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16 October 2014
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Ghost Stories

The Haddock Ghost and other spooky stories.

Ghost and superstitions

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If you go down to the woods at night - is it just mist moving behind those trees??  Photograph by Pascal Diamond.
Photograph by Pascal Diamond

The Haddock Ghost

When James Haddock died in 1657 he left part of his land in the Malone area to his wife Arminell and the rest to his young son. The executor of the will was one Daniel Davis, who eventually married widow Arminell. They had a son and Davis altered the will to benefit this son instead. Davis nearly succeeded with his deception except ........

Francis Tavener comes face to face with Haddock's ghost!  Cartoon by Brian Willis.

Five years later James' friend, Francis Tavener, was riding over Drum Bridge late one night when his horse reared up and there before him stood Haddock's ghost. "Take Daniel Davis to court" moaned the ghost (ghosts always moan!!) "There is something strange happening to my will."

This apparition appeared on several occasions, until at last Francis did take Davis to court.

The case was heard in Carrickfergus under Bishop Jeremy Taylor. By now the country was all agog, for news of the apparition had spread. The courtroom was packed. The blinds were drawn and in the gloom the proceedings began. Eventually came the moment all had anticipated.

"Call James Haddock" shouted the Usher - No reply. The crowd laughed nervously. "Call James Haddock" - again silence. The crowd held their breath. "Call James Haddock" went the cry again and slowly a hand, draped in a shroud, arose from the witness box and a disembodied voice boomed out "Is this enough?"

The crowd erupted. It was indeed enough and Davis was found guilty.

Audio Clip : 'Haddock's Ghost' - Matt Neill, Sextant of Drumbeg Church



There is another account of this story on the site - read it here...

You can read about other famous gravestones in the Drumbeg churchyard here...



The Coonian Ghost

In 1913 Widow Murphy and her family lived in a mountain cottage near Brookborough, Co Fermanagh. Their lives were plagued by a poltergeist that appeared determined to evict them from their house. Many other people witnessed the amazing events that occurred. One such visitor was the MP, Cahir Healy, and another was Father Coyle from Maguiresbridge.

Father Coyle watching as the blankets rise and fall on an empty bed, as if someone underneath is breathing.  Cartoon by Brian Willis.

Rapping was heard night and day. Mysterious shapes appeared and disappeared, music would waft across the room. Father Coyle described seeing clothes rising and falling on an empty bed, as if someone was underneath breathing. Pots and pans would suddenly fly across the kitchen. Eventually the family were forced to flee, not just because of the unsettling happenings in their home, but also because they were ostracised by superstitious neighbours.

The family set off by ship for America but even then, to their horror, the poltergeist continued its terrible deeds in their cabin and even followed them to their new home. Eventually, after many years, its manifestations subsided and the family members were able to get on with their lives in peace.

It is said that the "Coonian Ghost" is the best-recorded and authenticated ghost in Irish History.

BBC Radio Foyle's Susan McReynolds visited the mountain cottage with local historian Ken McCormack in 2002. To hear how they got on select Radio Foyle Highlights and scroll to the bottom of the page.

In October 2003 Your Place & Mine reporter Mary Ferris spoke to a man who had seen several ghostly apparitions - find out more .


Listen to 'Strange Tales' of the unexplained and read about 'Haunted Ulster' at BBC Northern Ireland's Hallowe'en website.

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