[from Manx Notes & Queries, 1904]
Another account.--The old people said there was an enchanted island south-west of the Calf of Man, and it was seen once in seven years, when old May Day was on Sunday. Some one of the name of Onny Vadrill was the last one that saw it; but it is often cloudy in the mornings in May, and the people used to be up looking for it for many years. A Peel man said they had the same old tradition in Peel, but it. was off Jurby their island was seen.
Lhiem y cheaney (Fox-leap) is the perpendicular cliff adjoining the Borvyn Purt Chiarn in Bay Fine, and Slieau ynnynd my chassyn (the mountain of the place of my feet), is situated quite near to it and about a hundred yards from the cliff. Tradition says that the rock bears the marks of a giant who jumped over front Ireland and you can see his club foot sunk into the rock.
There was a man who once found a barrel of olive oil on the shore, and there were four of them went in the night to get some of the oil, and as they were coming up the cliff the man that was behind said: Boys, keep all together; and they all stood in a group, and there came a big man past them as big as one of Gulliver's giants, and went down the cliff.
Some years ago a man was walking in the mountain near the Chasms one foggy afternoon, and as he was coming across the field near the slieau he saw a man sitting by the hedge with a top hat on him, and he thought it was one of his neighbours, and he went towards him; when he was just at him, the man stood up, and he said he was about twelve feet high ; he was afraid to look at him, but when he did look again the tall man had disappeared, and he could not see him anywhere.
There was a man one night, and it was moonlight, he went on the pier to have a walk. When he came to the watch-house he met a headless man, who passed him as near that he would have put his hand on him, but he did not speak a word. He also said be had seen the fairies many times, playing in the boats and climbing up the riggings and laughing when the crews were gone home.
The old folk believed that every ghost came back with a peep at the house and its inmates the third night after burial.
THE GHOST OF PAT NY KEYLLEY.
The people used to talk about some man they called Pat ny Keylley (Pat of the forest). He was an old beggar-man, and after he died his ghost was coming to some house, where the people had offended him some time when he was travelling about. He seemed to be haunting the house, and was coming into the bedrooms and taking hold of the bedposts and shaking the bed, and the people in it, at a great rate. I never heard how they got clear of him.
GHOST OF A MAN SEEN ON A STEAMER.
There was a man sailing in a steamer which was lost in the winter with all hands. When this man was sailing in her he had seen a man on the bridge in the night, when there was no one but himself there, and all the crew below, and he was afraid to sail in her. He left her on reaching their destination. On her next voyage she foundered with all hands, and he was glad he left her, as he believed she was haunted by some evil spirit, and was sure something would come of it.
A GHOST OF A SUICIDE.
A man was once going to Douglas to hear a great preacher. He left Surby soon after twelve o'clock on Saturday night, and as he was just going to cross the river near Ballasalla, he heard a gruff voice, saying: Ila, thou art early though; and he looked round, and saw a big man, standing by the side of the bridge, and he said he knew the man, he committed suicide some time before by drowning himself in the river.
A DEAD WOMAN SEEN.
There was a man once saw a woman in the way before him, a woman he was well acquainted with, and she was looking at him very hard, and her face looked very pale. He hurried up to her to have a talk with her, but when he came near her she disappeared, and he was greatly surprised. When he came home again the first news he heard was that this woman was dead.
THE GHOSTS OF SOME TWIN CHILDREN.
An old woman from Ballakilpheric was telling about some one that had twins in the neighbourhood, and both died when they were beginning to walk about, and one night after they were buried she heard something at the door and went and opened it, and there were two little white lambs at the door, and she was greatly surprised, as it was in the dead of winter, before there were any lambs to be seen, and they seemed to be looking under the door steps. She shut the door again, and next morning she went to look under the steps and found a pair of scissors in a hole, that were missing for some time and given up for lost. But it was her belief that the little ones had put the scissors there, and that the two little lambs were their spirits coming there to see them, according to the old superstitions about ghosts.
