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!