American Tourists Write To Rushlight Magazine And Claim To Have Seen A Ghost In The Linen House Hostel, Kent Street.
Hi Joe Graham,
I saw something you wrote on the internet. You mentioned a ragged school once being located on Kent Street in Belfast. I thought I would write and tell you about the experience my boyfriend and I had in the Linen House Hostel. when we stayed there one night in February about four or five years ago.
We checked in late at night. They gave us a room to ourselves. It had bunk beds but nobody else was staying in there. It was a narrow room. We slept on a lower bunk. Right after we turned the lights out and went to bed, my boyfriend said, there is something in here with us. I said I know, I can see it. I could see it. It was hovering over the bed leaning over really close to us. It started on my side and then moved behind us and then over to his side.
Then it left and was sitting crouched almost pouting or angry on another lower bunk bed at the farther corner of the room staring at us. My boyfriend starting talking crap to it like, “ you better stay away cus I'll kick your ass ”. I told him to stop and not antagonize it. I could tell it was super, super angry but I didn't feel like it was angry at us really except I think my boyfriend was making it angry a little because he was saying things like that to it. I felt like it was like an older child or almost teenager and that something really bad had happened to it in that building. I started telling it that it needed to go on to meet God and that whoever hurt it was long gone and that God would give it justice for whatever happened and it should move on.
After we fell asleep, my boyfriend woke me up in the middle of the night screaming. He scared the crap out of me. He said something with sharp nails were grabbing his (sorry about this) - thighs. Then he accused me of doing it to play a joke on him. First, I keep my nails short because I hate long fingernails. I hate those high maintenance women with their nasty long, fake fingernails. I am a female. But I clip mine short with nail cutters. I don't waste money in beauty salons. Every six months, I spend $10 including tip to get a half inch trimmed straight across the bottom of my hair. That is it. I didn't do it. I was sound asleep. I don't even move in my sleep. My boyfriend says I sleep like a corpse with my arms crossed over my chest like an Egyptian mummy (when I'm on my back). I could sleep on the edge of a cliff because I don't move around at all when I am sleeping. It kind of made me mad he would even accuse me of that. But I guess it is hard to believe that a spirit could do something like that. Anyway, it wasn't me so it had to be the thing in the room with us. Anyway, I had told him not to talk to it the way he was because I knew he was making it mad.The next morning when we checked out, I asked the front desk people what the place used to be. They said it was an old shirt factory. I figured they must have hired young people or children and treated them really badly.
I found your page that said there used to be a ragged school on Kent Street. Was it located in the building that is now the Linen House Hostel?
Yours sincerely Tabby Math.
Joe Graham answers …
Hiya Tabby, Firstly, The Ragged School goes back to the days when Kent Street was called Margaret Street and was not sited near John Stewart’s Linen Factory even when Margaret Street changed its name in late 1840’s.
Margaret Street by this time was a very run down area with about 40 little houses there which cost a rent of two shillings a week each. John’s son William took over the factory about 1860, then in the 1870’s the factory was used as stabling and Linen production by William Smith ultimately it became his stabling business solely. Next door W & G Baird , “Belfast Telegraph” also centred their huge stabling yard there.
John Stewart lived in the suburbs in a big house called “Silver Stream”, which gave its name to an area at Ballysillan today.
There were schools later in the street for in 1880 at 69 Kent Street we find … “Kent Street National (Free) School, Principal, Miss Cruthers ” and at number 70 a “National School ”.
By 1900 William Smith was using the site merely for stabling and as a storage depot and was still being used as such by 1910.
I think the old building next door to the hostel is more haunted looking.