By Shane Cochrane
Ireland is an island of ghosts. Phantom pipers and spectral soldiers; jilted brides and headless horsemen; and weary travellers, condemned to spend all eternity thumbing a lift: we have them all.
But before these stories were ever written down, they were told many times, growing much in each telling. Occasionally, though, someone was on hand to record the eerie events as they happened. And sometimes, they saw more than they wanted to.
In 1910, a poltergeist was reportedly tormenting the occupants of a room at a boarding house in Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford. The occupants – two men and a boy – had lodged there for some time without incident.
But one night in late July, at midnight, one of the men became aware of a tapping noise in the room. And even though it was growing louder, and seemed to move about the room, he paid little attention to it.
As the tapping continued, he felt the clothes being pulled – slowly – from his bed. Thinking his roommates were having a joke at this expense, he shouted at them to stop. Rudely awoken, they protested their innocence.
The tapping began again. And now that everyone in the room was awake, they lit a candle and searched the room. But there was no one else there. They locked the door and extinguished the candle.
In the darkness, the tapping resumed. But when the candle was lit again, the tapping stopped. This continued for two hours. At some point their fear was overcome by exhaustion, and they fell asleep.
In the morning, they woke to find that one of the beds had been moved across the room.
Possibly hoping that they had made a fuss over nothing, the men and boy slept in the same room on the following night. However, one of the men refused to sleep in what they were now calling the ‘haunted bed’.
It was a wise decision.
As the men cowered in one bed, they watched in terror as the ‘haunted bed’ floated up to the ceiling, flipped over, and slowly dropped to the floor again.
This was their last night in the room.