A man who was following a pair of horses for another farmer, was coming home one fine evening in May, and as he was nearing the gate leading to the farm, he intended to dismount to open it, but at that time-it was half-past six o'clock-he saw the mistress, the farmer's wife, conning from the house towards the gate, and she opened it, and passed by him, but did not speak nor take any notice of him. He turned round and looked after her until a turn in the road hid her from him. He was surprised she did not speak, as she so often was giving him a word. He drove the horses to the stable, and one of the servants came to him, and said the mistress was dead, suddenly, that she had complained about half an hour ago, and that she died a few minutes ago, and it was at that time the spirit left the body.
A HORSE SEEING A GHOST.
There was an old woman, called Sarah yn varron, who kept a small farm, and she was in the habit of going to Douglas on Saturdays with butter and eggs, on horseback. One night she was coming home from market at a late hour, when the horse saw a ghost, and would not go forward. She used the whip to him, and he made a great leap and threw her off, and galloped away leaving her lying in the ditch. She had fainted with the fall, and when she came to herself again, the ghost was standing over her and sucking his lips, and saying " What a pity, what a pity," until the night was nearly over, and then he went away and left her, and she had to make the best of her way home on foot, but the horse was at home before her.
[In Manx Folklore horses and dogs can see ghosts.]
TWO MEN AND A WOMAN.
A man was coming up from the Howe one night, and when he was between the Craggans, and just past the top, he saw two men and a woman coming down off the Mull towards him, and he thought the woman was going to fly, her clothes were all in shreds, flying with the wind. He was very fearful when they were coming near him and could not feel the ground beneath, and he repeated some good words, and immediately they turned round and went up the Mull again. He was s.o frightened he bad scarce strength to get home, but saw nothing more of them.
YN GHOAYR HAITTAGH (OR HADDAGH).
There is something the old people called the ghoayr haddagh (the antic goat), shouting in the Island of a calm night. His voice resembled that of a goat, but much larger, like laughter, ha, ha, ha, for a minute or two, as if it was a goat with the ague. Many people have been frightened by it. It seems to live in bogs and marshy places, and people passing those places in the night and hearing his ha, ha, ba, on a sudden, were often terrified.
A COCK AND A CLOUD OF SMOKE.
There was a lot of young fellows who once went for a walk on a fine Sunday morning. When they were at the Chasms they beard a cock crowing very loud down in one of the holes, and after a while they rolled a big stone down in the Chasms and they heard no more crowing, but there was a cloud of smoke came up.-I suppose the stone must have fallen on the fire and spilt the fairies' big pot and spoilt the broth for them, when the steam came up so quickly.
MEETING A MONSTER.
A man in Ballakilpheric was going to the fishing to Douglas, at ten o'clock on Sunday night, and coming down the Chapel, when he met some monster and it tumbled and bruised him, yet the man could not see anything at all.
Coming home at a late hour one night, a man, as he was passing a gap in one of the hedges that was shut up with gorse, saw the gorse was shaking, and he went to it, and gave it a shake, but saw nothing, but at last saw a great black monster coming behind him, and he ran home as fast as he could, but the black monster followed him to-the door, and made a great noise for hours.
TWO WHITE MONSTERS LIKE SERPENTS AT THE HOWE.
Some fishermen coming home from Port St. Mary at a late hour, and when nearing the farm house in the Howe, there saw two white monsters, like serpents, crossing the road and going down the steps leading to the house. The men said they were like white congers of an enormous size; they disappeared behind the garden wall, and when the men got to the cart road at the other end of the garden, the white congers came up again, and went up the hill before them at great speed, and the men were terrified, and stood for a while to let the congers get out of the way, and waited until they were out of sight, and they saw them no more.
A man was coming home from Port St. Mary station one night, long before the railway was proposed, and he saw some little black thing in the road. He walked up to it, and tried to give it a kick, but could not touch it, and in a moment it grew as big as a horse, and though he was so courageous, he had- to retreat, walking backwards with his knife open, until he came to a house near Ballacreggan. He burst the door open and got inside, but the boggane did not follow and stayed outside until morning.
