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A Vanishing Village


Belfast in the late nineteen sixties played host to one of the most bizarre paranormal occurrences that I have yet to hear of. My mother Maura and her younger sister Colette were the witnesses.

This event occurred just before the onset of the 'troubles', which were a period of political and social unrest.

The story begins with a bus journey. Maura and Colette were heading into the city centre and the bus at the time travelled along the Donegal Road. The exact position using modern day landmarks is where the roundabout linking with the M1 is located. During this time period, the roundabout was under construction. For some unknown reason, the bus services turned at the bottom of this street.

Maura and Colette began their journey by leaving their home which was located just above the Donegal road roundabout and they walked past it. On their left hand side they observed a series of "Little white washed cottages" as they headed toward the city centre.

The cottages in question were pristine and decorated in a distinctly old fashioned manner. I am not referring simply to the décor of a bygone decade, but perhaps the previous century. They had one truly distinctive feature, and that was the bright pink frames that lined the windows.

At the time the windows were being carefully scrubbed and polished by a quite unexceptional woman, who upon passing greeted them with a cheerful "Hello how are you" and "Nice day isn't it?". This was the common practice among the polite and friendly folk of Northern Ireland. As a common theme right through these stories, Maura attributed absolutely no lasting significance to this exchange. The simply replied in an equally amiable manner and continued with their journey.

As aforementioned, the bus service turns on the Donegall road, and this is the point where Colette and Maura disembark after their journey from the shops. This meant that the bus had to navigate the unfinished roundabout and pass the cottages.

The problem was this time... They were gone.

Maura and Colette simply viewed a space left over full of debris and building materials for the roundabout. The was no sign of a thatched roof or a whitewashed brick among the rubble, nor a flash of bright pink framed windows.


Did these cottages get demolished that very same day? Maybe! But why then would the woman bother to carefully hand clean the windows in such a thoroughly cared for and obviously lived in dwelling? Or perhaps there resided a disturbed spirit roused from dormancy as a roundabout was built over the top of the site were her beautiful home once stood!

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, Subtle_Poetics, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

vasway4210 (16 posts)
11 years ago (2013-07-18)
I hate to nit pick but wanted to point this out, even though this is an old story. No one besides Nordic either noticed or bothered to comment on this. Nordic pointed out & provided the link for another story that was on this website that is almost the exact same dated back in 2008 "Ghost Cottages in Belfast." I checked out this other story & it was submitted by a Niall. From reading one of your other stories, Subtle_Poetics, I know that your name also happens to be Niall & the stories seem much to alike to be a coincidence. What is also interesting to note is that in the 2008 story (version) you describe a road that the incident took place on, and several people who commented who have lived in Belfast their whole lives said that the road you mention never existed. They then told you that it would be Donegal road that you we need to be referring to to make that account accurate, and this is the road you mentioned in this story. Maybe Niall is a common name & his mother and aunt had an experience eerily similar to yours. Both stories were well told, although this account, "A Vanishing Village" was more entertaining with a much more catchy title. If I am wrongly accusing you of this then I apologize. And as far as I know there is nothing wrong with setting up 2 YGS accounts to share your stories. However, due to the inconsistencies in "Ghost Cottages in Belfast" & it being re-worked into this story & under a different account, & the fact that when Niall pointed out the similarities between the 2 stories you didn't respond, even though you responded to everyone else's comments, I am led to believe that this (these) stories are simply a fabrication. Again, I hope this is not true and I apologize if I am wrong. I haven't read all your stories so I don't know, but it seems that with you being a journalist student, you were using this site merely as practice. I will say that you are a great writer!
taz890 (12 stories) (1380 posts)
12 years ago (2012-01-25)
subtle_poetics, again you have them all comming up with some interesting ideas to yet again a great post!
I don't think it will turn out to have been a parallel universe, but the idea of a time slip has me betting on that!
Cant wait for the next one,
Please keep them comming 😁
Argette (guest)
12 years ago (2012-01-24)
Subtle, I'm with the time slip theory here. Something about your story strikes a respondent chord in my brain - as though something like this has happened to me, too. And I'm not referring to the possible time slip I may have encountered in rural France, but something from childhood that has been buried away.

