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Ghost Stories

The Cock Lane Ghost
The quaint old London church of St. Sepulchre's could...

In the twenty-second year of the period Eternal-happi...

Of all Irish ghosts, fairies, or bogles, the Banshee...

The Deathbed
Miss C., a lady of excellent sense, religious but not b...

The Bold Venture
The little fisher-town of Portstephen comprised two s...

Number 13
Among the towns of Jutland, Viborg justly holds a high ...

The Residence At Whitminster
Dr. Ashton--Thomas Ashton, Doctor of Divinity--sat in...

The Starving Millionaire
This story was also in the papers. It created a sensa...

My Gillie's Father's Story
Fishing in Sutherland, I had a charming companion in th...

An Agreeable Explanation
A gentleman of undoubted veracity relates the followi...

Haunted Places

That houses are haunted and apparitions frequently seen therein are
pretty well established facts. The preceding chapters have dealt with
this aspect of the subject, and, in view of the weight of evidence to
prove the truth of the stories told in them, it would be hard for anyone
to doubt that there is such a thing as a haunted house, whatever
explanation maybe given of "haunting." We now turn to another division of
the subject--the outdoor ghost who haunts the roadways, country lanes,
and other places. Sceptics on ghostly phenomena are generally pretty full
of explanations when they are told of a ghost having been seen in a
particular spot, and the teller may be put down as hyper-imaginative, or
as having been deluded by moonlight playing through the trees; while
cases are not wanting where a reputation for temperance has been lost by
a man telling his experiences of a ghost he happens to have met along
some country lane; and the fact that there are cases where an imaginative
and nervous person has mistaken for a ghost a white goat or a sheet
hanging on a bush only strengthens the sceptic's disbelief and makes him
blind to the very large weight of evidence that can be arrayed against
him. Some day, no doubt, psychologists and scientists will be able to
give us a complete and satisfactory explanation of these abnormal
apparitions, but at present we are very much in the dark, and any
explanation that may be put forward is necessarily of a tentative nature.

The following story is sent us by Mr. J. J. Crowley, of the Munster and
Leinster Bank, who writes as follows: "The scene is outside Clonmel, on
the main road leading up to a nice old residence on the side of the
mountains called ---- Lodge. I happened to be visiting my friends, two
other bank men. It was night, about eight o'clock, moonless, and
tolerably dark, and when within a quarter of a mile or perhaps less of
a bridge over a small stream near the house I saw a girl, dressed in
white, wearing a black sash and long flowing hair, walk in the direction
from me up the culvert of the bridge and disappear down the other side.
At the time I saw it I thought it most peculiar that I could distinguish
a figure so far away, and thought a light of some sort must be falling on
the girl, or that there were some people about and that some of them had
struck a match. When I got to the place I looked about, but could find no
person there.

"I related this story to my friends some time after arriving, and was
then told that one of them had wakened up in his sleep a few nights
previously, and had seen an identical figure standing at the foot of his
bed, and rushed in fright from his room, taking refuge for the night with
the other lodger. They told the story to their landlady, and learned from
her that this apparition had frequently been seen about the place, and
was the spirit of one of her daughters who had died years previously
rather young, and who, previous to her death, had gone about just as we
described the figure we had seen. I had heard nothing of this story until
after I had seen the ghost, and consequently it could not be put down to
hallucination or over-imagination on my part."

