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Last Updated: Friday, 8 October, 2004, 12:14 GMT 13:14 UK
Jackson 'bid to buy ghost'
This ghost in a bottle is for sale on eBay
Singer Michael Jackson is reported to be bidding on a "genuine Irish ghost trapped in a bottle".

The bottle, owned by retired mill worker John McMenamin from Spamount, County Tyrone, is for sale on eBay.

Since then, it has been reported in a national newspaper that an agent representing Michael Jackson is involved in the bidding.

Mr McMenamin discovered it partially cemented into a bricked-up window 25 years ago.

It is at least 100 years old and was said to be placed there by a priest following a failed exorcism.

He believes it contains the ghost of a rogue landlord who took his own life several years ago.

John McMenamin's sister, Marie Maguire, told BBC Northern Ireland's Nolan Show that her brother wanted to pass on the responsibility of owning a ghost to someone else.

Haunted home

"The bottle has black dust in it and is sealed with a page from the Bible," she said.

The McMenamins moved into the reputedly haunted mill house in Spamount in the 1950s.

"The big house we moved into was divided into three homes and we all knew it was haunted," she explained.

"The previous people wanted out and did a swap with us because of the ghost. My mother believed in getting the house blessed and the power of holy water."

Mrs Maguire said that the ghost was supposed to be that of the house's original owner who got a young girl pregnant in the 19th century. She hanged herself and local people made his life a misery. So he took his own life.

Legend has it that the hauntings started shortly after that.

She said a priest tried to exorcise the ghost, trapped it in a bottle and sealed it up in a window.

Their house was definitely haunted, she said.

"I remember, as a child, waking up, screaming that somebody was looking at me in bed.

"My brother had several experiences, as if something was coming up the bed, like a cat's paws."

When her brother told her recently that he had the bottle, she decided to put it up for sale on eBay.

"I described it as a genuine Irish ghost in a bottle. We wanted to get somebody who would treat it with respect," she said.

Mrs Maguire told BBC News Online on Friday that she could not confirm that Michael Jackson was bidding on the "ghost".

She has not been able to access the eBay on her computer - a clear case of a ghost in the machine.


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