By Allen Hunter
The strange story of a persistent and troublesome ghost was recorded in 1663 by the Bishop of Down’s secretary, Thomas Alcock.
David Hunter was herdsman at the Bishop of Down’s house near Portmore. One night as he was carrying a log of wood into the dairy an old woman, whom he did not recognise, suddenly appeared to him.
Hunter did not recognise her, and the woman’s unearthly appearance shocked him so much that he dropped the log and ran to his house terrified.
When the ghost appeared, Hunter felt a compulsion to follow her into the woods for hours. Even if he was in bed he had to get up and follow her wherever she went, and because his wife could not hold him, she would go too, and walk after him till daybreak, although no ghost was visible to her.
The only member of the household that was unfazed by the ghost was Hunter’s little dog. It became so familiar with the ghost that it would follow her as well as his master.
Hunter observed that if a tree stood in her path, the ghost would always go through it. Throughout the months the haunting occurred, the ghost never spoke.
One night while he was going over a hedge onto a roadway after the ghost, she turned and touched him.
“Lord bless me, I would I were dead; shall I never be delivered from this misery?” he cried out.
“Lord bless me too,” replied the ghost. “It was very happy you spoke first, for till then I had no power to speak, though I have followed you so long.