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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


Here is a curious tale from the city of Limerick of a lady's "double" being seen, with no consequent results. It is sent by Mr. Richard Hogan as the personal experience of his sister, Mrs. Mary Murnane. On Saturday, October 25, 1913, at half-past four o'clock in the afternoon, Mr. Hogan left the house in order to purchase some cigarettes. A quarter of an hour afterwards Mrs. Murnane went down the town to do some business. As she was walking down George Street she saw a group of four persons standing on the pavement engaged in conversation. They were: her brother, a Mr. O'S----, and two ladies, a Miss P. O'D----, and her sister, Miss M. O'D----. She recognised the latter, as her face was partly turned towards her, and noted that she was dressed in a knitted coat, and light blue hat, while in her left hand she held a bag or purse; the other lady's back was turned towards her. As Mrs. Murnane was in a hurry to get her business done she determined to pass them by without being noticed, but a number of people coming in the opposite direction blocked the way, and compelled her to walk quite close to the group of four; but they were so intent on listening to what one lady was saying that they took no notice of her. The speaker appeared to be Miss M. O'D----, and, though Mrs. Murnane did not actually hear her _speak_ as she passed her, yet from their attitudes the other three seemed to be listening to what she was saying, and she heard her _laugh_ when right behind her--not the laugh of her sister P.--and the laugh was repeated after she had left the group a little behind.

So far there is nothing out of the common. When Mrs. Murnane returned to her house about an hour later she found her brother Richard there before her. She casually mentioned to him how she had passed him and his three companions on the pavement. To which he replied that she was quite correct except in one point, namely that there were only _three_ in the group, as M. O'D---- _was not present_ as she had not come to Limerick at all that day. She then described to him the exact position each one of the four occupied, and the clothes worn by them; to all of which facts he assented, except as to the presence of Miss M. O'D----. Mrs. Murnane adds, "That is all I can say in the matter, but most certainly the fourth person was in the group, as I both saw and heard her. She wore the same clothes I had seen on her previously, with the exception of the hat; but the following Saturday she had on the same coloured hat I had seen on her the previous Saturday. When I told her about it she was as much mystified as I was and am. My brother stated that there was no laugh from any of the three present."

Mrs. G. Kelly sends an experience of a "wraith," which seems in some mysterious way to have been conjured up in her mind by the description she had heard, and then externalised. She writes: "About four years ago a musical friend of ours was staying in the house. He and my husband were playing and singing Dvorak's _Spectre's Bride_, a work which he had studied with the composer himself. This music appealed very much to both, and they were excited and enthusiastic over it. Our friend was giving many personal reminiscences of Dvorak, and his method of explaining the way he wanted his work done. I was sitting by, an interested listener, for some time. On getting up at last, and going into the drawing-room, I was startled and somewhat frightened to find a man standing there in a shadowy part of the room. I saw him distinctly, and could describe his appearance accurately. I called out, and the two men ran in, but as the apparition only lasted for a second, they were too late. I described the man whom I had seen, whereupon our friend exclaimed, 'Why, that was Dvorak himself!' At that time I had never seen a picture of Dvorak, but when our friend returned to London he sent me one which I recognised as the likeness of the man whom I had seen in our drawing-room."