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A Headstone May Have Saved Lives


My name is Sorcha (we pronounce it Sor-sha; a somewhat obscure Irish name) and I've been wanting to share this story online for a while now, but I wanted to find a site that cared for reality rather than fiction. What I'm about to tell you is, to the best of my knowledge, factual. That or my entire family has been playing a hoax on me since I was seven... Which I doubt.

First of all, I think it's important to set the context of how I know about this experience. Though I'm very interested in the paranormal, I seem to be about as sensitive as a roll of wallpaper. When I was a child, I had quite a few experiences - the younger, the more interesting - but after the age of twelve or so, I've had nothing to report, much to my own disappointment. I guess I'm in the majority that way. While I personally recall some of these incidents, the one I'm about to relate took place when I was three years old, so I don't remember a bit of it. My sister, who is six years older than me, and my parents have described it to me, all in varying detail. My mother enjoys telling it, but my father will only admit it happened if he's had a couple of beers - he's quietly superstitious - and while my sister agrees that it took place, she doesn't see what a big deal it is (some sibling rivalry, perhaps!). By all accounts, it's a long story, so I hope you're sitting comfortably.

During the early years of my life, my family - that is, my parents, my sister, and my brother (who is three years older than me) - took annual trips during summer. We live in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and generally went to Portrush, Portstewart, Donaghadee and Donegal; anywhere with a coast and a good ice cream parlor. In the summer of 1990, when I was three years old, we went to Donegal, which is quite a long road trip for a young family. My brother - and I remember this from other incidents, sadly! - was terribly travel-sick right up until he was a teenager, and trips were punctuated with hideous pauses at the side of roads... If we were lucky. Sometimes travel sickness tablets helped, but unfortunately they often didn't. That year, we made it the whole way to Donegal but had run out of his medication by the time we got there. My dad stopped at the first chemists we passed and we disembarked and crowded inside, glad to stretch our legs.

Now, as a toddler, I had platinum blonde hair, bright blue eyes and a fair amount of puppy fat. Adults generally took one look at me and started cooing and gushing, which was absolutely fine by me. The chemist was no exception, and as her coworker went with Mum to find the right pills for my brother, this brunette lady came out from behind the counter and approached me and Dad. The usual small-talk took place; asking where we were from, how long we were staying, where we planned on going. As it was early in the afternoon, Dad told her we were going to the beach after we'd reached our bed-and-breakfast, and proudly showed me off while my sister sniffed shampoos. Eventually, when all was settled, we left and got back into the car.

We hadn't been on the road long before my brother announced that he felt sick. A declaration of nuclear war wouldn't have elicited such an efficiently panicked reaction from my family. Anyone who grew up as or with this type of sibling will know precisely what I mean. Plastic bags were organized, I was placed on my sister's lap and she squeezed as far away from my brother as possible, and Mum started scanning the surroundings for distractions. About ten minutes later, she spotted a graveyard up ahead. It was an old, fairly decrepit one, which most would agree is interesting, and as we'd never been tourists in a cemetery before - or since - it most definitely proved a distraction.

One last note about myself as a three-year-old: I had a terrible habit of taking what my parents call "mad dashes". For absolutely no reason, I would suddenly pick a direction and go tearing off, leaving my family in the dust. It earned me a few smacks because I didn't yet comprehend road safety, but all that served to do was make me wait until my parents weren't paying attention before running. With that in mind, it's hardly surprising that, after twenty long, boring (well, to a toddler) minutes in the graveyard, I waited for the opportune moment and careened off, and my parents, abashed as they are to admit it, took a few minutes to notice.

No one knows what was in my head during the interim between my disappearance and my parents finding me. My mother likes to conjecture, but I'm the only one who would know, and I haven't a clue. At any rate, it took my family ten minutes to find me. What they found was a little disturbing. I was clinging to a knee-high statue of an angel atop a headstone. My father tried to lift me up, but I wouldn't let go, and screamed bloody murder when he tried to drag me away. Alarmed, they tried to persuade me, but I would have none of it, and they ended up waiting for me to get bored. Eventually, I let go. "It's okay," I said. "She says it's okay now."

Nobody in their right mind would attribute much to the ramblings of a toddler, but as Dad bent down to pick me up, he looked at the headstone. It was a little girl's grave. Her name had been Sorcha, and she had died on that day's date, a hundred-and-change years before, and she had been three years old.

Like I said, Dad's a superstitious fellow on the quiet, and he completely freaked out. The rest of the family ranged from disinterested (my brother) to 'it's a coincidence' (my sister) to "ooh, cool" (that's my mum for you), but Dad utterly lost it. Everybody was packed back into the car and we went on to our destination - my brother was ill along the way, of course - where Dad refused to take us to the beach, saying instead that we would go tomorrow. We went out for dinner, and my father spent the entire day staring at me, as if expecting the Grim Reaper to leap out and nab me at any moment.

