Have you ever seen a ghost? If not, do you believe in them, or at least have an open mind? If there was a scale of belief 0 – 10 where would you be? I reckon I’d be a 7 or an 8.
Obviously, if you’ve seen a real live ghost you’ll be a 10. Others, many of you, will be a sceptical zero. So no, I’ve never had the pleasure though I’d desperately love to learn that ghosts exist on a physical level.
We’re short of apparitions here in Jersey. We do have a few old legends but they are firmly rooted in the past with no sightings (to my knowledge) in modern times. Our medieval castle Mont Orgueil does supposedly have a resident ghost whose dark corner I point out to our visitors; there is a little substance to this maybe according to previous ghost hunters. Doctor John Lewis, in his memoirs of the Occupation years, describes taking rooms in Bath Street and, for several nights in a row, heard a tumultuous racket coming from the room next to his own bedroom. Upon opening the dividing door there was silence and emptiness. He had almost got used to this phenomenon until one night the noise stopped abruptly, never to reoccur. (The building has since been demolished.)
A family I know well once experienced the sensation of an invisible ‘someone’ walking slowly across their living room and out through the wall – there were three of them who simultaneously experienced this. I re-wrote this scene in A West Cork Mystery.
And of course, Ireland is where you will find ghosts, if anywhere. There is a rich cornucopia of myth, legend and folklore documented by the likes of WB Yeats, Lady Gregory and more recent writers like Michael Scott. And Ireland of course doesn’t just have ghosts; it has the faeries which, as everyone knows, are the descendants of the Tuatha Dé Dannan who were driven underground to the Otherworld by their conquerors the Milesians. They interact with the human race in myriad ways.
As a child, on a visit to an aunt in west Cork, she’d say, “Go to sleep now but wake up at midnight to see the leprechauns dancing outside.” And next thing the morning light would be streaming in through my window.
Walk (or run, as I’ve had the pleasure of doing) through the misty wilds of Connemara, wander through the deserted village of Slievemore on Achill Island, listen carefully to the dark silence descending over any Irish village once the pub door has been closed for the night, sit for a while, your back against a standing stone which pre-dates any history we know. Then tell me again that you’re a zero.
Any spooky experiences out there?