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The Spirit in my Home


This story is a collection of memories from my mother and some of my own experiences, all have been recorded straight after they happened so this is an accurate account. I shall begin by explaining the history of the house. I used to live in a house in Divis Drive, Belfast in N. Ireland. The house is now 94 years old. It was built by a small construction company which shut down soon after it built my house. Nobody had bought the house before the bankruptcy so it was sold to a friend of my grandfather's for a miniscule amount of money. My grandfather purchased the property by challenging his friend to a bet which he won.

The 'Troubles' in Ireland had now flared up and a militant assassin used a sniper rifle to murder my grandfather on the front porch of the house (while he was smoking a pipe remember this). Nothing of particular historic interest happened after that.

I begin my story with my mother's memories; I will not mention them all because many of them are similar or identical to each other. She and her husband had just moved into the house sometime in the 1970s, it was a gradual move because of many different factors I will not explain.

My grandmother joined my parents for dinner. They commenced to talk and be cheerful until my mother smelled pipe smoke. In that period in time pipes were common and the smell was well known. My mother asked who was smoking a pipe, nobody else smelled it. She attempted to ignore it but failed and she went to investigate. The acrid stench of smoke was so thick in the hallway that my mother gagged and coughed. She could see nobody there but she felt as though she was being watched and she kept seeing little flashes of something unexplained moving near the door which always vanished before she had time to focus on it. This is an experience which my mother had experienced on many, many occasions over the thirty yeas she lived there. The details of this do not vary a lot from time to time.

The next is also a memory but of my brothers. My brother was eight years old at the time and my mother recorded his story straight after he told it. My brother was asleep on the top bed of his set of bunks. He was very young and often rolled off the top bed and landed on the one below which was wider than the top (he still gets teased for this twenty five years later) so he was unharmed.

Usually he would think nothing of it and climb back onto the top bed and go back to sleep but this time when he fell he did not get back up because he heard footsteps. The footsteps sounded as though they were coming from the ground floor of the house. My brother could tell by the volume of the thumps that they were coming up the stairs. He waited for whoever it was to reach the the top but nobody ever came except for formless footsteps, the footsteps sounded sharp on the wooden floor and they brought a choking stench of cigar smoke. He could hear illegible grunts and mutters from the invisible specter. The all went quiet. He was terrified and he ran to tell my mother.

The final story is from my own memory. My mother was always very sensitive to this spirit but I was not. I encounter spirits where ever I go but I did not once even sense the one which lived in my own house. The day we moved out of the house was the only time I ever encountered him. We had packed everything and were about to leave the house forever when my mother turned round and talked to what looked like thin air. I remember exactly what she said "We are going now and won't be back, would you like to come with us?" I found this very odd since I did not know what she was talking about at the time. After she said this a powerful odor of pipe smoke appeared in the hallway and a strange coldness appeared, the lights flickered and then it was gone. We left without comment and never returned.

I am guessing the spirit was my grandfather since it smoked a pipe which my grandfather did and stood at the porch where my grandfather often stood and die.

When we moved the spirit chose not to accompany us but to stay in the house he won in a bet.

We met the new occupants of the house three years after they moved in and we subtly asked them if anything at all strange was seen about the house they replied no!

