One of the oldest businesses in Larne, where I live is sadly closing. Its been here since 1870 – 151 years.
I’ve known the current owners, John and Anne Sproule since I came here in 1984. A lovely couple.
The following piece appeared in our local newspaper, The Larne Times:
“The mid-90s, however, saw a visitor of the supernatural variety.
“We had a ‘presence’ in the shop that would make noises, empty boxes and shift things about,” Mrs Sproule said.
The odd occurrences prompted the family to seek help from Canon William Lendrum, a Church of Ireland minister who became known for his exorcisms.
“Canon Lendrum came down to have a look; from what he could see, [the presence] looked like a farm worker – someone in old fashioned clothes.
“He spent a while talking to it, but after he was finished we never had any more bother.”
Canon Lendrum, who died in 2018, would later write about the experience in his book Confronting the Paranormal: A Christian Perspective”.
MY TAKE ON THE PARANORMAL:
I dont believe that heaven is way up beyond the skies or that hell is way below the earth.
I believe that the physical world we live in is surrounded by the spiritual world and that something as flimsy as a lace curtain divides both worlds.
In that sense, each world can impinge upon the other in various ways and at various times.
In my 45 years as a priest I have had a small number of encounters with the spiritual world.
I have been asked to intervene in a similar way that Canon Lendrum intervened in Pollocks Jewellers.
Let me recall one such occasion for readers.
I had a call from a Presbyterian family in rural County Derry saying that they were troubled with an unwanted presence in their family home. They had asked their minister to come and pray in the house and he refused.
I arrived at the house about 5 pm on a dark winter’s afternoon. As I made my way to the house an elderly man came around a corner and beckoned me to go away. He was dressed in a cap and what looked like a working clothes.
I presumed him to be an unfriendly neighbour unhappy to see a Catholic priest in the area – which was very Protestant.
I rang the doorbell and the young husband let me in. I mentioned the unfriendly neighbour to him and he said: “That’s the presence we are having trouble with”.
We talked for a little while and he and his wife explained the regular unfriendly and aggressive sightings of the man by various family members.
I suggested that I might celebrate Mass in their kitchen which they were very agreeable to. During Mass I went around every room in the house and blessed each room with holy water.
Just after Communion at Mass their eight-year-old son came into the kitchen and said to his father: “Daddy, the bad man is after jumping out the sitting room window”.
We had a cup of tea and I left. In the coming days and weeks the husband telephoned me and told me that they had no trouble and sightings since my visit.
The paranormal is mysterious. There are more things in heaven and earth than we can understand.
I certainly believe in the paranormal and I believe that unsettling energies and appearances can be solved through faith and prayer.
Of course, there are also many very positive and healing spiritual energies that can drift into our lives that can give us a sense of peace and inspiration.
I believe that some people are more sensitive to these energies than others.
As Jesus said:
“Let he who has eyes to see, see”.