Haunted Derry sells out on launch night

The book is available in local bookshops and online.
The book is available in local bookshops and online.

A new book featuring some of the scariest ghost stories from around Derry, sold out when it was launched at the Central Library on Monday night.

Author Madeline McCully said she was overwhelmed ay the book’s popularity and said she’s looking forward to returning to the library on October 17 to read extracts from the book and sign more copies.

Published by the History Press with an introduction by Eamon Friel, ‘Haunted Derry’ is Madeline McCully’s first official book.

“I’ve had a few anthologies,” she said, “and done quite a lot of storytelling.”

It is Madeline’s love of talking to people and hearing their stories that led to ‘Haunted Derry’.

Initially the History Press was interested in a book of folk tales from Madeline. But when it heard about the ghost stories, it decided to publish a haunted book at Hallowe’en and follow it up with folk tales at Christmas.

It was back in 2000 that Madeline first set up derryghosts.com with Raymond Brady and Christiane (Khun) McGuffin. The website was hugely popular and even won awards but Madeline always had the intention of some day writing a book of ghost stories.

“I was to write folk tales of Derry, but in the proposal I put forward I mentioned the website, and they asked me to write ‘Haunted Derry’ first,” she said.

“I’ve done storytelling on the east and west coast of America and it’s amazing how many of the Irish stories, particularly the ghost ones have travelled to America and come back here again.”

Madeline has great respect for Peter McCartney who wrote the famous Derry book ‘Parade of Phantoms’ but she says this book is different.

“Of course there are stories that people know such as the one at Prehen House but there are other stories that have been around a long time but aren’t in any books.

“I was asked if would I be able to concentrate the search in the city and also County Derry where there are tremendous stories that haven’t really had a showing.

“I got an amazing number of stories from people who just wanted to tell their story and I enjoyed going round and listening to people and hearing their stories and putting them into context. It was almost like a domino effect and one story often led to another.

“In fact at the end of the day I had so many stories I couldn’t include them all so there’s scope for volume 2.”

Madeline has illustrated the book herself with her own sketches and pictures.

But she says she’s had a lot of help from the likes of Jim McCallion who reignited her interest in photoshop and her husband, Tom, who she says made her endless cups of tea and kept her calm.

Madeline will be reading from the book again on Saturday, October 17 at the Central Library. All are welcome.