Some people, for whatever perverse reason, like being scared.
If you’re one of those people then you should check out this collection of Belfast ghost stories and if you’re even braver you should visit the locations where they occurred…
1. FRIAR’S BUSH
Just beside the Ulster Museum on Stranmillis Road, you’ll find a tiny gateway that leads to Friar’s Bush graveyard. It’s been used as a burial site since the 5th century and as a mass grave for cholera victims in the 19th century.
While the graveyard itself has been subject to the usually ghostly goings-on that you get in graveyards, the most spine-chilling ghost story happened across the road from Friar’s Bush. Two locations within Queen’s University – the David Kerr building and the Ashby building – are linked by an underground maintenance tunnel. In the late 1990s, a worker in the tunnel said he felt someone touch his hand. When he turned around there was no one there. Not surprisingly university staff refuse to go into the tunnel alone. But then by the sounds of it you’re never really alone in this particular tunnel.
2. THE GIANT’S RING
This ancient pagan site across Ireland is connected to a number of strange goings on. And then you’ve got the ghost stories as well.
In one incident in the early 1990s a family encountered a thick fog that appeared from nowhere. Every time they tried to escape the impenetrable mist to head to their car they kept arriving at the centre of the ring at a large upright stone. They eventually got out and made it to their car and to this very day they never go anywhere without the fog lights on.
3. THE BELVOIR PARK HOSPITAL
Belvoir Park Hospital began life as the Purdysburn Fever Hospital in the early 1900s. As Belvoir Park, it closed its doors in 2006 when radiotherapy services transferred to the City Hospital. Rather than demolish the building, it was kept intact as an isolation centre manned by a private security team. Security guards there shared stories of shadowy figures running amok in the site, reports of strange shrines being found at the stream that ran near the hospital grounds and even the discovery of mutilated animal corpses.
4. SMITHFIELD MARKET
The Smithfield Market area behind Castle Court Shopping Centre is reportedly haunted by the ghost of a woman who drank herself to death. Biddy was in love with a stall holder in the market, but after he moved on to bigger and better things in Dublin, she turned to drink to forget her woes. When her lover died, he left Biddy some money which she tragically used to drink herself to death, believing she would be reunited with her true love in Heaven. It didn’t go according to plan and her ghost still walks around the market, searching for her true love.
5. CRUMLIN ROAD GAOL
Crumlin Road Gaol is universally accepted as the most famous of Belfast’s haunted locations. Up until 1996 it was an active prison. There have been regular sightings, noises and unexplained happenings within the walls that have seen 17 men executed over its 150 year history. And is usually the case with tortured souls, they never really go away.
Cavehill was the centre of some grisly paranormal activity in the early 1900s. During the night a wailing sound could be heard from the woods at Cavehill. Some people tried to track the wail and every time they neared the source the sound would stop. A few years later a couple out for a walk spotted what appeared to be a floating man within the trees. Then in 1922 another couple out for a walk discovered a human skull. The RUC investigated and found a human skeleton right in the area where the ghostly sightings were reported. The skeleton was identified as John Scott who had disappeared several years previously. He was determined to have committed suicide on Cavehill. The remains were then given a full burial and the ghost sightings and wailings ceased.