The Keeley Chronicles PART 34

The definitive account of the only case of its kind, a search for truth, a spiritual journey and a labour-of-love in memory of the victim of a unique murder mystery still officially unsolved 31 years on

Rear cover pic sharpened and reduced to 30%

By Keeley Moss

 

PART 34 – CONTENTS
Chapter 89: Nowhere
Chapter 90: One Step Closer to Knowing
Chapter 91: A Lift from Larne
Acknowledgements for Part 34

 

Chapter 89: Nowhere

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If Walls Could Talk: The view after turning away from the train platform and re-entering the ferry terminal. Photo: Keeley Moss © 2018

 

All that’s left is you and me and here we are nowhere

Ride – ‘Nowhere’

 

For anyone who hasn’t been following the previous 13 instalments of this blog, this is the next stage of my retracing Inga’s movements by undertaking a solo backpacking trip on an Interrail pass through England, Scotland and the north (and south) of Ireland for the purpose of researching my book about Inga and her case (which is a separate work to this blog) and to keep her memory alive by trying to complete the journey that she was so tragically murdered in the process of undertaking. I am also doing this in order to show just how far she travelled and the sheer effort she made to get where she was going before she was killed, a very important aspect of Inga’s legacy that was overlooked for too long. She came so far. So near and yet, so far…

My mum, who like surely almost all Irish mothers is very much a worrier, had spent much of the week prior to my departure from Dublin for the four-day trip retracing Inga’s steps around the UK getting me to promise her that whatever happened, I would not accept a lift in Larne. And every time she said this, I scoffed. I couldn’t help thinking it was the most ridiculous idea in the world. For one thing, I thought that the chance of lightning striking twice at Larne ferry terminal was so incredibly unlikely as to be near enough unthinkable.

Secondly, having spent literally every day of the last four years immersed in the details of this case, if anyone was going to be mindful of the dangers of taking a lift from Larne ferry terminal it would surely be me. My life revolves around writing and campaigning about someone who was murdered after accepting a lift from Larne, so I considered myself the last person on the planet who would do the same thing. I’m ordinarily gung-ho enough to take the chance were it offered elsewhere but given the nature of my involvement in this case, the thought of my being offered a lift from Larne let alone accepting such an offer sounded so far-fetched to me that I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at the thought that anyone might think it even a possibility. It was the last thing in the world I would do.

Besides, I was intent on making sure that there was only one way I would be leaving Larne this night – on a train. The same train journey Inga should have been on. It was the centrepiece of this spiritual mission. That is not to negate how much the previous four days of this backpacking trip had meant but getting to go one step beyond and make my next steps of the journey from Scotland to Larne Harbour by ferry, on to Belfast by train and then onto Dublin as had been Inga’s original intention, was so important to me.

But because the last train had inexplicably left Larne Harbour train station a whole hour before my arrival on the last ferry of the night from Scotland, and there were no more trains, and no buses, and no taxis anywhere in Larne tonight (see Part 33), I was stranded.

The only other person in the terminal besides me at this point, a woman I had met only a few minutes before amid frankly eerie circumstances, Fiona, phoned a friend of hers who she told about our predicament. And this friend had offered to drive up here and give us a lift to Belfast. Great. A lift from Larne. To Belfast. An offer that was extended to me. What could possibly go wrong? All I had to do was trust them.

This was identical to the situation Inga was faced with in the very same building 30 years prior to my retracing her footsteps this far.

Jesus.

I could not believe this was happening.

What was I to do? Should I stay or should I go? This is the night I learned that Larne really is a ghost town, it makes my native Dublin look like New York by comparison.

No trains. No buses. No taxis.

Nowhere.

 

Chapter 90: One Step Closer to Knowing

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Ship of Promises: Standing outside Larne ferry terminal with the ferry that I had arrived on from Scotland in the background. Photo: Keeley Moss © 2018

 

Two ways to choose
On a razor’s edge
Remain behind
Go straight ahead

Two ways to choose
Which way to go?
Had thoughts for one
Designs for both

I see your face still in my window
Torments yet calms, won’t set me free

Joy Division – ‘Something Must Break’

 

Lost in my thoughts I didn’t hear Fiona say something. I looked up from the seat where I was sitting in the empty waiting area of the ferry terminal. “Are you coming with us or not?” she was saying. Her friend was about to pull up in a car outside apparently. But who were “they”? Were they a he or a she? Or a he and a she? And either way, would it really make a difference? At separate times, and for a very long time, detectives from the RUC, detectives from the An Garda Siochana taskforce Operation Trace who re-investigated Inga’s case (to the obliviousness of the media at the time) and latterly PSNI investigators all for a time favoured a theory that on the night Inga was murdered, she must have had a good reason to have set aside all of her inhibitions in accepting a lift from Larne (Inga was categorically not a hitchhiker as the media have frequently misreported over the years, she had not once taken a lift with anyone at any point during her week-long trek through the UK, until the night she arrived in Larne).

One of the most popular theories as to what that reason may have been, shared at various times by a number of detectives across each of the separate investigation teams, was that perhaps there may have been an additional passenger in the vehicle that Inga left Larne in, such as a woman or an elderly grandfather-type figure, someone whose presence Inga would have undoubtedly found reassuring. In a case where as I have seen many times over the past four years, and indeed having painstakingly pored over 32 years-worth of documents, articles and other more private archive material, this is a case where rarely is anything as it first appears, so what was I to think of the prospect of this lift? If a woman was behind the wheel tonight as well as a man – or instead of a man – did that really mean anything definitive in terms of my being able to be sure that I wasn’t getting involved in something I was going to regret?

It was another question that hung in the air. This case seems to have no end of questions that just hang in the air.

And I was about to hear another two, in quick succession.

“Well? You coming or not?”, Fiona asked again. I could see she was keen to get a move on, understandably. She had already been stranded in Larne long enough.

It was the last thing in the world I would do.

On the spot I consulted my gut. The night had seen enough strange and curious twists for one more strange and curious twist to seem likely. Either option carried a degree of risk. But the same buccaneering spirit I share with Inga prompted me to go with my gut and accept the lift. Inga presumably also trusted her gut feeling the night she accepted the same offer of a lift in the same place, supposedly to the same place. And look how that f**king turned out.

But when I thought of saying no, I knew that would mean missing out. Not just missing out on potentially getting to Belfast tonight, and having to spend the night on my own in arguably the creepiest ferry terminal in the world (it has to be remembered that Inga’s is the only such case in history, anywhere. No one else has ever been murdered straight after getting off a ferry and entering a ferry terminal. No one, anywhere. So if you were handing out awards for the creepiest ferry terminal in the world, Larne would be picking up the trophy with no other competitors even in the running).

But again when I thought of saying no, I knew I would be missing out – missing out on being one step closer to knowing. One step closer to learning. One step closer to whatever it was that I would discover by saying yes. If I said no, I knew I would be spending the night sleeping on the floor of Larne ferry terminal, and I would be learning nothing more than what that would involve. And I would never know what would have happened if I took the lift. And call me crazy, but I simply could not live with the thought of never getting to know what lay on the other side, no matter what might happen. I was willing to take the risk, even if only to be one step closer to knowing.

 

Chapter 91: A Lift from Larne

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Drive Blind: On the motorway somewhere between Larne and Belfast…or so I hoped. Photo: Keeley Moss © 2018

 

Under electric lights
I’ll go into the night, into the night
She and I
Into the night

Suede – ‘Still Life’

 

We walked through the doors of Larne ferry terminal and out into the cold night air. Just like inside the empty terminal building, outside there was nobody around. Suddenly I saw lights approaching. They were getting larger, twinkling ever wider and ever brighter. They were the headlights of a car. We walked towards it, the car pulled up and I moved towards the back of the car where I lifted my rucksack off my shoulders and prepared to place it in the boot. Again, I could not believe that this was happening, given the circumstances. “It was, and still is, unbelievable”, to quote Almut Hauser regarding the strange circumstances of Inga’s initial disappearance and subsequent death. I know it had been my intention to retrace Inga’s footsteps as accurately as possible, but this was ridiculous.

I climbed into the back of the car and took my phone out, the brightness of its screen a sole shaft of light amid the darkness of the car. Immediately I saw that I had just received a message from, of all people, one of Inga’s schoolmates who has become a friend of mine and who knew I was retracing Inga’s steps right then. Sitting in the back of the car while it was still parked in front of Larne ferry terminal my eyes scanned the message she had sent. The message read:

 

Now your journey will continue, and you will go where Inga wanted to continue her journey. You are completing her journey more than 30 years later.

 

Beautiful.

Only someone who had known Inga could type those words and have them carry as much weight.

However, I had not had time to post any new updates since getting off the ferry so at this point Inga’s schoolmate was still under the impression that I was intending to catch a train to Belfast. She had no idea that in what was possibly a moment of madness I had since decided to take a lift from Larne.

Suddenly the car began to move. I sat there in silent bewilderment as we drove off, leaving the Port of Larne behind. Soon we were on a main road, heading towards Belfast. Or were we? Where were the road signs? It was dark, and the car was moving fast. There were two people in the front of the car, one of whom I had never met in my life and the other who I had only met during the past few minutes on a railway platform. With my having never learned to drive never mind not owning a car, and possessing a questionable level of geographical awareness at the best of times, I wasn’t sure where we were, nor where we were going. I was strangely calm though. As eerie and intense a night as it had been, I figured that if things were to take a turn for the worse then at least I’d be an even further step closer to knowing. The experience felt like a strange kind of gift, a portal to a level of insight I would not have been able to have access to otherwise.

