22 July 2005

Sale of house hasn't a ghost of a chance

Belfast Telegraph

By Alan Erwin
newsdesk@belfasttelegraph.co.uk
22 July 2005

THE SALE of a house said to be haunted has been abandoned after protests by anxious neighbours, it has been revealed.

Housing Executive chiefs in Northern Ireland are facing demands to flatten the property which has been derelict since a terrified woman fled eight years ago.

Strange, unexplained noises have been heard in the house which, according to legend, was built on the site of an old horses' graveyard.

Signs of the occult were also spotted inside and attempts to block out trespassers failed when cement refused to set, according to a nervous homeowner living opposite.

Truck driver Brian Marshall (51) said: "There's some forces in there that won't allow it to be lived in. Whatever it is people round here believe it's causing bad harmony in the estate."

The house was in a block of four vacant properties put on the market on the Rockview Park estate in Moneymore, Co Derry. Residents claim new tenants refused to move in because they feared what lurked within.

The estate's reputation plummeted further after a man was killed last year outside a nearby property and two alleged paedophiles were hounded out.

But it is the unease that surrounds No 55 which dominated demands for a complete demolition.

A single mother-of-two who said she saw strange figures on the stairs and heard noises in the dead of night was met with sniggers until a neighbour came to stay with her, Mr Marshall claimed.

"They heard it too and she forced the Executive to rehouse her. It was never occupied again," he said.

"Young ones went in to mess once but didn't stay long because they said there was something strange about it.

"I laughed at them but went to see for myself and saw a small circle of stones about two feet in diameter and a Ouija board."

Mr Marshall and his wife Gemma were part of a residents' group that lobbied against Housing Executive bosses selling it to a private developer because they suspected anti-social tenants would be moved in without any checks.

At a meeting with chief executive Paddy McIntyre earlier this year he was urged to get rid of all four addresses.

Despite suspecting a secret deal has been done to sell the lot for £250,000, the authority insisted no agreement had been reached.

And a Housing Executive spokeswoman disclosed: "Following representations from the local community, the properties have been withdrawn from the market."

She added: "I cannot confirm information or knowledge of the property at 55 Rockview Park being haunted."

But political representatives insisted it should be removed immediately to soothe frayed nerves.

Mid Ulster SDLP Assembly member Patsy McGlone said: "This is a vacant, derelict block and the only thing put to it should be a JCB digger.

"It's an eyesore and there's concern among residents that it will go into the private sector without any control over who comes into it."

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