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A Doughboy In Edinburgh


Just discovered this site and find the experiences some of you have had to be fascinating - I've always had an interest in the unexplained, and something happened recently that I'm at a bit of a loss about! For background, I'm 30, office drone by day and aspiring artist by night, live alone in a 300-year old country cottage (which seems totally un-haunted, to my disappointment) in the middle of an ancient forest (likewise), and work in an office in a converted WW2 military hospital (again, thoroughly unpopulated by anything spooky!)

Anyway, the office is in an industrial estate in Edinburgh, and occasionally I'll walk out into the surrounding housing areas at lunchtime for a haircut, to go to the post office, etc. At the end of November, just before the first of the big snowfalls (which gave me a week off work, yay!), I'd just left the barber's and was walking back to the office. I glanced to the right to cross the road and saw a little boy of about pre-school age standing on the opposite pavement, about 5 or 6 parked cars down, without a face. There were no eyes, nose or mouth, just hollow skin, and it was as if the front of his head had been sucked in from the back, looking like a hole poked in dough, or (to be crude about it) a cat's behind. He stood there for a moment, and then he turned and walked away round the corner. I stood there for a few minutes, unsure if I'd actually just seen what I thought I'd seen, and then walked rather quickly back to the office. I've been down that road a couple of times since, but not seen anything further, and I'm not sure that I particularly want to - everything about the experience felt intensely 'wrong', even though it only lasted a moment.

In response to the questions I'd ask if someone else told me this story, I'd had no drink or drugs (only tea and sandwiches!), I wasn't tired or sleep-deprived, nothing traumatic in my life at the moment, no history of seeing things and the boy (I assumed a boy, but I suppose it could equally have been a girl) looked solid enough and moved normally. It could possibly have been very effective film-quality make-up, but why do that to a child then turn them loose on the streets?

The houses in the area are 1960s-era ex-council stock - I'm sure there'll have been a few deaths there over the decades, but I've never heard of anything particularly dramatic, or of any hauntings. All in all, it's got me a bit puzzled...I'd be keen to hear your views, and if anyone's seen something similar? (It certainly doesn't seem to match anything from Scottish folklore, which is another area of interest for me.)

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, Bemused_Lemur, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

AdmanUK (1 posts)
11 years ago (2011-08-23)
I have had a very similar experience, you're lucky to not have seen him again.

A few years ago I came out of my brothers house and saw a man who looked as if his face had been covered by his own skin. I could just about make out features under the skin although they weren't moving. He just stared at the house and less than a week later my brother and his family lost everything and were forced to sell the house.

Now usually I wouldn't connect the two but I saw the man again a year later outside my house this time while my grandmother was staying with us. She was dead a week later.

I have come to the conclusion that they are either some sort of bad omen or are just drawn to places where something bad is about to happen. It may be worth checking out if anything bad happened in that area soon after.
bacchaegrl (506 posts)
11 years ago (2011-05-27)
I know you put up this story a long time ago. But I think I love you. Your story, your writing, your house, your woods. I love lemurs, I love tea, I love sandwiches. I just have to tell you that I love you. But I'll leave it at that.
Martystardust (3 posts)
11 years ago (2011-03-02)
If you would like some more info about what you saw, I'm absolutely certain you will get lots of opinions and theories if you send it in to The Fortean Times - It's a very interesting supernatural happening that I'm sure would get into the magazine...
Bemused_Lemur (1 stories) (1 posts)
11 years ago (2011-01-17)
Thanks, all, for the comments - appreciate you taking the time to read my experience! Nothing at all untoward has happened since (touch wood!) but I'll report back if I have any more experiences, either in that area or elsewhere.

Mickey - your friend's experience sounds distinctly creepy - a 'tape recording' style ghost peering round something that wasn't there any more, maybe?

Kim - you could be right, unfortunately I didn't notice his clothing particularly, so it would be almost impossible to make a guess at when he dates from, if he was the ghost of a child that died there. I have to pass through the area anyway if I want a decent haircut - I'll try to think of something to say that would reassure a child, but not attract the interest of something nasty, just in case it's something else.

Serenity - I work for the tax office, so I know all about ancient evil! 😁 In all seriousness though, I appreciate your input - hopefully I didn't attract it's attention too much.

Pjod - I do like your explanation, which is a bit less scary than the others! There're lots of strange little (and not so little) creatures in folklore round here - boggarts, kelpies, silkies, shelly-man, etc - it would be nice to think they're still around somewhere, wouldn't it?