The experiences of two constables of the Royal Irish Constabulary while
on despatch duty one winter's night in the early eighties has been sent
us by one of the men concerned, and provides interesting reading. It was
a fine moonlight night, with a touch of frost in the air, when these two
men set out to march the five miles to the next barrack. Brisk walking
soon brought them near their destination. The barrack which they were
approaching was on the left side of the road, and facing it on the other
side was a whitethorn hedge. The road at this point was wide, and as the
two constables got within fifty yards of the barrack, they saw a
policeman step out from this hedge and move across the road, looking
towards the two men as he did so. He was plainly visible to them both.
"He was bare-headed" (runs the account), "with his tunic opened down the
front, a stout-built man, black-haired, pale, full face, and short
mutton-chop whiskers." They thought he was a newly-joined constable who
was doing "guard" and had come out to get some fresh air while waiting
for a patrol to return. As the two men approached, he disappeared into
the shadow of the barrack, and apparently went in by the door; to their
amazement, when they came up they found the door closed and bolted, and
it was only after loud knocking that they got a sleepy "All right" from
some one inside, and after the usual challenging were admitted. There
was no sign of the strange policeman when they got in, and on inquiry
they learnt that no new constable had joined the station. The two men
realised then that they had seen a ghost, but refrained from saying
anything about it to the men at the station--a very sensible precaution,
considering the loneliness of the average policeman's life in this

Some years afterwards the narrator of the above story learnt that a
policeman had been lost in a snow-drift near this particular barrack.
Whether this be the explanation we leave to others: the facts as stated
are well vouched for. There is no evidence to support the theory of
hallucination, for the apparition was so vivid that the idea of its being
other than normal never entered the constables' heads _till they had got
into the barrack_. When they found the door shut and bolted, their
amazement was caused by indignation against an apparently unsociable
or thoughtless comrade, and it was only afterwards, while discussing the
whole thing on their homeward journey, that it occurred to them that it
would have been impossible for any ordinary mortal to shut, bolt, and bar
a door without making a sound.

In the winter of 1840-1, in the days when snow and ice and all their
attendant pleasures were more often in evidence than in these degenerate
days, a skating party was enjoying itself on the pond in the grounds of
the Castle near Rathfarnham, Co. Dublin. Among the skaters was a man who
had with him a very fine curly-coated retriever dog. The pond was
thronged with people enjoying themselves, when suddenly the ice gave
way beneath him, and the man fell into the water; the dog went to his
rescue, and both were drowned. A monument was erected to perpetuate the
memory of the dog's heroic self-sacrifice, but only the pedestal now
remains. The ghost of the dog is said to haunt the grounds and the public
road between the castle gate and the Dodder Bridge. Many people have seen
the phantom dog, and the story is well known locally.

The ghost of a boy who was murdered by a Romany is said to haunt one of
the lodge gates of the Castle demesne, and the lodge-keeper states that
he saw it only a short time ago. The Castle, however, is now in
possession of Jesuit Fathers, and the Superior assures us that there has
been no sign of a ghost for a long time, his explanation being that the
place is so crowded out with new buildings "that even a ghost would have
some difficulty in finding a comfortable corner."

It is a fairly general belief amongst students of supernatural phenomena
that animals have the psychic faculty developed to a greater extent than
we have. There are numerous stories which tell of animals being scared
and frightened by something that is invisible to a human being, and the
explanation given is that the animal has seen a ghost which we cannot
see. A story that is told of a certain spot near the village of G----, in
Co. Kilkenny, supports this theory. The account was sent us by the
eye-witness of what occurred, and runs as follows: "I was out for a walk
one evening near the town of G---- about 8.45 P.M., and was crossing the
bridge that leads into the S. Carlow district with a small wire-haired
terrier dog. When we were about three-quarters of a mile out, the dog
began to bark and yelp in a most vicious manner at 'nothing' on the
left-hand side of the roadway and near to a straggling hedge. I felt a
bit creepy and that something was wrong. The dog kept on barking, but I
could at first see nothing, but on looking closely for a few seconds I
believe I saw a small grey-white object vanish gradually and noiselessly
into the hedge. No sooner had it vanished than the dog ceased barking,
wagged his tail, and seemed pleased with his successful efforts." The
narrator goes on to say that he made inquiries when he got home, and
found that this spot on the road had a very bad reputation, as people had
frequently seen a ghost there, while horses had often to be beaten,
coaxed, or led past the place. The explanation locally current is that a
suicide was buried at the cross-roads near at hand, or that it may be the
ghost of a man who is known to have been killed at the spot.

