Celtic Illumination, part 46, raw eggs, the graveyard and the devils hoof print
Being in Ireland, Warrenpoint was littered with ghosts, ghoulies and demonic bits and pieces. I can see now that the secret cabal that organised my preparation as a Master Candle Maker gave me the best training in hand to hand combat on the streets of Belfast. At Violent Hell they had added psychological torture to the menu, for they knew the type of world I would be facing. Now, in Warrenpoint, I would be faced with the occult.
Our little house sat on Pinewood Hill, this was originally known as The Bridal Lonan, and today people will still refer to the area as the Bridal. The lane continued on past our house all the way up to the town’s graveyard, well; one of the town graveyards. Half way along this rough, overgrown, track was a large stone. There was a mark on the stone which looked like any ordinary mark until it was explained that this was the devils hoof print. Now you could clearly see it and fear it.
One evening I was about to walk up the Bridal when I noticed a car parked in among the bushes at the bottom of the lane. As I drew closer I saw it was my friends Phelim Fegan and Peter Rogan. They were accompanied by two young females and were making the most of the fact that there were no street lights. We, as they say in Ireland, had a bit of craic. We joked about and I don’t know whether it was for my benefit or if they were teasing the girls they were with but Phelim and Peter began explaining that the Bridal was a very famous lane throughout all of Ireland.
If a relative died, then on the evening of their death, you should walk along the Bridal and you would meet your dead relative. The girls were shrieking and squealing and Peter and Phelim embellished their story. I however had been brought up in Ireland; I knew films, like Darby O Gill and the Little People were true. I peered into the darkness wondering if they would like to give me a lift up the Bridal. They shot off and I was left alone, all by myself at the bottom of the Bridal.
As you would be walking up the Bridal the area to your left was an open field used for football, or fairs, or even for when the circus would occasionally visit. To the right was a large empty mansion house sitting in heavily wooded grounds and surrounded with a high wall that had collapsed in places. Quite often I would be walking along and I would see bushes move or I would see human shapes. More than often these would be British soldiers who would be guarding the area as beyond the grassed area was the police station or as we called it the barracks.
I would often hear voices but they would be telling me to stand still or get down on the ground and then half a dozen soldiers would appear and search me, ask me for my name and where I had been and where was I going.
Thankfully this evening I hadn’t met any soldiers. Being next to the sea we occasionally would have great banks of mist roll about the countryside and that evening was no different.
The further I moved along the Bridal, the more I could hear my heart beat in my throat, and then I heard something else. I could hear footsteps and expected to meet some soldiers come towards me but no. It was my Uncle Pat. I could tell it was him from quite a distance. He was a very tall chap well over six foot, baldy and a lovely, lovely, man. About eight or ten feet apart and he smiled at me and simply walked on past. I thought it was strange to see him but and wondered where he could be off to. I realised that if Uncle Pat was here then there was a chance my favourite aunt or one of my cousins would be here too so I quickened my step.
As I got into the house I couldn’t see any visitors in the front room. But what I could see was my father holding my mother and she was crying her eyes out. As they explained to me that my Uncle Pat had died I hadn’t the heart to tell them that I had just met him. Poor fellow had a massive heart attack, but then he did drink six raw eggs every morning for breakfast.