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True Irish Ghost Stories: Haunted Houses, Banshees, Poltergeists, and Other Supernatural Phenomena (John D. Seymour) online
CHAPTER VIII MISCELLANEOUS SUPERNORMAL EXPERIENCES
The present Archdeacon of Limerick, Ven. J. A. Haydn, LL.D., sends the following experience: "In the year 1870 I was rector of the little rural parish of Chapel Russell. One autumn day the rain fell with a quiet, steady, and hopeless persistence from morning to night. Wearied at length from the gloom, and tired of reading and writing, I determined to walk to the church about half a mile away, and pass a half-hour playing the harmonium, returning for the lamp-light and tea.
"I wrapped up, put the key of the church in my pocket, and started. Arriving at the church, I walked up the straight avenue, bordered with graves and tombs on either side, while the soft, steady rain quietly pattered on the trees. When I reached the church door, before putting the key in the lock, moved by some indefinable impulse, I stood on the doorstep, turned round, and looked back upon the path I had just trodden. My amazement may be imagined when I saw, seated on a low, tabular tombstone close to the avenue, a lady with her back towards me. She was wearing a black velvet jacket or short cape, with a narrow border of vivid white: her head, and luxuriant jet-black hair, were surmounted by a hat of the shape and make that I think used to be called at that time a "turban"; it was also of black velvet, with a snow-white wing or feather at the right-hand side of it. It may be seen how deliberately and minutely I observed the appearance, when I can thus recall it after more than forty years.
"Actuated by a desire to attract the attention of the lady, and induce her to look towards me, I noisily inserted the key in the door, and suddenly opened it with a rusty crack. Turning round to see the effect of my policy--the lady was gone!--vanished! Not yet daunted, I hurried to the place, which was not ten paces away, and closely searched the stone and the space all round it, but utterly in vain; there were absolutely no traces of the late presence of a human being! I may add that nothing particular or remarkable followed the singular apparition, and that I never heard anything calculated to throw any light on the mystery."
Here is a story of a ghost who knew what it wanted--and got it! "In the part of Co. Wicklow from which my people come," writes a Miss D----, "there was a family who were not exactly related, but of course of the clan. Many years ago a young daughter, aged about twenty, died. Before her death she had directed her parents to bury her in a certain graveyard. But for some reason they did not do so, and from that hour she gave them no peace. She appeared to them at all hours, especially when they went to the well for water. So distracted were they, that at length they got permission to exhume the remains and have them reinterred in the desired graveyard. This they did by torchlight--a weird scene truly! I can vouch for the truth of this latter portion, at all events, as some of my own relatives were present."
Mr. T. J. Westropp contributes a tale of a ghost of an unusual type, _i.e._ one which actually did communicate matters of importance to his family. "A lady who related many ghost stories to me, also told me how, after her father's death, the family could not find some papers or receipts of value. One night she awoke, and heard a sound which she at once recognised as the footsteps of her father, who was lame. The door creaked, and she prayed that she might be able to see him. Her prayer was granted: she saw him distinctly holding a yellow parchment book tied with tape. 'F----, child,' said he, 'this is the book your mother is looking for. It is in the third drawer of the cabinet near the cross-door; tell your mother to be more careful in future about business papers.' Incontinent he vanished, and she at once awoke her mother, in whose room she was sleeping, who was very angry and ridiculed the story, but the girl's earnestness at length impressed her. She got up, went to the old cabinet, and at once found the missing book in the third drawer."