Tis the season to be... no, wait- that's next month! Can you BELIEVE that the shops have had their Christmas decorations out for the last two or three weeks? Don't get me wrong, I'm all on for milking it when it comes to Seasons (If you dont believe me, ask my husband. I have him driven domented with going up and down to the attic to get me the NEXT season box. Luckily for him, Fall and Halloween kind of pack in the one box so he only had to do the one trip this month!) couldn't they wait until one occasion ends before pushing the next? I mean, there is only so long a selection box can last (im my case, about 1.5hrs. Nom nom nom)
Anyway... As you know, I live in a little port/town called Kinsale in the South of Ireland. It is seeped in history and heritage and with them comes many many legends and spooky tales. For this Halloween, I have combined a little writing with photos and some local spooky history for you. I hope you enjoy and arent too freaked out. LOL. Without further ado, I give you:
Charles Fort stands high over the regularly rough waters of Kinsale harbour. Dark, dreary and unusually gray, the eerie history still seeps out of every gap and crack. With each wave that crashes around its foundations, a tiny glimpse of something very out of place and strange appears, only to be submerged again with the swell. Everyone knows the history here. Everyone. And this is why nobody goes to the south eastern wall. Ever.
“Tack”... “Tack!” Laura roared to the trainee at the helm of the Topper, a little sailboat regularly used for beginners.
The trainee pushed the tiller to the boom and the little sailboat gracefully began to turn into the wind. Its sail flapped gently until the boat changed direction and was set on its new course, towards the little fleet of Toppers in the distance being led by an orange rescue boat. The happy flock of triangular sails bobbed around on the light swell and the joyous laughter of the trainees was carried on the sea breeze towards the shore on the other side of the harbour.
‘Such a fabulous day’ Laura thought to herself as she scanned the group, counting boats. It was the last day of the week long sailing course that Laura had been teaching and they had just had their lunch on the small beach in the shelter of the fort. The last day of each weeklong course consisted of a daytrip so that each trainee could practice, prove and show off their skills learned before earning their certificate.
She recounted and found herself a boat short again so she turned her powerboat around and drove back towards Charles Fort.
As she approached the foundations built into the rocks, she spotted her missing boat. The trainee was holding the boat in waist depth water trying to untangle seaweed that was caught around the rudder.
Tilting the engine to shallow drive, she carefully manoeuvred the rescue boat through the seaweed to the boat and tied a line around its mast.
“Get back onboard and ill tow you out to the fleet. You can lose the seaweed on the way” she said smiling.
Her trainee did as he was told and prepared the boat to be towed.
Before taking off, Laura glanced down into the water to make sure her own engine was free of seaweed when something caught her eye. She froze.
There, about three foot under the murky water was a hand reaching up towards the surface. She tried to focus more but could only just make out the shape of the pale blue hand, swaying gently with the seaweed in the current underwater.
Not wanting to panic her trainee or herself any further, she took note of where she was and quickly sped, her little topper in tow, to the other rescue boat in the Harbour.
As the last of the fleet was reunited, Laura quietly told her colleague, Amanda, in the other rescue boat about the hand.
“AGH! And you are going to go back... Are you KIDDING?” Amanda shouted.
“Sssshhh” Laura hushed. “I don’t want to freak any of them out” she gestured towards the group of trainees.
“But I can’t, NOT, go back. I mean, if it’s a body...” she trailed off.
“But, but... “Amanda stammered, “I heard that some people jumped off that wall, to... you know... like, I mean purposely jump off”
The hairs on the back of Laura’s neck slowly stood to attention like a tiny army of shivering needles.
“I have to. We can’t go calling the coastguard without making sure that I actually did see...” she hesitated, “something. I have to be sure.”
She turned her powerboat around, back towards Charles fort, her mind racing with the adrenaline and old tales of the Fort.
Legend has it that Wilful, the daughter of an 18th century governor of Charles fort, married an officer at the fort. On her wedding night they were strolling on the ramparts when she saw a beautiful flower growing out of a divide in the brick on the South East wall. Her new husband had had a few drinks (it was his wedding day) so asked the night-watchman to retrieve the flower from the dangerous edge. He agreed so they swopped uniforms and he sat in the night watchman’s box and waited for him to return with the flower. Exhausted after his long wedding, he fell asleep while waiting. The governor spotted the sleeping night-watchman and shot him dead. Wilful, still in her wedding dress, heard the shot and ran to them to find her father standing over her dead husband with a gun in his hand. She threw herself off the high wall to the sharp rocks and ocean below.
Stories, to this day, tell of sightings of Wilful’s ghost, the White Lady, wandering around the grounds and throwing herself off the south east wall of the fort.
As Laura approached the area, she found herself terrified to look down into the murky waters. What if it is as she assumes, to be a body under water? The only way a hand could be in the water like that was if a body was weighed down and facing upwards. She hadn’t thought of what she would actually do when she found the hand again.
After some time, she built up the courage and looked down and searched. She searched and searched but to her relief, and a little frustration, couldn’t find anything.
‘Did I really see it?’ she thought aloud to herself as she glanced out the mouth of the harbour towards the Old Head Lighthouse flashing in the distance. It was only then that she noticed it was dusk and the sun was well on its way to setting.
Shivering, she turned the boat around intending to head back to the yacht club, when she heard a blood curdling scream. At the corner of her eye she spotted the silhouette of a woman in a flowing white dress falling from the Fort wall. She cocked her head quickly and just caught the sound of a splash through the breaking waves. Revving the engine, she quickly drove to the spot where she saw the woman hitting the water but there was nothing there. Nothing... except...
‘Wait’ she thought to herself as she froze, ‘that can’t be right’. There, barely visible under the surface of the water was the deathly pale hand.
Not letting the hand out of her sight, she reached for a paddle in the boat and stretched it out into the water, nudging the hand a small bit towards her. To her absolute horror, the hand appeared to separate from whatever it was attached to and drifted eerily towards the surface. Looking away, Laura screamed and reached for the VHF to call the coastguard. In her panic, she clumsily dropped it into the water beside the hand.
She took a deep breath, and tried to prise one of her clamped shut eyes open to see the VHF when something else caught her eye.
The eruption of laughter could be heard on the highest hill of Kinsale as Laura lifted the blue Marigold rubber glove from the water.
Still giggling to herself, she retrieved the VHF that was floating in its dry bag beside her boat, and started to make her way back to the Yacht club.
‘Silly girl’ she thought to herself, letting her mind play tricks on her. ‘Silly silly silly. But, hang on. What about the... ‘
She turned back to the fort and clearly saw the most beautiful woman dressed in white looking sadly down into the water from the wall. The woman looked up, locked eyes with Laura and threw herself from the edge. Laura’s screams were still echoing around the coastline as the outline of the woman grew thinner and thinner until her ghostly body was whipped away with the wind and spray of the ocean.
So there you go. I hope you enjoyed it and got suitably spooked for Halloween! Have any of you ever encountered a ghost or really spooky scenario? I do love Halloween.
Toodles for now. X