A man was telling about a great monster he saw. When he was a young man, he had been at a chris'ning, and went home with one of the young ladies in the evening, as is the fashion yet in the Island. The young men go to see their young ladies at bed time, and if they are in bed, they knock at her bedroom window, and the girl gets up and dresses herself again, and comes downstairs and opens the door for the young man, and they sit at the fire until morning talking about love and housekeeping. They did, however, not agree so well, and he went away soon after twelve o'clock. He had a cross road to go home, and when he was near home, he saw a great monster standing in the road, and he could not get past, and had to turn back and walk home on the high road. It was like a round stack of corn, he said, and his arms resting on the hedge each side.
A man was returning from the harbour, and when coming up the Howe, he saw some curious animal in the road leaping very high, but lie managed to get past and left him jumping. He said it must have been something supernatural, as no creature of earth could have leapt so high.
There was a man telling that he was coming home from Port St. Mary, and it was a bright night. In a field beside the road he heard a great noise, and he thought the mountains had opened, or split asunder, and he saw something like a bear going round the field, as fast as if it had been flying, and it was shouting, and he thought it was echoing in Fleshwick, and in a moment it stood in the road before him, and he was standing by the hedge. The monster put his paws on the hedge, one each side of him, and his open mouth before his eyes, and be could see his big teeth ready to gobble him. He put his hand into his pocket to get his knife out, but he could not get it or his hand out, and there be was standing trembling, expecting to be devoured every moment. And the monster opened his mouth big enough to swallow him up, and he began to pray, and in a moment it was gone like a flash of lightning.
A woman was coming home one night, and when between the station in Port St. Mary and Ballacreggan, she heard a great noise, and saw a great monster in the road, but she passed by it very courageously. When she was past the farm house she heard some great noise coming behind, and turning, saw a great monster following at a little distance. She could not tell what it was like, it had no shape nor form, but was like a stack, or like one of the tuff stacks the old men used to make, and it followed her to the top of the plantation hill, but no further.
HARE GROWING BIGGER AND BIGGER.
I have heard of different men getting a start on the beach at the top of the harbour at Port St. Mary. Two men came down the beach at a late hour to go on board of their boat, which was in the middle of the harbour and as the tide was out they intended to walk to her. But when they came on the beach they saw a little animal like a hare running about, and one said to the other, let us try to catch him; so when he heard that, he came towards them, and at every jump he was growing bigger, until he grew so big that they got frightened, and ran to the nearest boat and climbed on board, got down in the forecastle and made the door fast inside, and in a moment he was on board, too, and the vessel was shivering until they were afraid she would fall in pieces, sometimes shoving against the bulkhead until it was bending, and they were both standing at the door with the hatchet and the poker reedy to defend themselves if he would burst in the door, and they were kept in suspense for about three hours, and then he went away.
A man told me that one morning he had been seeing his girl in Surby, and was coming to Port St. Mary in the dawn of a fine summer morning. When he was near the place where the station is, he saw two animals, something like young calves, but they did not seem to be calves neither; so he got over the hedge, and went across the field towards the plantation road, and when he got to the road again, the two calves were standing before him once more. He went across another field, and when he came over the hedge at Miller's hotel they were there again, but he managed to get past and into a yard, and they did not follow him there, but went down towards the Port; so he waited till the sun arose and they had disappeared, and he saw no more of them.
Some fishermen were going to Port Erin to dig for sand eels, and as they were coming along Ballaphurt road they saw a little white thing in the way before them, and it got into a briar bush by the hedge, and one of them put his knife in the bush after him, so that made the little pig angry and it came out again, and grew as big as a bull, and they had all to do to defend themselves with their knives and retreat as well as they could until they came home and burst the door and got inside.
THE DEVIL IN SHAPE OF A BIG BULL.
Many years ago there was a great revival. of religion in the Howe Chapel, and there were a good many young, people in the chapel every evening, and sometimes they were late coming out, but one night in particular it was after twelve o'clock, and the company was going up the road singing. A young woman who had joined the party was a distance behind them, and she could hear the clanking of iron chains, as if a, horse were galloping with chains fast to his feet, and she could hear him going up behind the hedge at a little distance from the singers ; but it appears he got enraged and came away galloping past her where the hedge was low, but he was leaping in fury, and she was sure it was the devil, he was like a monstrous big bull, and she was ready to drop with fear, until one of the young men thought about her and came back to look after her, and the monster went away She thought it was the devil, angry and raging because the young men and girls were singing and praising God.
