A NIGHT-TIME investigation of any paranormal activity in the Frank McCourt museum was carried out this Wednesday night.
The team of three paranormal investigators, including one psychic medium, from Kerry and Cork, carried out a preliminary examination of the museum and former school on Hartstonge Street last week, and speaking before the Leader went to press they said the doors would be firmly locked on Wednesday evening.
The building, Leamy House, which houses the museum and dates back to around 1840, is currently up for sale for €325,000 on the instructions of a bank, but the museum curator Una Heaton said: “It won’t be sold in my life-time.”
Her husband John inherited the building, which was once Frank McCourt’s school prior to his famous departure to America. Relatives of the late Frank, who passed away in 2009, including his brother Alphie and widow Ellen, have appealed to the public to help keep the building in local ownership, and a public appeal fund has now been established.
“I would hate to see it close - I would be tied to the railings. Visitors are still coming, I’m getting calls all the time from America, and it would be a shame [to close it] now that we’ve put all this in place,” she told the Limerick Leader.
Ms Heaton was contacted by the paranormal team, asking if they could examine the property given its provenance - and link with Limerick’s only Pulitzer Prize winning author, who penned Angela’s Ashes, ‘Tis and Teacher Man. She said she and her staff have witnessed some unexplainable events in the museum, and believes the results of this investigation will be “interesting”.
“They asked us if they could do an investigation and I said ‘Why not?’ Because there’s a fabulous history attached to the building. It goes back to around 1843, so there could be a good few spirits here. There’s definitely something in this building. Even past pupils come in and say that – there’s an experience in this building.
“From time to time doors open for no reason, and a bell goes. The door is firmly locked, it has to be forcefully done [opened], but suddenly it’s open and there’s no one there. The morning after Frank passed away I came in here and there was a black feather lying on the floor, but all the windows are sealed.”
Mick O’Donnell, 76, who had been conducting the Angela’s Ashes walking tour since 1998, agreed there is something that can’t be explained lingering in that building.
“Absolutely. There’s no doubt whatsoever. Frank has passed away, so too have many of his friends and they all want to get back to Limerick.”
The investigating team are husband and wife Anthony and Jennifer Kerrigan, from Killarney, and Xak Aroo, also a psychic medium from west Cork, of the Ghost Eire team.
They will be studying the electro-magnetic fields of the building, honing in on any “paranormal spikes coming through”.
“The electro-magnetic fields can throw up quite a lot of environmental factors, 95% of which are usually explainable,” said Xak, who said she can see and hear spirits. “We investigate the remaining five per cent, of which three per cent is usually explainable. It’s that two per cent we’re interested in.”
She said she got heart palpitations when she walked up the stairs towards the museum, and when she was sitting outside in the vehicle could sense nuns dressed in blue habits.
They will also use mirrors, candles, incense, a seance ritual, as well as a range of filming techniques, during their three to four hour investigation later this week.