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Irish Ghosts by Peter Underwood
Peter Underwood, a world renowned expert on the paranormal, has published a new book focussing on Irish Ghosts. I had great hopes for this book having owned a copy of his 1973 book Gazetteer of Scottish & Irish Ghosts for a number of years, and I'm pleased to say I've not being disappointed.
As Peter says, the ghosts of Ireland are as numerous and interesting as they are varied and this book features accounts including phantom Red, White and Grey Ladies, monks, nuns, children, soldiers, cats, dogs and, my personal favourite, a swarm of supernatural fish! Covering the whole country is no mean feat, and Peter doesn't skimp on his research, he is clear and methodical in his approach and each account is formatted in the same way which makes for very easy reading. I like the simpleness of this and it definitely cuts out any 'waffle'.
Following an A-Z location format, it kicks off with a phantom horse drawn coach sighted at the ruins of Antrim Castle, reputedly seen on the 31 May each year it is seen heading into the Long Pond where it disappears. At Aughnanure Castle there are reports of four manifestations, including the ghost of a gamekeeper, a head rolling across a floor, the sounds of someone choking and the wail of a banshee. Interestingly both these accounts are different to the reports in his previous book so it suggests Peter has found new and updated information which he is now including.
So, it's not often I come across paranormal fish, and I was intrigued to read about this supernatural shoal that has been witnessed to appear during violent storms around the ancient half ruined tower of Drumnacrogha. While this seems quite an amusing account, I would be seriously scared by a flock of paranormal pigeons coming towards me so I won't make light of these fish at all. Thinking on a bit, a ghostly goldfish would make for quite a cheap pet.
Back to the book though, Glenarm Castle, the seat of the Earls of Antrim includes ghostly children, a male figure, a lady wearing an old fashioned cap and a general feeling of expectancy in several parts of the castle. Witnesses include guests of Lord Dunluce, the 14th Earl of Antrim and various visitors and local people. As with most of Peter's accounts, it leaves the potential for those interested to do further research and investigation.
Other accounts include Killakee House which features a phantom cat and several other apparitions, Leap Castle which is reported to be the most haunted castle in Ireland with twenty-four ghosts residing within its walls and Renvyle House where American parapsychologist Hans Holzer visited in 1966 to investigate the reported hauntings. A number of accounts are also reported at Springhill, a 17th Century 'Plantation' home considered one of the most haunted houses in Ireland. It's a stunning house that features a magnificent oak staircase and is now in the care of the National Trust who even mention the ghost 'Olivia' on their website.
In summary, this is a well written ghost hunters' guide, with accounts objectively reported and documented (albeit with no maps which I would have liked to be included). If you already own his book mentioned earlier it's easy to reference the locations and see where he has updated the information with new research or clearer explanations. Reassuringly he hasn't simply recounted the same information – this is new, updated and features many more paranormal accounts. It's a worthy purchase for anyone interested in learning more about Ireland's rich paranormal history and an opportunity to see the work of a well respected and known paranormal researcher.
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Amberley Publishing (12 Mar 2012)
Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 16.4 x 1.4 cm