A LARGE PIG.
Three of us went for a walk one Sunday night, and when we were crossing the Four Roads at Ballacreggan, we met a very big pig in a great hurry, and every corner we passed afterwards we met the pig coming at full speed. We met her in many places in Surby and Bradda, and in Port Erin, as we came through, and at Strugan snail she began to follow us, and at last we had to jump over tb( hedge and go home across the fields. She stood at the hedge where we jumped over, and was looking up at us, but I cannot tell where she went afterwards.
A young man was telling about a fairy he came across. He was going toward the Plantation Hill about eleven o'clock, and it was very bright moonlight. He saw a great monster crossing the road, and going toward: an old gate, and right through it without opening it, and it stood in the field. It was something like a greyhound, but very high, he said, and he went to look at the gate in day light, and there was not a hole in it that he could get his own arm through.
A fellow was coming home late one night, and met the fairy dogs. They were very small and the road was full of them, and he was obliged to get on the hedge to get out of their way, and they kept going for a long time, until he was very angry with them, but at last they were all gone by, and it appears he said something to them that did not please them, for when he got home he was taken ill, and did not get up for six months.
A LITTLE DOG GOING AWAY IN A FLASH OF FIRE.
About six or seven years ago there were two men in a small boat fishing round the Calf, and in the evening about sunset they were pulling along the south east side of the Calf, and they saw a little dog upon the rock near the water, and it was the prettiest little thing they ever met, and they went to get it, and one went on shore, but when he was just in the act of taking hold of the dog he went away in a flash of fire and disappeared, and both of the men were sick after for a long time.
A LARGE DOG AND A TALL LADY.
There was a man who said that one night, when he was young, he was getting ready to go to Castletown on Saturday evening. The sky was clear, and the full moon shining. And there came to the door a very large dog, and stood there till he came out, and went along with him nearly to town, but disappeared at the old Windmill. He was some time in the town, and it was late when he was coming on his way home. At the old Windmill, where the dog vanished, there was a very tall lady standing, and she came up, and walked beside him, but he was afraid to speak to her, and they came together until they reached Balladoole lodge, and she went towards the stile that was near the gate. Then be took courage, and turned back to have a look at her, and she turned round and grinned upon him, and he said he never saw such big teeth in any animal as she had; but she did not follow him, and he did not see her again. I have heard of many people seeing her at the gate at different times. There was a Primitive Methodist minister preaching in St. Catherine's Chapel in Port Erin, and he was going home to Castletown after the service, and at this gate he saw the lady standing, and he spoke to her, but she gave him no answer, and only turned round grinning and showing her big teeth, and he was glad to leave her behind.
MEETING A LADY AND A CHASE.
Formerly there was no high road to the Sound, but only a path across the fields. A young man was going towards it one moonlight night at a late hour, and as he was crossing a field a very fine big lady stepped up to him and walked by his side, so he was afraid and began to run, but she kept beside him still; when he was jumping over the hedge, she was jumping over beside him, but as noiseless as a cat. He ran all the way home, and the lady with him until he jumped across the stream, and it appears she could not get over the water.
There was another man came home late one night, and stood at the gable of the house to have a look before going in, and he heard a sharp whistle at some distance, and he whistled too, and in a moment there was a score of little dogs about him and all the hunters after them. He managed to get in the house some way and shut the door, and the chase went away towards Spanish Head. The men are all gone and dead now. The house was left standing, but it is taken away over twenty years.
MEETING A CAT AND DARKNESS OVERTAKING A MAN.
A young man was coming from the Howe one night, and there was something like a cat coming alongside until they came to a gate, and the cat went in at the gate, and the next night he was coming up the cat came up with him again, but the third, night he made up his mind that he would try and catch him, so he had to wait for some time; at last he came, and he made an attempt to catch him, but he jumped over the gate, and the man could not find the gate; it got so dark that he had to come away without finding it.
THE ROYAL VISIT TO RAMSEY IN 1847.