The following story has been sent us by the Rev. H.R.B. Gillespie, to
whom it was told by one of the witnesses of the incidents described
therein. One bright moonlight night some time ago a party consisting of a
man, his two daughters, and a friend were driving along a country road in
County Leitrim. They came to a steep hill, and all except the driver got
down to walk. One of the two sisters walked on in front, and after her
came the other two, followed closely by the trap. They had not gone far,
when those in rear saw a shabbily-dressed man walking beside the girl who
was leading. But she did not seem to be taking any notice of him, and,
wondering what he could be, they hastened to overtake her. But just when
they were catching her up the figure suddenly dashed into the shadow of a
disused forge, which stood by the side of the road, and as it did so the
horse, which up to this had been perfectly quiet, reared up and became
unmanageable. The girl beside whom the figure had walked had seen and
heard nothing. The road was not bordered by trees or a high hedge, so
that it could not have been some trick of the moonlight. One of the girls
described the appearance of the figure to a local workman, who said, "It
is very like a tinker who was found dead in that forge about six months

Here is another story of a haunted spot on a road, where a "ghost" was
seen, not at the witching hour of night, not when evening shadows
lengthen, but in broad daylight. It is sent to us by the percipient,
a lady, who does not desire to have her name mentioned. She was walking
along a country road in the vicinity of Cork one afternoon, and passed
various people. She then saw coming towards her a country-woman dressed
in an old-fashioned style. This figure approached her, and when it drew
near, suddenly staggered, as if under the influence of drink, and
disappeared! She hastened to the spot, but searched in vain for any clue
to the mystery; the road was bounded by high walls, and there was no
gateway or gap through which the figure might slip. Much mystified, she
continued on her way, and arrived at her destination. She there mentioned
what had occurred, and was then informed by an old resident in the
neighbourhood that that woman had constantly been seen up to twenty years
before, but not since that date. By the country-people the road was
believed to be haunted, but the percipient did not know this at the time.

The following is sent us by Mr. T. J. Westropp, and has points of its own
which are interesting; he states: "On the road from Bray to Windgates, at
the Deerpark of Kilruddy, is a spot which, whatever be the explanation,
is distinguished by weird sounds and (some say) sights. I on one occasion
was walking with a friend to catch the train at Bray about eleven o'clock
one evening some twenty-five years ago, when we both heard heavy steps
and rustling of bracken in the Deerpark; apparently some one got over the
gate, crossed the road with heavy steps and fell from the wall next Bray
Head, rustling and slightly groaning. The night was lightsome, though
without actual moonlight, and we could see nothing over the wall where we
had heard the noise.

"For several years after I dismissed the matter as a delusion; but when I
told the story to some cousins, they said that another relative (now a
Fellow of Trinity College, Dublin) had heard it too, and that there was
a local belief that it was the ghost of a poacher mortally wounded by
gamekeepers, who escaped across the road and died beyond it." Mr.
Westropp afterwards got the relative mentioned above to tell his
experience, and it corresponded with his own, except that the ghost was
visible. "The clergyman who was rector of Greystones at that time used to
say that he had heard exactly similar noises though he had seen nothing."

The following story of an occurrence near Dublin is sent us by a lady who
is a very firm believer in ghosts. On a fine night some years ago two
sisters were returning home from the theatre. They were walking along a
very lonely part of the Kimmage Road about two miles beyond the tram
terminus, and were chatting gaily as they went, when suddenly they heard
the "clink, clink" of a chain coming towards them. At first they thought
it was a goat or a donkey which had got loose, and was dragging its chain
along the ground. But they could see nothing, and could hear no noise but
the clink of the chain, although the road was clear and straight. Nearer
and nearer came the noise, gradually getting louder, and as it passed
them closely they distinctly felt a blast or whiff of air. They were
paralysed with an indefinable fear, and were scarcely able to drag
themselves along the remaining quarter of a mile to their house. The
elder of the two was in very bad health, and the other had almost to
carry her. Immediately she entered the house she collapsed, and had
to be revived with brandy.

