According to myths of the time, during the Great War, both German and British soldiers experienced any number of phenomena that were officially suppressed by both governments. Rumors abounded of secret weapons and covert experiments, but one story was too strange for even embittered soldiers to attribute to conscience-less war-time power mongers.
It is said that shortly after the battle of Flanders, surgeons and nurses began to notice errors in admittance logs. The books showed soldiers placed in cots that had obviously seen no use for days. It was as if the wounded were simply getting back up and walking out after being admitted.
Within the week, hospitals all over France began to report actual disappearances. During the night - under the noses of the staff, soldiers and all their personal effects were simply removed by some unknown, unseen agent. Desertion was suspected of course, but the gravity of some injuries made such an escape a laughable impossibility. Doctors swore aides to secrecy to stem the rising panic, but the night itself continued to swallow up the invalid sons of England at an ever increasing pace.
The patients were not oblivious to the missing soldiers and their fear of the sick bed gradually outstripped their fear of the Germans. A whispered fear by a careless nurse was all it took to lead to a riot in one case, and after the commotion had been quelled, several instances of suicide. The patients began to describe dreams and nightmares of glassy-eyed, staring things that crept in the doctors’ shadows and caressed the dying with hundreds of long, thin, grasping fingers. Delusions and hysteria could no longer be suppressed and hospitals were forced to close, sending the sick and injured back to England under any number of pretenses.
The disappearances ended almost immediately and the senior officers sealed all reports, citing hallucinogenic effects of German gas attacks.
Still, what was perhaps least explainable was that top secret German records, recovered after the War’s conclusion, describe an almost identical menace. But, when the French hospitals closed, German losses nearly doubled overnight. Indeed, the malefactor followed the German retreat all the way to the Capitol, where hospitalization became as good as a death sentence.
As the Entente Powers closed the distance to Berlin, fevered rants of doctors and nurses grew to match that of their patients. Horrible visions of huge, black eyes and thin, needle-like teeth filled memos that went unread by the collapsing government.
Just before Berlin fell, however, the reports and frantic pleas for military intervention ceased. Doctors and staff went back to their duties, tales of ghoulish stalkers dismissed as infectious delusions and war stress. The War ended and no formal investigation was ever mounted by either side.
There have never been any true explanations for the phenomena, and all that we are left with are grim stories of hospitalized madness. Still, it is strange to think that an entire young generation of German doctors, sworn to do no harm—the same doctors who so suddenly renounced the stalking horror—should be so complacent in the blood-thirsty schemes of the Nazi party decades later. Even stranger, that their zeal in the butchery more closely resembled hunger than hatred.