We have a very interesting account of the event preserved in A Handbook for Visitors to the Isle of Man, being a Pictorial Guide to the Picturesque Scenery and Beauties of Mona, London, Kent & Richards. 1852, and in Leech's New Illustrated Tourist's Guide to the Isle of Man its Scenery, History, Popular customs, &c„ Ramsey, F. Leech, and in Backwell's Handbook for Visitors to the Isle of Man, edited and revised by James Burman, Esq., F.R.A.S., Douglas, which deserves a permanent record in your valuable columns. It says, putting the various information together:
At the back of Ramsey, immediately under the base of the mountain, are the estates of Ballure and Claughbane, two of the sweetest properties in the Island. Around by these under the mountain cliffs is a favourite walk which for picturesque beauty surpasses any other the public have access to; from thence the town below, and plain beyond, are to ba seen at great advantage. The mountain overhanging Ballure and Claughbane was called Lhergy Frizzel, but has lately been named Albert Hill, and the glen below Victoria Glen, from the occasion of Prince Albert having ascended its summit on the 20th September, 1847, the Royal Squadron being at anchor in Ramsey Bay on their way from Scotland. The Prince availed himself of the opportunity, went on shore and ascended the hill. His Royal Highness expressed enthusiastic admiration of the scenery from this spot, yet remembered with a natural pride by the loyal inhabitants of Ramsey. Meanwhile Her Majesty the Queen surveyed the town and the green uplands from the deck of the Royal yacht, and graciously received a deputation composed of some of the most respectable townspeople. On Easter Monday, 24th April, 1848, the foundation stone of the Albert Tower was laid by the lady of tie Hon. and Rev. Bishop of the Diocese, in the presence of a vast multitude of people from all parts of the Island. The day was kept as a holiday, the shops in Ramsey being all shut. The various clubs of the northern parishes attended on the occasion, with bands playing, and banners flying, and formed an imposing procession from St. Paul's Square, and marched in order to the bill, where having arrived, the Rev. Wm. Kermode, chaplain of St. Paul's, offered up a most appropriate and impressive prayer. The inscription, which is engrossed in Manx and English, and deposited in a hermetically sealed glass bottle, is as follows: -
The first stone of a tower erected by the loyal lieges of the Isle of Man, to commemorate the auspicious visit of Her Most Gracious Majesty, Queen Victoria, to the shores of this Island, and the landing of His Royal Highness the Prince Consort Albert, at Ramsey, on the 20th day of September, 1847, was laid by Mrs Eden, the Lady of the Honorable and Right Reverend Robert John Eden, D D., Lord Bishop of Sodor and Man, on the 24th day of April, 1848.
Several speeches were delivered on the occasion. The procession then re-formed, and returned to the town in the same order. Thus ended one of the most interesting ceremonies, one the most cordially united in by all classes of the community, that ever took place in the Island. It is a subject for congratulation that the Island possesses so neat and substantial a memorial of this noble and deservedly beloved prince.
The anniversary of the day on which the Royal personages first visited Mona is still kept in remembrance by those who had the pleasure of witn-ssing this most interesting event. The Albert Tower is a neat substantial square structure, built of granite, with machicolated battlements, to which visitors are admitted on payment of a small gratuity.
About six miles off may be seen the solitary lightship, warning the passing mariner from the dangers of the Bahama Bank, which, although never uncovered, is rendered thus the more dangerous to navigation. This ship was placed in her position soon after the Royal visit, the result of Her Majesty's inquiries while anchored in the bay.
A pair of tailless Kittens, male and female, were sent to Windsor Castle on the occasion of Her Majesty's coronation, by a gentleman of Douglas, a compliment which was acknowledged and handsomely rewarded.
It seems that the name of Victoria Glen loyally given in 1847 to Ballure Glen, has not survived. In commemoration of the second Royal visit perhaps Ramsey may be glad to christen it now Alexandra Glen, to perpetuate the present occasion, a suggestion which, I am sure, will meet the united assent of the people of Ramsey and the Town Commissioners.
No allusion to the above visit is made in Broadbent's interesting little book, Visit of the King and Queen to the Isle of Man, August, 1902 -which forms a real ,and valuable recordand I have no doubt Manx people will be pleased with having the memories of 1847 revived. It may be also new to many to know that to Queen Victoria is due the placing of the lightship at Bahama Bank.
