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By MaxMore


A long long time ago in the year 2001 a series of mysterious unexplained events took place in a Sunderland School. Some of the names have been changed but the story is genuine.

In 2001 it was decided that McVitie School for troubled and troublesome children, was to have a complete modernisation of its buildings. This would take almost twelve months to complete and necessitate vacating the whole building for a year.

Fortunately, a nearby special school, Sunnybank, had just moved out of it’s tired building to a new modern purpose built school on the outskirts of Sunderland. The two schools were roughly the same size so there was no trouble with accommodation at the old Sunnybank site.

Before I get to the heart of the story it will help if I introduce one or two of the characters, who for the most part were at McVitie in the Spring and summer of that year.

I was a deputy headteacher and I was expected to play a major role in organising the logistics of the move, and settling in to the new building. The local education authority had granted us an extra weeks holiday in September to get the building prepared. We had a Caretaker, Nick, who was a complicated and talented character. He had served his time as a joiner, Completed a degree in fine arts, and worked as a site manager for hotels abroad. He was brilliant at whatever he turned his hand to - and exceptionally good at finding reasons not to.

We had recently hired a new cook/dinner lady whose name was Lillian. She was a spiritualist with great belief in her own ‘powers’. She did in fact seem to be able to see people who weren't there. She had stopped a recently bereaved senior member of staff, and said to him

“She’s here now and she says let the boys just wrap the presents”

A bit unnerving as his wife had recently passed away, and his sons had been asking him what to do with the birthday presents they had bought her before she died. Nobody else had known about this.

She had also spoken to several members of staff about the spirits she could see around them. Always seemed to know things about their friends and relations. As a result she became affectionately known as ‘Spooky Lil’. She once told me that I had someone standing behind me but not to worry, he was looking after you. This was accompanied by a very detailed description. Next day I was telling my Mother about her, laughing because I didn't know anyone who fit that description. Mother went pale and said thats a perfect description of Uncle Whitty, who was gassed during World War1 and commited suicide.

The last player I would like to introduce is my IT technician, a man of many talents, Paul. When he was first appointed, he was given a little workshop out of the way. As a new starter only one or two had met him. I asked Nick to get him a name plate for his workshop, and scribbled down his name. Paul Irwin. IT technician. I think I must have been hurrying when I wrote it, because his workshop door proudly announced in beautifully hand painted calligraphy.:



He was thereafter known as Pavel Onion by staff and students alike - or Sparky.

To the plot then: On the eleventh of September 2001, after loads of hard work by staff, The students returned, a week later than the other schools in town. Many of them were transported by Taxi or Mini-bus. The day was going well until dinner time. Lillian had set the dining room out and was serving dinner. One of the youngsters was telling his mates a story, he’d been told about a boy who had been at the school when it catered for some very badly disabled and sick children. The story was the boy had died at school and haunted the corridors and classrooms. Lil announced to some of the staff that she knew about this and that he had spoken to her. “ His name is Adam and he's harmless. He just likes being at school”. After dinner, as we were clearing the dinner stuff away Lil, turned to our secretary and said ”he’s right beside you”

“Who” she asked, Lil stared at the space beside her and in a shaky voice said “He says something dreadful is going to happen ”“Oh no” I said “ Ofsted must be coming” which brought a laugh from the staff around the dining room.

At three thirty that day as the taxis arrived to pick up the students from out of the area, One of the staff, Kenny said, in conversation, “one of the little buggers has written AIDAN across the work I’d put on the whiteboard.

The first Taxi came in and the driver asked if we’d heard the news. We hadn’t but soon found out. An aeroplane had flown into one of the towers of the World Trade Centre. While we were waiting, the second plane struck. Lil had finished work earlier, but was quick to let us know the next day that she had ‘Predicted’ it.

Over the next few weeks, AIDAN left his name in various places around the school. Nick found it written on every piece of a toilet roll. The cookery teacher found biscuits arranged in such a way that they spelled AIDAN, Spooky Lil said she must have misheard the spirit, but he had corrected her now and his name wasn’t Adam, but Aidan.

The story became more real when a sad little lad called Tommy, who liked to come into the computer room at break time. He was trying to load a program and kept moving from machine to machine. When Kenny,the IT support, asked why he kept moving, Tommy showed him. Each time the computer asked him to enter his name, as he typed it changed to AIDAN. Kenny sat at a computer next to Tommy and started to type his name. The word SORRY came up, then disappeared and changed to Tommy.

One morning as Nick opened up, he found the words AIDAN IS COLD written in the dirt on front door window pane.

On another morning, Lil turned up with a very big German Shepherd bitch. She brought it to my office and said, “This is Tess, she says you want a dog and she is the one for you”. As it happened I had wanted an Alsatian for a while after the death of my old canine companion, She had even had her spayed for me because she could get it done free at the PDSA.

By the time we were due to move back to our refurbished building, AIDAN was firmly entrenched in the psyche of the old building. Some staff were even worrying about what would happen to Aidan when we moved.

What they didn't know was that AIDAN was the product of a long running and brilliantly orchestrated ruse, between myself, Pavel, and Nick. Paul was particularly effective, having control over all the computers in the school. Nick had access to lots of areas and of course was in school when staff had left.

We never did tell the rest of the staff. However I did feel bad about poor Tommy who wouldn't go near a computer for the rest of his time at the school. I got a lovely dog though, and to this day Spooky Lil continues to ‘talk to the spirits’.

Author Notes: PDSA: Peoples Dispensary for Sick Animals {Free vetinary treatment for people are on welfare payments}
OFSTED: Schools inspectorate

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15 Jan, 2020
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