Ghosts? - What the workers in the converted Irish linen mill have seen and heard
The Printing company occupying the Irish linen mill was involved in some re-construction work. At the time, several employees worked on Saturdays, packing files, film and books out of the way to make room for the builders. These weekend workers had been on all floors of the linen mill and they all have had their own encounters with Helena's spirit.
Three women have heard a voice yelling in distress. Another member of staff has heard a voice humming. The warehouse staff were locked on the fourth floor and only managed to get out of the building by using an dangerous sooky unlit stairway. However, for some of the staff, the most unusual event in the linen mill has been the extreme fluctuations in temperature. In February, the purchase ledger clerk, Ali and an editor, Eleanor were busy sorting artwork in the studio - previously the finished Irish linen warehouse. They packed illustrations into boxes and moved full boxes into the linen storeroom. It was warm, effortless, manual work . They had music playing which kept them entertained. At 11 o'clock they stopped to drink hot chocolate in the kitchen. They returned to work at 11.30. When they went into the studio, they were both suddenly chilled and remarked on the dramatic change in temperature. Ali said: "The room was ice cold, it felt as if a very cold wind was blowing from beyond Ireland through the room but there weren't any windows open. I thought I would need to put my coat and gloves on. I didn't think I would be able to even stay in the studio for any amount of time. We shivered and began working again. For the rest of the day the cold remained, no matter hard we worked we did not feel warm again. It was not even a cold day outside but the room was like ice".
Ali and Eleanor are certain that the icy temperature indicated Helena's presence. They believe that she was with them while they worked.
On another occasion, Ali and Eleanor were working in the storeroom where the web cam is set up. The storeroom is at the back of the linen mill, with a corridor between the storeroom and the studio and offices. The corridor is unlit by sunlight and is always cold. Ali and Eleanor searched through editorial archives, organised relevant files and shredded out of date material. They walked in and out of the storeroom all day, carrying boxes of notes and files. They both were aware of an inexplicable heat in the dark corridor. They had been in the corridor often and remembered it as a cold place. They stopped a few times and breathed in the heat; a cosy, scented warmth, that was familiar to them. At four o'clock the editor identified the heat. The warmth of a gas fire, burning candles, melted wax and sweet incense recalled the inside of an old Irish chapel.
Eleanor said: "It's never warm in the corridor, it's one of the coldest places in the building because there aren't any heaters . On that Saturday we asked ourselves all day where the heat was coming from. We couldn't understand how it could be warm. It wasn't just the warmth, there was a sweet perfume which I recognised. We were just about to go home when I realised where I had felt the same warmth and inhaled the same scent. In the old chapel nearby, there is the same heat from the gas fire and the flickering candles and the lingering incense".
Another time, Eleanor, Ali and Doreen, the credit controller were the only staff in the building. Eleanor and Ali were in the linen warehouse, sorting books. Music played loudly and while they worked, Ali and Eleanor reminisced about memories they associated with the songs. Doreen was in the accounts office, concluding a financial report on sales outside Ireland.
They both heard a woman's voice call out in distress on the stairs. They turned the music down and listened before running in to check on Doreen. She was at her desk and had also heard the anguished ghostly voice. Ali, Doreen and Eleanor went downstairs to the basement and looked around. The back stairs open into the basement. They walked up the back stairs and checked all four storeys but there was no one else in the building. The lift was sitting at the third floor. The lights were still switched off on the third and fourth floors. The desks tidy where work had been completed the day before. They went downstairs again using the front stairs and locked the front door so that no one could come into the building.
An hour later, when they had all settled back into working, Ali and Eleanor heard the lift screeching as it ascended - at the best of timed it sounded spooky. It is a heavy, creaking lift, originally installed in 1912 to move raw flax and finished Irish linen in the mill. Ali and Eleanor went into the corridor and listened to the lift as it moved up the lift shaft. They heard the lift door being pulled across as it opened and closed.
Ali said: "When we heard the lift, we just looked at each other because we'd already checked every floor and we knew that there was no one upstairs. No one could get into the building because we had locked the door. We went to get Doreen to check again. We walked up the front stairs so that if anyone wanted to get out we would see them on the stairs. But we weren't worried because we were very certain that Paul or one of the warehouse boys must be in after all. We went on to the third floor and looked around, we called the names of the warehouse boys but they weren't there. The lift was still at the third floor, it hadn't moved at all. We went on up to the third and fourth floors but we didn't see anyone. We know that someone or something moved that lift".
Eleanor and Ali believe that there was a third encounter that day with Helena's ghost.
Eleanor said: "We were standing in the back corridor, at the lift, just going over all the work we had done that day. At this stage we knew we were finished for the day and we were beginning to laugh about how scared we had been. We knew that we had definitely heard a woman crying sppokily in distress and that someone had moved the lift. It didn't seem quite so frightening because we were about to go home. There is a sturdy fire door between the corridor and the back stairs. I was standing with my back to the door and I heard feet shuffling behind the door. I whispered to Ali just to check that she'd heard it and I opened the door. I really expected to see someone there because the footsteps had been audible, just a few inches away from where I was standing. But there was no one on the stairs. There wouldn't have been time for whoever it was to run upstairs or downstairs because I would have seen them. I closed the door, we didn't even try to explain it but we knew what we heard. We were very glad to be going home that day - and out into the Irish sunshine".
The sceptical will not be convinced by these events and will offer rational, not supernatural, explanations. Ali and Eleanor will not be easily persuaded that the ghostly events can easily be explained. They were awake and alert. They believe that it was Helena anguished spirit on the stairs they overheard and that she moved the lift to remind them that she remaied to haunt the Irish linen mill. Ali and Eleanor have their own explanation for the extreme cold in the studio and the warmth in the corridor; they are certain that the extreme temperatures indicate Helena's phantom presence, that she was beside them in spirit while they worked.
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