Witness: Phil Husselbury
Date of Encounter: 1947
My father is a very level-headed man (boringly responsible) so you could have knocked me down with a feather when he told me he'd seen a ghost.
In 1947, my Dad was a British soldier occupying what became the state of Israel. Dad was due on guard duty in a gun tower, complete with search light, in a camp guarding "terrorists" (think of the movie The Great Escape and you're there or thereabouts). There was one set of stairs to the tower and a little room in the tower so the duty guard would come down first. This duly happened but in those few seconds Dad decided he needed to use the bathroom, so he asked the first guard to pop back up. He then went to the bathroom, returning to clearly see a soldier in the tower. The duty corporal then appeared and in rather basic military English enquired as to why dad was not in the tower. Dad replied that the previous guard had gone back for a moment but the corporal put a spanner in the works by informing Dad that he was drinking tea in the Guardhouse. The duty NCO and my Dad evidently both had the same thought "Who, then, is in the tower?" and shouted up, receiving no reply. Both men ran up the stairs to the tower, finding it empty. It transpired that a passing Sergeant had also seen the phantom sentry and here's where the story takes an interesting twist, the Sergeant had made a note to give the sentry a verbal rocket as he clearly saw the man had a bayonet fixed to his rifle. This practice had been outlawed some weeks previously as a sentry had become bored and messed around with the searchlight, accidentally touching a wire with his bayonet. The man was killed instantly. Was the phantom sentry this man for last guard duty? Dad doesn't know and, presumably, neither does the army as nothing more was ever seen. Incidentally, Dad did not face an absence charge as the duty corporal swore blind there was a man in the tower.