Thoor Ballylee is a medieval tower house located near Gort in County Galway. It was once the summer home of the famous poet William Butler Yeats, who was fascinated by its history and atmosphere. He wrote some of his most celebrated poems there, inspired by the beauty of the landscape and the legends of the tower. But Thoor Ballylee also has a darker side, as it is said to be haunted by several ghosts, including an Anglo-Norman soldier and a mysterious child. 

Thoor Ballylee is a place of mystery. Yeats himself was an avid believer in the paranormal and practiced occultism and magic. He claimed that he had seen ghosts and fairies in his life and that he had communicated with them through mediums and séances. He also believed that Thoor Ballylee was haunted by at least one ghost: an Anglo-Norman soldier who had died in the tower during one of its sieges.

Yeats said that he had seen this ghost several times floating up and down the spiral staircase or standing on the roof. He described him as a tall and handsome man, wearing a chain mail and a helmet, with a sword at his side. He said that the ghost was friendly and harmless, and that he had even spoken to him once.

Yeats was not the only one who claimed to have seen the ghost of the Norman soldier. The curator of the museum, who lived in the tower for some time, also reported seeing a ghostly form on the staircase and hearing footsteps and voices in the empty rooms. His dog also refused to enter certain parts of the tower, as if sensing something sinister. Some visitors also reported feeling a cold breeze or a strange presence in the tower.

But the most compelling evidence of the haunting of Thoor Ballylee came in 1989, when an English tourist named David Blinkthorne visited the tower and took a photograph in the deserted first-floor dining room. When he developed the film, he was shocked to discover that the picture showed the shadowy figure of a young boy standing in the corner of the room. The boy appeared to be wearing a cap and a coat and had his hands in his pockets. He looked sad and lonely, as if waiting for someone.

Blinkthorne sent the photograph to the museum and asked if they could identify the boy. The museum staff were puzzled and intrigued by the image, as they could not find any record of a child living or dying in the tower. Some speculated that the boy could be Yeats’ son Michael, who had spent his childhood summers at Thoor Ballylee. Others suggested that the boy could be a local child who had wandered into the tower and had been accidentally captured by the camera. But no one could explain how he had appeared in the photograph without being seen by Blinkthorne or anyone else.

The photograph became known as “the Blinkthorne Ghost” and attracted media attention and public curiosity. It also added to the reputation of Thoor Ballylee as a haunted place, where poetry and mystery mingle. Some people believe that the ghosts of Thoor Ballylee are still there, waiting for someone to see them or talk to them. Others think that they are just figments of imagination or tricks of light and shadow. But one thing is certain, Thoor Ballylee is a tower that has many stories to tell, both in words and in silence.


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Ghost of Norman



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