[from Manx Notes & Queries, 1904]

SPECTRE WOMEN.

[134.]

A WOMAN NEAR KING WILLIAM'S COLLEGE

A man was once going from Castletown to Derbyhaven a little after one o'clock in the morning, and when near King William's College he saw a woman coming towards him with an old-fashioned cloak on, and the hood over her head, like the old women used to wear them. He made for the other side of the road to allow her to pass, but she came right in front of him; he then made for the other side of the road, and she did the same, and he had to hold up his hand to keep her face away from him, and they shifted across the road many times, but he cried out : In the name of the Almighty, what is it? and she slipped past and immediately disappeared.

Many others had been telling him since that they had met with somtthing in the same place, and they believed it was a murder that had been committed in that place, and that it was the spirit of the murdered person that was haunting the place. — It is supposed by the Manx people that when the time of their natural death has come that the spirit goes to its rest, and hence it is that the bagganes are all gone away, as there are no murders in the Island now that the murderers have not been found out and punished.

[135.]

A WOMAN NEAR FOXDALE.

There were some young men going across the mountains between Foxdale and St. John's one night, and one of them lingered behind the rest for about five minutes, and when he began to walk again he saw a very tall woman walking beside him. He did not like to speak to her for some time, but when he saw that she was coming with him he ventured to say some words to her but got no answer, and then he began to suspect she could not be a natural woman. And he spoke to her again, mentioning the name of the Almighty, and she disappeared in the twinkling of an eye, and he took a great fright at it, and when he came to his companions they might have wrung the perspiration out of his clothes, and it affected him for a long time afterwards.

[136.]

A WOMAN IN WHITE.

A man went to one of his fields in Glenchass to get the cows home about sunset, and he met a woman dressed in white coming up the hedge. She was very tall, but he said not a word, neither did she, and ever afterward on as long as he lived be would not go in that field after sunset.

[137.]

AN INVISIBLE COMPANION.

" I went over the Cronk one fine night, and there was some young men standing at the foot of the hill, and they immediately stopped their sport when I made my appearance on the top of the hill: they all said they saw some person beside me dressed in white, but I did not believe them, although they all affirmed it was the truth; and Glenchass is a likely place for fairies, with its deep glens and running streams.

I recollect the men tell about a lady they were seeing somewhere on the Douglas road, walking on a hill by the side of the road ; she was often seen on moonlight."

[138.]

AN OLD GRINNING HAG AT THE FISTARD.

There was a young man living in Fistard, and he was in Glenchass lodge one night until it was late. It was a fine clear night, but rather windy, and he made across a little field in front of the house, and he saw something black beside the hedge, and thinking it some article of clothing that had fallen on the bushes, he went toward it to lift it on again, but the thing got up of itself, and was in the form of an old woman, and came towards him grinning fearfully and opening her mouth wide enough to swallow him, and he ran home as fast as he could, and was very bad for six to seven months after that.

[139.]

CARRIAGE AND HORSES.

It is said there was a carriage with four black horses drawing, seen many times going through Port St. Mary after twelve o'clock at night. There were two men standing in the street one night, and the carriage drove past them. They saw the driver sitting in his place, but the wheels made no noise, neither the horses' hoofs, and it went along Lime-street, and towards the Point, but no one knows where it goes to, and what it is, and where it comes from.

Another version. — There is a carriage coming through Port St. Mary about two or three times a year with a pair of grey horses, going towards the breakwater, but it has never been seen coming back.

Another. — Tbe people in Port St. Mary have heard the sound of a carriage many times after twelve at night passing towards the pier, it had four black horses, but they could not see no driver, and no one has seen it coming back.

[140.]

TWO LITTLE GIRLS, FOUR PONIES, AND A LADY IN A CARRIAGE.

