Rohan’s Ghastly Tale

Warning Note: This post contains a Memento Mori photo that I have chosen, which may be disturbing to some as well as content of a disconcerting and creepy nature. 

Welcome People ~

I have  special treat for you today from Rohan7Things. As part of Rohan’s book promotion for SEX, Not As A Separate Subject: A Guide to Great Sex with Great People! he is ghost, eh guest posting.  Today I have him and I bring you his story. So pull up a chair, extinguish all the lights – Rohan has a tale to tell.

You can't escape the thing that go bump in the night ~ Photo Credit:

You can’t escape the things that go bump in the night ~
Photo Credit:

Some people don’t believe in ghosts. I find that strange. To me that would be like someone not believing in chairs, or shirts, or trees. I’ve witnessed ghosts manipulating objects, and I’ve seen them with my own eyes. When I was young a friend of my mother’s was very, how should I put it…”out there”, and she was quite proud of living with a number of spirits in her house. On a regular visit to her place you could expect to see her clothes being tugged and pulled by an invisible force, and feel unexplainable breezes and temperature changes. This spirit seemed to be benign and fairly harmless. It never caused any trouble. The same cannot be said for all ghosts.

When I was six years old I arrived in Dublin with my family. We had just survived a horrendous and terrifying journey across the Irish Sea from England via ferry. The sea storm was as bad as they come according to the ferry staff and no one was spared the queasy plight of sea sickness. (WARNING, the next couple of lines should be avoided by the squeamish!). It was like a sight from a horror movie. The halls were literally sloshing with faeces, urine and vomit thanks to the overworked plumbing system and the up and down nature of rising and falling with waves the size of sky scrapers! It was one of the very worst nights I’ve ever weathered, and I don’t ever remember feeling more relieved to see the sun rise.

Upon landing on Irish shores we settled first into a place in North Dublin city. It was a building made up of five or six fairly run down apartments. My uncle was already living in one of the units with his girlfriend and so it made sense as a place to make a start. The landlord’s (we’ll call him John, though it’s not his real name) elderly father lived on the ground floor, and because of this no one else dared. It’s quite sad actually. The poor old man could barely walk, and retained only about 5% of his vision. The entire ground floor reeked of the result of terrible urinary and faecal incontinence and so the home coming routine consisted of; hold breath, open door, run up stairs, exhale. Because my parents had yet to find work my father negotiated with the landlord to clean the old man’s apartment for a discount on the rent. No one can say my dad never sacrificed for his family! At night the old man’s howls could be heard emanating from the ground floor; “Jooooooooooohn,” he would moan to his son, who lived in the apartment above him, “would you make me an auld egg?” The poor, wretched old thing had barely a tooth in his head and so his diet consisted mostly of boiled eggs.

My parents soon made friends with our neighbours above us; a lovely couple from Donegal. One day my dad and his new friend (we’ll call him Steve, also not his real name) decided to rifle around the dilapidated back garden for anything useful or interesting. The garden was wildly overgrown and filled with piles of – quite dangerous looking – junk. Wooden beams, nails, broken glass and mouldy mattresses peppered the back yard. It was a phobic’s worst nightmare. Right down the back stood a small shed that spewed forth an eclectic selection of trash from all manner of tenants since God knows when! Spurred on by their curiosity and bravado the men pushed forward through the tetanus minefield. Upon reaching the creaking wooden shed they careful dug through the piles of damp and discoloured refuse. Having spent a good fifteen minutes looking, and finding nothing of interest, they were about to call it a day. It was then that Steve’s eyes lit up as he withdrew a collection of very old looking photographs.

My father and Steve excitedly began flicking through the sepia toned snapshots of the past. First a family. Mother, father, daughters and sons. And then a pregnant lady smiling with her proud husband beside her. But then things took very morbid turn. The next photo displayed a coffin. It was small and ornate. A coffin for a child. Smaller even; a coffin for a baby. The men looked at each and swallowed dryly. They felt sick to their stomachs and a chill ran down their spine. Steve’s hand trembled as he moved onto the next photo. It was a baby. Clothed in white lace. It was laid, lifeless inside a velvet lined coffin. But that wasn’t what made the two men run. It wasn’t the dead infant that made them scream and throw the photos away in horror. It was the deceased child’s face; twisted and distorted, caved in and unrecognisable. That’s what made my father and Steve, once so brave, sprint terrified back to the house and never set foot in that back garden again.