Suddenly Fiona and the driver began chatting and the mood in the car grew more jovial, and this continued even after I revealed to them why I had ended up in Larne in the first place and why I was looking to go to Belfast and then onto Dublin. I told them about Inga, and about retracing her steps. Neither of them had ever heard of her. I told them about the special and beautiful person she was, and how her entire life had been stolen from her in such horrendous and bizarre circumstances. Sometime later we were on the outskirts of what I belatedly recognised as the approach towards Belfast, and they told me they were going to drop me not only in the city centre but were taking the trouble to drive me all the way to the door of the youth hostel I planned to stay in in Belfast that night. How kind of them. I was so touched by this, and yet it made me feel guilty. Why was this happening to me but in the very same situation it hadn’t happened to Inga?

Then something amazing occurred to me. On the night Inga arrived in Northern Ireland off the evening ferry from Scotland she had every intention of catching the train from Larne to Belfast, and yet she hadn’t made it onto a train, and accepted a lift instead. And on this night that I had arrived in Northern Ireland off the evening ferry from Scotland I too had every intention of catching the train from Larne to Belfast, and yet I hadn’t made it onto a train either, and had also accepted a lift instead. But now it suddenly dawned on me that it didn’t matter that I hadn’t made it onto the train, that this did not hinder my mission to complete Inga’s journey after all. It actually made it even more special. Because due to the curious turn of events, I was now making my way to Belfast via a road vehicle. It meant that by accepting the lift from Larne ferry terminal and actually making it to Belfast by car, I was getting to honour her intended path even more accurately and faithfully than if I had travelled from Larne to Belfast via the train that it had been my and her original intention to catch! Because while it had been Inga’s (and my) original intention to catch the train from Larne to Belfast, this plan had been ditched at the last minute in both of our cases, by accepting the offer of a lift from Larne ferry terminal to Belfast in a road vehicle instead.

It was such a bittersweet moment, a realisation in both senses of the word. I felt relieved and simultaneously guilty. Guilty because although Inga’s and my plans had both run without a hitch until we separately reached Larne, only I had gotten lucky after leaving Larne, whereas she had been unbelievably unlucky. Why had I been spared, and she been spurned? It wasn’t fair.

But then I remembered the song ‘Vincent’ by Don McLean, that I consider one of the most beautiful songs ever written, and a song I think Inga would have loved (Inga was a folkie, and ‘Vincent’ is a folk song all day long, it’s gentle acoustic feel I am certain she would have at least liked. What’s more, considering it was written about Vincent Van Gogh, an artist, like Inga herself, and it is the only hit song in existence to have been written about painting as an artform, about the artistic process and Van Gogh’s futile struggle to be received by the loveless and uncomprehending masses who failed to recognise let alone appreciate his genius during his short lifetime, I suspect she would have loved it).

And there is one line in this song that can be said to apply to Inga-Maria Hauser every bit as much as Vincent Van Gogh – “This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you”.

 

TO BE CONTINUED

 

Inga-Maria Hauser Inga 1

May 28th 1969 – April 6th 1988. Never forgotten.

_____________________________________________________

Copyright: Keeley Moss ℗&©2020. All rights reserved.

————————————————————————–

Acknowledgements for Part 34

Nowhere written by Bell/Colbert/Gardener/Queralt. Published by EMI Music Publishing © 1990

Something Must Break written by Joy Division. Published by Fractured Music ©1979

Still Life written by Anderson/Butler. Published by Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., BMG Rights Management, Warner Chappell Music, Inc ©1994

The Keeley Chronicles PART 33

The definitive account of the only case of its kind, a search for truth, a spiritual journey and a labour-of-love in honour of the victim of a unique murder mystery still officially unsolved 31 years on

Rear cover pic sharpened and reduced to 30%

By Keeley Moss

 

PART 33 – CONTENTS
Chapter 86: One Step Beyond
Chapter 87: The Most Beautiful Girl in the World
Chapter 88: Stuck in the Middle with You
Acknowledgements for Part 33

 

Chapter 86: One Step Beyond

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Slip Inside This House: Foot passenger entrance, Larne ferry terminal. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

The pilgrimage
Has gained momentum

Take a turn…

R.E.M. – ‘Pilgrimage’

 

For anyone who hasn’t been following the previous twelve instalments of this blog, this is the next stage of my retracing Inga’s movements by undertaking a solo backpacking trip on an Interrail pass through England, Scotland and the north (and south) of Ireland for the purpose of researching my book about Inga and her case (which is a separate work to this blog) and to keep her memory alive by trying to complete the journey that she was so tragically murdered in the process of undertaking. I am also doing this in order to show just how far she travelled and the sheer effort she made to get where she was going before she was killed, a very important aspect of Inga’s legacy that was overlooked for too long. She came so far. So near and yet, so far…

As documented in Part 32, my time on board the ferry to Larne was not without its problems. However, little did I know at the time that that was just the beginning of an extraordinary night.

Not long before the ferry docked at Larne, I decided to enter the lounge. So far during the crossing I had gone out of my way to avoid this section of the ship, for obvious reasons. But by this time, I was getting such an intimidating vibe everywhere else on the ferry that I thought it couldn’t be much worse there. No sooner had I found myself a seat in the lounge and plonked my rucksack down beside me than an announcement was made that the ferry was now docking. “Would all passengers please proceed towards the exits”, an usher then requested.

I went from being sat in the lounge to being ushered off the ferry and down the staircase that led directly into the vehicle dock before following the other foot passengers onto a small shuttle bus that drove from the vehicle dock of the ship to where it arrived at the back door of Larne ferry terminal. At this point the few other foot passengers and I climbed off the bus and proceeded to follow a short path into the terminal building. From there I walked down the eerie-looking red-brick corridor with blindingly-bright overhead lights that leads into the main concourse of the terminal, to the sound of Joe Jackson’s ‘Another World’, the song I was listening to on headphones. It will only become apparent later in this piece why I have chosen to highlight this, but the lyrics of this song include the following lines:

Then I turned around saw someone smiling
I stepped into
I stepped into
Into another
Into another world…

 

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The walls are closing in: Foot passenger corridor, Larne ferry terminal. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

I was stunned at the speed at which these movements were accomplished. It seemed to take no more than a matter of seconds from my having been sat in the lounge of the ferry to facing the exit doors of the inside of the terminal building, something I would have found very hard to believe had I not experienced it for myself. It gave me a vital insight into not just how short a time Inga would have spent in the ferry terminal that night but how tiny a timeframe her primary killer had in which to approach her and manage to lure her into accepting his offer of a lift from Larne.

But I was not planning to leave via the exit doors. And I was certainly not intending to take any lift from Larne. The motivation behind my retracing Inga’s footsteps was essentially two-fold – one, for the purpose of researching the book I’m working on and two, as a personal pilgrimage and spiritual mission that I’m obsessed with, to try complete the journey Inga was denied the chance to. However, the climax would be in getting to complete the circle by taking the train from Larne Harbour to Belfast which had been Inga’s intention before events took such a disastrous turn that night in April 1988.

It will probably surprise people to learn that the layout of Larne ferry terminal (which opened in 1985, two and a half years prior to Inga’s fateful arrival there) has essentially remained identical from the day it was first opened up to and including the present day, almost 35 years later. Since Inga’s murder in 1988, so much in the world in which we live has changed beyond all recognition. But there are some things, and some places, that have not undergone any substantial alterations despite the enormous passage of time, places that have survived the march of modernity.

Having tracked down and interviewed former Harbour Police officers who were stationed at the Port of Larne in the late 1980s and 1990s, as well as a maritime expert with extensive inside knowledge of Sealink ferry practices and specifically the former Stranraer-Larne route and the Galloway Princess, I have been able to establish beyond doubt that Larne ferry terminal is, remarkably, one such place to have remained essentially unchanged since 1985, and more to the point, since 1988. So, when I arrived there off the ferry from Scotland, I knew I was seeing the place much as Inga had done during the very brief time she was in the vicinity. It made the experience feel even more poignant – and even more eerie – than might have otherwise been the case.

 

Chapter 87: The Most Beautiful Girl in the World

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Walk This Way: Rail passenger gangway, Larne ferry terminal. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

How can I get through days when I can’t get through hours?
I can try but when I do, I see you and I’m devoured

This kind of beauty is the kind that comes from inside

Prince – ‘The Most Beautiful Girl In the World’

 

So while in my peripheral vision I could see the other foot passengers, who were all ahead of me, briskly walk out the front doors of the terminal building I was instead firmly focused on travelling in the opposite direction. With that I took a sharp right upon exiting the corridor and walked the very short distance along a path and up an incline towards the doors that open onto the platform of Larne Harbour train station, just as Inga originally intended on that fateful night.

But as I was approaching these doors, I saw something that stopped me dead in my tracks. It was a poster. About Inga. The same PSNI poster requesting information about her movements that I had seen the last time I was in the building six months earlier while taking part in the making of the BBC Spotlight television documentary The Life and Death of Inga-Maria Hauser. The poster was a further reminder that Inga’s case is still unsolved all these years later and that police are still having to request the help of the general public as they strive to secure the evidential fragments required to close the case. One of only two notices on the noticeboard, poignantly it had remained in place all this time, despite it being only secured with Blu Tack and with there being no plate glass screen to protect it. So I was shocked to see it still here after such a long time.

 

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The most beautiful girl in the world. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

The words on the poster, printed alongside a freshly-filtered photo of Inga beaming her most vibrant smile, and which I will reproduce word-for-word here, read:

30 years ago
In April 1988
Inga Maria Hauser
WAS FOUND MURDERED
in Ballypatrick Forest, Ballycastle

Inga Maria Hauser arrived in Northern Ireland on the Larne/Stranraer Ferry on 6 April 1988. 

