Northern Frights at Halloween – The Cooneen Poltergeist

The house of The Cooneen Poltergeist. Picture by kind permission of Bobbie Hanvery photographic archives, John J Burns Library, Boston College
Cathal McGuigan

Happy Halloween!

In the run up to the scariest day of the year, we’ll be taking you through the scariest and strangest mysteries the north has to offer.

We’ll take a look at stories from each county including (hopefully) a place right beside YOUR house that you have always considered safe.

Just to make your night time walk or that creaking noise you hear in bed that little more unnerving.

Just to make you shiver a little.

Last chance to close this window and read something a little less unnerving like the benefits of the Mediterrean diet or how to cope with trick or treating.


Ok then…

The Cooneen Poltergeist

In 1913, Widow Murphy lived in a cottage with her six children, in Cooneen, Co Fermanagh, near the Tyrone border.

One night, the family heard strange noises coming from the loft. They went outside to look at the roof but could see nothing.

Soon, knocking and scraping sounds became familiar to the family, sometimes to the tune of ‘The Soldier’s Song.’

Eventually the spirit become more energetic and would throw pots and pan around the room and close drawers on the children’s fingers.

A priest, Father Coyle from Maguiresbridge, was called to investigate and had a chilling experience in one of the bedrooms.

Father Coyle described seeing clothes rising and falling on an empty bed as if someone was underneath breathing.

The figure made a dreadful sound, as if breathing its last, then the bed covers flattened out as if nothing had happened.

The family moved to America and, according to who you believe, either left the ghost behind them or it followed them from house to house for years before presumably ‘moving on.’

BBC show Northern Ireland’s Greatest Haunts visited the house in November 2010.

The crew reported strange problems with their equipment. Cameras and microphones would suddenly be drained of all their battery life and one man reported the sensation of someone blowing on his cheek.

Medium Marion Goodfellow was very disturbed by what she described as the spirit of a man called John. She said he appeared to be looking at her menacingly, holding a rock in his hand...

Send us your scary stories and tales of the unexplained from Co Fermanagh and across the north.

You can reach us on Twitter @irish_news or by using the #northernfrights hashtag.

You can also send us your stories on Facebook or via email to

Tomorrow – Is there a gateway to hell in Co Antrim?


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