Victorian Memento Mori  Photo Credit Unknown:

Victorian Memento Mori
Photo Credit Unknown:

A few weeks later I was getting ready for school in the morning. My parents were fast asleep and it was up to me to put on my dapper little St. Peter’s Nation School uniform, grab my breakfast and wake them up, which wasn’t hard as we all were sleeping in the same room. This was the middle of winter in Dublin. The sun doesn’t rise until well after 10am and the room was dark, barely bright enough to see. I had managed to pop on my grey trousers and my little white shirt but it was as I reached toward my maroon jumper that it happened. The jumper, or sweater for American readers, was draped over a chair on the other side of the room, no doubt drying from the rain of the day before. I walked toward it as I would every morning but on this occasion, as I reached out my hand, the jumper physically flipped up, and from beneath it emerged a disembodied head! It was grey in colour, the face of a haggard old man with thick framed glasses and wrinkles as deep as canyons. The head grimaced gruesomely at me and swiftly chased me across the room! I ran backwards as fast as I could screaming at the top of my lungs until I struck the room’s back wall with a dramatic thud. I had never been more terrified in my life, nor have I been since! As my back reached the wall the face passed rights through my face and disappeared. I collapsed on my bed and cried. My parents, alarmed by my shrieks, rushed to comfort me and find out what had frightened me so much.

When I regained the power for speech I explained that I had seen a ghost and I described in incident to them. They believed me. The other kids at school however, were a little harder to convince.

Thankfully I haven’t had any more serious or scary run-ins with ghosts. Though over the years I have seen a number of people who were there one minute, only to vanish as I turn to look away for a moment. Sometimes I’ve felt something brush my arm or leg when nothing corporeal could have done it. And sometimes I’ll just get a vibe. Some people attract bad spirits, and so do some places.

Maybe you believe in ghosts, maybe you don’t. All I can tell you is that everything I’ve written here is 100% true. As for me? Ghosts are just a real as chairs, or shirts or trees.

Thanks for reading, all the best!


About Rutabaga the Mercenary Researcher

I'm a research librarian for Public Television, story teller, bike commuter, baker, music fiend, lover of reading & books, mother, wife, friend - and many more descriptive adjectives and nouns.
This entry was posted in Aversions, Blogging, Childhood, Children, ghosts, Guest Blogger, Rohan7Things, Story and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

47 Responses to Rohan’s Ghastly Tale

  1. Pingback: Rohan’s Got a New Apartment! And a Girlfriend…? | rohan7things

  2. Pingback: Rohan’s 7 Things Post Of The Week #15 “Right to be wrong or wrong to be right?” | rohan7things

  3. I also have had experiences where I’ve seen people/animals for a few seconds, usually in a mirror. Worst was when I’d see Shadow People in my bedroom at night, slowly moving from one end of my room to the other.

    Strangely, there don’t seem to be any in my new home, which I suppose is good because I have sleep paralysis now. :/

    • I would not be sleeping if I had people in my room moving about –

      Ahhh – I’ve had sleep paralysis in the past – I had no idea what it was and thought I had spirits sitting on my chest.

    • Rohan 7 Things says:

      Oh man, my mother witnessed shadow people when she was a child as well. That sounds just terrifying. As does sleep paralysis. I’ve heard it’s harmless but its still sounds scary!

      How often does it happen?


      • Eh, the Shadow People aren’t scary once you get used to them. I kinda think they are just travelers…though where they come and go from is a mystery.

        I experience sleep paralysis about 5-7 times a month, usually but not always when I’m stressed. THAT was really disturbing the first time it happened, but when you look at the science behind it (aka your body is still in “safety mode”) it’s actually interesting. I’m completely used to it by now. 🙂

  4. Daile says:

    Rohan! You gave me chills, but not in a good way!

  5. jlheuer says:

    My husband has an old Aunt who insists on taking photos of the deceased in their coffin at the funeral home. She did at his Dad’s wake and I almost jumped out of my skin. To me, that is creepy.

  6. Jennifer says:

    The story about the photo album, creepy. While I have not witnessed any ghostly (i was going to write paranormal) activity myself I am open to believe. There are so many stories of there I wonder how it CAN’T be true.

  7. Diane C says:

    I loved this story! I have had quite a number of my own interactions with those who have passed on. I worked for a couple of years in a museum/house in Victoria, BC, Canada. The house was probably one of the most active haunted houses in a city well know for its haunted places. I actually did ghost tours there and every time I was in the house at least one or two things happened, including once when I was privileged to see Dr. Helmcken, the original owner and builder of the house. At that point he had been dead about 100 years. Another time, I took over as the head librarian in a school library. Shortly after that, the first librarian, who had died about 20 years before, made her presence known by hovering behind me and poking me in the back!