  • Do you remember seeing her?
  • Do you know anything about her movements from 6th April?
  • Have you any information about what happened to her or who she was with?

If you think you can assist with the investigation please call the police on 101 and ask for the Detectives investigating this case or phone their direct line 028 7137 9783 or alternatively phone Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111

 

Chapter 88: Stuck in the Middle with You

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One Step Closer: Larne Harbour station, 10pm. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Trying to make some sense of it all
But I can see that it makes no sense at all
Is it cool to go to sleep on the floor?
‘Cause I don’t think that I can take any more

Here I am, stuck in the middle with you

Stealers Wheel – ‘Stuck in the Middle with You’

 

Now I stood on the verge of walking through the doors of the railway platform and achieving the most vital part of my mission. Having spent the previous four days travelling almost constantly, suddenly I found that I couldn’t move. I was frozen to the spot. It was that poster. It might seem odd, I associate her with this place probably more than anywhere else and yet I just didn’t expect to see her photo still here. And when I did, it stopped me in my tracks so much I couldn’t move. I needed to start walking, and fast. From where I stood, the entrance to the platform, I could see the train mere metres away from me, the very train I needed to be on, the train she should have been on. Except for one thing.

I could not move.

One thought struck me above anything else. It was the fact that 30 years ago she was here, incredibly-briefly, in person. 30 years later she was here in the form of her photo on a poster. And now I was here. And I couldn’t go anywhere.

But I had to move. I had to make that train. If the train left without me the whole trip, or the main point of it at least, would essentially be ruined. And I wasn’t sure if I could go through it all over again. It didn’t feel to me like it had taken all that much physically to accomplish, even with all the travelling and the sleep deprivation of the previous four days, but emotionally it was a different story. It’s the kind of thing you do once. In fact, I have never heard of anyone doing it before, so perhaps it wasn’t even something you do once. All the same, I knew that I had to get my brain in gear and take the final steps towards that train.

Something in me then clicked, I freed my feet and started to move. I was on the platform now, walking towards the train. The train was still there, to my relief. But my mind was so consumed with thoughts of Inga and that poster not to mention the strange time I’d had on board the ferry from Scotland that I hadn’t noticed that there were absolutely no other people on the platform. I was in a strange state of mind, almost some kind of trance-like state, and eager to finally board the train and in my own small way complete a circle that had gone uncompleted for 30 years by that point that I just didn’t notice there weren’t any passengers on the train or on the platform. Perhaps the fact that most of my train and bus journeys over the previous few days had been as a lone passenger made me think nothing of there being no one on the train. I pressed the button to open the doors and waited for the sliding doors to widen. Literally a ‘Sliding Doors’ moment. But nothing was happening. I pressed the button again, but again, the doors failed to open. What was going on here?

Suddenly, I heard a voice from behind. I turned around to find a lady aged around 30, which if my estimation was correct meant she would have been born roughly around 1988, the year Inga was killed. She spoke with a Scottish accent and wore a broad smile.

 

Then I turned around saw someone smiling…
I stepped into
I stepped into
Into another
Into another world…

 

Events were again mirroring the words of the song I had been listening to only moments before.

The woman had followed me onto the platform, and her arrival here meant that now there was a whole two of us. She was one of those people you just warm to instantly. She told me she had been on the same ferry from Scotland and like me she was here to catch the train to Belfast. I found it strange that she could have been so far behind me, and also that it had taken her this long to follow me onto the railway platform. I had been the last passenger to get off the ferry, punctuality has never been my strong point so typically it had taken me longer than everyone else on board to get my things together. And I had spent what felt like ages in the ferry terminal reading that poster and trying to summon up the ability to resume walking towards the platform. So why was she only here now? It didn’t make sense.

Suddenly a third woman appeared on the platform, as if from nowhere. She hadn’t come through the doors of the terminal and none of the doors of the train would open so I simply do not know where she came from. However, unlike me or the Scottish lady she wasn’t looking to catch the train to Belfast. It was soon apparent she was a member of the rail staff and spoke with an Eastern European accent. I asked her in standard Dublin parlance, “What’s the story with the train?”

“This train isn’t going anywhere, it’s here to be cleaned”, she answered. I asked her what time the next train to Belfast was. And I will never forget her reply.

“7.52am”, she said.

a.m. you say?

“Yes”, she responded as if that was nothing out of the ordinary. “But it’s 10pm, and we’ve just arrived here off the ferry from Scotland!” I replied. To this she said nothing. I couldn’t believe there wouldn’t be another train tonight. So, I changed tack. “What time is the last train out of here at night?” I asked. “Nine o’clock”, she said.

Why would a train service that is literally connected to a ferry terminal and that is solely there in order to serve passengers disembarking from ferries leave halfway through the ferry journey?! It was so bizarre it was comical. Even more so for the fact that the Port of Larne is not a residential area at all, and on every single occasion I have been in Larne ferry terminal it has been completely empty, with no sign of any other person in the building. So presumably the last train must have left for Belfast with no passengers on board. That didn’t make sense either.

It was dawning on me that I would not be able to take the train journey Inga had intended to, and therefore I wouldn’t reach Belfast by train. I was devastated. I had staked everything on making it from Larne Harbour to Belfast by train in order to complete the circle. By this point I had introduced myself to my fellow stranded passenger and asked for her name. “Fiona”, she said. I made the few seconds walk to the waiting area in the ferry terminal and Fiona left the building altogether, saying she was going to find out the time of the next bus to Belfast. “F**k the bus. I want to know what happened to the goddamned train”, I said under my breath.

I found the terminal building completely empty as usual. No staff, no passengers, not a solitary soul. Fiona soon returned with the news that there were no buses. Period. First no trains, and now no buses too. “Oh for f**k’s sake”, I muttered. It meant we’d have to get a taxi, which we agreed to share the cost of between the two of us. Fiona rang a taxi firm based in Larne. They had no taxis available for the rest of the night. So, she phoned another, who reported that there were no taxis available anywhere in Larne all night.

Fantastic. No trains, no buses and now no taxis either. There must be some kind of way out of here? Said the blogger to the ferry passenger. The thing was, I had to be in work in Dublin the following morning. But far more importantly, I had to make it from Larne to Belfast in order to preserve the integrity of the mission I had set off from Dublin intending to complete four days earlier. Inga’s original mission that had gone uncompleted for thirty years. I was going to do it right, or not at all. It was beginning to look like ‘not at all’. Or at least no further than Larne.

 

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There must be some kind of way out of here? Larne ferry terminal. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

But staying in Larne ferry terminal overnight was not going to be an option. Inga was only in the place for a few seconds and ended up dead as a result. Did I really want to spend the whole night here, and what’s more, on my own?

It was then that it occurred to me. Her words. Always her words. Words that Inga had written in her diary on the very last day of her life. The most painfully-ironic words I have ever read.

My journey has run without a hitch so far

Her journey had indeed run without a hitch so far – until she reached Larne. Now here I was thirty years later and my journey retracing her steps through the UK and Ireland had also run without a hitch so far – until I reached Larne. What was going on here? It was surely too much of a coincidence for it to be a coincidence. But if so, what was it? What did it mean? And would this be the only instance tonight of history repeating itself?

I was dumbstruck. This could have happened in any one of the dozen or so stations where I’d retraced Inga’s steps in London. Or it could have happened when I went to Headington. Or Oxford. Or Bath. Or Bristol. Or Preston. Or Inverness. Or in either of the two stations in Glasgow. Or Ayr. Or Stranraer. And it wouldn’t have been strange. But given the history of the case and the circumstances of why I was here, for this to happen in Larne? “Unbelievable”, as one of my friends in North Antrim who was following my account of the backpacking trip on my Facebook page commented, unwittingly echoing Inga’s mum Almut’s words to the Belfast Telegraph in 2009 when she summarised so succinctly the bizarre and unique circumstances of her daughter’s murder, “It was, and still is, unbelievable”.

However, events in Larne were about to take an even more improbable turn…

TO BE CONTINUED

Inga-Maria Hauser Inga 1

May 28th 1969 – April 6th 1988. Never forgotten.

_____________________________________________________

Copyright: Keeley Moss ℗&©2020. All rights reserved.

————————————————————————–

Acknowledgements for Part 33

Pilgrimage written by Berry/Buck/Mills/Stipe. Published by Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group ©1983

Another World written by Joe Jackson. Published by Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd. ©1982

The Most Beautiful Girl In the World written by Prince Rogers Nelson. Published by Universal Music Publishing Group ©1994

Stuck in the Middle with You written by Rafferty/Egan. Published by © BMG Rights Management ©1973

The Keeley Chronicles PART 32

The definitive account of the only case of its kind, a search for truth, a spiritual journey and a labour-of-love in memory of the victim of a unique murder mystery still officially unsolved 31 years on

Rear cover pic sharpened and reduced to 30%

By Keeley Moss

 

PART 32 – CONTENTS
Chapter 84: Troubled Waters
Chapter 85: Heavy Storms
Acknowledgements for Part 32

 

Chapter 84: Troubled Waters

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Keep on Truckin’: Ferry vehicle deck and passenger deck entrance, Cairnryan, Scotland. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Every night I circle like the moon
It’s an act of simple devotion
But it can take forever when you’ve got something to prove

Crowded House – ‘Locked Out’

 

For anyone who hasn’t been following the previous eleven instalments of this blog, this is the next stage of my retracing Inga’s movements by undertaking a solo backpacking trip on an Interrail pass through England, Scotland and the north (and south) of Ireland for the purpose of researching my book about Inga and her case (which is a separate work to this blog) and to keep her memory alive by trying to complete the journey that she was so tragically murdered in the process of undertaking. I am also doing this in order to show just how far she travelled and the sheer effort she made to get where she was going before she was killed, a very important aspect of Inga’s legacy that was overlooked for too long. She came so far. So near and yet, so far…

Although I suspected that the next couple of hours would probably be intense from an emotional standpoint, I fully expected to find the ferry crossing itself a straightforward, benign modern-day travelling experience. I was here to retrace Inga’s steps but I genuinely did not expect any sort of danger whatsoever. After all, I live in a capital city and I’ve been all over the world. I’ve been on trains, boats and planes on my own countless times. I was hardly going to have a hard time on a ferry.