About two years ago a young fellow had been seeing his young woman, and left her rather too early. When be was on his way back there was a corner on the road, and before going round the corner he met two little ladies about a foot and a half high, very nice little things, but he did not feel any fear of the little ones until he beard the rumbling of carriage wheels, and when round the corner he met a carriage with a pair of small white ponies, about the size of dogs, and the carriage itself was very low, and, a woman driving, and it was going at a great rate where the road was very rough. He said he knew they were not human, but he got home all right.

Another account. — A young man one night last September had been walking on the shore about twelve o'clock, and he was coming through a lonely place where there were no houses, and there came two little girls and walked on each side of him, so small they only reached his hips, and each had an umbrella. They looked up in his face, but he could not bear the noise of their feet. As they passed on before him there were four ponies came after them, two had harness on, and two had none and they went after the little girls, and after that there was a carriage came past and a lady sitting in it, and she was as high sitting down as he would have been if he had been standing on his feet. She was the tallest woman he ever saw in his life

[141.]

DREAD TO PASS KING ORRYS GRAVE IN THE NIGHT.

"Superstition is rife throughout the Island, and a very remarkable instance of its force came under my own observation. Near some lead mines, in a retired spot on the road from Douglas to Ramsey, is a place known as King Orry's Grave, who is reported by tradition to have been murdered at this place and buried. Being at Ramsey rather late one evening on business, and exceedingly anxious to return home to Douglas, we made application to every car proprietor in the town, but neither bribe nor persuasion were of the slightest avail in securing the fulfilment of our object. It was approaching midnight, and at that hour no Manxman, if possible, will dare to invade the precincts of the royal sanctuary. There was no help for it, and so at some considerable expense and inconvenience, we were obliged to remain in Ramsey for the night." — (See My Sketch Book, Hy. C. Robinson, Gloucester, 1853, p. 109.)

[142.]

TWO LADIES AT THE SUGAR LOAF.

A man one morning in summer was pulling heather with his hook near the Chasms, when the sun was rising in the east, and he saw two ladies dressed in white coming up the cliff, near the Sugar Loaf, dressed very fine, and they came towards him, and he was near the end of the cliff. They passed him, but did not speak. They rambled about until the sun got a bit warm, and then went to the perpendicular precipice, and walked over, so the man got very timorous, and ran home as fast as his legs could carry him, for no mortal creature could come up or down in that place, but the birds, and he was taken ill through the fright for some time afterwards.

A fisherman that has spent most of his time fishing about the Calf Island and the Sound, said he was on his way to Port St. Mary one evening in his boat, and another man was with him. The sun was just going behind the mountains, and when they were just past the Sugar Loaf they saw two ladies going up the perpendicular clig, walking quite leisurely, and one had a red dress on, and they were running about like if they had been in a green field. The sun was not set, but just behind the hill, and they kept running about for a long time. They could see them when crossing Perwick Bay. He said he was sure they were not human beings, but spirits.

Another old fisherman in Port St. Mary said be was going to the Calf to fish in a boat alone one evening about sunset. He had a lug sail on his little boat, and was sitting in the stern steering when he was near the Sugar Loaf. There was very little wind, and the sail was flapping about once when a little breeze came off the land, and the sail spread, and there was a lady sitting in the bow of his boat, but he could not see her face, and was afraid to speak to her or to stir, so he was going on steering for Port St. Mary, and the lady looking out until it got calm again, and the sail hid her from him. When the breeze sprang up again she was gone, and he saw no more of her, but he would not go to the fishing alone after that.

[143.]

BRIGHT LIGHTS.

Some men were passing Spanish Head in a fishing boat in the middle of the night, and saw a light in the middle of the cliff, and it went along to the Sugar Loaf, and up the Chasms, and disappeared. They were also passing Glen Wither another night and saw a light there, but it stopped in the same spot, and there was a man fell down some time afterwards and was killed — they allowed it was the sign of his death.