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

jakebt12 (2 posts)
14 years ago (2008-11-13)
hello niall, thanks for another interesting story. I'm a bit confused though, what era did this shooting happen? It sounds like the anti catholic pograms of the 1920/23 period divis drive would have new build around then, where would this sniper have shot from as the street is a dead end with only houses on one side the other side being a 30 foot wall of the local bus depot (trams back then) the top end of the street was a simple small green gate leading into the park the view from there would have been narrow indeed and would have been a problem for a getaway for any gunman as the housing estates of ballymurphy /turflodge/newbarnsley moyard etc werent built until the postww2 period 1953 onwards, this area was all rural fields, the view down the street towards the falls glen road junction would have mcenernys bar and a front view of milltown cemetery, the r.u.c barracks didn't have a a vantage sighting point up divis drive back then, most of the sectarian murders done by sniping back then where in north belfast and at some flashpoints where the lower falls shankill sts met, divis drive itself housed a lot of r.u.c police from the local barracks at that time unlike today where it is 100% nationalist, the only sniping incident I remember in that st was when 16 year old john dempsey from turflodge was murdered by a british soldier sniper operating from the divis drive city bus depot in 1981, if you could find out the year your g/father was shot id be interested in researching the incident.
Tonith (1136 posts)
15 years ago (2008-05-06)
Being that your grandfather was murdered could he have had anything to do with the political unrest at the time? Or was he just a victim of a sniper by being in the wrong place at the wrong time? He does sound like he had anger about dying young and for whatever reason seemed to take it out on your brother. I wonder if your brother looked like him as a boy? Maybe he was just trying to make contact and scared him in the process. Or maybe he just had a mean streak that followed him into the afterlife and your brother got the brunt of it. Hard to say but at least he didn't follow your family and apparently is not bothering anyone else that lives there now. Hopefully he has moved on to the Light. Your mother's kindness may have done that. He realized he was acknowledged and no longer needed to make himself known.
Josh (1 stories) (10 posts)
15 years ago (2008-05-05)
Holy crap... Shot by an assassin with a sniper rifle! Sorry to bring that up but that's one thing you don't hear to often!

Great story! It reminds me of my own grandfather and grandmother who have both passed, and every now and then I always get a "whiff" of the aftershave he always wore or the flowers I always used to get her even when no one is around!
rhodes68 (14 stories) (1596 posts)
15 years ago (2008-05-05)
Thanks for another great story Niall. I guess your grandfather wanted to let you know he was still around in the house he loved close to his beloved family. He wanted you to know he was there at each reunion.
ChrisB (6 stories) (1515 posts)
15 years ago (2008-05-05)
Wow that was a very interesting story Niall. I guess your grandfather wanted to stay in that house. I bet he liked it very much. Thank you for sharring another great story and I hope you post the next one soon. I hope to hear from you soon and take care
whitebuffalo (guest)
15 years ago (2008-05-04)
Yes, well 😊, maybe the brother needed a bit of chastising, Niall.
What I was referring to, as in the peace, is NOW. I can WELL imagine the fright and the disruption to all of your lives with this Grandfather sharing space with you in that home. It is a bit unnerving, and takes quite a bit of adjustment. Some people NEVER get comfortable with a Being in their home with them. Just the thought that your Mother OFFERED to take him along may have been the bit of support that he needed to go on. Or it just may have been one of those things that brought out the "stubbornness" in him and he wanted to defy her by staying on...
Thank you.
Niall (4 stories) (13 posts)
15 years ago (2008-05-04)
Thank you for your opinion.

The spirit was my father's father. My mother had never met him before since he died very young but she still offered.

Do not believe he was all peace and happiness, he had a severe dislike for one of my brothers, it would follow him round the house just to terrify him, I do not know what he did to deserve it though. 😆 😆
whitebuffalo (guest)
15 years ago (2008-05-03)
All I feel from this story, Niall, is complete and utter peace. How wonderful of your Mother to offer her (I am sorry, was your Grandfather HER father, or your Father's?) visitor the chance to move with you when you all moved. What a caring woman she is.
Honestly. All I can really say is that I DO feel that this was your Grandfather simply enjoying the life of his family. He was able to carry on as if nothing happened (well, with the exception of him now being life impaired) and reside in the home that he bought dirt cheap on the land that he won in a wager.
I would be pretty proud of my accomplishment also, and want to linger, I think.
I believe that when your Mother chose her parting words, that they were very appropriate. She allowed your Grandfather to know that you all would not be returning to live, and that he was free to do as he wished. The words may have been simple, but the message was received, and it would appear from the account of those who moved into the home that he has chosen to Cross Over. What an awesome choice.
Thank you.
Mark09911 (7 posts)
15 years ago (2008-05-02)
Spirits of the dead remain on earth for a specific reason. Usually, they're fighting reality and want to turn back the clock; they want to change an event from the past.

In rare cases, they simply have a message to pass on, or a minor task to accomplish.

One notable exception is when a spirit returns to help a friend or family member, or just check to be sure you're okay.

Spirit guides, angels, totems, are a different topic. They are not malicious, ever. Don't worry about them.

You never have to worry about a ghost following you forever, or anything like that. It simply doesn't happen. 😁

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