03 October 2011

Haunted Halloween 2011: Guest Post - Carol Oates

I’m so pleased to be stopping by today for the Haunted Halloween Event. Seen as it’s the season for all things spooky, I thought I would share some tales of the creepy and macabre from my home town of Dublin in Ireland.

The earliest reference to a settlement around the area now known as Dublin was 140AD, so there is a lot of history here. Although it’s quite a cosmopolitan city, there is a definite gothic feel to many areas. You can hardly turn a corner in the city center without seeing clusters of stone columns, elaborate arch work and flying buttresses on many of the buildings, not to mention the stunning vaulted ceilings and leaded glass in the cathedrals and colleges.

Let’s start with spooky. I’m going to be nice today and break you in easy with one of the more pleasant and probably one of the more famous ghosts of Dublin. This is the Shelbourne Hotel as it was turn of the century, around the time a civil servant and critic for a Dublin newspaper was said to have met an actor for dinner. It is said that actor was later an inspiration for the mannerisms of the lead character in the budding writer’s most famous work, Dracula.

The Irish Constitution was drafted in room 112 and the hotel has provided a rest stop to many famous guests including Grace kelly. An even more famous resident goes by the name of Mary Masters. She resides in one of the rooms on the fifth floor and had a tendency to wake the guests with sudden cold breezes and the sound of crying. In 1965 Sybil Lee, a well-known medium stayed in the room. Shortly after 2am Sybil heard the sound of a child crying. The child then told Ms Lee she was frightened and proceeded to get into bed for a cuddle. The next night the ghost returned and told Ms Lee she was Mary Masters. On the third night, a séance was held in the room. Mary claimed to be searching for her sister, Sophie and was noted as sounding ill. It was later established a child of seven, with a sister Sophie died in 1846 in one of the houses that later became part of the hotel. 

Moving on to St Patrick’s Cathedral, founded in 1191. Among the many things that makes St Patrick’s noteworthy is it’s forty-three meter spire and that Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels, was once Dean. He is buried underneath and is said to still put in an appearance around the city from time to time. However, our next story involves the cemetery of St Patrick’s.

Have you heard the saying ‘saved by the bell’? Do you know where it comes from? Well, there was a time when people were terrified of being buried alive and rightly so. A bell was tied around the finger of the dearly departed and attached to a bell above ground. The cemetery worker spent the night listening for the sound of the bell ringing in case the dearly weren’t so departed. That’s also where we get ‘graveyard shift’. 

As you can imagine St Patrick’s cemetery was an exclusive part of town for a final resting place. Sadly it became the resting place of one young bride who wasn’t so departed. One wealthy resident of Dublin only wanted the best for his beloved bride when she suddenly died on their wedding night. She was buried in the cemetery wearing her wedding dress and the specially made wedding ring. Spying the ring the graveyard worker decided the bride had no use for it and dug her up. Imagine his surprise when the hysterical woman leapt from her grave. Confused and terrified, she made her way home where her devastated husband refused to believe she was the same woman he buried, he believed her some sort of specter or dark creature taking on the likeness of the woman he loved and turned her away. He never did accept her back and years later when she died for real, she was buried in the same plot, in the same dress, wearing the same ring.

Finally we go on to a gruesome period of Dublin history. The Royal College of Physicians is where Dr Samuel Clossey delighted in shocking his students by dissecting and preforming sickening experiments on corpses, even the public were invited to view but it couldn’t have been pleasant for someone to spend their hard to come by money to attend a human dissection only to discover their loved one on the slab. As a result it became commonplace to strip the face from the deceased beforehand.

Unfortunately, when the Anatomy Act(meaning only convicts could be used) was passed in 1832 it restricted the availability of bodies and saw a boom in business for Resurrectionists, also known as Grave Robbers or Body Snatchers. No one was safe from them or the hooks they used to pierce under the chin and pull the corpse from the grave. They became so industrious that they exported bodies in casks marked cheese. The situation became so bad that families began placing heavy stone slabs over graves or cages, erecting watchtowers with armed guards. Some of these cages can still be seen around Dublin and the watchtowers at Glasnevin cemetery stand as a reminder of a less than savory past. Is it any surprise the dead walk in Dublin?

Incidentally, Dr. Clossey never left the School of Anatomy, not really. He can still be found wandering the halls at night.

Ember (Ember, #1) is currently available from Omnific.

