Give yourself a scare this Halloween, courtesy of Adam O'Reilly.
Ireland has a deep rich connection to all things otherworldly, and our mythology and folklore have inspired some of the world’s greatest artists from playwrights to poets. The lush countryside of old Ireland has always lived alongside the paranormal only separated by a thin veil. These four tales may just prove that the Irish are never far from a spooky encounter.
4. Walking home after two Christmas drinks when the aliens strike.
While this story isn’t necessarily a ghost story, it is still a spooky ordeal involving aliens and an elderly man from Limerick. Gerry Battles, a sixty-one-year-old retired carpenter was walking home with a friend after “two” Christmas drinks when the extra-terrestrial beings made themselves known.
"I was only minutes away from my house. It was a clear, dry night. You could have read a book with the light off the night sky, but I wasn’t drawn by the light of the stars or the moon but by a bright, surgical, white light coming from the other end of the boreen" Battles told The Limerick Post.
Gerry Battles remembers being inside the alien spacecraft with about forty other people who he claimed were all in a subdued state and stood motionless like statues. Battles was paralysed himself and could only move his eyes and said that the group of forty only consisted of men all standing shoulder-to-shoulder like mannequins.
Gerry was approached by one of the extra-terrestrials who he claimed had beautiful black almond eyes and a cone-shaped head and was asked via telepathy why he wasn’t terrified like all the other men. The alien then asked Gerry what he most wanted to see in the world and Gerry replied "the North Pole”. Within the blink of an eye Gerry claimed they arrived at the North Pole.
Gerry says the alien told him mankind has come a long way, but its time is running out. "In 850 years from now, a giant asteroid the size of Munster is going to obliterate your planet. The asteroid will approach your planet from the 35th Quadrant," the alien said.
Gerry Beatles has no recollection of how long the abduction lasted and had no memory of it afterwards until the coat he was wearing that night turned up on the roof of the Regional Hospital.
3. The Banshee
There was no way around compiling a list of spine-tingling Irish stories without mentioning the banshee. According to Irish folklore, the banshee was a female spirit who would emit a shriek so shrill it was beyond anything human and was used to warn families that death was not far from their doorstep.
She has been given many faces ranging from an old crone in rags to a headless woman carrying a pot of blood. Regardless of how she was perceived, she was not associated with evil but instead seen as a messenger and even believed by some to accompany the dead when they transition to ensure they arrive to the afterlife safely.
Originally the legend stated that the Banshee only keened for the families; O’Grady, O’Neill, O’Brien, O’Connor and Kavanagh. However, there are stories from various other families and that she particularly favourites those with an ‘O’ or a ‘Mc’ in the surname such as O’Brien or McNeill for example.
One reader told Your Irish, “I remember being told as a young child of an Uncle who was walking home on a cold and blustery night and on arriving home he told my grandmother that he had tried to comfort an old woman he had met along the way. Describing her to his mother he said that the old woman was dressed in black with a veil over her face, was crying and wailing outside the house but every time he went over to her she moved away but all the while kept pointing at the house.
My Grandmother, with all her knowledge of the old Irish legends, knew straight away what this old lady represented and hurried my Uncle to bed reassuring him that she, herself, would have a look for the old woman. She didn’t dare do such a thing. Then, sure enough, only three days after this strange encounter, my Grandmother’s brother died peacefully in his sleep. As children, we used to plague my uncle to recount the story of the night he tried to invite the Banshee in for tea!”
2. Jack O’ Lantern
Back in old Ireland faces were carved into turnips which was believed to steer off unwanted visitors and evil spirits. As time passed this practice eventually evolved into the traditional pumpkin carving we know today.
According to Irish folklore, a man called Jack O’ Lantern was sentenced to roam the earth for eternity. A ghostly figure of the night, O’ Lantern walks with a burning coal inside of a carved-out turnip to light his way. A man known by locals as Jack Stingy invited the devil to come and join him for a drink one night, and to Jack’s surprise the devil himself appeared. Jack asked the devil if he would transform himself into a coin, so Jack could play with him. The devil obliged and transformed into a gold coin before Jack’s very eyes.
Jack put the gold coin straight into his pocket next to a silver chain and cross to stop the devil from reverting back to his original state.
Jack eventually freed the devil but only under the conditions that the devil wouldn’t bother Jack for a whole year and he couldn’t have his soul when he died. The devil agreed but was soon tricked by Jack again after he challenged him to climb a tall oak tree but carved a cross on the trunk, so the devil couldn’t get back down. Jack agreed to free the devil once again but only if the devil agreed to stay away from him for ten years. The devil agreed.
When Jack died God would not let him into heaven and the devil would not let him in to hell. Instead, Jack was sent into the eternal light with a burning lump of coal inside a carved-out turnip. The people of Ireland referred to him as Jack Of The Lantern which eventually became known as Jack-O-Lantern.
1. The baby on the third floor
One of the most haunting tales from all over the Emerald Isle takes place in The Commodore Hotel in Cobh Co Cork. The waterfront hotel was opened in 1854 and still operates as a popular family destination to people all over the globe. However, if we were to believe the popular legends, this hotel may be home to something more than vacationers.
Some time in the 1900s a woman supposedly checked into the hotel heavily pregnant with her first child. This was not a time for celebration as the woman had conceived her child out of wedlock and faced being disowned by her entire family except for the fact she dared not tell a soul about the pregnancy. She kept the pregnancy hidden from the world and checked into the hotel so she could give birth without anyone knowing. This is not a tale of the love between a mother and her new born babe but instead something much more sinister. It is believed that after the woman gave birth she lay her new-born baby in a drawer in her hotel room and left, never to return.
The abandoned child is said to have died in that very drawer crying out for his mother but his cries were never answered. The baby had passed and little to no information is known about the mother.
Yes, this has all the criteria to be disregarded as some morbid campfire story but is there a hint of truth in the tale? According to several employees of the hotel this isn’t simply a work of fiction. In fact, you can go and see the room for yourself, well the outside at least. The supposedly haunted room is located on the third floor and still stands adjacent to the hotel’s dazzling roof-top garden. The door has been sealed shut for many years with the door handle broken off preventing anyone from entering the room…or leaving it.
The room could just be sealed off because there just isn’t any use for it anymore but according to the stories the ghostly cries that came from the room on the third floor scared even the hardy builders away who reportedly refused to work anywhere near the room. So instead it was shut away in the hopes that whatever strange occurrences originated from that room would come to a halt.
By sealing off the door did the owners at the time put a tormented spirit to rest or did they just pull the duvet over their head?
Decades later the story still lives on. According to recent whispers, upon check-out a gentleman who stayed overnight in the hotel left a complaint at the reception desk which claimed that he had been up all night because the family next door to him could not keep not keep their child from crying throughout the night. The receptionist was a little dazed by the man’s complaint because not only was he the only resident on the third floor that night, he was the only resident in the entire hotel.
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