CHRISTINE MILLER takes us to Derry/Londonderry in Northern Ireland to reveal its spookiest ghosts and hauntings
The Old Convent Building, Pump Street, BT48 6JG
This building has quite a number of spooky tales attached to it, one of them being the supposed appearance of a woman dressed entirely in black, who stands on the staircase, accompanied by a small child. They have been momentarily witnessed by workmen, only to disappear into thin air mere seconds later.
Could this spectral woman be responsible for violent attacks?
One workman was laying carpet in the old refectory when his head was pushed with force and held to the ground. Once free, he turned believing it was a somewhat redundant prank, only to find he was the only one present.
In the nun’s dormitory quarters, there has been reported an extremely uneasy atmosphere, with many workmen point blank refusing to undertake any work in this particular area, so frightening is the feeling in this part of the building.
The White Horse Hotel, 68 Clooney Road, BT47 3PA
Over the years, many have reported witnessing a full- formed stagecoach trample along Clooney Road, only to stop outside the White Horse Hotel, where the portly driver disembarks and enters into the hotel before promptly vanishing.
Guests to the hotel have also reported waking in the middle of the night to find a figure standing at the foot of their bed before promptly vanishing. Footsteps in the corridors and certain bathrooms have also been heard on more than one occasion.
Bligh’s Lane, BT48 9PJ
The spirit of a woman has been seen crossing the road on Bligh’s Lane, and, in fact, is believed to be responsible for saving the lives of two young boys.
In the 1950s, Derry witnessed some of its worse weather on record, with the River Foyle freezing over and an enormous amount of snowfall.
The local youths took full advantage of this irregular weather to sleigh down a steep hill at the top of Bligh’s Lane. Two of the boys who did this were midway down the hill (and going at some speed) when they suddenly noticed an elderly woman carrying two pales in their immediate trajectory at the bottom of the hill.
Immediately digging their feet into the snow to slow themselves so as not to hit her, they soon noticed a large lorry hurtling past at quite an unsuitable speed.
Had the boys not seen the woman they would not have slowed themselves considerably and would almost certainly have been hit and seriously injured, if not killed, by the passing vehicle.
Adrenaline at a high they got up to thank the woman, but she had vanished with nowhere to disappear to in such a short amount of time.
The Mourne Bar (now demolished) Foyle Street, BT48 6AP
The Mourne Bar had a foreboding ambience, to say the least, so much so in fact that one owner said that the best thing to happen to the building was its demolishment.
A department store was erected on the site where the pub once stood, but it is not known if the spirits that once inhabited the pub have continued to linger.
In its time, the bar was host to a number of strange phenomena such as phantom footsteps marching ominously throughout the attic part of the building, along with the sound of furniture being violently pulled and pushed throughout the rooms above. Chilling and pitiful weeping cries were also heard.
One owner stated that each time she climbed the stairwell to the attic, on one particular step there was the feeling that an icy wall had descended making it impossible for her to pass.
Wellington Street, Londonerry
The exact number of hauntings in Wellington Street is unknown.
The most famous local story goes that one address was home to a husband and wife and their large brood of young children.
The mother died in childbirth and faced with untold grief and despair the father took to drink, leaving the task of childcare to his eldest daughter.
Mary, who was still a child herself struggling with the task forced upon her and one night, when the youngest child was particularly restless, Mary contemplated fetching the blanket that her mother used to put over the bed to soothe them all and help them sleep.
No sooner had Mary had this thought, the bedroom door opened and in walked the fully formed spirit of her dead mother, clutching the said blanket.
She made her children comfortable and, far from frightened, they fell asleep. The same thing happened a few nights later and Mary’s father went to the local priest for advice. The priest stated that his wife was unable to rest because of her concern for her children.
The father soon cleaned up his act and this must have pleased his wife as her presence was never seen again in the house.