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True Irish Ghost Stories: Haunted Houses, Banshees, Poltergeists, and Other Supernatural Phenomena (John D. Seymour) online

True Irish Ghost Stories: Haunted Houses, Banshees, Poltergeists, and Other Supernatural Phenomena by John D. Seymour


Ghosts are no respecters of persons or places, and take up their quarters where they are least expected. One can hardly imagine them entering a R.I.C. barrack, and annoying the stalwart inmates thereof. Yet more than one tale of a haunted police-barrack has been sent to us--nay, in its proper place we shall relate the appearance of a deceased member of the "Force," uniform and all! The following personal experiences are contributed by an ex-R.I.C. constable, who requested that all names should be suppressed. "The barrack of which I am about to speak has now disappeared, owing to the construction of a new railway line. It was a three-storey house, with large airy apartments and splendid accommodation. This particular night I was on guard. After the constables had retired to their quarters I took my palliasse downstairs to the day-room, and laid it on two forms alongside two six-foot tables which were placed end to end in the centre of the room."

"As I expected a patrol in at midnight, and as another had to be sent out when it arrived, I didn't promise myself a very restful night, so I threw myself on the bed, intending to read a bit, as there was a large lamp on the table. Scarcely had I commenced to read when I felt as if I was being pushed off the bed. At first I thought I must have fallen asleep, so to make sure, I got up, took a few turns around the room, and then deliberately lay down again and took up my book. Scarcely had I done so, when the same thing happened, and, though I resisted with all my strength, I was finally landed on the floor. My bed was close to the table, and the pushing came from that side, so that if anyone was playing a trick on me they could not do so without being under the table: I looked, but there was no visible presence there. I felt shaky, but changed my couch to another part of the room, and had no further unpleasant experience. Many times after I was 'guard' in the same room, but I always took care not to place my couch in that particular spot."

"One night, long afterwards, we were all asleep in the dormitory, when we were awakened in the small hours of the morning by the guard rushing upstairs, dashing through the room, and jumping into a bed in the farthest corner behind its occupant. There he lay gasping, unable to speak for several minutes, and even then we couldn't get a coherent account of what befel him. It appears he fell asleep, and suddenly awoke to find himself on the floor, and a body rolling over him. Several men volunteered to go downstairs with him, but he absolutely refused to leave the dormitory, and stayed there till morning. Nor would he even remain downstairs at night without having a comrade with him. It ended in his applying for an exchange of stations."

"Another time I returned off duty at midnight, and after my comrade, a married Sergeant, had gone outside to his quarters I went to the kitchen to change my boots. There was a good fire on, and it looked so comfortable that I remained toasting my toes on the hob, and enjoying my pipe. The lock-up was a lean-to one-storey building off the kitchen, and was divided into two cells, one opening into the kitchen, the other into that cell. I was smoking away quietly when I suddenly heard inside the lock-up a dull, heavy thud, just like the noise a drunken man would make by crashing down on all-fours. I wondered who the prisoner could be, as I didn't see anyone that night who seemed a likely candidate for free lodgings. However as I heard no other sound I decided I would tell the guard in order that he might look after him. As I took my candle from the table I happened to glance at the lock-up, and, to my surprise, I saw that the outer door was open. My curiosity being roused, I looked inside, to find the inner door also open. There was nothing in either cell, except the two empty plank-beds, and these were immovable as they were firmly fixed to the walls. I betook myself to my bedroom much quicker than I was in the habit of doing."