|No apparitions are apparent in this recent view of Paddy's Palace.|
|Stephen toasts to the success of paranormal consultants.|
Every month we feature funny, offbeat or inspiring anecdotes. If you have a true travel tale to tell, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have a photo that illustrates it, please attach it. Don't forget to tell us which city and state you live in. We'd love to hear from you!
This month's tale is more of a ghost story, appearing recently in Northern Ireland's Derry Journal. The hapless victim is Rick Steves' Ireland tour guide, Stephen McPhilemy, who you can meet (hopefully unhaunted) at January's Test Drive a Tour Guide event in Edmonds.
Hostel Spooked by Victorian Spirits
Owner in talks with paranormal investigators
A hostel owner in Derry says his customers are being terrified by ghostly sightings of a Victorian spirit — and one staff member has walked out because of the freakish fiend.
Now to appease his guests, owner Steve McPhilemy has arranged for a special "blessing" of the building.
Steve said: "In the hostel industry we prefer our staff to be live-in and this is a very un-ideal situation. Finding staff is hard enough but to lose them because someone from the 19th century is still hanging around simply isn't fair. We have enough business obstacles to overcome!"
Paddy's Palace is located on the admittedly eerie Asylum Road, in a Victorian townhouse which was constructed in 1832 to house the Warden of Londonderry Lunatic Asylum.
"In the six years of operation, 25 per cent of our staff have had supernatural experiences, while the others dismiss the idea and are entirely comfortable in our lovable old building."
One staff member drew an image of the man he awoke to in his bedroom. He had a black uniform and a top-hat, looking suspiciously like Johnny Depp in the Willy Wonka film, which was in cinemas at the time. Other staff members have concurred with this description of the apparition.
"Personally I do not believe in the ghost," said Steve, "I am more frightened by the mortgage and the local council rates bills. I have to pay for this hostel which is my life's labour of love since I set it up in 2003."
Steve has resigned himself to organising a "blessing service" to take place after Halloween — just in case.
"Some of our Italian staff have asked a local priest to come in and bless the building. I have suggested to them, however, that the presence of Rosary beads and Holy Water might exacerbate the problem, giving that the Warden of Londonderry Asylum in the 1800s may well not have been of the Roman Catholic persuasion."
He said: "The service will doubtless bring a positive energy to the hostel and continue to protect the thousands of young travellers who enjoy a welcome under its roof each year. We are discussing with paranormal investigators the possibility of staying overnight in the hostel to do some filming and recording before Christmas."
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