I was wrong.

By contrast I was shocked at what I encountered. I have never experienced such a sexually-charged and intimidatingly macho environment anywhere.

After making my way up the stairs and onto the passenger deck I instinctively gravitated towards the most brightly-lit and open-plan area of the passenger deck, which is the cafeteria. The cafeteria led directly to the ferry’s bar and lounge which my instinct told me to avoid. Conscious of why I was here and that this was the same ferry crossing that had played a crucial role in sealing Inga’s fate, I reasoned that it would be best to spend the majority of the crossing seated alone, listening to music on my headphones and reducing the possibility of making myself in any way conspicuous. Despite the fact that there were only two other people seated in the cafeteria for the majority of the crossing, two males, and one of them had his back to me, the other of the two, a well-built older male, was staring straight at me. Neither of these men had been on the coach that brought myself and the other foot passengers from the ferry terminal, so I knew they had to be motorists. In fact their appearance bore all the hallmarks of lorry drivers.

I tried to lose myself in the music I was listening to on headphones. I’d had ‘Mad at You’ by Joe Jackson on heavy rotation all day, a six-minute-long post-punk song that crackles with a relentless intensity. Still, my curiosity was such that I could not resist looking up every now and again. Each time I raised my head, expecting to see him looking elsewhere this time, instead his eyes remained firmly fixed on me. Eventually this had happened too many times for it to be a coincidence, or merely a case of my being paranoid, and I tried to find a way to diminish his interest. Realising that before leaving Stranraer I had put my hair up in pigtails in order to remedy my hair being out of shape due to having spent much of the day in high winds, I decided to take the pigtails out of my hair, belatedly guessing that perhaps this was what had drawn his eyes to me, and hoping that this interest would now cease. But still he persisted looking at me like he was about to enjoy a large steak. This went on…FOR AN HOUR.

Now, you may think in the cold light of day “Why didn’t you confront him and ask him to stop staring?” Or wonder perhaps why did I not hit him with some withering one-liner? But it’s always easy to be wise after the event. At the time I was just too taken aback to react at all, the fact it had never really happened to me before stunted me from knowing how to react at all. Also, I was on my own and I just didn’t feel like confronting anyone, let alone this guy who, as the phrase goes, ‘Was built like a brick shithouse’.

Although I had partly decided to retrace Inga’s footsteps in order to try gain as much of an insight into her movements as possible, never had I expected that I might gain an insight into her predicament on board the ferry crossing to Larne. But in that moment it occurred to me that this was precisely what was happening. I suddenly found myself in quandaries I had never really experienced before. In Dublin I generally feel invisible, afforded the easy anonymity that is part and parcel of life in a capital city. I’m not used to being noticed, let alone watched. In the course of having to think quickly on my feet to deal with this, I found myself struck by the realisation that it is possible in the light of what happened to Inga that she may have found herself occupying a very similar mindset during her fateful last ferry crossing.

 

Chapter 85: Heavy Storms

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Last Chance on the Stairway: The author sits it out on the staircase as the weirdness on board reaches a crescendo. Photo: Keeley Moss

 

All hands on deck at dawn
Sailing to sadder shores
Your port in my heavy storms
Harbours the blackest thoughts

Echo and the Bunnymen – ‘Ocean Rain’

 

Having sat motionless at the back of the cafeteria, and having been stared at the entire time by this guy seated halfway across the room with his travelling male companion, and with no sign of this situation changing, I wanted to get as far away from the cafeteria as possible. But how far could I go? I was stuck in the middle of the ocean, or the North Channel at any rate, with little room to roam. I was also faced with the issue of what to do with my backpack. Should I leave it in the seating area and run the risk of someone potentially tampering with it while I was gone? Or should I take it with me, and as a result impede my free movement? My thinking at this point was, what would be the point of going for a walk if I wasn’t going to be able to stretch my legs freely, having borne the weight of my rucksack almost constantly during the previous days of the backpacking trip. In that moment I had a blinding flash of clarity, as it struck me that Inga possibly grappled with such questions as she would have faced the same issues of what to do with her own rucksack when she prepared to explore the ferry (and it is a matter of record that Inga did indeed do that, thanks to the only two verified witness reports of Inga’s movements during the ferry crossing).

I decided to chance it. I left my backpack on the seat and walked out of the cafeteria and down a corridor, with little awareness of the layout of the ferry. And that’s when things took an even stranger turn. As I exited the cafeteria there was a man standing in the corridor that I took little notice of but as I passed by him I felt his gaze upon me, and in my peripheral vision I noticed his eyes follow my every step. What was this now? I tried to out it down to a coincidence but within seconds a third man passed me in the corridor and this guy was looking at me with even more intensity than either of the other two. I don’t go ‘out out’ very often but not even when I’ve been in clubs in Dublin dressed-up have I ever been subjected to anything like the intense male interest I was on this ferry. It was all the more surprising to me considering how rough I thought I looked due to having spent most of the day in the wind at Stranraer harbour and it’s train station.

 

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Silence, Sea and Sky: The view across the North Channel from the ferry shortly after leaving Scottish shores. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

I found myself trying to figure out what it was about me on this night that was different. Why was it the case that suddenly I was apparently being deemed an object of interest by the men on board? I wasn’t doing anything any differently than I would have back in Dublin where as I said I seem to be invisible. I was dressed like a typical backpacker for purely practical purposes – jeans, a top, cardigan, sneakers. And yet the extent of this interest, far from diminishing as the journey wore on, was actually intensifying. I figured that it probably had very little to do with me personally. I was the only female travelling solo on the boat that I could see and this fact, in addition to the peculiar sense of abandon that is rife on a ferry among gung-ho alpha male types had seemingly created some sort of perfect storm. As I walked around the boat there didn’t seem to be anywhere I could go without picking up a predatory vibe. I am far from prudish and ordinarily would have welcomed some interest but there was a palpably primal and I would say slightly sinister edge to it in this case that my instinct told me to be wary of.

I tried to stay focused on why I was here. Only two things are known for certain about Inga’s movements on the ferry, both of which are entirely innocuous. The second of them involved her going up on deck for some fresh air and to look out to sea at the approaching Ireland of her dreams. She was not to know that that view was pretty much all she would see of it.

I would have wanted to go up on deck anyway, to see the sea and take in the oceanic vista. And because I was here to retrace Inga’s movements to the letter, going up on deck as she had done was obviously necessary to maintain the integrity of my mission. But now I had a third reason to want, nay, need to go up on deck; The fact that I had by this point run out of places to go on the passenger deck that didn’t present one peril or another.

It was dark, cold and inevitably very windy when I ventured up on deck. Unlike when Inga walked up on deck on that fateful evening in 1988, there was no one else already there when I ventured up. So many things were running through my head. When I reached Larne, I would have to get to Belfast and find my hostel on foot and at night in a city that I’m not overly familiar with. I also had it on my mind that I would have to get from Belfast to Dublin the next morning to make it into work on time. But those more mundane concerns were now being overridden by blacker thoughts. I realised I didn’t really have a strategy for dealing with the situation I now found myself in. My instinct had already told me to avoid the bar and lounge area of the ferry. Then I had been practically driven out (no pun intended) of the cafeteria area by the guy who wouldn’t stop staring at me. Then I had gone for a walk through the ferry’s corridors only to find not one but two separate guys staring at me in a way that wasn’t what I was used to, and this had continued in other parts of the ferry that I wandered into. I reckoned there was no way of reasoning with the intensity I had been surprised to find on the passenger deck. Testosterone makes men crazy, at its zenith you can’t reason with it. It brings with it an incredibly strong compulsion, a drive so strong that it has played a vital role in fuelling the desire that has maintained mankind on this planet for millions of years as well as having been a significant component in the creation and perpetuation of wars, of the tendency of alpha figures to seek to control and dominate, and much else besides.

 

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Darklands: On deck between Cairnryan and Larne. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

After a while up on deck I headed back indoors and decided to sit on the stairway for the remainder of the crossing. Then I remembered I had left my backpack in the cafeteria, where the creepy guy and his mate were.

F**k.

I’d have to go back down there. Fortunately the ferry would soon dock. I was looking forward to getting on the train after arriving at Larne. A blizzard of images was flying through my mind.

The boat.

The train.

The space between the boat and the train.

The wheres, the whats, the whys.

Above all else, her. On that night, on this sea, more than 30 years before me. Approximately 280,000 hours before now. She was here, oblivious to her magnificence, and equally unaware of the horrendous fate that lay in wait. A force for good, an artistic avatar, an intrepid explorer, a gleaming beacon of luminous youth. Unwittingly trapped in time. And fast running out of time as the precious seconds ticked by. Caught in the jagged jaws of a monster’s merciless urges. Guided by the guiltiest of hidden hands.

