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The Irish Brigade


I was put in mind of this experience and provoked to write it down to share by Spockie's experience "Band of Runners".

I was 8 or 9 years old at the time and was visiting the Grand Canyon area with my father and brother. We were staying in an old 3 story walk-up motel (the kind that is only one room deep with no internal staircases - all rooms being reached via an open gallery that runs along the frontage of each level). I don't think the aging facility was even equipped with air conditioning as every night during our stay (much to my chagrin and trepidation) we slept with the big sliding window wide open - my cot slid right up against it.

I couldn't sleep a WINK the first two nights because of the howling of the coyotes. I had never before heard anything even remotely like it and to my young ears it was dreadfully eerie and menacing. I just KNEW that at ANY moment a huge, frothing, snarling, blood thirsty coyote was going to come bursting through the tattered screen and eat me up!

As bedtime on the last night approached, I deeply hoped that exhaustion would win out and I would miss the evening's wretched serenade. Soon after the lights went out, my father and brother were sound asleep and I could hear their light snoring. I lay in my bed wide awake and scared stiff waiting for the ghastly howling to begin.

Gradually, however, the oddest thing happened - I felt the strangest calm wash over me like a cool breeze. That's when I heard the distant voices. I was never a kid to wander off on my own but for some unaccountable reason, I got up from my bed, unlocked the door and stepped out onto the gallery (our room was on the 3rd floor). The voices -for I could tell there were a great many of them- were singing!

Best of all to my delighted though bewildered young mind was that I recognized the song! It was Colonel Bogie's March - though I knew it as the tune the campers were whistling in 'The Parent Trap'. And I had never known the song had lyrics. I could only make out bits and pieces then but recently I looked up the song after it came up over a dinner conversation and this is what I found:

" (tune:"The Colonel Bogie March," written for ANZACS ("Australia New Zealand Army Corps") in World War I, was popularized by being featured in the 1960s film about WWII in Burma, "The Bridge on the River Kwai," from the novel by Pierre Boule.)

Come on & join our breakfast club

Come on & we've got the best of grub

Come on - you won't regret it

You'll never get it as good as we've got

Comet will make your teeth turn green

Comet it tastes like gasoline

Comet will make you vomit

So get some Comet, and vomit, today!

Ajax will make your teeth turn blue

Ajax it smells like Elmer's Glue

Ajax will make you relax

So get some Ajax, and relax, today!

Arrid It keeps your armpits dry

Arrid It makes you smell, "Oh, my!"

Arrid Helps you get marrid

So get Arrid, and get marrid,today!" (

The moment I read those words, I knew it was what I had heard - the memory is still clear as crystal in my mind. I remember too they all sang with a distinct Irish brogue.

They were the merriest bunch I had ever seen as they seemed to materialize into view along the dark gravel road. Dozens of them there were - all marching along in loose formation lustily singing out at the top of their lungs.

And as they passed the building they simply faded away. I could hear their singing for a few minutes after they had gone. I went back inside and dropped off to sleep. The coyotes were quiet that night.

For some time I simply assumed the band to have been as mortal as you or I. But as time has passed, I have put more thought into it.

First of all, where the devil might they have come from? I distinctly recall how remote and isolated that aging motel was. Several times on the approach, I had thought my father to be hopelessly lost as we had driven for so long without seeing any sign of civilization - at least 20 minutes at a rate of no less than 50mph.

Second, why was I the only one on the gallery? Neither my father nor brother seemed to have heard a thing - they certainly weren't awakened by all the sound. And I heard no angry voices from any of the other rooms even though I worried I might as there were other open windows and ours was one of several cars in the lot - though not nearly enough to have held as many people as I had seen in the march.

Third, I could hear their voices but not the sound of what should have been dozens of crunching feet on the dry gravel road.

Fourth, that song had not been popular for decades. The tune may pop up here and there on the rare occasion but I have never heard the words sung anywhere else.

Last, they truly seemed to vanish rather than fade into the dark as a flesh and blood figure does.

What were they? Flesh or phantom? I truly do not know but whatever they were, they were good and merry souls who brought a world of comfort and rest to a very stressed little girl that night.

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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, AugustaM, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

Melda (10 stories) (1363 posts)
6 years ago (2018-06-29)
Augusta - What a truly amazing experience and a comfort to a frightened child waiting for the coyotes to set their nightly serenade in motion!

I love reading these good experiences - enough scary ones doing their rounds. Hurrah for the Irish Brigade 😊

Regards, Melda
AugustaM (7 stories) (996 posts)
6 years ago (2018-06-27)
For the record, though Jubeele was kind enough to look them up and send them to me, she is totally right that they are inappropriate for posting here - the bawdy lyrics are still REALLY REALLY funny if you aren't turned off by a bit of mild blue humor;) I recommend a good Google for them!
Jubeele (26 stories) (897 posts)
6 years ago (2018-06-26)
Augusta, just for you, I've emailed you the alternate lyrics. They are very reminiscent of Monty Python...😉
AugustaM (7 stories) (996 posts)
6 years ago (2018-06-26)
Jubeele - I would love to know the bawdy lyrics! Ha ha ha

Babygoatpuller - I am fairly sure I didn't mention anything to them. As I was ten years younger, I was always the dork kid sister and would've been too afraid of being teased to have told my brother. As for my father, there was always tension in that relationship and within two years he would move out - I don't think I would've been keen on telling him either.

Lady-glow - I don't know why that happens to certain stories, its the second time or so its happened to one of mine. It makes me wonder how many interesting stories I am missing since I usually go by the pull down list!