There was a nice green hollow at the foot of Cronk ny Irree Laa, at the bottom of the cliff, and there are the ruins of an ancient church or chapel there yet, and they call the place Lhag ny Killey. I have heard many of the old fishermen saying they often have seen a very bright light there, many times while going past late at night, about twelve o'clock, in their boats. It was supposed by the old folk the chapel was a druidical temple.

A man had been at Ballakilpheric at Christmas, and was a bit late coming home. At Ballacreggan he saw afire in the middle of the road, and when he was near the fire went over the hedge, and the hedge was very high where it went over; but he climbed up and saw it still burning behind the hedge, and he could see it burning away in the road when at the top of Ballacreggan hill.

[144.]

DARKNESS ARISING.

There was a man coming home from Port St. Mary to Cregneish, and when he was at his own house he got into some darkness, and could not see where he was until he found himself at the Smelt, right against the big mill door, and his cap was lost, so he started home and he found his cap just at the house in the morning.

A fisherman said he came out of the house in Lime-street in Port St. Mary one night, he wished to have a look at the vessel before retiring, and he was on his way towards the pier when he all at once came into some darkness. He could see nothing, but felt as if he had been in the midst of a crowd, but could feel nothing with his hands. but was carried back with the throng until he came to a small opening between two houses, and be got in there and the crowd went by, and it was light again. He met another man coming, as he came out of the darkness, who said he did not see any darkness, nor feel anything — he was of opinion it was a sign of death.

[145.]

HAUNTED HOUSES.

I have often heard talk of Ballacurry House that it was haunted. One night there were some young men in with the farmer's daughters, and the maids and they were all sitting quietly in the kitchen, and the back-door was locked, but the door opened and a very big man came in, and walked upstairs, and made a great noise in the rooms and they got into another room and their sport ended for that night.

[146.]

A farm labourer said that in the farm house he lived, they were hearing something going upstairs. When they were in bed they were hearing it often, dragging the chairs about the kitchen, but they said nothing about it. One night an old tradesman doing some job for the master was sleeping in the house, and the man was very deaf. Well, he felt unwell and could not sleep, so he got up again and went down to the kitchen, lit the fire and warmed himself. But deaf as he was, he could hear the chairs dragging about, but could see nobody. At last he heard something by his side, and a voice said: Go to bed. Well, he did not mind that, he thought it was one of the men sleeping upstairs that called him to go to bed. And he sat still, and the chairs were kept going through their performance as before. At last a very coarse voice said: Go to bed out of this! But he did not go to bed after all, thinking it was one of the servants, but they were all asleep in bed.

[147.]

NOISES AND BLOODY BLOTCHES IN AN OLD HOUSE AT PORT ERIN.

There is an old house in Port Erin on the hill above the chapel. It has been without a roof for many years. A man lived in it, they called him Captain, and the old house " the Ship." There was a school mistress once keeping school in that house, said a woman, when she was a young girl, and often there was some noise on the kitchen loft, like if a person lay on his back tmd beat the floor with his heels. The missus, she said, sont her up to wash the floor one day, and it was all over blood at the bedside, and under the bed was all covered, and looked as fresh as if it had been spilt that day, and they cat the boards away anany tunes and put new ones in their places, but the blood was on the new boards the same as the old ones. I suppose the ghosts of the murdered persons were howling for revenge until the time of their natural life was expired, and then they seemed to be at rest, or perhaps the murderer had died and they had their revenge.

[148.]

BLESSING THE DEAD.

I have heard the old people, especially the women, say that it was right to bless the dead, whenever they were mentioned, and I have often heard them saying, when talking of the dead: My vannaght lesh ny merriu (my blessing with the dead) ; and if one person was spoken of: My vannaght lesh yn varroo. Also when a baby was born the old women would say: Dy bannee Jee yn lhiannoo (may God bless the child).

[149.]

UNBAPTISED CHILDREN.

