Page last updated at 13:12 GMT, Monday, 5 January 2009

Traffic jam after 'ghost sighting'

By Johnny Caldwell
BBC News

Logo from the film Ghostbusters
The apparent sighting was made outside Coalisland, County Tyrone

This time of year is traditionally associated with high spirits as revellers welcome in another year.

However, a spirit of a different kind has been causing a bit of a commotion outside Coalisland in County Tyrone.

Supposed sightings of a ghost have led to crowds of people descending on the Brackaville area over the holidays.

"It looks an old woman with a white dress and a long white cape down her back," said 17-year-old Ryan Bell who claims to have seen the ghost at least six times.

"Along Flush Hill there are three telegraph polls and she appears to come out of the hedge at the second poll, run across the road and stop at the same spot every time.

Ryan's father Raymond runs a pub a short distance from where the ghost has supposedly been seen by him and others.

"I wasn't scared when I saw her, I just got the creeps," said the teenager who didn't believe in ghosts before his experience.

"She would have been in hers 80s or 90s, she also looked very sad and as if she was lost."

Area where ghost was supposedly sighted
There was a queue of up to 60 cars looking for the ghost

Sinn Féin Councillor Desmond Donnelly said would-be ghostbusters had been flocking to the area.

"At one point, there was a line of up to 60 cars on the Mullaghmoyle Road with people trying to spot it," said Sinn Féin Councillor Desmond Donnelly.

"It wasn't just one night, it was going on for a week or so over the holidays. I wouldn't be one for ghosts, but you know how this type of thing spreads.

"If you ask me, it's more likely to be a reflection of the moon on the river that flows through the area. Although the talk is that what was seen was in the shape of a person."

Pat Hughes, speaking at the Central Bar in Coalisland, said the sighting had got people in the town talking.

"Everybody's been talking about it in the bar and it has also caught the imagination of young people," he said.

"It has got to the stage where it's a bit like a drive-in movie."

'Paranormal'

As with these sorts of things, rumours about what was or was not seen quickly spread. It was claimed the apparition was a woman who had lived locally.

Warren Coates of the Northern Ireland Paranormal Research Association (NIPRA) said he was aware of "previous paranormal activity" in the area.

"It related to a phantom female hitchhiker, but if anybody down there would like us to investigate this latest sighting, we'd only be too happy to help," he said.



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