Manafon1 - I have heard of that before and as a Roman history NUT and with plenty of training and experience in archaeology - I find the details just fascinating! I wonder if their presence was stirred up by the recent exposure of the road. Or are there myriads of spirits marching about on the millennia of strata beneath our feet?

I have heard of the many much sadder processions - mostly of those in Gettysburg, Yorktown and along the Trail of Tears. Humans put each other through such misery and strife - the earth will bear the pall of such grief for centuries to come. I truly hope that all such apparitions are but residual activity and that the souls of those who can be seen on their endless trek are long at rest.

I have never cast about see if anyone else had the same experience - I likely would have soon as I got home had there been internet at the time 😁 I haven't since because I no longer know the name of the motel nor am I certain which town we were in... Or even which direction we drove from the canyon. I vaguely remember the setting sun through the back passenger side of the car since I could see it through the trees as we drove. Why I remember THAT and nothing else I have no idea! I've always been fascinated by woods I guess and that certain shade of vivid pink that exists nowhere outside of a sunset is my favorite color in the world.

CuriousDee - They really did have the most wonderfully calming effect as though that was their purpose. I hope other kids have been so lucky!
CuriousDee (8 stories) (631 posts)
6 years ago (2018-06-25)

What a fascinating experience! It's interesting that you felt calm just prior to witnessing the group... As if someone or something was comforting you that night. It sounds like you witnessed something magical. Thanks for sharing 😊

Manafon1 (6 stories) (712 posts)
6 years ago (2018-06-25)
Augusta - Sounds like you were the lucky witness of a ghostly procession. You're in good company too as there have been a lot of reports of such processions. It's nice that the group you saw seemed so happy. Unlike your account, many reports of such processions seem to be a replay of exhausted soldiers marching. A quite famous ghostly procession is one that has been seen many times at Souther Fell in the Lake District. This procession was once witnessed by 26 people at once. Supposedly an army of men, horses and carriages a half mile long have been witnessed for up to an an hour slowly moving along a steep trail. No tracks are ever found afterwards.

One of my favorite accounts of a ghostly procession is one that has been reported multiple times in the cellar of the Treasurer's House in York, England. A young plumbers apprentice named Harry Martingale was working in a trench that had been excavated. Suddenly he heard what he described as a "tinny trumpet sound" and witnessed, "a smallish Roman soldier carrying a sort of trumpet and wearing a kilt, who appeared through a wall. A rider on a horse followed. They walked across the cellar and disappeared through the wall on the opposite side of the room." They were then followed by twenty more soldiers. They all looked dirty and disheveled, wore green tunics with plumed helmets and carried short swords.

A really interesting aspect is that they initially appeared to be walking on their knees until the apparitions reached the excavated portion of the floor and their legs became visible. It was then young Harry realized that they were walking on the original Roman road beneath the cellar floor.

Who knows, maybe a thousand years from now someone might see the jolly procession you witnessed seemingly buried up to their knees singing the Colonel Bogie March! Have you ever done any research of the area to find out if anyone else has ever seen the singing procession you witnessed? It would be incredibly cool to find others who have seen the same thing. Then again, they very well might have been there for your eyes only, to help a young child forget about being afraid. Now that's something - ghosts appearing, and succeeding, in calming a young child. Usually the effect of a ghost and a kid is one that ends in a loud scream. Really interesting and intriguing account.
lady-glow (16 stories) (3158 posts)
6 years ago (2018-06-25)
Augusta - too bad such an interesting experience didn't get a chance to shine under the spotlight (Latest hauntings).

Either you were lucky to be at the right place at the right time or the merry army men came to your rescue, whatever the case, this was an awesome and fascinating event to witness.
Love the wittiness of those lyrics.

I have never been to the Grand Canyon but coyotes are common where I live... Their howling is spine-chilling. I can imagine how frightening it must have been for you at such young age.

Anyway, it seems like you had a very positive paranormal encounter and I'm glad you shared it with us.
babygoatpuller (4 stories) (432 posts)
6 years ago (2018-06-25)
Ajax, Comet and Arrid?! Sounds like a recipe for personal hygiene disaster! Lol

Sounds as if they came at just the right time for a young lady in distress. A "cavalry coming over the hill", you might say. 😲

I'm wondering what the connection to them "coming over the hill" and your sudden sense of calm is in this account. Seems to me it just exactly what an 8 or 9 year old child needed at the moment and given a lifetime, heartwarming memory of.

Did you mention any of this to your father or brother?

Great read Augusta! Do share more. 😊
Jubeele (26 stories) (897 posts)
6 years ago (2018-06-25)
Hi Augusta, this was such fun to read! 😘 We've visited the Grand Canyon area but were fortunate not to see or hear any coyotes. All I can think of was that maybe someone was feeling kindly towards a little girl and sent that "spirited" procession your way to entertain you, and take your mind off the coyotes.

The "Colonel Bogey March" was written in 1914 by a British army bandmaster, Kenneth J Alford (alias Major F J Ricketts - 1881-1945). Rex-T taught me different lyrics to this tune. They were very rude ones. 😜

AugustaM (7 stories) (996 posts)
6 years ago (2018-06-24)
Sadly, I recall little other than the notion that there was a certain uniformity to their appearance - something in the way of long trousers, t-shirt (maybe), and some sort of jacket open for some of them but all in long sleeves for the most part... I regret to say that in terms of their individual appearances, I really honestly can't be too certain of details at this point given the distance of time and the darkness at the time of the experience - only very general impressions.
valkricry (49 stories) (3273 posts) mod
6 years ago (2018-06-24)
I really enjoyed this accounting and can offer no explanation. I'm not sure I want to, it's such a sweet memory.
Do you recall what they appeared to be wearing?

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