An old woman, it seems, had been murdered for her savings by a tramp near
the spot where this strange occurrence took place, and it is thought that
there is a connection between the crime and the haunting of this part of
the Kimmage Road. Whatever the explanation may be, the whole story bears
every evidence of truth, and it would be hard for anyone to disprove it.

Churchyards are generally considered to be the hunting-ground of all
sorts and conditions of ghosts. People who would on all other occasions,
when the necessity arises, prove themselves to be possessed of at any
rate a normal amount of courage, turn pale and shiver at the thought of
having to pass through a churchyard at dead of night. It may be some
encouragement to such to state that out of a fairly large collection of
accounts of haunted places, only one relates to a churchyard. The story
is told by Mr. G. H. Millar of Edgeworthstown: "During the winter of
1875," he writes, "I attended a soiree about five miles from here. I was
riding, and on my way home about 11.30 P.M. I had to pass by the old
ruins and burial-ground of Abbeyshrule. The road led round by two sides
of the churchyard. It was a bright moonlight night, and as my girth broke
I was walking the horse quite slowly. As I passed the ruin, I saw what I
took to be a policeman in a long overcoat; he was walking from the centre
of the churchyard towards the corner, and, as far as I could see, would
be at the corner by the time I would reach it, and we would meet. Quite
suddenly, however, he disappeared, and I could see no trace of him. Soon
after I overtook a man who had left the meeting long before me. I
expressed wonder that he had not been farther on, and he explained that
he went a 'round-about' way to avoid passing the old abbey, as he did not
want to see 'The Monk.' On questioning him, he told me that a monk was
often seen in the churchyard."

A story told of a ghost which haunts a certain spot on an estate near the
city of Waterford, bears a certain resemblance to the last story for the
reason that it was only after the encounter had taken place in both cases
that it was known that anything out of the ordinary had been seen. In the
early eighties of last century ---- Court, near Waterford, was occupied
by Mr. and Mrs. S---- and their family of two young boys and a girl of
twenty-one years of age. Below the house is a marshy glen with a big open
drain cut through it. Late one evening the daughter was out shooting
rabbits near this drain and saw, as she thought, her half-brother
standing by the drain in a sailor suit, which like other small boys he
wore. She called to him once or twice, and to her surprise got no reply.
She went towards him, and when she got close he suddenly disappeared. The
next day she asked an old dependent, who had lived many years in the
place, if there was anything curious about the glen. He replied at once:
"Oh! you mean the little sailor man. Sure, he won't do you any harm."
This was the first she had heard of anything of the sort, but it was then
found that none of the country-people would go through the glen after

Some time afterwards two sons of the clergyman of the parish in
which ---- Court stands were out one evening fishing in the drain, when
one of them suddenly said, "What's that sailor doing there?" The other
saw nothing, and presently the figure vanished. At the time of the
appearance neither had heard of Miss S----'s experience, and no one has
been able to explain it, as there is apparently no tradition of any
"little sailor man" having been there in the flesh.

Mr. Joseph M'Crossan, a journalist on the staff of the _Strabane
Chronicle_, has sent us a cutting from that paper describing a ghost
which appeared to men working in an engine-house at Strabane railway
station on two successive nights in October 1913. The article depicts
very graphically the antics of the ghost and the fear of the men who saw
it. Mr. M'Crossan interviewed one of these men (Pinkerton by name), and
the story as told in his words is as follows: "Michael Madden, Fred
Oliphant, and I were engaged inside a shed cleaning engines, when, at
half-past twelve (midnight), a knocking came to all the doors, and
continued without interruption, accompanied by unearthly yells. The three
of us went to one of the doors, and saw--I could swear to it without
doubt--the form of a man of heavy build. I thought I was about to faint.
My hair stood high on my head. We all squealed for help, when the
watchman and signalman came fast to our aid. Armed with a crowbar, the
signalman made a dash at the 'spirit,' but was unable to strike down the
ghost, which hovered about our shed till half-past two. It was moonlight,
and we saw it plainly. There was no imagination on our part. We three
cleaners climbed up the engine, and hid on the roof of the engine, lying
there till morning at our wit's end. The next night it came at half-past
one. Oliphant approached the spirit within two yards, but he then
collapsed, the ghost uttering terrible yells. I commenced work, but the
spirit 'gazed' into my face, and I fell forward against the engine. Seven
of us saw the ghost this time. Our clothes and everything in the shed
were tossed and thrown about."

