I was born and spent many years of my youth in the small Irish town of Dromore
, County Down.
On the outskirts of the town lay the Gillhall Estate, built between 1670 and 1680 by John Magill; it consisted of a fine, impressive house and various farm buildings. My mother’s family were Magill, however I never knew of any traceable family connection. When I was living in Dromore, Gillhall was renowned for being one of the most notorious haunted houses in Ireland and nobody ever visited it at night. The story goes that as children Lady Nichola Beresford and Lord Tyrone vowed that whoever died first would come back in the form of a ghost to prove to the other that there was an afterlife.
Well, one stormy night in 1693 whilst Lady Beresford was residing at Gillhall, she was visited by the ghost of Lord Tyrone who informed her that indeed there was life after death. Lady Beresford needed convincing that he was a genuine apparition and not just her having a bad dream so he made one startling prediction and also left two tangible signs to confirm that his ‘visitation’ had indeed really happened. First of all, he informed Lady Beresford that she would die on her 47th birthday. Then he touched her wrist which made the flesh burn and shrink but caused her no pain – Lady Beresford thereafter always wore a black ribbon around her wrist and this could be seen in a later portrait of her at Howth Castle
, County Dublin. Lord Tyrone also placed his hand on a chest of drawers and the imprint of his fingers was burnt into the wood. This piece of furniture showing the charred imprint of four of his figures remained at Gillhall for some considerable period of time.
His grim prediction which was to come to pass on her 47th birthday in 1712, she believed passed without incident. So relieved was Lady Beresford that the following year she held a special birthday party only to be reminded by her old clergyman that it was actually her 47th birthday that year. ‘You were born in 1666’ he explained – ‘Then you have surely signed my death warrant’ she screamed in reply and rushed to her room where she let out a cry and died.
When the 5th Earl of Clanwilliam brought his bride to Gillhall in 1909, she was visited by both ghosts of Gillhall and fled, leaving the Gillhall standing empty until it burned to the ground in mysterious circumstances - the very year I left Dromore. You can read the full story here
So why a 'sonic' ghost? Well, it's just the way I see things really - my business involves understanding sonic waves, as in sonic horn cleaning
, so I associate the idea of something being made to move without any visual explanation - ie. a sonic horn generates audiosonic acoustic sound waves that make particles move without the need for physical intervention (baghouse cleaning
is a great example of this).
Labels: baghouse cleaning, cleaning, dromore, ghosts, horn, howth castle, sonic