We only stayed a few days because Dad needed to work, and nothing eventful happened to us. The weather turned bad, which is completely typical of Irish summers, so we never did go to the beach. Back into the dreaded car we went, prepared for my brother's tummy-antics, and we started the long journey home. As we neared the chemists we'd stopped at, Mum insisted we stop there again so she could get painkillers (I suspect her headache was hangover-induced). My dad was carrying me - funnily enough, he'd been doing that the whole weekend - as we entered. Immediately, the brunette lady let out a shout and rushed towards us, where she paused and started smoothing my hair down. She looked ready to cry.

"Oh, thank God," she kept saying, which was making my family uncomfortable and my dad creeped-out. He asked what was wrong. "The day you came by and said you were going to the beach," the lady said, very upset, "a father and his wee girl were washed off the beach and drowned. I was sure it was you."

To this day, my parents maintain that Dad and I would have died that day in a freak wave, if not for my odd behavior with the statue. All I can say for certain is that it's a long story and could be nothing more than a string of impressive coincidences. But even now, I find myself starting to cry when I tell it. I'm not religious, though I'd count myself as spiritual, but every now and then, my mother says a prayer for the Other Sorcha.

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

Triskaideka (2 stories) (388 posts)
8 years ago (2014-01-29)
One of the best short stories I have ever read. Absolutely fascinating, and well written! I chuckled aloud at "A declaration of nuclear war wouldn't have elicited such an efficiently panicked reaction from my family." 😆 Other Sorcha saved you that day. Thank you for sharing this story!
barneyforever (2 posts)
9 years ago (2013-03-20)
i believe that statue could off been a warning and obviously the girl that died had possessed your body while you were at that gravestone. I think it was the little girl warning you not to go. Luckily you didn't because clearly if you went then that father and daughter might of been you and your father.
MoonFall (1 stories) (48 posts)
10 years ago (2012-03-31)

First of all, I LOVE your name. It's different, but very beautiful.

I'm a believer that things happen for a reason. I have my own stories that I feel prove that fact. Some are too private to share. However, I am a firm believer that God and angels watch over us each day and prevent horrible, evil things from happening to us. Your story is also living proof of that. Thanks for sharing.:) 😁
Sandy (3 stories) (48 posts)
11 years ago (2011-04-23)
What a awesome story! I do think everything happens for a reason. It may be a reason we understand and then sometimes not. But I do think your guardian angel was watching after you that day 😁 Atleast your mom is open minded about the whole thing. Thank you for sharing! ❤
Elvira (2 stories) (9 posts)
12 years ago (2010-09-21)
your very lucky you know, having a spirit look after you... I'd say that's a blessing.

She obviously wanted you to have a chance of life... She never did, so she must have wanted something better for you... She is definitely your angel. My request is that you should pray for her along side of your mother (whether your religious or not) if you are truely greatfull to her for saving you, she'll be greatfull of your thanks.

On the other hand, great story I'd love to know more of your childhood experiences.
Much love

-Elvira ❤
sylviessweeties (135 posts)
12 years ago (2010-07-21)
WOW! That was a very interesting story.

Mom to
Lilike Judith Elisabeth
June 25th 2003, 5:20pm
Locke Christopher Stephen
May 29th 2006, 5:20pm
Anjeni Katalin Nicole
July 22nd 2008, 9:26pm
Twilighter9829 (8 posts)
12 years ago (2010-06-23)
yeah I have heard that younger kids are more sensitive to ghosts, not that that applies to me (sadly as I get older my experiences don't decrease) the girl was probably trying to protect you I mean (if shes a spirit) she's your age at the time and has your name... I'm tempted to say "great story" but its not fiction so I'm not going to say tht...
Linz (9 posts)
12 years ago (2010-06-13)
i love this story 😁

Its sooooooooooooooooo... Cool 😆

It's like she was watching out for you really 😐

And I feel really bad for the dad and little girl (obviously) no one would ever want to hear that on holiday, or well at all.

Do you have any more to write?