A GRAY HORSE AT THE STILE GOING AWAY IN A FLASH OF FIRE, AND A LITTLE STAR.
When I was a little boy, going to the Howe Chapel, I heard once an old Methodist preacher in the Howe, called Jemmy Brew. He belonged to Kirk Lonan, and was blind at the time. He read the lesson, pointing with his forefingers to the palm of his hand, as if it had been a book, and read verse after verse as the congregation sung them, yet I do think he could not read nor write when he had his eyesight. They had heard him telling from the pulpit many times about a young woman in his neighbourhood that was very ill and near death, and he was very anxious about her soul, and after his day's work was going to see her in the evenings to speak to her about her soul and pray with her, but she was not able to trust in God, and the last night he went to see her he was crossing a field, as he always had been, and had to go over a stile, but this night when he came to the stile there was a very big gray horse, and would not allow him to go over; the horse was rearing and opening his mouth, as if intending to devour him, and made thunder and lightning in a frightful manner, but the old man knelt, down and began to pray, and the horse went, away in a flash of fire, and he saw him no more; so he got over the stile and came to the house where the young woman was, and he saw she was very near her end of life, and spoke to her and prayed with her, and God saved her, and she trusted in Jesus, but she died that night before Mr Brew left, and as he was still doubtful about her salvation, he asked her to come back and tell him if she was saved, and she said that she would, and died very soon after she bad promised. Some days after the funeral he was coming from his work in the evening, and he saw a little star in the sky, and was surprised to see a star before the sun was set, and stood looking at it, and it seemed to be coming down towards him, and it came down to the place where he stood, and immediately the young woman stood before him. He had his pocket handkerchief in his hand, and he put his hand on her and he felt she was not a shadow, but a substance that could be felt. She told him she was saved and happy, but never to ask anyone again to come back to tell anything, for she said her companions that went with her had gone on and she could not overtake them in all eternity,but she only told him very little, and was gone again. His opinion was that the gray horse was the devil, and that be knew the young woman would trust Christ, and therefore came to stop him from going there, that she would not have anyone to point out to her the way of salvation, and to accept the gift of God.
THE DEVIL DANCING TO THE FIDDLE.
There was a man once lived at the Sound. He was a very decent old man, and he used to play the fiddle, and the neighbours coming to dance. So he was fiddling away in the nark one evening before the candle was lit and the fire, and all was dark, but the fire blazed up suddenly and he sate the devil or some of his imps on the floor dancing; he threw the fiddle out of his hand and never played a fiddle again.
A BIG WHEEL OF FIRE.
A man, when he was young, was seeing the girls home late in the night, and when coming to the end of beyr yn clagh glass (the grey stone road), he beard a great noise, and he looked in every direction, but could see nothing, and the noise was coming nearer. He did not know what to do, so he got over the hedge, but the noise was just over him, and he looked up and saw a thing like a big wheel of fire. It was going round at a great speed, and went towards Ballacurry. and when it was near that place it vanished, and he saw no more of it
Second Account.-A man was coming along the grey stone road in Ballakillowey, and he met a big wheel of fire, going around at a fearful rate, but remaining in the same place, and he could not get past, so he went back and took another road, but he met the wheel again at the next opening, and he went across the fields to shun it, but when be came to the high road the wheel was there again, but he ventured to pass it and got away. It made a great noise with whirling round.
"BUTCHED" AT A STILE, UNABLE TO PASS THE STILE.
A young woman at the Howe Chapel was going home. Her road was across a field or two, but the night was fine and light, and she was not afraid to cross the little field alone. She walked along the road right enough until she went over the stile into the field and along the path towards the other stile, but when she came to the hedge where the stile was, she could find no stile, and the hedge was so high that she could not climb over it, so she was going round by the hedge looking for the stile, but she could find none, nor any spot in the fence that she could climb. At last she was weary, and thought to sit down and rest herself, but there seemed to bo something urging her to walk, and there she kept walking around the field for the whole of the long wintry night until she was so tired that she could hardly drag her feet. But day dawned at last, and she found herself in the little field next her own house, and the stile in the same spot where it used to be, and the hedge low enough to get over anywhere.