Synopsis: When Candra Ember wakes up in hospital after a dangerous encounter with a red-haired woman, she is shocked to discover that seeing a winged boy wasn’t her imagination. Candra is exposed to a world of rivalry and sacrifice she never knew existed, and the aftermath of a war to save humanity thousands of years ago. Soon she finds herself relentlessly stalked by Sebastian, a beautiful and arrogant Watcher Angel and romantically pursued by his darkly seductive rival, Draven. Ultimately, dubious about her own goodness, Candra’s very existence compromises a tentative peace in the city of Acheron.

Order Ember Online:

Find Carol Online:

Twitter: @caroloates
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Carol-Oates/165822436796666?ref=ts

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Carol, thanks so much for the guest post allowing us to walk 
through some of the amazing haunted history of Dublin!

*I am not compensated at all for any of the links within this page.

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  1. Ooh Ireland looks beautiful! Know of a few scary stories and places there meant to chill the bones!! Big Haunted History fan!


  2. Dublin has some really cool haunted places. Maybe one day I'll be able to visit and investigate these stories for myself.


  3. Spoooooooooky 0.0

    very, very.

    Can't wait to read that book!!

    lilyflower999 (at) gmail (dot) com

  4. Wow, I love this post. And that cathedral is gorgeous!

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  5. I'm fascinated by the ghost stories of historical places. I've never been in Ireland, but I hope to visit it someday. Perhaps I'll check out these places if I do.


  6. Very creepy! Thanks for being nice to us at the beginning, Carol. ;)

  7. I went to Dublin this summer! This puts a totally new spin on some of the places I visited. I can see them as spooky now for sure. There is a ton of history there.

    chelle2006 @ aol.com

  8. Thanks for the Ghost stories! That was interesting to find out where the saying "saved by the bell" & "graveyard shift" came from.

    I'm also adding her book to my TBR list! And I love the cover :-)


  9. wow so thats why they'd strip the faces off the corpses before autopsies...you know they still do that right? Or at least the few autopsies I participated in we pulled the face down/off and the tongue out...

    tlabunski **((gmail))**

  10. I've always wanted to go to Ireland. I didn't know that Dublin had such a creepy history though! Neat :)


  11. Wow! What a great post! I'm always wanted to visit Ireland and now this is just one more reason! I had heard about the Bells and gravewatchers. But this post was very imformative!



  12. WOW! Interesting!


  13. Great post. Very interesting. What a great town for a ghost tour.

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  14. I LOVE Ireland. And I LOVE ghost stories. Thanks for sharing this!! This is really putting me in the mood for Halloween! And now I want to visit those places!


  15. I love this post. Thanks for sharing.


  16. What a fascinating post!!

    AmethystDaydreams at zoho dot com

  17. I love this! The ghost story was so cool. I also like the cover of Ember.
    Email: osnapitzAngiex3(AT)aol(DOT) com

  18. I love The ghost story thanks for the post! That is very creepy!
    tishajean@ charter.net

  19. I have always wanted to visit Ireland! The first book series I ever read was Sweep by Cate Tiernan and since then it's been on my bucket list to go there. Only problem is I'm kind of afraid of flying lol but one day I'll suck it up and head over there!

    Ty for the entry!


  20. Another amazing story! Thanks for sharing!

    Ashley Suzanne
    ashleysbookshelf at gmail dot com

  21. The last of my UK want to go to. Great post...it makes me want to call the travel agent. Thanks for the post.

  22. Wow! I didn't realize that had ever happened before. Spooky, creepy, and weird! tinas_family3(at)yahoo(dot)com

  23. I've always wanted to go to Ireland! There is something so...haunting about it. :)


  24. SPOOKY!!! Now I really want to visit this place!

    twilightforever.edward at gmail dot com

  25. Mary DeBorde
    zenrei57 (at) hotmail dot com

    I come from a long line of Irish, and I've so longed to be able to visit Ireland. Funny thing, I'm the eleventh child in my family and in Ireland that is considered the *lucky/fae/psychic* sibling.

    Okay, so maybe THAT'S why I like reading all this paranormal stuff hehe

  26. Thanks for an interesting and informative post. Loved a little walk through Europe:)

    bchild5 at aol dot com

  27. I loved my trip to Ireland and the portion of time I spent in Dublin. I didn't see near enough though. Thank you for sharing!

    tommygirl828 (at) gmail (dot) com


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