Have you ever made a bet? A real gamble, and won? When the stakes are high, and you have little to lose but an eternity of gain just a dice throw away. This was the case for my grandfather who risked a great deal on financial bonds which one day paid big! With this he bought a small house which he would dote upon and exist happily within until his dying day...However, in his opinion the dead are still entitled to their winnings.
My mother Maura hosts the lead role in 90% of my paranormal tales. The following is perhaps the least thrilling, but in my opinion it is the best. Perhaps this is a selfish opinion because my preference originates from the fact that I witnessed a small portion of the activity personally.
It occurred in my previous home which was located on Divis Drive, Belfast, Northern Ireland.
The activity occurred periodically over a period of roughly 15 years. Most of these experience happened many many times over.
The first symptoms of the haunting took the form of a peculiar 'flash' of light which could be caught in one's peripheral vision. This would manifest itself exclusively in the front hallway of the house. We would very often see this. However, the first sighting occurred when mother was re-painting a little table which held the phone and phone book.
The apparition of course would be gone by the time you looked directly at what you perceived as the 'source'.
Another regular manifestation, which also might I add exclusively occurred in the hall was an odd smell. Burning. Not acrid wood burning but scented, like tobacco. My mother would puzzle over this for a while after she had verified that the oven was not on fire until it came to her. Pipe smoke!
But nobody in this house, no visitor or occupant has ever smoked a pipe, in fact nobody in the house smoked in general!
The smell became a frequent experience. We logically assumed that if it were just some anomaly, we would get used to it. We thought the smell would simply become which in our opinion was the 'background smell' of a house.
However, every time it was there, it was crisp, strong and completely distinctive. It also had an odd on and off feature about it.
One second it was there, the next gone without a single remnant.
Off hand one day Maura mentioned this to her husband Edward. He said "My 'da' smoked a pipe, he'd stand at the front door for ages puffing at it."
Maura attempted to push the point to Edward that there was a possibility that old grandad was smoking out at the front door right now!
Edward however with his disbelief forever set in stone, completely rejected the possibility. To this day I personally class this as an expression of denial originating from fear.
This activity was practically a weekly if not sometimes daily event for many years.
The spirit however, did seem to desire one opportunity, just one chance, to prove his strength and his substance.
My poor kid brother Gary seemed to be old grandad Gerard's choice for a visit. One night whilst asleep in his upstairs bedroom, Gary heard slow and measured footsteps which created a muffled thud on the stairs which were carpeted wooden boards.
The footsteps progressed until they entered his bedroom. The door was left open at night. He opened his eye and beheld a man gazing at him with intensity. He was garbed in a long coat and a wide brimmed 'Paddy hat".
Blink! And then nothing, the darkness from the hall was totality. Not a thing out of place or another severe paranormal occurrence happening to my knowledge to date.
When Gary recounted the description of the man to my parents, Edward said "That's my 'da', he always wore a paddy hat, always!"
He later claimed he disbelieved, but at the time he was shaken. One thing however, is sure, although Edward paid the mortgage, that little old house in Divis Drive belonged to my grandfather!