Arts

Haunted Antrim author: It's amazing how many people know a local ghost story

Writer Madeline McCully has become an authority on the spooky happenings throughout the centuries in the north. She tells Joanne Sweeney how people who relate the ghostly stories to her still quake in their boots

Haunted Antrim by Madeline McCully, which was launched earlier this week
Joanne Sweeney

DERRY woman Madeline McCully is emerging as one of the best ghost-story tellers in the north, having just released her third book of supernatural tales of people and places.

Her new book Haunted Antrim joins her first two in the series, Haunted Derry and Haunted Donegal, all published by The History Press. Madeline is also the author of The Folk Tales of Derry.

Haunted Antrim tells historically based stories such as the phantom coach of Dundermot Mound, devil worship at Crebilly, the witch of Glentow and the Grey Lady of the Dark Hedges, along with tales from well-known locations such as Antrim Castle, the ABC Theatre and the Giant's Causeway.

The book was launched on Monday evening at Derry Central Library with the help of celebrated storyteller Liz Weir.

A folklorist and storyteller, who plays an autoharp as part of her performance, Madeline will be busy over the coming Halloween weekend performing at various events in Derry and Buncrana.

There seems to be ready stream of folklore and ghostly tales about places and townlands all over the north as she says that people are only too happy to relate a new story to her.

"Once you write one book, then you meet people who want to tell you another story. It's amazing how many people know a local ghost story," says the retired art teacher.

"I use the recorder on my phone to record the people, and then type it up and send it back to the person who told it to me to check it, and see if there is anything they want me to add or take away. I then always try to verify it with research, so I go to libraries where they have terrific books in their archives.

"I always like to check the who, what, where, when, why and how of any stories. But I think with ghost stories you are always going to have a bit of myth and legend about them and that's why people just love them."

:: Haunted Antrim by Madeline McCully (The History Press) is available in paperback from Amazon priced at £12.99

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