That night. That evening, even. 160 mystifying minutes on a cross-channel ferry in 1988.

Three decades on, the aftershocks still haven’t stopped reverberating. Over the last few years Inga’s case has become more relevant and more topical than ever before, which is extraordinary, and a feat perhaps unparalleled in crime history after such an elongated timespan.

 

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Rabbit in the Headlights: A lorry in the vehicle dock of the Galloway Princess in a still taken from the 1988 Crimewatch UK segment on Inga’s case

 

Above all, what I found most surprising was that here I was on a trip where I had resolved to retrace Inga’s steps, and I was gaining a totally-unexpected insight into what it was probably like for her on the same ferry crossing. Except in Inga’s case it must have been so much worse. For 1988 was an era that predated many of the subsequent advances of feminism, and the significant softening of male culture that has simultaneously gradually evolved in society over the last three decades. Furthermore, the extent of alcohol consumption was arguably even more rampant in the 1980s, especially on cross-channel ferries which have a unique air of loose abandon to them, being literally ‘at sea’ and somewhat outside the confines of the codes of conduct that check the free reign of those so inclined on dry land. Even more pertinently, on the night Inga was on board this ferry crossing, she was one of 422 passengers. By contrast there seemed only a fraction of that amount of people on the ferry I was on, and yet despite that, and despite my belief that the present day is a far safer climate for people in general in Ireland and the British Isles than was the case in 1988, I was shocked at the predatory air that was filling this ferry.

I would walk off the ferry with one overriding, ominous question; If it was that intense for me in this day and age, just how bad must it have been for Inga in 1988?

The answer to that question can be most accurately gauged by what happened to her shortly after she arrived at Larne…

TO BE CONTINUED

 

Inga-Maria Hauser Inga 1

May 28th 1969 – April 6th 1988. Never forgotten.

 _______________________________________________________

Copyright: Keeley Moss ℗&©2020. All rights reserved.

————————————————————————–

Acknowledgements for Part 32

Locked Out written by Neil Finn. Published by Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd. ©1994

Ocean Rain written by McCulloch/Sergeant/Pattinson/De Frietas. Published by Warner/Chappell Music ©1984

The Keeley Chronicles PART 31

The definitive account of the only case of its kind, a search for truth, a spiritual journey and a labour-of-love in memory of the victim of a unique murder mystery still officially unsolved 31 years on

Rear cover pic sharpened and reduced to 30%

By Keeley Moss

 

PART 31 – CONTENTS
Chapter 82: A Candle for Her Cause
Chapter 83: No Birds Do Sing
Acknowledgements for Part 31

 

Chapter 82: A Candle for Her Cause

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Train in the Distance: The path to Stranraer station with the railway line that Inga travelled on adjacent to the now-derelict ferry terminal that she walked into on the fateful last evening of her life. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

The highway calls…

The House of Love – ‘Road’

 

For anyone who hasn’t been following the previous ten instalments of this blog, this is the next stage of my retracing Inga’s movements by undertaking a solo backpacking trip on an Interrail pass through England, Scotland and the north (and south) of Ireland for the purpose of researching my book about Inga and her case (which is a separate work to this blog) and to keep her memory alive by trying to complete the journey that she was so tragically murdered in the process of undertaking. I am also doing this in order to show just how far she travelled and the sheer effort she made to get where she was going before she was killed, a very important aspect of Inga’s legacy that was overlooked for too long. She came so far. So near and yet, so far…

By this point I had been on the road for three days. Which doesn’t sound very long, but during that time I had managed to cover a lot of ground, just as she had. She came so far (a lot further than me, due to her starting from her home in Munich in the far south of Germany whereas I started the same journey from my home in Dublin).

The train journey to Inverness alone (covered in Part 24) took twelve hours. From having studied Inga’s movements in detail in advance of the trip it occurred to me that the effort she had gone to in travelling as far as she had was something that has been overlooked in media reports over the years, but now having retraced many of those steps it was even more apparent just how true this was. When people try to get their heads around what Inga went through the night she was murdered, it’s important to bear in mind that she hadn’t just crossed the road to be in Larne – she had travelled thousands of miles. All on her own and all the way from the furthest point south in Bavaria, close to the Austrian border, up through Germany, into the Netherlands and all the way across the country to the Hook of Holland, across to Harwich (an 8-hour ferry journey back in 1988) then on to London before moving on to Cambridge and returning to London in order to get to Oxford, Bath, Bristol and Liverpool then onwards to the furthest point north of Scotland, Inverness, then back across to the furthest point west via Glasgow, Ayr and Stranraer and then across the North Channel to Northern Ireland. Just writing that itinerary that would make most people dizzy but Inga didn’t just write it – she lived it. She came so far, fortified by the zest of a first-time traveller and bolstered by the hope of achieving her “greatest dream”, of reaching the island she was in her own words “looking forward to best” – Ireland.

And now here I was at the same place Inga was on April 6th 1988, poised to complete the next stage of this spiritual mission, and with very mixed feelings for obvious reasons. One of the most important sections of the trip would involve sailing on the latter-day equivalent of the Galloway Princess, sailing from Cairnryan nine miles up the road from Stranraer to Larne on the same evening ferry crossing, and as a foot passenger just as Inga had been. Although the volume of foot passengers sailing on board cross-channel ferries has declined sharply since the mid-1990s as the advent of cheap flights has taken its toll, commercial transport business which had always been the lifeblood of the shipping industry remains as strong as ever. As a result, there were proportionately more lorry drivers in comparison with foot passengers on the night I made the crossing, and roughly the same amount of lorry drivers as there would have been on the night Inga sailed on the Galloway Princess. Nevertheless prior to sailing I anticipated no problems, expecting nothing more than a reflective if poignant experience on the boat.

But first, and unlike Inga when she was in Stranraer, I found myself with some time to kill in the town. I have a real soft spot for the place on account of it being the last place on land where Inga was on her own and therefore safe and well. For that reason, although it still feels like a heavy place emotionally because her brief time here preceded the horror that would follow, it has a different kind of darkness from that of Larne or Ballypatrick Forest. Since the transfer of the town’s shipping to Cairnryan in 2011, the heart has been sadly ripped out of it, something that was palpable during my stay. And of course, being situated where it is right on the water’s edge of the North Channel, there is no shield from the elements. If it’s windy there are few places windier than Stranraer and if it’s cold, there are few places colder (even then, it’s still not as cold as Ballypatrick Forest).

Having spent the day examining in detail Stranraer Harbour, Stranraer train station and as much of the old ferry terminal area as possible (as covered in Parts 28-30) I paid a visit to Stranraer museum and library. I thought there was little chance of there being anything in Stranraer to commemorate Inga’s brief but significant presence here back in 1988, and sure enough that was the case. There is nothing, nothing at all to suggest that she had ever been here. If you passed through here and you weren’t aware of the facts of the case, you wouldn’t know there was a connection with her. But she was the reason I had come all the way here and she’s the reason an entire community is holding a candle for her cause. One of the most poignant and most bittersweet facts of her story is how she’s made a huge impression on so many people, and the thousands of people in the 109 countries around the world who read this blog, without any of us ever having met her. That is something extraordinary. With all due respect I don’t think there are many people in history, living or dead, who could have that sort of effect on people. This is why I believe Inga’s case is even bigger and more important than anyone realises.

I had only made it to the museum fifteen minutes before it closed, so I was soon back on the streets of Stranraer. Being there I was struck by how small a town it is, having lived most of my life in Dublin so far, I often forget how big a city Dublin is and by contrast how few places there are to go to in a small town such as Stranraer. After a browse in the local charity shop, I sat for a while in a nice cafe called Dnisi’s to have something to eat but within a few minutes it closed as well. I went back out and tried to find somewhere warm to shelter but there was nowhere open apart from a pub, and being teetotal I’m not crazy about pubs at the best of times. I still had an hour to wait before the shuttle bus to the ferry, so decided to head back to the place with the strongest connection to Inga, namely the train station and the old ferry terminal area. It was now dark, and very blustery, but I didn’t know when I would get a chance to get back to what is such a remote place again, so I wanted to spend as much time at the station and ferry terminal area as possible. I had learned during the small hours of the night before (as covered in Part 28) just how spooky and isolated a place Stranraer station is after dark but being perpetually drawn to the deep end, I was not for turning.

I passed by the unlit old ferry terminal area and stared into the faceless void that lay beyond the wire mesh fence in the pitch dark. It felt eerie to be looking into nothingness. It was not unlike looking at the individual suspected of being her primary killer, an expressionless wall of emptiness. Soon I reached the railway platform again. It still felt so strange to know that she had actually been here, had actually walked here, in this very spot, in a time shortly before everything changed forever. It felt intensely frustrating to be here now, armed with the uselessness of hindsight. Having paid my respects, it was time to return to the centre of the town to catch the shuttle bus to the ferry terminal. I was bracing myself for a heavy emotional experience on the boat, but not for a moment did I think there would be any issues otherwise. The world has changed a lot since 1988, after all. I would soon see however that the world has perhaps changed less than I thought.

