Peter, and his elder sister, recall an incredible, and terrifying, tale of hearing inexplicable voices down a narrow mine pit while driving through County Waterford in 1969.
Particularly compelling is that these voices, though not recognizable as a language, sent a clear message. Thanks to Peter for sharing. Cheers, Kitty.
It was 1969. My dad brought us to Ireland. The plan was to visit Dublin, and then go to a pig farm, I don’t know where. The farm belonged to the mother of a priest my dad knew.
My dad was 100% Irish blood— O’Neils and Rooneys from County Louth. They emigrated during the famine and wound up in California, probably looking for gold.
I was 13. My sister was about 23. Her then husband was along— a big guy, maybe 6’1”. One day the two of them decided to rent a car and drive to Cork and I went with them.
County Waterford. Image: ireland.com
We decided to take a coastal route (through Waterford), and along that route, at some point, we saw a huge bull. We stopped the car and got out a look.
That’s when we saw a sign saying “Danger. Open Mines.”
We found a deep rock pit, almost perfectly square and perfectly vertical, like an elevator shaft through stone, but with a sloped opening so you didn’t dare get close. It was terrifying, and completely unprotected.
We stood there, amazed and a little thrilled by the danger of it. We couldn’t get close but we could see it was deep. And then we heard high pitched sounds from inside the mine shaft.
For a few seconds we stood there trying to figure out what could be making those sounds. There were a lot of them. And here’s the thing— that shaft was a one-way road for anything bigger than an ant or a bird.
If you went down, you weren’t coming back, so we were mystified about what could be down there. It wasn’t the sound of any birds we knew.
And suddenly, we realized, unspoken, that we were listening to voices in conversation. And without a word between us we RAN to the car, terrified, even the six-footer, a guy as big as a football player.
We had to drive a pretty good distance before we could stop and laugh and ask ourselves what had just happened, and what or whom we had just heard.
I thought about this story a lot on a recent trip back to Ireland. I told my son about it and he became intrigued and he worked with me to find the spot. I researched abandoned mines and found the site pretty quickly. I won’t advertise the location. Then my son found the exact spot on Google Earth, and we could actually see the mine.
I wrote an e-mail home about it, and my sister, now in her 70s, responded with the same urgency we’d felt back then.
“With a few variants (which I hope to send to Peter and Rafferty), I can confirm this story.
As I think I wrote earlier, I remember being drawn, first, towards a high pitched, but not unpleasant or shrill, chorus of sounds. Especially for Peter and me, I recall that interest and desire to check it out.
I remember that the sounds were emanating from below, and that we were in taller grasses, looking for the source, and that it was extremely curious, and even musical, in a very strange way, considering where we were– essentially, to me, a small area of shoreline field.
Then, as we got closer, these somewhat musical sounds either changed (as I experienced it,) or revealed themselves to be what those who use captions know as the generic “indistinct chatter.”
In this case, high-pitched, and interactive, and certainly not animal, vegetable, or mineral, much less human. Not directed to us, but possibly related to our presence, with the gist becoming more excitable.
“I remember the second it became “unamusing” and meeting Peter’s eyes, the recognition that this occurrence had the same effect on him — we were fairly near to each other– and the unspoken, unanimous, instinctual response: Not right! Flee! Now! with a strong, shared, also unspoken, undercurrent of Not for Us! (whatever this is…)
I guess the thing that feels strongest in my memory is how instant the shift was, from odd and curious, to, as we got closer and the sounds changed, “Hell, No! WRONG! FAST! OUT!””
I have no explanation for what happened to us, or for what we heard and felt that day.
I’ve read stories of “fairy” experiences in Ireland, and ours doesn’t seem to jibe with what I’ve read. But it was a powerful experience that bore no resemblance to “leprechauns” we knew of from cereal boxes. We had no reason to think of fairies or leprechauns as something that might be frightening.