  8. Wow, I guess that ghost didn’t quit while he was a head! A ha ha ha ha sorry. That was a super-cool story. As you know I have a ghost friend myself, who has done some rather entertaining things in the past, but mostly keeps quiet lately, and thankfully never chases me around the room without his body on. Or at all.

    Oh, I also have a photo of a deceased child in a coffin – it’s my grandfather’s brother, who died as an infant. He looks quite peaceful, though, poor little thing. It was quite common to take such photos in that day and age, or even having paintings done in which the corpse was made to look alive. Rather odd, but a cultural thing, I suppose.

    • Victorian Momento Mori photos are so macabre – especially when little children are posing with their siblings that have died. I can’t imagine it wouldn’t unhinge me a bit if I was having to do that. But I know that people did that in that time period b/c they might not have any pictures of that person (child or adult) and it would be their only one.

      At least the child in a coffin (despite being so sad) is more natural than the deceased child propped up in a chair.

    • Rohan 7 Things says:

      Glad you liked it Jennifer! And I’m glad to hear your ghost buddy has never seen fit to chase you around the house. Apparently my ghost was just a big jerk who was into scaring little kids!

      Yup, dead people pics can be pretty unsettling. But as you say, a product of a different time 🙂


  9. I’ve had a few ‘paranormal’ experiences (don’t really like the word, seems flippant somehow). Good read. Very, very well narrated. 🙂

    • Rohan 7 Things says:

      Thanks glad you liked it! Yeah, paranormal comes with a lot of connotation. It’s a bit like “conspiracy theorist”, a quick way to dismiss someone as crazy or silly hehe 🙂

      Your experiences would make a great post, or poem!


      • ahhh just like the conspiracy theory thing. It carries instant dismissal, the fact that you ‘believe’. Personally I think it’s sheer human arrogance to assume that we’re the only sentient beings in existence, lol. And I do write about them, encrypted in poetry most times. The Room of Death and The Dark Side of the Moon are on the blog I think.

        Thanks for the reblog too mate. I wouldn’t have discovered this one otherwise. 🙂


  10. erickeys says:

    Thanks! A great post! Spooky and kind of makes you question a lot of things. I suppose I do believe in things beyond what science can explain at the moment, but I’m resisting the urge to spend too much time speculating about it. Perhaps I should make a more thorough investigation.

    • I’m completely fascinated by Memento Mori – and imaging being a child that has to sit with my dead sibling and pose for a picture – that would unhinge me.

      • erickeys says:

        A different world, I guess. Personally, I think being more in touch with death would help us as a culture. I’m not saying it wouldn’t hurt, but that it might be worth the pain for us to stop turning our heads.

        • I guess there’s that – but posing with a corpse would be hard, so very hard for me.

          A totally different world/culture/time – for families, that memento mori could be their only picture of that deceased person.

          I don’t negate your POV – but I’m curious about how it would help us as a culture. I think the loss of a child during any time period would be difficult.

        • erickeys says:

          I guess what I mean is, we might value life a little more if we knew how quickly and tragically it could end. It’s easy to say “Yeah, sometimes kids die suddenly” and it’s another thing to see such a painful reminder – “Here’s a picture of your uncle Al and his dead sister.” I don’t mean to be crass, you know? I’m just saying we sometimes live in a dream world.

        • Maybe – but all through the ages life has ended quickly and tragically and we now live in a world where life expectancy is longer than ever, but we have advanced little, if at all, in how quickly we kill each other mere trifles. Death is always more meaningful when it touches us – and I would think most people are crass/indifferent to death because it hasn’t touched them; or they have put up a wall around themselves so that they are not touched by it. I don’t know that the Victorians valued life any more because of these photographs – but I would wager that tragic young death hit most families far more than it does now. And not trying to be obdurate or argumentative – I’m just pondering via writing.

        • erickeys says:

          These are good points. I don’t feel like you are being argumentative. We’re just reasoning through things via dialogue. Sometimes it helps.

        • I love dialogue. So many Points Of Views and ways to think about stuff… I didn’t think you would think I was being argumentative – but some people seem to get incensed if you don’t just agree with everything or if you offer another way to look at it. I think all points are valid – and there is no one way to view anything.

    • Rohan 7 Things says:

      Thank you! Yes, I’m the kind of person who doesn’t believe what I haven’t seen or experienced, but there’s no doubt that there are some weird things going on at times!

      All the best 🙂


  11. Right up my alley, Rohan. 🙂

  12. Rohan 7 Things says:

    Reblogged this on rohan7things and commented:

    Check out my spooktacular guest post over at The Mercenary Researcher!


Divulge your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s