 

Chapter 83: No Birds Do Sing

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Terminal Frost: Cairnryan ferry terminal entrance, Stranraer, Scotland. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

It’s a dream and it screams in your head

Well it’s a deep blue sea
An impossible dream

The House of Love – ‘Hope’

 

The shuttle bus appears at the bus stop outside Dnisi’s on time and I climb aboard and pay my fare. I assumed there’d be a bunch of other backpackers joining me. But not only are there no other backpackers, there are no other people full stop. As anyone who has followed all ten of the last parts of this blog may recall, this is not an isolated occurrence. Time and time again during this trip I’ve found myself the only passenger on trains, in train stations and in passenger waiting areas. It’s as if no one goes to any of these places. After waiting a few minutes in vain for any more passengers to board the bus, the driver pulls out and begins the short drive to nearby Cairnryan just nine miles up the road. Upon arrival at the ferry terminal, I get off the bus, enter the building and present myself at reception where I collect my boarding pass. Everything is deemed to be in order and next I’m directed to the waiting area for foot passengers.

 

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Passenger Side: Foot passenger waiting area, Cairnryan ferry terminal. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Again, there is no one else here, and during my time waiting no one else arrives. The palpable sense of isolation I had felt throughout this trip was increasing. After a while I’m beckoned to the security area where I’m subjected to a rigorous frisking and have some orders barked at me by the first unfriendly Scottish person I’ve met, a female security officer with all the courtesy of a bulldog. I’m commanded to put my backpack through the security scanner, and then having passed through a body scanner I’m led towards a corridor, and out into a backyard where to my surprise a van is awaiting. The van looks like it could accommodate no more than six or seven people, tops – surely this couldn’t be the full extent of the foot passengers that would be travelling on the ferry? In fact, it is even fewer. I’m the only woman, and the last to board, there are four guys already sitting in the van and that’s it. How they got there I do not know as they definitely weren’t in the waiting area inside the terminal. The van sets off and we drive in silence and in darkness to the ship, with all the lights switched off inside the van, which further compounds the weird sense of isolation. There’s an ambience of no allegiance, very much a case of ‘Together Alone’ to quote Crowded House. I would ordinarily crack a joke to break the ice, but my instinct tells me that such a move will fall on deaf ears among my fellow foot passengers.

 

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Decks Dark: The vehicle deck of the Cairnryan-Larne ferry. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

The journey doesn’t take long, the van driving through the port and up onto the vehicle deck of the ferry before we are ushered off. The other foot passengers quickly scurry through the door and up the staircase towards the passenger deck but I’m the last to get off, and given that I have a very different reason for being here, retracing the footsteps of a very special person with almost limitless artistic potential who was in the course of a brave and beautiful mission and who was subjected to the cruellest and most ferocious death imaginable, I can’t help but linger longer. I find myself standing in the vehicle deck, with a convoy of lorries directly behind me.

And then there it is. The smell. An unmistakable aroma hits me instantly upon climbing off the van and into the belly of the boat. It’s the odour of a noxious night, the coldness of the coast combined with a petrol-scented air. A fragrant indicator of a place where no birds do sing, where freight takes the place of feelings, where everything and everyone is transitory. A mechanical, cold and unfeeling aroma that I’m not to know is a precise precursor to the sort of energy I will encounter during the crossing…

TO BE CONTINUED

 

Inga-Maria Hauser Inga 1

May 28th 1969 – April 6th 1988. Never forgotten.

________________________________________________________

Copyright: Keeley Moss ℗&©2020. All rights reserved.

————————————————————————–

Acknowledgements for Part 31

Road & Hope written by Guy Chadwick. Published by Colgems-EMI Music, Inc. O/B/O EMI Music Publishing Ltd. ©1988

The Keeley Chronicles PART 30

The definitive account of the only case of its kind, a search for truth, a spiritual journey and a labour-of-love in memory of the victim of a unique murder mystery still officially unsolved 31 years on

Rear cover pic sharpened and reduced to 30%

By Keeley Moss

 

PART 30 – CONTENTS
Chapter 79: The Other Side of Midnight
Chapter 80: Stranraer Till I Die
Chapter 81: Drawn to the Deep End
Acknowledgements for Part 30

 

Chapter 79: The Other Side of Midnight

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In Bluer Skies: The approach to Stranraer station. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

A dual of personalities
That stretch all true realities

Joy Division – ‘Dead Souls’

 

For anyone who hasn’t been following the previous nine instalments of this blog, this is the next stage of my retracing Inga’s movements by undertaking a solo backpacking trip on an Interrail pass through England, Scotland and the north (and south) of Ireland for the purpose of researching my book about Inga and her case (which is a separate work to this blog) and to keep her memory alive by trying to complete the journey that she was so tragically murdered in the process of undertaking. I am also doing this in order to show just how far she travelled and the sheer effort she made to get where she was going before she was killed, a very important aspect of Inga’s legacy that was overlooked for too long. She came so far. So near and yet, so far…

In Part 28 I discussed the very eerie experience of arriving as the only person on the last train to Stranraer in the small hours of the morning while retracing Inga’s movements over the course of four days travelling through the UK and Ireland. It was probably one of the darkest instalments of this blog – and that’s saying something considering the murkiness of much of the terrain traversed over the course of the three-and-a-half-year lifespan of The Keeley Chronicles. However, much like the astrological sign I share with Inga (Gemini), a sign renowned for its “dual of personalities” to quote Joy Division, I would discover there is another side to Stranraer. The other side of midnight being daylight, I resolved to return to the same train station first thing the following morning.

The station like the town has an altogether different ambience in daylight, courageously clinging to its charms in the face of the economic hardship thrust upon it by the transfer of all its shipping to the nearby port of Cairnryan nine miles up the road. As a result the station is being manned on only a part-time basis and is nowadays seeing just a fraction of the passenger numbers it once had, with most rail passengers instead availing of a feeder bus that meets the train in Ayr to take them on to Cairnryan therefore bypassing Stranraer altogether.

 

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Arrival: Passengers depart the train at Stranraer with their suitcases, bound for the new ferry terminal nearby at Cairnryan. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Still it felt amazing to be here, in Stranraer and more to the point on the very railway platform Inga actually stood on as she prepared to make her way to the ferry terminal on that fateful evening. From my research I had learned that the station had last been refurbished back in 1987, so I knew that I was seeing it virtually identically to how Inga saw it in 1988. While standing on the platform I pictured the scene in my mind’s eye…The arrival of the train from Ayr with its ensuing flood of foot passengers pouring onto the platform moments after, a bustle of people in motion, a busy blur of suitcases and bags.

And one rucksack in particular.

 

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A View to a Kilmarnock: The empty Stranraer station in daytime. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Chapter 80: Stranraer Till I Die

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The writing’s on the wall at Stranraer station… Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Go all the way
You knew you could
So far, so good
Someone asked
“Who do you think you are? How come you came this far?”
Shrugged him off and locked the door

Now it almost seems impossible
We’ve found ourselves back where we started from

Pet Shop Boys – ‘It Couldn’t Happen Here’

 

Suddenly I snap out of the vortex of my thoughts. That was then. This is now. Dragging my mind back to the present, I walk further along the platform until I reach a sign that states, “Strictly no admission beyond this point unless authorised. Monitored by Harbour Police on CCTV 24/7. Trespassers will be prosecuted”. I walk right past it, and into the space that lies just beyond the end of the railway line. To the left-hand side it leads out into the harbour at the very edge where the Galloway Princess used to dock. To the right-hand side there appeared to be some sort of railway shed. I decide to take a closer look. It isn’t every day I find myself in Stranraer so the no-trespassing signs vowing swift judicial retribution were not going to be much of a deterrent. I was on a spiritual mission and nothing so earthbound was going to deter me.

Walking behind the buffers at the end of the train tracks I have a clear view of the platform from a different perspective. Taking a few more steps to the right I proceed along a path that leads to the railway shed. It appears to be a place where few people have been, something which piqued my curiosity further still. But someone had certainly been here, someone equally as unauthorised as me. For there in large spray-painted words on the far wall of the shed was a statement of intent:

STRANRAER TILL I DIE!

My first thought was that the phrase seemed to signify something beyond its original intention. I perceived it as a badge of pride, a symbolic motto of sorts. I felt it echoed Inga’s defiance as she put up the incredible struggle against her killers on the other side of the water several hours after she’d stepped onto the platform of this very station, only yards away from this graffiti. It seemed to convey a deeper meaning, a call to arms and a battle cry for braving all terrains amid the dark days and nights to come. And come they would, if previous history was any indicator.

I turned to face an even odder and more eerie sight. On the wall directly beside the “Stranraer till I die!” graffiti, someone had spray-painted “30 F”. 30 – of all numbers. I was standing here at Stranraer station exactly 30 years on from Inga’s murder. ‘F’ of course could stand for any number of words in relation to the case…Female and funeral to name but two. It may have been nothing but a coincidence but still it was a little curious.

 

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“30 F” – that intriguing other graffiti at Stranraer station. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

I made my way back to the other side of the station area, still behind the forbidding sign, and exited out onto the side of the harbour where the Galloway Princess used to dock. Fittingly by this point the bright morning that seemed to radiate hope in the skies had made way for the ruins of an inclement afternoon. Wind and rain were beginning to wreak havoc on the harbour as a crowd of clouds cluttered the ether. I glared at the sky, and at whatever or whoever supposedly lurks behind, in a doomed pursuit to wrestle from its grasp the answers to the question of exactly what had happened in those vital droplets of time, of precisely what specific words were said to cause Inga to so suddenly and willingly deviate from her intention to catch the train to Belfast, and instead unwittingly take a night-time drive towards deathly oblivion. But neither sea nor sky were being any more forthcoming than our friends in the north.