Believer21 - thanks, although before you go looking I previously posted it on digitalspy in case that's what you were thinking of? If not, I'd be very interested to hear about anything similar!

Hazman - thanks for recounting that - I know I wasn't a twin, but I've heard similar stories about unborn or stillborn children having a 'presence'of sorts around their siblings - not sure if it's comforting or creepy. I didn't get the impression that it was connected to me or to the place, more that we both just happened to be there.

510mot - they say you learn something new every day and now I know the word 'kiester'! 😁 Had forgotten that 'doughboys' were US soldiers back then - something to do with the buttons on the uniforms, wasn't it? 😁
510mot (3 stories) (262 posts)
11 years ago (2011-01-17)
Wow! When I read "doughboy" I envisioned a WW1 era soldier. Somehow,"cat's kiester" just did not come into my mind! -lol. Seriously though, I have seen an artist's rendition of one of his childhood nightmares that strongly resembles your description. (I believe it was part of a Pink Floyd project) Also, I have heard a hypothesis that the incomplete facial manifestation may have something to do with the entity's wilingness to be seen. Perhaps there was something wicked afoot. Your instinct serves you well.
HazMan_III (4 stories) (91 posts)
11 years ago (2011-01-15)
I can't always see ghosts with my physical eyes, but oftentimes I'll get a general idea of what their stature and such is. On occasion, I've been able to get a mental picture of their exact features, facial and otherwise. I've never some across anything like what you described, at least not personally.

Awhile back I was listening to this morning radio show, and sometimes they'd tell stories, some of them scary, others not so much. There was one in particular about a family who moved into a home they'd inherited from the husband's parents. I believe the couple had three children. In any case, one day the children were playing hide-and-go-seek, and the youngest of the three decided to hide under his bed. As he lay under his bed, he noticed that a boy had crawled in next to him. Thinking it was his brother, he turned to face him, only to see that it was not his brother, but a boy with nothing but underwear on, and more importantly, no face. As you can imagine, he was quite frightened and went to tell the rest of his family what he saw, and they too were afraid.

Long story short, in the end they discovered that the ghost was actually the unborn twin of one of the boys, and he explained that the reason he'd not shown his face was because he didn't want to scare his brother, the two being identical twins and all. Not that I'm saying you have an unborn twin brother, but I thought that it was relevant. Who knows, though? It could be possible.

I hope that if not useful, the story was, at the very least, entertaining.
believer21 (3 stories) (56 posts)
11 years ago (2011-01-15)
I want to comfort you with these words, I have read a similar experence in that area on another sight. I will try to find it and post it.

❤ stay sane
Pjod (3 stories) (978 posts)
11 years ago (2011-01-14)
since you live/work in such a remote area, very possible that some type of creature, trying to take the form of a human boy, unsuccessfully. Realizing this, it quickly made off. I'm starting to realize, this world may be full of diff types of creatures that remain hidden from us humans... History is full of stories with people coming into contact with small creatures. You may just be one of those people 😊
Serenity (1 stories) (35 posts)
11 years ago (2011-01-14)
That doesn't feel like a normal local haunting to me. I don't think that figure had anything to do with the area, and you're probably very lucky not to have seen it again or experienced anything negative since - I'm not psychic or anything, but that whole story filled me with so much dread that I really feel like that was something ancient and evil that took the shape of a boy. I think if you'd followed it around the corner, you'd have attracted it's attention and something awful would have resulted.

Despite giving me chills, I'm glad you shared that, lol! It's such an unnusual thing to hear about.
KimSouthO (27 stories) (1960 posts)
11 years ago (2011-01-13)
I wonder if perhaps the child did have something to do with the area where you saw him, maybe lived there at one time or another. I have often heard of and realized children that come to sudden or traumatic deaths may have a hard time crossing over. You may have simply seen him beecause you allowed yourself to. There may not have been a visible face because of the energy taken to manifest. Just some ideas.

I hope that if this is the case, the child does find the will to cross over. I would ask you to go there and encounrage him to do so, but you sound reluctant to visit the area again, so I will put him in my prayers.

God Bless!
MICKEY1978 (2 posts)
11 years ago (2011-01-13)
strange story mate. A friend of mine see some thing in surrey uk why walking home from work once it was a boy behind a tree the odd thing was the boy was peering round the tree but the tree couldn't have been no more than 4"-5" wide leaving the rest of the boys body missing and then in a split secound he vanished and hes never seen him since after 10 years takeing the same route.

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