The other engine-cleaners were interviewed and corroborated Pinkerton's
account. One of them stated that he saw the ghost run up and down a
ladder leading to a water tank and disappear into it, while the signalman
described how he struck at the ghost with a crowbar, but the weapon
seemed to go through it. The spirit finally took his departure through
the window.

The details of this affair are very much on the lines of the good
old-fashioned ghost yarns. But it is hard to see how so many men could
labour under the same delusion. The suggestion that the whole thing was
a practical joke may also be dismissed, for if the apparition had flesh
and bones the crowbar would have soon proved it. The story goes that a
man was murdered near the spot some time ago; whether there is any
connection between this crime and the apparition it would be hard to say.
However, we are not concerned with explanations (for who, as yet, can
explain the supernatural?); the facts as stated have all the appearance
of truth.

Mr. Patrick Ryan, of P----, Co. Limerick, gives us two stories as he
heard them related by Mr. Michael O'Dwyer of the same place. The former
is evidently a very strong believer in supernatural phenomena, but he
realises how strong is the unbelief of many, and in support of his
stories he gives names of several persons who will vouch for the truth
of them. With a few alterations, we give the story in his own words: "Mr.
O'Dwyer has related how one night, after he had carried the mails to the
train, he went with some fodder for a heifer in a field close to the
railway station near to which was a creamery. He discovered the animal
grazing near the creamery although how she came to be there was a
mystery, as a broad trench separated it from the rest of the field,
which is only spanned by a plank used by pedestrians when crossing the
field. 'Perhaps,' he said in explanation, 'it was that he _should_ go
there to hear.' It was about a quarter to twelve (midnight), and, having
searched the field in vain, he was returning home, when, as he crossed
the plank, he espied the heifer browsing peacefully in the aforementioned
part of the field which was near the creamery. He gave her the fodder
and--Heavens! was he suffering from delusions? Surely his ears were not
deceiving him--from the creamery funnel there arose a dense volume of
smoke mingled with the sharp hissing of steam and the rattling of cans,
all as if the creamery were working, and it were broad daylight. His
heifer became startled and bellowed frantically. O'Dwyer, himself a man
of nerves, yet possessing all the superstitions of the Celt, was startled
and ran without ceasing to his home near by, where he went quickly to

"O'Dwyer is not the only one who has seen this, as I have been told by
several of my friends how they heard it. Who knows the mystery
surrounding this affair!"

The second story relates to a certain railway station in the south of
Ireland; again we use Mr. Ryan's own words: "A near relative of mine" (he
writes) "once had occasion to go to the mail train to meet a friend.
While sitting talking to O'Dwyer, whom he met on the platform, he heard
talking going on in the waiting-room. O'Dwyer heard it also, and they
went to the door, but saw nothing save for the light of a waning moon
which filtered in through the window. Uncertain, they struck matches, but
saw nothing. Again they sat outside, and again they heard the talking,
and this time they did not go to look, for they knew about it. In the
memory of the writer a certain unfortunate person committed suicide on
the railway, and was carried to the waiting-room pending an inquest. He
lay all night there till the inquest was held next day. 'Let us not look
further into the matter,' said O'Dwyer, and my relative having
acquiesced, he breathed a shuddering prayer for the repose of the dead."

