In day-to-day life, Belfast’s bustling streets and beautiful buildings are filled with charm and character. But with such a rich and complex history, it’s no surprise that there’s plenty of Belfast ghost stories hanging around…
And with Halloween just around the corner, we thought we’d take a look at some of the most spine-chilling spooky stories the city has to offer. From sinister sounds to unexplained happenings, here are the most terrifying tales of paranormal activity in Belfast…
The Giant’s Ring
Dating back to the Neolithic period, The Giant’s Ring sits near Shaw’s Bridge, Belfast. A huge raised circle in the landscape, the oddest feature of the monument is the megalithic tomb placed at the centre of the circle. Built around 2700 BC, this strange and ancient creation is older the Egyptian pyramids. Some archaeologists believe that the Giant’s Ring, shows evidence of an ancient religion which venerated the dead .
And as with many ancient sites and places, its had a fair share of haunted happenings through the years.
While it might look calm and tranquil in the above photo, one spine-chilling story tells of a family in the early 1990s who were visiting the site.
Upon entering the ancient ring, they found themselves surrounded by a sudden and overwhelming thick fog. Every time they tried to escape the fog and head back to their car, they kept arriving back at the centre of the ring near the dolmen structure in the centre. After hours wondering, the family did finally escaped but left shaken and confused.
Opened in 1849 by Queen Victoria, the Queen’s Bridge has long been a vital way for Belfast inhabitants to cross the Lagan.
But one ghostly figure has never made the full journey – according to tales of the cloaked man.
The first sighting was reported in 1910, when a labourer from the Harland and Wolff shipyard was heading into work over the bridge. About half way over, he spotted a strange figure in a long black cloak across the road. The labourer went to point the odd man to his colleagues, but at that moment, the figure disappeared.
Alarmed, the workmen ran across, assuming the worst and peering over the edge of the old bridge but there were no signs in the swirling Lagan below. They reported the sighting to a policeman patrolling nearby, only to be told that there had been multiple sightings of a black cloaked figure on the bridge disappearing in the water below, but no body was ever found.
So, next time you cross the bridge at night, watch out for the whip of a black cloak…
Lucifer’s Match Factory
When Lucifer’s Match Factory was in operation, many workers refused to call it by the official name out of superstition, referring to their place of work as Osborne’s Match Factory, instead. Located in Millfield Place until its demolition, the site became notorious for the site of many strange and ghostly haunting.
The spooky sightings and sounds began to appear shortly after a catastrophic fire at the factory. Started on Friday 15 December, 1882, the huge blaze trapped and killed four children who had been employed to box matches.
After the fire, the factory was rebuilt and work recommenced, but residents living nearby complained of shrill screams and deathly wails coming from the factory. These terrible sounds continued until the factory was demolished, taking its ghostly goings-on with it.
Friar’s Bush Graveyard
At the centre of the city’s University Quarter, lies Belfast’s oldest Christian burial site. Friar’s Bush Graveyard has a long and dark history that invites plenty of speculation about spooky happenings within its walled spaces.
Originally the site of a medieval friary of St Patrick, the cemetery contains a mysterious ‘Friar’s Stone’ which has the implausible and unexplained date AD 485 inscribed on it.
But as Belfast grew into a larger settlement, the site became a graveyard for the people of Belfast and inspired a reputation for body-snatching. Throughout the early 1800s, the cemetery was continually raided by ‘resurrection men’, stealing corpses to sell for dissection or anatomy lectures in medical schools.
But perhaps the sites most grisly history revolves around the ‘Plaguey Hill’ just inside the gates – a mass grave of up to 2,000 victims of hunger and cholera who died during the 1840s Great Famine.
And all this awful past horror has lead to a number of strange sightings in the graveyard and the surrounding area, particularly in a building opposite the cemetery entrance, including one of the most pervasive Belfast ghost stories ever told. University Staff working in the David Kerr building (part of the Queen’s University) refuse to use the underground maintenance tunnel which connects the property with the nearby Ashby Building due to strange happenings down there.