 

Chapter 81: Drawn to the Deep End

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Empty Spaces: Stranraer station, passenger area. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

You can feel every pulse of your blood
Reminding you the days slip on by

Gene – ‘Drawn to the Deep End’

 

Walking back towards the station building I step inside for the first time, a welcome respite from the wind and rain temporarily laying siege. It takes a while to absorb the atmosphere of the place – standing here is intense, for after all this is the interior of the last railway station Inga was ever at. It’s a very small building, and fairly nondescript – there’s are only two rooms in it, one is a small waiting room and the other is an area with a kiosk, behind which are two ScotRail staff members waiting to sell tickets and answer queries – if there was anyone to buy a ticket, that is. The closure of the ferry terminal and the moving of all shipping to Cairnryan has clearly ripped the heart out of this town. It’s a crying shame really, and most of all because it means that one of the last places Inga graced with her presence, and somewhere obviously significant in relation to her last movements – Stranraer ferry terminal – has been reduced to little more than a pile of rubble in a wide open space. It is very frustrating and saddening that the building was demolished, that it’s historical significance where Inga is concerned was overlooked in favour of short-term financial gain as usual. I wonder if the people who make these decisions ever think of anything other than money, or does the lure of the lucre so dominate their train of thought that they can only think in terms of whatever and whoever can be sold and bought? I think we know the answer to that.

I end up spending hours at the station and in all that time only a couple of people enter the place to wait in the waiting room for a train. While there I also conduct an impromptu interview for my book with a member of ScotRail staff. At the close of the interview she informs me the station is about to close for the remainder of the afternoon, so I thank her for her time and head back outside. The wind and rain is raging now, and I smile ruefully as I realise I’m getting a taste of the notorious Scottish weather, in stark contrast to the beautiful clear blue sky and sun that greeted me upon my arrival at the station in the morning. I walk down along the platform with its corrugated roof overhead, with every step conscious that Inga once walked on this very platform, completely oblivious to the horror in store for her just a couple of hours later. Turning to my right I see discarded on the ground a poignant reminder of Stranraer’s bygone maritime heyday, an ancient-looking lifebuoy with faded red-and-white stripes that bears the legend “Stranraer Harbour”. It looks so old I can well imagine it having been here in 1988, or possibly even earlier.

 

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S.O.S: A maritime antiquity lying discarded in Stranraer station that serves as an apt visual metaphor for the town’s faded glories. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

After exiting the platform I’m confronted by a furious gust blowing in off the Irish Sea. Before leaving the station area altogether I decide to turn around and take one last look. As I do, I realise that from the position I’m standing in I happen to have a clear view of not just the station and the train tracks that had taken Inga to the station, but in my direct line of sight I can simultaneously see the now-vacant site of the old ferry terminal building she had entered, and also the dock from where the Galloway Princess had set sail from that night. I’m momentarily floored. I had already seen and been to all of these places separately but suddenly and unexpectedly seeing all of them simultaneously as I now can from the position I’m facing them from causes some sort of sensory overload. For in that moment I could see before me all four parts of the chain that had effectively delivered Inga right into harm’s way – the railway line, the train station, the site of the ferry terminal and the section of the harbour where she had boarded the ferry.

 

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Cold wind, tide moves in: Stranraer station, late afternoon. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

I had thought nothing could eclipse the frustration I felt standing in Larne ferry terminal for the first time (in November 2016, see Part 5) with the futile wisdom of hindsight, the intense frustration and sadness of knowing exactly what I could say and do to change the course of history and Inga’s life if it weren’t for the fact that it’s obviously impossible to go back in time and intervene. Despite the head knowing that, it still doesn’t stop the heart from wishing that it could be otherwise and from somehow trying to will it into being. So it was a surprise to be at Stranraer Harbour for the first time and feel an even greater degree of frustration than I had at Larne. For here was the place, more than any other, arguably more so than even at Larne, where a different outcome could have been possible, had it been possible for Inga to have been made aware of the grave danger she would imminently face that evening.

 

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Shivers in the salty air: Looking out to the Irish Sea from Stranraer Harbour in Scotland. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

It was too much at once. I broke down and wept more than at Oxford train station and The Roman Baths put together. Hindsight had never seemed more helpless, more hopeless. I was at a vantage point to view four places simultaneously where at any one of them I would have been in a position to save her. I had all the facts, or most of them anyway, at my disposal. And none of it was of any fucking use. I had everything but time itself. And that was the one thing without which it would be impossible. Impossible to turn back the clock thirty seconds let alone thirty years.

And yet still I can’t stop trying. The head knows one thing but the heart strives for another. But the heart will always overrule the head. After all, that’s what prompted Inga to come all the way here in the first place. Her heart made a decisive push in the Spring of 1988 to leave Germany and travel to England, then Scotland, then Northern Ireland. And the Republic of Ireland and Wales too if only she had been allowed to continue her journey on towards Dublin and Cardiff respectively. Inga was the only one of her schoolmates to spend the mid-term break of 1988 exploring outside of familiar confines. She had higher sights, drawn to the deep end in search of new frontiers. Never behind. Always beyond.

In that sense, at least one thing remains unchanged since 1988. Inga was a step ahead then, and I like to think she’s a step ahead now, one step beyond this mortal portal on the other side of this life.

TO BE CONTINUED

 

Inga-Maria Hauser Inga 1

May 28th 1969 – April 6th 1988. Never forgotten.

 ____________________________________________________

Copyright: Keeley Moss ℗&©2019. All rights reserved.

————————————————————————–

Acknowledgements for Part 30

Dead Souls written by Joy Division. Published by Fractured Music ©1979

It Couldn’t Happen Here written by Tennant/Lowe/Morricone. Published by Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd. ©1987

Drawn to the Deep End written by James/Mason/Miles/Rossiter. Published by Chrysalis Music ©1997

The Keeley Chronicles PART 29

The definitive account of the only case of its kind, a search for truth, a spiritual journey and a labour-of-love in memory of the victim of a unique murder mystery still officially unsolved 31 years on

Rear cover pic sharpened and reduced to 30%

By Keeley Moss

 

PART 29 – CONTENTS
Chapter 78: Distant Sun
Acknowledgements for Part 29

 

Author’s Note: October 2nd 2019 brought the devastating news of the death of Inga’s mother, Almut Hauser, after a long battle with ill-health. Tragically she never lived to see justice for her murdered daughter in her lifetime. Long-term readers of The Keeley Chronicles may be aware that Almut was the reason I started this blog in the first place. This instalment is dedicated to her memory.

 

Chapter 78: Distant Sun

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Danger: An apt sign at Stranraer Harbour, 30 years on since Inga’s departure from there. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Tell me all the things you would change
I don’t pretend to know what you want
When you come around and spin my top
Time and again, time and again

I am not afraid of the dark
Where your words devour my heart

Still so young to travel so far
Old enough to know who you are
Wise enough to carry the scars
Without any blame

It’s easy to forget what you learned
Waiting for the thrill to return
Feeling your desire burn
And drawn to the flame

Crowded House – ‘Distant Sun’

 

For anyone who hasn’t been following the previous eight instalments of this blog, this is the next stage of my retracing Inga’s movements by undertaking a solo backpacking trip on an Interrail pass through England, Scotland and the north (and south) of Ireland for the purpose of researching my book about Inga and her case (which is a separate work to this blog) and to keep her memory alive by trying to complete the journey that she was so tragically murdered in the process of undertaking. I am also doing this in order to show just how far she travelled and the sheer effort she made to get where she was going before she was killed, a very important aspect of Inga’s legacy that was overlooked for too long. She came so far. So near and yet, so far…

After the dark and unsettling experience covered in the previous instalment, I eventually found my way to my B&B in Stranraer. Having grabbed a few hours sleep and following a quick shower, breakfast and make-up routine, I checked-out and stepped out into a cold but beautifully crisp, sunny Scottish winter’s morning which gave the area a very different complexion from the frankly evil ambience that I’d experienced on the way from the train station during the small hours. There was only one place to go – Stranraer Harbour. I set off on foot and arrived there within minutes. It was hard to imagine the role this place had played in one of the murkiest and most harrowing unsolved murder cases of the past three decades. In the daylight I could see that Stranraer is a nice, quiet town. And its harbour is even more serene, a setting utterly at odds with the savagery deployed in Inga’s killing across the water. I stood there for a while just staring at the sea, looking all around at this coastal idyll, the nature in abundance, and the clear blue sky overhead. Exactly the type of environment Inga had travelled a thousand miles from her home to witness. I thought of all the mornings that have spanned the past thirty years, every one of which she has missed out on.

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Step by Step: Approaching the old Stranraer ferry terminal. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

I decided to walk around to the far side of the harbour, to where Inga had boarded the Galloway Princess on that spring evening all those years ago. The walk would take me back to the train station and past the old ferry terminal area that I’d found so haunting in the darkness. I wondered if daylight would also lend them a different atmosphere. Upon reaching the back of the corrugated wire fencing that surrounds the derelict ferry terminal, and noting the signs that forbade trespassing, it certainly looked a lot less foreboding with the light of day to illuminate it. Only now could I appreciate the vastness of the wide-open space where the ferry terminal building had once stood. It is huge, and almost entirely vacant. It is practically a testament to emptiness.

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I Am the Dereliction: The site of the original Stranraer ferry terminal as it is nowadays. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

It isn’t possible to gain access to it, what with all the corrugated iron fencing, barbwire and padlocks in place. But what is being protected? Virtually nothing but space itself. Acres and acres of open space. Or rather, closed space. One detail however stood out. The one part of it that still stood, defiant and unyielding.

The vehicle loading ramp.

The same ramp that the cars and lorries used to drive onto the Galloway Princess. It was the only thing remaining in the entire ferry terminal. Of all the things for the port authority to have left erect.