It is said of children dying without being baptised that their ghosts used to be lamenting in the churchyard in the dead of the night, I have heard them tell about some man that was passing the churchyard, and he heard a little voice saying: —

Lhiannoo dyn ennym mee, lhiannoo dyn ennym mee. (I am a child without a name.) and the man said: —

My she guilley oo, to nice bashtey no Juan, as my she inneen oo to nice bashtey oo Joney.
Myr shen va yn scaan shen ee shee.
If thou art a boy I christen thee John, and if thou art a girl I christen thee Joney.
Therefore that ghost was at rest.

It is the custom yet to bury a stillborn child at dead of night, as they are not allowed to be buried in consecrated ground.

[150.]

AN ENCHANTRESS CHANGING INTO A BAT, AND HER PALFREY INTO A PORPOISE.*

An enchantress who rode on a milk white palfrey, led her train of lovers to a deep river, and when they were all a good way in it, she caused a sudden wind to rise which, driving the waters up, swallowed them all. She changed after into a bat and flew off, and the palfrey turned into a sea hog or porpoise, and plunged itself to the bottom of the stream.

*See Waldron's History of the Isle of Man, 1726, p. 75. I have re-stated these to bring them again into eminence.

[151.]

A SPECTRE IN THE SHAPE OF A WOLF.+

On a wild common near Kirk German an appearance was seen which assumed the shape of of a wolf, and filled the air with most terrible howlings.

+ Ibid, p. 37.

[152.]

SPECTRE HUNTSMEN.+

A man was going over a pretty high mountain, coming from Douglas on his way to his sister in Kirk Malew in the night, when he heard the noise of horses and the halloo of a huntsman, and the finest horn in the world. He counted thirteen in number, all dressed in green and gallantly mounted.

+ Ibid, p. 33.

[153.]

THE ARKAN-SONNEY, OR LUCKY LITTLE PIG.

I have heard of some little white animal, like a young pig. They called it the uircean sonny, or the lucky or plentiful little pig. The old people usad to say if you caught it you would be very fortunate; that you always find a piece of silver in your pocket when you are in need of it. A woman once said that she was walking one night, and came across some little white thing, but she did not catch it, nor try to catch it, but for some time afterwards she always found a. silver piece in her pocket, when she needed it and put her hand into to her pocket not thinking to find it. And this continued for some time; but she told one of her friends about it, and she did not get any more — the bank was closed. It is wrongly mixed up with the Manx eairkan, or Gaelic adharcan=lapwing; but it is really derived from uircean, or oircein, Gaelic little pig; the diminutive word of eairk=pig, is short in the Manx dictionary.

[154.]

DISTURBING OLD FOUNDATIONS.

I heard a man tell about one time he went with his father-in-law to mend a hedge, and there had been the ruins of some old building near the place. And they were digging up some of the foundation stones for the purpose of mending the hedge, and he had made a hole down, and was pulling some stones out with his hands, and as he had one stone nearly out, it was pulled in again with a sudden pull, and that was repeated again, and it was pulled out of his hand, and something like a shock went through his body, and he refused to touch it any more. But his father-in-law made fun of him, and went to try it himself, but he was electrified himself, and fell upon the ground. And they shut up the hole again, and left it, and he never liked to go near the place since.

There was an old house on Mull mountain, and they brought some long stones from it to put for flags in the floor of another cottage, and while they were in the floor the people had no rest at night, but great noises in the house all night, and knocking and thumping on the nes, and the man had to take them up and send them back to the old ruin again; and there was no more noise in the house after that.

There was a man living at Ballakilphirric, in a small farm called Kirkle, and he got blind and he was about 35 years of age. There was a graveyard on his farm, an uncultivated spot, and he took it in hand to cultivate, and worked very hard digging it up with a pick,and there were many human skeletons. His father often was telling him something would happen to him for disturbing the dead, and in a short time afterwards he got stone blind.

Gregor tells us that in the North-East of Scotland (page 115) that druidical circles and monoliths (as in Man), were looked upon with awe, and when disturbed disease fell on cattle, and there was no peace for man or beast till the stone was put in its old place.


 

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