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Observations placeholder

Lethbridge, T C - Ghost and Ghoul - The violent ghost of the Skelligs



Type of Spiritual Experience


Lethbridge is on the Skelligs and attempting to climb down a cliff to look at an interesting potential site

A description of the experience

T C Lethbridge – Ghost and Ghoul

I did not find it difficult and was not bothered by the height above the sea, nor by the idea of falling into it. But when I was about half-way down and preparing to traverse into the sunlight, I had a remarkable sensation. Somebody, I felt, was wanting to push me off the cliff.

'Nonsense,' I thought, and went on with the business. But ten to fifteen feet further on, the feeling got so strong that I stopped to think about it. 'This is absurd,' I thought. 'It is a lovely day. I am not giddy, or liverish, or anything. There is nothing to prevent my completing the climb.' All the time I was thinking, the unpleasant sensation was increasing. In the end cowardice won.

I was faced with something I did not understand and could not shake off. I climbed carefully back with the same feeling clinging to me all the time. On the way I picked a metal disc out of a cranny but it proved to be a modern label off a bale of wool.

Feeling very ashamed of myself, I sat in the sun on top of the cliff and thought the matter over.

The only possible explanation I could think of at the time was that the place itself had the wish and the power to discourage a heretic from finding out its secrets. I did not really believe this, for supposing such a power could exist, I did not feel that it would regard me in that light. Heretic, in the strict Roman Catholic sense, I might be, but I have always had considerable sympathy with the old Celtic Church, which had founded the monastery on the island. The Celtic Church seemed to me to have had the right ideas.

With no real solution in my head, I walked down the short distance to Christ's Saddle, and stood looking out over the sea to the north-west. The grass was nibbled short by animals and the ground was nearly flat. Something made me think of turning round and I was about to do so, when without a sound and with no apparent feeling, I was suddenly flung flat on my face on the grass. There was no gust of wind, no person, no animal, nothing. I was not in the least hurt, but it was an unpleasant surprise.

Thinking it was time to leave an unhealthy locality, I walked to the top of the stone steps and saw, about twenty-five feet below me, W.S.B. climbing up. 'Oh, there you are,' he shouted.

'I have just been having a bet with the lighthouse keepers that you at any rate would not mind spending a night on the island.'

[He refused the offer!]

At dinner, I told W.S.B. something of what had happened, which he naturally received with a grin of disbelief. I did not blame him. I had done the same about his coat at the Shiants.  He then said that we must go down to see old so-and-so, whose name I had forgotten, who had been up at Cambridge at the same time that we were and now was running the Transatlantic Telegraph to America.

When he had greeted us, he said, 'You were out on the Skelligs -today, weren't you?-everyone in the west always knows what other people are doing-see anything of the ghost?’

W.S.B. did not give me away. 'What ghost?' we both- asked.

The story he told was briefly this: During the previous winter, a ship had been lost off the Skelligs. When it was all over, the lighthouse keepers had gone in to their meal and sat down at the table, then the door opened and several pairs of seaboots were heard to tramp through it and vanish into the sleeping quarters. Since that time, till we went out that day, doors had been continually flung open. There were frightful screams and cries resounding through the building and other happenings which were not described. Two lighthouse keepers had gone off their heads and had been removed.

The source of the experience

Lethbridge, Thomas Charles

Concepts, symbols and science items




Science Items

Activities and commonsteps