The Belfast Harbour Office Ghost
As Halloween approaches learn more about the Harbour Office’s resident ghost. He doesn’t appear to many but there have been several suspected sightings over the last few decades…
As told by Belfast Harbour Engineer Ray Howie…
Some years ago there was a film programme made about the regular appearance of ghosts in Corporation Square, within the premises occupied by Direct Wine Shipments. Perhaps that explains the chilled atmosphere when you enter the premises- probably a good location to store wine!
On our side of the street we can boast having our own resident ghost in the Harbour Office. He doesn’t appear to many but there have been several suspected sightings over the last few decades.
I say suspected because in most situations there has been the appearance of an old well-dressed gentleman turning up somewhere within the building when later it has been found that no visitors have been recorded.
The best recorded incident took place back in the early 1990’s
Belfast Harbour was carrying out refurbishment work to many of the windows of the old Harbour Office which necessitated the removal of many of the windows for repairs off site prior to their reinstallation. Scaffolding was in place at several locations around the exterior of the building and with the windows removed it had been agreed in advance to provide security during night-time to ensure we did not lose any of our valuable paintings etc. The Harbour Police arranged for a third party security man to occupy the building for several nights for the duration of the works to protect the premises.
During one of the nights after darkness had fallen and long after everyone had left the building the security man was making his usual rounds along the corridors and checking each room as he went. When he opened the Moreland Room door he was surprised to see someone sitting on one of the couches on the opposite side of the room. It appeared to be a well-dressed elderly gentleman.
The security man did not recognise the person and wondered if the elderly gent had lost track of time and fallen asleep or possibly could be one of the Harbour Commissioners on some sort of legitimate business. Being unsure how to approach the situation he spoke from the door and enquired if the gent was OK and if he was about to leave.
The elderly gent grumbled something incoherent, got to his feet and proceeded to walk across the room to leave by another door in the direction of the Boardroom. The security man was relieved thinking the gent was going to leave and he proceeded to enter the room and follow him out. At this point in time the exit door towards which both of them were heading was closed.
When the elderly gent reached the door he proceeded through the door without it opening and disappeared from sight!
When the security guard recovered from his fright he eventually telephoned the Harbour Police Headquarters, informed them that there was an intruder in the Harbour Office and asked for their assistance.
When the Harbour Police team arrived they found the security man in a very disturbed state as he revealed the chain of events. An immediate search of the entire building took place but no intruder was found. The security man was so traumatised that he refused to stay in the building for the rest of the night and was taken home vowing never to return!
Rumour has it that the Harbour Police on duty that evening drew straws for who would remain in the building for the rest of the night.
Next morning staff arriving for work found every light on within the building!
Whether or not you believe what the security man told is up to you but the chain of events is recorded in the Harbour Police leather bound incident book taking up two full pages.