FAQ by Stefanie Müller, as provided by Steve Toase
Art by Shannon Legler
1. When was the clinic founded?
The clinic was first established in 1892 in the small Bavarian town of Spukendorf. As the practice expanded, the clinic was moved to the larger town of Gespentstadt in 1905. We have been operating in Gespentstadt ever since.
2. How many people does the clinic employ?
We employ forty-two full time staff. At any time, we have an extra ten surgeons from across the globe working on site and learning our methods.
3. How old is ghost limb transplantation as a method?
The principle of ghost limb transplantation was first discovered by our clinic founder Herr Doktor Stichstein in 1874. He postulated that ghosts were formed of matter to allow them to manifest, but that this matter must be very fragile due to their ethereal nature. This would render them liable to serious injury much easier than the living. This, he argued in “Treatise of Limb Damage and re-attachment post Mortis” (1877, Munich), was the main reason behind the presence of aggression within the spirit world. When Herr Doktor Stichstein first established the clinic, he performed ten operations in a year. We now expect to successfully complete twenty in week.
4. Is the process complex?
The operations are fairly straightforward, compared to transplants with human patients. With the living, transplants, particularly of limbs, are complicated by the number of elements there are to attach–bones, blood vessels, nerves, etc. With pre-mortem patients, there are additional risks of rejection and secondary infection due to immune-suppressants. None of these issues seem to afflict our spectral patients.
However, there are dangers. In cases where the detachment of the donor limb from the still living donor is not carried out properly, an in-body manifestation can occur. Most ghosts are claustrophobic, and this accidental dwelling often leads to the possession symptoms made familiar through classic films.
5. How do you find your clients?
Most of our patients are referred to us by exorcists. Over the years, we have built up good relationships with both church-based and secular operators. We are often the first people they call, as they now recognise that damage to limbs often lies at the root of their problems.
6. Where do you find the phantom limbs to be transplanted?
We work closely with clinics and hospitals carrying out amputations. Several vascular and orthopaedic surgeons have completed placements with us. Often though, potential donors are identified by physiotherapists. For the transplant to be successful, the phantom sensations must be acute. Normally this manifests as pain, so 99% of donors are willing.
7. What is the procedure?
The procedure comes in two parts;
- the detachment of the phantom limb from the living donor.
- the reattachment to the spectral patient.
The first part is fairly straightforward and often met with a certain level of bemusement by our flesh and blood donors. In follow up surveys, they often express a sense of relief that the symptoms of their phantom limb have disappeared. The detachment is part surgery and part ritual. We use a mixture of rare herbs cultivated and refined over the last 124 years to achieve a stress and side-effect free detachment.
The reattachment can be more problematic. Due to the ethereal nature of our patients, we have to use a series of magnetic fields to hold them in place while we operate. These are enhanced with binding magics based around the traditional circle, to prevent them leaving part-way through the procedure. Once the limb is attached, normally using sutures formed from manifested ectoplasm, we nurture the patient until they are ready to return to the wider spirit world.
8. Do you have any problems source donations?
Our main problem, as with any donation programme, is the number of donations. We have, however, sponsored several programmes within car design, office working practices, and airplane long-haul seating, to ensure a regular supply of phantom limbs.
9. Are there any side effects?
For our donors, none. Some of our patients experience a period of becoming more visible to the general public, due to the contrast between their ethereal bodies and the fresh ectoplasmic material used to perform the operation.
10. Can you not fashion limbs for your patients from ectoplasm?
Beyond the visibility, which increases the stress level for our patients when they return to the wider community, it is incredibly difficult to manifest ectoplasm in such quantities to satisfy demand. Just to cope with current demand, we have two mediums in permanent trances, vomiting the viscous substance twenty-four hours a day.
11. I am a surgeon and would like to observe an operation.
Please contact our medical liaison department at email@example.com
12. I am an exorcist and have a patient I would like you to work with.
Please contact our admissions department at
13. I am a medical professional and have a client who wishes to make a donation.
Please contact our donations department at
14. For all other enquiries please contact us at
Stefanie Müller is a junior doctor attending Der Heilige Antonius von Padua Klinik von Geisterbefestigung as a surgery resident. Born in Bremen, she saw her first ghost at 12. So far she has not participated in a ghost limb transplant procedure, and has spent most of her first six months updating the Klinik’s web content. She owns a donkey, a dog, a cat, and a hen.
Archaeologist and writer Steve Toase lives in North Yorkshire, England, and Munich, Germany.
His work has appeared in Scheherezade’s Bequest, Not One Of Us, and Cafe Irreal amongst others. In 2014, “Call Out” (first published in Innsmouth Magazine) was reprinted in The Best Horror Of The Year 6. He is also a regular Fortean Times reviewer.
Recently, Steve worked with Becky Cherriman and Imove on Haunt, about Harrogate’s haunting presence in the lives of people experiencing homelessness in the town. https://stevetoase.wordpress.com/
Shannon’s professional title is “illustrator,” but that’s just a nice word for “monster-maker,” in this case. More information about them can be found at http://shannonlegler.carbonmade.com/.
“Der Heilige Antonius von Padua Klinik von Geisterbefestigung” is © 2017 Steve Toase
Art accompanying story is © 2017 Shannon Legler