In the summer of 1996, the culmination of a prolonged series of supernatural events forced a local woman to flee her home with her children.
The mother-of-four claimed she had been plagued by ghosts of a young girl and man since moving into the house in Moss Park, in the Galliagh area of the city, some years previously.
The notoriety of the house quickly spread in the glare of subsequent press and television coverage. In one interview with a journalist, the woman spoke of the night she awoke to find the figure of an old man
standing by her bed.
“It was horrible. I’ve never been so frightened in all my life. I felt uneasy while sleeping and woke up to find him glaring at me.
Suddenly, the holy medal around my neck felt really heavy and he seemed to catch sight of it then disappeared.”
Her young son was wakened one night in the front bedroom by a noise coming from a built-in wardrobe in the room. He was terrified as a ghostly boy walked through the closed wardrobe door and began pulling at his bedclothes. All he could do was curl up at the head of the bed and scream until the figure simply vanished.
A pregnant friend staying overnight, again in the front bedroom, awoke to the sight of an old woman with arms out-stretched standing at the foot of the bed demanding to have her baby. The friend never returned to the house.
Noises in the attic, scraping sounds, shadowy figures, doors opening and closing, all were common occurrences. One day, having tidied the house and locked up, she visited a neighbour living directly opposite. They were sitting chatting when the neighbour happened to glance over and noticed someone in her house. Sure enough, there was a figure standing by the living-room curtains. They both rushed over to the house to find the place in a mess, but there was no intruder to be found.
The woman decided to ask the local priest to bless the house. She continued: “On the night after the priest came round I was at home with the children when I heard strange banging noises. I checked all
the doors in the house and they were closed, but the banging and rattling got louder and louder. I ran upstairs and took my children from their beds but as I was coming downstairs I felt as if something was passing through me.
“Whatever it was pinned me to the wall before releasing me.”
It was this particular incident that finally persuaded her to leave the house. Before she left she contacted a local clairvoyant, Kate Houston, for her assistance. Kate willingly responded and a meeting was arranged. Kate takes up the story.
“Being a clairvoyant, I’ve seen and heard many strange things, but nothing compared to the house in
Moss Park . . . now that really scared me!
“The occupier [whom we can call ‘Majella’] contacted me and asked if I would come out to her house, so of course I obliged and arranged a visit. I walked towards the house knowing only that the woman who
lived there had heard banging noises and could ‘feel’ that something was in the house. That was enough
information for me to go and investigate.
“Majella greeted me at the door, she was very po-lite. I came in and sat down in the kitchen, everything
felt calm – but then, it always does at the start. We were chatting over tea when I suddenly thought, ‘Aha!
“No sooner had I thought this when I saw, standing right behind Majella, a little girl who seemed about
ten years old. I was trying not to look too obviously, which was hard considering that Majella stopped
chatting and asked me, ‘What are you looking at?’
She had noticed my eyes were gazing beyond her. ‘Oh God, no. It’s behind me, isn’t it?’ she said, staring at
me with her face drained of colour. Her expression was of someone half glad that I had seen something
and half terrified.
“I gave her a reassuring look and nodded my head, hoping to calm her a little. She put her head in her
hands. ‘Thank God,’ she said, ‘now I don’t have to think I’m going mad like everybody keeps telling me.’
Without raising her head, she asked me what else I could see. I told her that standing to the right of her
was the shadow of a man. I told her that they would go in a minute as they were only there to prove them-selves, and shortly afterwards they both went.
“Without any hesitation, Majella asked me if I would go upstairs with her. We proceeded out into
the hallway and just as we reached the foot of the stairs Majella said, ‘There’s no way I’m going up first!’
“‘No problem,’ I said, trying to sound very confident, even though I felt uneasy about the horrible
atmosphere that seemed to be seeping through every bone in my body. This one I did not like, it was beginning to scare even me.
“Majella remarked about the sudden icy cold air around her – she knew what was happening. Before
I could explain, a very powerful energy force pushed me back. I screamed as I started to fall backwards.
I prayed to God that I would be able to grab on to the banister, not only to save myself, but also because
Majella and her baby were by now right behind me on the stairs. My hand grasped the banister, thank
God. “I turned around to see if Majella was okay. She asked me what had happened, why I had fallen back. I
explained to her that there was a very strong and powerful spirit in her house and that it was coming from
her bedroom. This bedroom was the centre point of all the manifestations; whatever spirits were in there
had been raised and never rested properly. ‘Until they are finally put to rest the proper way,’ I warned her,
‘they will keep on disturbing you and your family.’
“This is only one of many experiences I encountered in this house . . . and the others are not so tame!”
Published with kind permission of Guildhall Press who first published the piece in Parade of Phantoms