I think these things happen all the time but we assign them to imagination.

You just have such an engaging style of writing. Ah, but it must be the Irish!
Subtle_Poetics (7 stories) (11 posts)
12 years ago (2012-01-24)
There are indeed many and varied opinions over this story. It pleases me that it has provoked this amount of critical thinking and enquiry.

These stories are definitely an appreciable and educational experience.

They truly make me wonder at the immensity and complete enigmatic qualities of the world that we live in.
Moongrim (2 stories) (871 posts)
12 years ago (2012-01-24)
Or perhaps it was the result of a time slip. OF which such has been noted before:

Spockie (8 stories) (203 posts)
12 years ago (2012-01-24)
Personally, I believe this was a trans-dimensional shift. Many different universes exist alongside ours, some of them being almost identical and some vastly different from our own. The woman cleaning the windows could not have been from a distant time, because obviously, she was not startled to see a bus passing by her cottage. A person from the 1500's or 1600's would have been terrified. The woman had to be someone from a parallel universe.
Pjod (3 stories) (978 posts)
12 years ago (2012-01-24)
I was not aware the Germans bombed Ireland during WWII- although it makes sense if the British had factories or warehouses there. Interesting story- very similiar to the one posted below.
Subtle_Poetics (7 stories) (11 posts)
12 years ago (2012-01-24)
I no longer live in Belfast so it is more difficult for me to attain more information, as I am not in contact with those who would know any more.

It is however of the greatest interest to my mother who now looks back at these occurrences full of curiosity.

How vexing it must have been to witness these things and not be sure of even why you are seeing it.

Who knows... Maybe it just goes back too far.

Anneke8- I believe you are referring to the Blitz of Belfast. It is so hard to say what type of buildings stood at that time, I'm no historian, but I'd imagine they'd perhaps be red brick houses at WWII times, not cottages, as they would usually be in the deep countryside, not just outside the city... Then again my logic could be completely incorrect.
anneke8 (10 stories) (274 posts)
12 years ago (2012-01-24)
Wow what a experience! Why is it so impossible to find out the history of something like this? There is just no info whatsoever about what type of cottages there was and what and when it were demolished. All I could find was that Belfast was bomb 3x during the 2nd World war - 995 people were killed and 3200 houses destroyed.
Nordic (44 posts)
12 years ago (2012-01-24)
A well-written story as always, Subtle_Poetics. Let me start off by saying that I am in no way questioning the truth of the story. However, I do think you should take a look at the following story, as it contains many similarities to your story -- the era, the siblings, the bus journey, a lady casually greeting the siblings, even the fact that both stories are written on behalf of the mothers who had the experiences.

As I am not from Ireland, I do not know the area -- but I wonder whether your mom and her sister might have seen something very similar to what the mother of the author of the story below experienced:

Subtle_Poetics (7 stories) (11 posts)
12 years ago (2012-01-24)
Argette-Thank you for the compliment, I'm studying journalism and creative writing at university. This is a little project of mine to document paranormal stories as I am privileged enough to know people with a wealth of experience.

Minimom-I have asked and asked and asked people, none of them know. The only record of the area before the city encroached upon it was that it was bog land. In fact a remnant of those bogs still exist just a few streets away marked as a conservation area.

However, majority opinion of those interviewed believe that it was entirely possible for a 19th century or earlier Irish cottage to have thrived there making a living from peat cutting.
minimom (50 posts)
12 years ago (2012-01-24)
Perhaps it was just a bleed through from another time. The veil is thin in spots.

Did your mother ever research the area to see what HAD been there?
Argette (guest)
12 years ago (2012-01-23)
You have a charming way with words, Subtle Poetics. You don't sound like any teenager I know.

I cannot provide any answers to your questions, but I am very intrigued.

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