The following story, which has been sent as a personal experience by Mr.
William Mackey of Strabane, is similar in many ways to an extraordinary
case of retro-cognitive vision which occurred some years ago to two
English ladies who were paying a visit to Versailles; and who published
their experiences in a book entitled, _An Adventure_ (London, 1911). Mr.
Mackey writes: "It was during the severe winter of the Crimean War, when
indulging in my favourite sport of wild-fowl shooting, that I witnessed
the following strange scene. It was a bitterly cold night towards the end
of November or beginning of December; the silvery moon had sunk in the
west shortly before midnight; the sport had been all that could be
desired, when I began to realise that the blood was frozen in my veins,
and I was on the point of starting for home, when my attention was drawn
to the barking of a dog close by, which was followed in a few seconds by
the loud report of a musket, the echo of which had scarcely died away in
the silent night, when several musket-shots went off in quick succession;
this seemed to be the signal for a regular fusillade of musketry, and it
was quite evident from the nature of the firing that there was attack and

"For the life of me I could not understand what it all meant; not being
superstitious I did not for a moment imagine it was supernatural,
notwithstanding that my courageous dog was crouching in abject terror
between my legs; beads of perspiration began to trickle down from my
forehead, when suddenly there arose a flame as if a house were on fire,
but I knew from the position of the blaze (which was only a few hundred
yards from where I stood), that there was no house there, or any
combustible that would burn, and what perplexed me most was to see pieces
of burning thatch and timber sparks fall hissing into the water at my
feet. When the fire seemed at its height the firing appeared to weaken,
and when the clear sound of a bugle floated out on the midnight air, it
suddenly ceased, and I could hear distinctly the sound of cavalry coming
at a canter, their accoutrements jingling quite plainly on the frosty
air; in a very short time they arrived at the scene of the fight. I
thought it an eternity until they took their departure, which they
did at the walk.

"It is needless to say that, although the scene of this tumult was on my
nearest way home, I did not venture that way, as, although there are many
people who would say that I never knew what fear was, I must confess on
this occasion I was thoroughly frightened.

"At breakfast I got a good sound rating from my father for staying out so
late. My excuse was that I fell asleep and had a horrible dream, which I
related. When I finished I was told I had been dreaming with my eyes
open!--that I was not the first person who had witnessed this strange
sight. He then told me the following narrative: 'It was towards the end
of the seventeenth century that a widow named Sally Mackey and her three
sons lived on the outskirts of the little settlement of the Mackeys. A
warrant was issued by the Government against the three sons for high
treason, the warrant being delivered for execution to the officer in
command of the infantry regiment stationed at Lifford. A company was told
off for the purpose of effecting the arrest, and the troops set out from
Lifford at 11 P.M.

"'The cottage home of the Mackeys was approached by a bridle-path,
leading from the main road to Derry, which only permitted the military to
approach in single file; they arrived there at midnight, and the first
intimation the inmates had of danger was the barking, and then the
shooting, of the collie dog. Possessing as they did several stand of
arms, they opened fire on the soldiers as they came in view and killed
and wounded several; it was the mother, Sally Mackey, who did the
shooting, the sons loading the muskets. Whether the cottage went on fire
by accident or design was never known; it was only when the firing from
the cottage ceased and the door was forced open that the officer in
command rushed in and brought out the prostrate form of the lady, who was
severely wounded and burned. All the sons perished, but the soldiers
suffered severely, a good many being killed and wounded.

"'The firing was heard by the sentries at Lifford, and a troop of cavalry
was despatched to the scene of conflict, but only arrived in time to see
the heroine dragged from the burning cottage. She had not, however, been
fatally wounded, and lived for many years afterwards with a kinsmen. My
father remembered conversing with old men, when he was a boy, who
remembered her well. She seemed to take a delight in narrating incidents
of the fight to those who came to visit her, and would always finish up
by making them feel the pellets between the skin and her ribs.'"

Next: Apparitions At Or After Death

Previous: Poltergeists

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