of disarray, dirty plates and cups strewn everywhere, it was clear that Mollie had been living in the bed. She didn’t give much response when Alex asked her what was going on and why she hadn’t been into work. Al continues,  “He seized her and tried to pull her out of the bed. She giggled, then laughed and then her voice dropped to a deep baritone, the laughter of a large man …
that’s it.”

Alex took Mollie to a friends house where she quickly recovered and could offer no explanation for her behaviour

The next day, Alex went over to see Mollie’s landlord to return her keys. He informed him that she was moving out with immediate effect. The landlord asked Alex if there was anything wrong with the room.

“Not particularly” replied Alex. “The room itself is fine.”

“Then,” said the landlord, “why is she moving out?”

Alex explained what had happened. He was informed that the previous occupant of Mollie’s room had been a large man unable to leave the bed due to illness, and there, eventually, he died…..


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