Unexplained happenings at Limavady workhouse

IT would appear that things have regularly gone bump in the night at Limavady workhouse, which operated from 1842 to 1932.

It was a harsh place and around 10 people a week died. In April 1930 the remaining inmates were transferred to Coleraine Workhouse and the building was converted into the District Hospital.

Now the home of Limavady Community Development Initiative, it appears not all the former residents have been consigned to history, as there are a scattering of unexplained experiences.

General manager of the LCDI, Damien Corr, as well as being the boss, is also the keeper of a number of chilling tales:

"Our security guys used to sit out in the foyer at a table, and at the end of the left-hand corridor was the maternity ward and they regularly reported hearing the sound of crying babies.

"Another story that has been on-going in Limavady for some time, is that a nurse in here kept her pregancy secret, delivered the baby herself and killed it, and sometime later, wracked with remorse, she hung herself.

"What has emerged recently is another version of that tale. Our security guard saw someone in a uniform, albeit in another area of the building, walking up the stairs which would have taken you to the nurses' home.

"Other people say they have seen things but there are stories of sightings of a nurse in an old-fashioned cape with a red hood sitting on the bridge out at the front of the hospital. In the 1960s and 1970s there were a lot of sightings of this figure."

He goes on to relate how other nurses, almost like clockwork at 3am, could hear what sounded like a nurse with a wooden leg.

"I would have thought a wooden leg would have been a career no-no for a nurse. It could have been a patient with their leg amputated, but local folklore has it that it was a nurse."

Another former patient used to hear footfalls coming into the ward, up to the bed and stopping, yet there was no one there when they looked up.

We also visited the remaining dormitory, also the scene of an alarming encounter, which took place just a few weeks ago.

Daytime security guard, Evan Hand, recounts how earlier this year he saw a 'shadow' in the LCDI reception area, and thinking it was a car, looked out the window.

He then traced the movement of the 'shadow' up the stairs, and around the turn in the stairwell, where it vanished.

Needless to say, there was no car, and no one else was in the building at the time...

Evan goes on to recall how, hust a couple of weeks ago, while showing one half of a film crew around the building, in a prelimenary scout of the premises for a forthcoming television show, they had been 'working' in the women's dormitory on the top left wing of the workhouse for over anhour when a presence in the room decided to make contact.

Crouched in the far left corner of the room, where years ago over 200 women would have slept on straw and floorboards, the medium called out for any present spirits to make contact.

The crew, and Evan, were treated to a very rare occurrence - a presence decided to thump on the floor twice. Asked to repeat the contact, the spirit thumped the floor again...yoikes!