Cause I'm pretty sure they would probably be awesome

MissHill (6 stories) (67 posts)
12 years ago (2010-02-07)
I think the only thing that can be said is what has already been said, WOW.
lioncat97 (2 stories) (67 posts)
13 years ago (2009-05-31)
A similar happening happened to me too. There was a big wreak and if it hadn't been for me running and hiding, my mother and I may not have been alive right now.
girlie (15 stories) (426 posts)
13 years ago (2009-05-25)
WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW!WOW.That was a really alsome, cool, and sad (the part where the father and the other little girl died, to bad they didn't have some one to tell them. Oh by the way was the wave like one of those really, really huge waves, or were they like out in the water went a pretty high wave came then washed them out to sea, but wasn't there lifegruards there?) story. I have no idea why that happen, but I'm glad in did because you posted it. It was a really good story.
So please, please, please. Wirte more.
GIRLIE 😁 ❤ 😢
Tonith (1136 posts)
13 years ago (2009-05-24)
I do think children can see and hear things adults can't. Was this a warning? I don't know. It's a tad more than a coincidence in my books. Not so much as for the drownings that happened, being that when people challenge nature they usually lose but your reaction to the headstone and what was on that headstone to me is a bit more than coincidence. They say there is little activity in graveyards but maybe that day the other Sorcha couldn't resist, being that you had her name and you were the same age when she passed.
Nor_Cal_Girl (3 stories) (97 posts)
13 years ago (2009-05-22)
Oh haha, I was worried there for a second. By the way, do you have a myspace or something? My URL is if you want to be friends! (that last bit sounded pretty lame but you get the idea I think, haha)
shinylady (1 stories) (2 posts)
13 years ago (2009-05-21)
AussieRedDog - Me too D: I actually did an online search on drownings in Donegal, 1990, but it only turned up a father; I'd need to go to Donegal and look through the newspaper archives, but that's miiiiles away ><

I don't know if there was a spirit in that graveyard, or if it saved my life, but I know that my family would have been frightened and upset if they'd been on the beach when the two victims were swept away, so I am thankful.

Bailey - nono! You didn't offend anybody - far from it! - I did XD; My American friends start calling themselves Irish every St Paddy's Day, even though they know it drives me bonkers. And when I inevitably gripe at them, they get offended >>;;

Thanks, guys <3
Nor_Cal_Girl (3 stories) (97 posts)
13 years ago (2009-05-21)
Oops! Tell your friends I'm sorry! I understand why people would take offense to it, and I didn't mean anything by it. Thanks for the info though, and the origin of your name is so cool! Mine... Mine's just alcohol ha ha (I'm Bailey btw)
AussieRedDog (17 stories) (75 posts)
13 years ago (2009-05-21)
Hey Sorcha. Love your name. I know it's an old Celtic name for I'm Irish as well, born in Belfast but brought in Australia.
Just briefly about your name: You said it means The Shining One-According to Irish myth, The Shining Ones were the De Dannans, the Fairy Folks. I had encounter with them... Read my tale: Gateway to Tir Na Og.
Your story is quite odd but far out you owe your life to a 'ghost'. Strange how things turn out... Maybe for the best for you but the poor kid and her father, I feel sorry for the family. 😐.
shinylady (1 stories) (2 posts)
13 years ago (2009-05-20)
Thank you, everybody, I really appreciate your comments!

Nor_Cal_Girl - Yeah, actually, we do tend to frown on hearing someone say "I'm Irish" when they're not from Ireland, which we tend to hear from Americans the most. It's a mix of being very straightforward (you're the nationality of where you were born or where you spent the most time living) and the fact that most Irish people don't have interestingly-mixed ancestry. It's nothing personal, but a few of my online friends took offense at it >>;

Mum found my name in an old book of Gaelic fairytales and myths, where the meaning was recorded as "The Shining One", but most name origin sites list the meaning as 'Radiant' or 'Shining'. That's where I got my online handle:] It can be pronounced a ton of different ways.

While I'm in the north - which is technically a seperate country from the south - I do love Ireland, and I encourage you all to visit. Just don't say I didn't warn you about the weather;]

Thanks again!
Nor_Cal_Girl (3 stories) (97 posts)
13 years ago (2009-05-20)
This story is truly remarkable, and you described it very well. I like your metaphor of nuclear war and your brother announcing his car-sickness, lol. Thank you so much for sharing! I've always loved Ireland, I have heard that people there don't really like it when you say you're Irish because of blood, and not because you are from there but my grandmother is very Irish and I have always wanted to go. I like your name too! Does it have a meaning?
ForeverHoldUrPeace (2 posts)
13 years ago (2009-05-20)
Well, I'm very thankful for that statue, I guess... Oh, and I like your name! It's pretty and unique.
Sorcha (59 posts)
13 years ago (2009-05-20)
Hello from yet another Sorcha!
Nice story =) thank you for posting it! What coincidences! I wouldn't blame you if you still get shivers from graves with angel headstones.

hobbyholly (11 stories) (572 posts)
13 years ago (2009-05-20)

I fully enjoyed your account shinylady. Well written too

As you stated this could have been a coincident... But talk about the odds. The fact it stirs so much emotion in you and your father is quite tremendous. I hope to hear more experiences from you.

"Mum insisted we stop there again so she could get painkillers (I suspect her headache was hangover-induced). "-hehe...been there!

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