A Ghost Sighting

Halloween is the time of year when I meet with friends and share ghost stories.  I have seen strange, impossible to explain things several times in my life which never fail to put the shivers up a listener upon the telling.  Here is one from my collection:

Back when I was about 21, I was doing one of my many Summer hitchhiking trips around the west coast of Ireland. I had come down from Donegal and was hiking parts of the coastline in view of Ben Bulben. Walking up through an old demense, what looked like a forgotten country estate with an overgrown tree-lined avenue to a large grey house, I had a very strong sensation of being watched – you know the feeling… Looking up towards the house I saw a woman staring at me from an open upstairs window – just staring at me. She had long blondish wavy hair and was wearing a blue/white robe or nightgown. I was well versed in my right-to-roam so knew what to say if someone started complaining that I was trespassing… I just kept on my way, heading towards the house so I could swing around to the beaches down below. I continued to avoid her stare, but every time I looked up, her eyes were just drilling into me. I felt very uncomfortable.

Getting closer to the house I noticed what a state of disrepair it was in. There were windows hanging off the frames, what looked like scorch marks from a fire in places… the front door was smashed and hanging off. The house looked as if workers had had a go of renovating years before but gave up without finishing anything. I looked up at the woman again and she seemed to sidestep at that moment, disappearing from view. I started to worry about her. The house looked abandoned… what was she doing there in her nightgown? I called up, no answer, and then I approached the main entrance. The whole place was taken over with weeds. I went in through the door and then realized that the place was entirely gutted. There were no stairs, no floors… I could see clearly up to the window meters above where I had seen her standing moments earlier and I suddenly felt freezing cold and the hairs on my arms stood straight up.

Thoroughly unnerved, I backtracked up to the main road, too afraid to look back, feeling watched all the way. About a kilometer away I knocked on the first cottage I came to and an old lady answered. I asked for a glass of water, and after a moment of calming myself, explained what I just saw. “Ach, sure that place is haunted!” she said, matter-of-fact.

I’ve heard plenty a bump-in-the-night in my life, but this was an apparition that appeared to me as clear (and sober) as the day it was. I’ve spent hours since trying to pinpoint the location of the house… I can’t seem to find it on Google Maps or any record. When I do research it leads me to so many haunted properties in that area, I’m not sure which was the one I encountered. It was a few miles south of Bundoran, on the coast around the Sligo-Leitrim border. Ben Bulben was in view. If anyone knows what the house is, I’d be curious if there were any more stories.

Houses in the shadow of Ben Bulben, from Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Benbulben.jpg