THE SPIRIT of Frank McCourt could well be lurking around his former school and the museum currently in his name, as the six-year anniversary of his death approaches.
Alphie, Joe, Jimmy, Seanie, and Francis were among the names of children who came to the minds of a team of paranormal investigators as they carried out a seance in the Frank McCourt museum last week.
Alphie is also a brother of Frank – still alive and living in New York – but there was no mention of any of the deceased siblings of the famous author – Eugene, Oliver, Margaret, or indeed their parents Angela and Malachy.
Anthony Kerrigan, one of the paranormal investigators with Ghost Eire, which has about five members nationwide, said while their investigations have not concluded, there are definitely “lots of residual energies” left in the building, which he described as “very unique”.
Other children’s names which came to the minds of the investigators were Shaney, Mairead, Breda, Katie, and they are interested in the history of the site, before it became Leamy’s school circa 1840. Five areas of the historic building were investigated, including the classroom, ‘Angela’s bedroom’ upstairs in the museum, which has been modelled on the old McCourt home, the basement, and the dining in room in the basement.
Mr Kerrigan said they began their investigations by conducting a seance –an attempt to communicate with spirits – in which questions are asked in five languages over 40 minutes, and a minute is allowed after each question for the spirit to ‘reply’.
The languages used were English, French, Irish, old English, and Spanish, and the latter for some reason connected powerfully with whatever spirits remain in the building, he said. “I could feel myself shaking and the table started to rock,” he said, after the questions were asked in Spanish.
During the seance, the investigators said they could also sense children in wet clothes, a woman sitting in the corner, and a mother waiting for a child to come home.
They also believed they heard a high pitched child’s voice, saying ‘It has to be up to you’, and could also hear a soft exhalation. In the dining room of the basement, they heard a dragging noise on the floor and their heat sensing equipment picked up heat sources on crockery, in a room which was otherwise cold at that time of night. Any other findings in their visual recordings will be known in another two weeks’ time. The building 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 lifetime.”