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Ballygally Castle Hotel

Guests have reported knockings on their doors during the night and other eerie noises, and of waking up to see a woman in their rooms, calling for her daughter before she disappears leaving only a scent of vanilla. It is believed that this is a phantom remnant of a girl named Isabella - the tennant of the castle, James Shaw, was said to have married her for the reason that he wanted a male heir. But when she gave birth to a girl, he angrily locked her up in a corner room in the tower. She is said to have fallen to her death in an attempt to escape; one version is that she was trying get out so that she could look for her daughter, or that she had been left to starve to death and leapt to her doom. Yet more variants of her fate exist - that she and her daughter were pushed by Shaw or that she jumped, clutching her child when he tried to take her child from her. Modern day visitors to the castle have mentioned seeing a distressed crying woman "flitting" by them, and of hearing a baby's screams and cries coming from the so-called "Ghost Room" - but of course there is nothing there upon investigation. Some guests have reported being asked to attend a ball, with everyone dressed in "period costume." After enjoying themselves, the guests found out the next day that no such ball had taken place. Other phantoms here include children, seen playing on a landing and heard laughing and running; they have also been blamed on people being awakened during the night by tuggings on their bedclothes. Madame Nixon, who lived here in the 19th century, is said to walk the halls, her dress swishing and leaving a wake of perfume. A recent witness described her as having dark hair pulled high, and alabaster skin. She seemed quite solid, and her Victorian dress, which could be heard dragging on the floor, was a deep green colour. There are also stories of a green mist being seen over the castle.

Update 23/2/22: Scott, a worker at the hotel replied to my email asking about any recent phenomena: "Yes we are haunted - we have our resident ghost Lady Issabella who haunts the hotel. We have a history brochure available on our website." When I inquired further, I was told "There hasn’t been any staff experiences recently no sorry" and that guests have sometimes felt presences in their rooms, and taken videos of "orbs" [ie dust].

Link: Ireland Before You Die.

(Kindle Ebook)

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