In the 1990s, a worker in the tunnel felt a cold hand grip his arm as he walked through the tunnel, but turned to find the space completely empty, while others have complained of an unnatural coldness spreading over them as they move along the tunnel.
Crumlin Road Gaol
Boasting an active history of over 150 years, the old gaol at Crumlin Road has long been associated with unusual occurrences and spooky sightings.
When the jail was still in use, prisoners and prison officers would reported unexplained happenings and noises inside the building, with one staff observation post never used due to rumours of haunted figures frequenting it.
Today, ghost hunters and gaol visitors have reported strange sounds, slamming doors and cried for help coming from empty cells, as well as a number of ghostly figure sightings in the building. Most famously, there have been hundreds of sightings of a man who walks down ‘C-Wing’ and then disappears without a trace.
The tourist attraction runs regular ghost walks and paranormal tours around the property, for believers and sceptics alike looking for the shadowy figures and dark beings lurking in the corners – why not head down to hear some more terrifying Belfast ghost stories yourself?
Looming above Belfast, Cavehill has long inspired whispered stories of terrifying figures and disturbing sounds.
The three caves built into the rock have been used for refuge as far back as the Iron Age, making the site ripe of paranormal happenings and tales of days gone by.
But it’s the story of the floating man that made this one of the most haunted spots in Belfast.
In June 1915, a couple were walking in the area when they spotted the figure of a man floating within the trees. According to the couple, the figure rushed at them, so they turned and ran away. They had definitely been spooked – the man was treated for severe cuts and bruises from falling during his run. Sightings of this ‘floating’ man continued for the next few years.
Then, in 1922, a walker discovered a human skull deep within the trees. Reporting the horror to the police, it was discovered that a whole skeleton lay within the woods. Police identified the bones as possibly belonging to Mr John Scott, who had disappeared years early and seemed to have committed suicide within the forest. His remains were given a full burial, and after that the ‘floating man’ was never seen again.
The Belvoir Park Hospital
Today, Belvoir Park is a pleasant place for a woodland walk on a Sunday afternoon.
But right beside the beautiful forest is the site of old Belvoir Park Hospital. Founded in 1906 as the Purdysburn Fever Hospital, it was renamed in the early 1960s.
In 2006, the hospital closed but the building was kept intact as an isolation centre in case of an outbreak of serious infectious diseases in the city. To keep the building secure, private security was brought in.
And then came the strange stories…
Tales of shadowy figures running around the site (despite guards’ best attempts to stop them) surfaced, followed by reports of strange shrines appearing beside the stream that ran near the hospital and, perhaps most disturbingly, the discovery of mutilated animal copses around the area.
Today, the site has been redeveloped into townhouses – but we’re yet to know if any of the dark goings-on have continued…
Stay Safe from Spooky Sightings at The George Best Hotel
Rumour has it from paranormal investigators, the Scottish Mutual Building could be home to its fair share of spirits. But thankfully, we’re yet to catch any ourselves!
Set to open over a staggered schedule, with the stunning bar and restaurant taking Christmas bookings for the 2018 festive season and hotel rooms available from February 2019, the George Best Hotel will preserve one of Belfast’s most beautiful heritage buildings (but not the ghosts).
Whether you’re looking to tuck into a decadent three-course festive meal on the most wonderful day of they year with all your family, or enjoy a dazzling Christmas party for work colleagues in the weeks leading up to the big day, we can’t wait to help you celebrate the Yuletide season at The George Best Hotel.
Featuring decadent interiors, a lavish bar and restaurant and opulent events space, the hotel celebrates Northern Ireland’s legendary footballer and his connection to Belfast, with exclusive memorabilia and stories of Best’s life woven throughout the design of the building.
For a seek peek inside, read our blog on what The George Best Hotel is set to look like.
We wish you a Happy Halloween from The George Best Hotel. Make sure you’re following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates on news, competitions and offers. To book one of our incredible Christmas packages, please contact our team on 0151 236 0166.