Meet the ghostbusters
Owning a home can be terrifying for all sorts of reasons, but what if your scares before bedtime aren’t financial but spectral? When things go bump in the night who do you call? Meet the real-life ghostbusters who check out paranormal activity, writes ALANNA GALLAGHER
FIFTY-YEAR-old Patrick McGuire is a banker who grew up in a haunted house in Dublin. As a child he complained to his mother about being kept awake by a presence.
“She saw him quite a few times ... a person walking across the hallway,” he explains. “One day we had a house guest who said she was psychic and asked for permission to walk through the house. She said the property had a spirit and that it was protecting the family. She pointed to a formal room that we never used where she indicated that a duel had taken place. During the fight a man had been killed.”
There was never any malice, McGuire says, it was just a fact of life in the home he grew up in.
The malevolence we expect from haunted houses is apparently the stuff of Hollywood fiction, yet one exorcist, who doesn’t want to be named – a practising Catholic priest – has noted “a huge increase in people needing deliverance. Their lives are absolutely miserable. They don’t want these spirits.” One family he worked with had to flee a new home because there were so many reported happenings.
Demand far exceeds his ability to supply spooked homeowners with counsel, he says, adding that the service is free, but church donations can be accepted.
Deliverance ministry is what exorcism is now called, explains the Ven David Pierpoint, Archdeacon of Dublin. He is very matter of fact about the subject and even admits to having had it done in his own family home in Phibsborough 10 years ago after a presence in the property became “more annoying than dangerous”.
His daughters referred to it as Casper the Friendly Ghost. “The TV would switch itself on and off, even if it wasn’t plugged in, and lights would flick on and off even if there was no-one in the house.”
Reporter Mick Peelo covered this on RTÉ’s Would You Believe series.
“He noted a whispering voice that was audible on the recording but hadn’t been there while the film crew was in the house,” Pierpoint explains. This was before he had the house exorcised. “There’s been nothing since,” he says.
Co Down based Darren Ansell is the founder of the Paranormal Study and Investigation Ireland group. During the course of his public investigations for television and radio shows he has experienced what is called electronic voice phenomena, where voices are audible on recordings only. He says he and a colleague saw a vision or apparition while recording a show for BBC Radio Ulster in Richhill Castle, Co Armagh.