An entire ferry terminal levelled, and they leave that one thing standing. My blood froze. My brain fizzed. I instantly knew what it meant. This was the ramp that Inga’s primary killer used to drive his vehicle onto the Galloway Princess, the ramp that ultimately played a part in the tragedy that ensued on the other side of the water later that night. It was a chilling sight.

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A View to a Kill: That vehicle loading ramp. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

I peered through the wire mesh and tried to picture the building it had been in 1988, a vital cog in the whirring wheel of Stranraer’s then-thriving shipping industry. But that was long ago, and it had since fallen on hard ground – literally. A casualty of supposed progress, more collateral damage for sneering corporate profiteering. I resumed walking and headed towards the train station.

To my right-hand side lay the railway track, the same track that had brought me here in the small hours of the morning, and more to the point the same track that had brought Inga here on that long-ago spring evening.

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Tracks of your tears: The precise section of railway line over which Inga made her fateful approach to Stranraer. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

To the left-hand side, just a little further up, lies the exact spot where the Galloway Princess left Stranraer port from on that fateful evening in 1988. Standing there it’s such an inviting sight. A sun-drenched ocean view that radiates openness and vibrancy with an air of elusive mysteriousness – mirroring Inga’s foremost character traits. Looking at it, it’s apparent what made her feel so drawn to the flame. In the words of the beautiful song ‘Distant Sun’ by Crowded House that always makes me think of her, “Still so young to travel so far. Old enough to know who you are. Feeling your desire burn. And drawn to the flame”. In this instance the ‘distant sun’ is the ever-elusive, tantalisingly-close justice in Inga’s case, beckoning, burgeoning, constantly on the verge of being reached but never quite arriving.

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Distant Sun: The precise spot the Galloway Princess left Stranraer port from with Inga on board on that fateful evening in 1988. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

But “drawn to the flame” – that’s exactly what she was. And exactly why she came all the way here. And exactly why I followed her all the way here. For the same reason.

Drawn to the flame

TO BE CONTINUED

 

Inga-Maria Hauser Inga 1

May 28th 1969 – April 6th 1988. Never forgotten.

____________________________________________________

Copyright: Keeley Moss ℗&©2019. All rights reserved.

————————————————————————–

Acknowledgements for Part 29

Dedicated to the memory of Almut Hauser. There is a light that never goes out.

Distant Sun written by Neil Finn. Published by Universal Music Publishing Group, EMI Music Publishing France, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd. ©1993

The Keeley Chronicles PART 28

The definitive account of the only case of its kind, a search for truth, a spiritual journey and a labour-of-love in memory of the victim of a unique murder mystery still officially unsolved 31 years on

157. Aug 23rd

By Keeley Moss

 

PART 28 - CONTENTS
Chapter 75: Empty Chairs
Chapter 76: End of the Line
Chapter 77: Welcome to Stranraer
Acknowledgements for Part 28

 

Chapter 75: Empty Chairs

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Motorail Emptiness: On the last train from Ayr to Stranraer. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

I feel the trembling tingle of a sleepless night creep through my fingers

And I wonder if you know

Empty rooms that echo as I climb the stairs

Don McLean – ‘Empty Chairs’

 

For anyone who hasn’t been following the previous seven instalments of this blog, this is the next stage of my retracing Inga’s movements by undertaking a solo backpacking trip on an Interrail pass through England, Scotland and the north (and south) of Ireland for the purpose of researching my book about Inga and her case (which is a separate work to this blog) and to keep her memory alive by trying to complete the journey that she was so tragically murdered in the process of undertaking. I am also doing this in order to show just how far she travelled and the sheer effort she made to get where she was going before she was killed, a very important aspect of Inga’s legacy that was overlooked for too long. She came so far. So near and yet, so far…

Stranraer is the end of the line in every sense. Not only is it the southern terminus for one of the branch lines of the Glasgow South Western Line but where the track ends, the mouth of the Irish Sea begins – if you went any further, you’d literally end up in the water. When Inga arrived there in 1988 the train station was named Stranraer Harbour, but in 1996 it was simplified to Stranraer which is how it remains today.

Stepping onto the 23.31 in Ayr I’m one of only four people to board the otherwise-empty train, the last of the night, the last for many miles around. I take my rucksack off and sit into a seat as the train prepares to pull out. For a moment the train remains still as the driver presumably waits to see if any more passengers appear on the platform, but none do. Looking out the window I see an empty platform in a lonely railway station where thirty years previously, Inga had similarly stepped onto a train bound for Stranraer. I know she isn’t here but I can’t stop myself from trying to look for her out of the window, visualising her standing on the same platform with her rucksack on her back, full of excitement at the prospect of travelling to Ireland for the first time.

The train pulls out and I watch as Ayr soon becomes another flicker in the distance. The first stop isn’t long in arriving, a place called Maybole. Two of the passengers who boarded alongside me in Ayr get off the train here. No one gets on. It’s now just me and one other person on the train. We set off again but it’s not long before the train stops at a station called Girvan. The only other person on the train besides me and the train driver gets off here. Again no one gets on. Where is Girvan? I have no idea. Suddenly it occurs to me that I have not a clue where I am. But I know where I’m going, and that’s what matters.

The stops are coming and going fast now. And soon I’m at the second-last of them, Barrhill. Having no connection to Inga’s case other than by way of the tenuous link that she had passed through here while on the train that took her from Ayr to Stranraer on the last evening of her life, Barrhill is no more familiar to me than Maybole or Girvan were. In Barrhill with no other passenger left on the train, there’s no one left to disembark. And once again no one gets on. Could I really be the only person in Scotland who wants to go to Stranraer right now? I look around the empty train and the answer is clear.

I learned in Glasgow that the journey between Ayr and Stranraer takes approximately ninety minutes by rail so I know there is still an hour left of the journey from here on. What I didn’t know in advance is that the remainder of the journey will consist of a whole hour without any more stops.

Overhead a sign proclaims, “The next stop is Stranraer”. Suddenly a feeling washes over me, a feeling alien and strange. I feel…nervous. I never feel nervous. I don’t feel nervous in social situations, I didn’t feel nervous performing live on the radio in front of 40,000 people – I just don’t get nervous. But I could remember a time in my adolescence when I last felt nervous enough to be able to recognise the feeling now. And suddenly it was coming in waves. Why?

The feeling intensifies as the train hurtles forwards at what is now a very fast pace. I have the strong impression that the train driver is doing that thing that I’ve experienced many times when on board the last bus of the night, where it feels like they’re trying to break the speed of sound barrier to get to the end of what has no doubt been a long shift so they can finish up and go home.

I can hardly believe I’m actually going to be in Stranraer soon. The place has become  mythologised in my mind over the past three years. I think the nervousness I’m feeling must have a lot to do with the fact that Stranraer is where Inga made her fateful ferry journey from. It is one of the emotional epicentres of the case, part of a trilogy of tragedy alongside the Port of Larne and Ballypatrick Forest Park. However, I have never felt nervous in Larne or Ballypatrick Forest so it strikes me as odd why out of those three places I would only experience such an intense unsettling feeling when approaching Stranraer.

Suddenly the train begins to reduce speed. The clock reads 00.56. The end of the line is in sight. And with it, the sense of queasiness increases.

During the five minutes that follows, the lines begin to blur. Sitting still on a fast-moving train. Getting closer. Getting there. Hurtling towards her memory. Her spirit maybe. Perhaps just perhaps, a remainder of the faintest trace that this fascinating person left when she briefly passed through here all those years before.

 

Chapter 76: End of the Line

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A Trick of the Night: Stranraer station, sometime between 1am-3am. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

You’ve gone
Reached the point of no return
The more I see the more I stand alone
I see the end of the line 

Everything is wrong

Roxy Music – ‘End of the Line’

 

Suddenly the train slows to a stop. The sliding doors open. And there she is:

Stranraer

The end of the line. Any further and I’ll be in the sea. And what a sea this is. It’s the first thing I notice. I can’t see it. But I can certainly hear it, whistling winter like a banshee scream. I zip up my coat, stand up and grapple with the straps of my rucksack. Walking towards the doors, dazed from a lack of sleep over the previous nights and unsteady on my feet as I adjust to the sudden weight of my rucksack on my back after spending the previous ninety minutes sitting stationary, I stumble onto the platform. Now that I’m finally here, I can’t bear to just walk away. It is now 1am. And the station area is completely deserted. The station building itself is locked up. Suddenly, I hear a car start. I look up the platform to where the sound is coming from and see the close proximity of this car to the top of the train. That’s when I realise it’s the train driver starting his car. Even he is leaving. But I can’t leave, not yet. I’ve travelled for three days to get here.

I focus on the sound. The sea. Normally I love the sea and find anything to do with it calming and dreamy. But this sea isn’t like that at all. This sea reeks of menace, and tonight it’s whistling wildly. The second thing I notice is that familiar orange glow of the station lights overhead, gleaming and glaring like the ones in the train stations of Preston, Oxford and London on the nights before. But this is different. The tangerine tones here strangely seem stronger. Looking down along the platform they bathe my face in an amber shade. The howling wind, the raging sea, the orange lights, the remoteness of these surroundings, the sense of being utterly alone. I feel like I’m on the edge of the world. Or on the edge of the Irish Sea at least.

The signs Inga saw when she arrived at the station are now gone. As recently as 2017 they were removed and as I’ve been informed by ScotRail, destroyed. History’s precious treasures torn asunder for no good reason. For the record those signs read: ScotRail. Training Beats Coaching. ScotRail. Welcome to Stranraer. Sealink Stranraer-Larne Up to 8 sailings a day – Determined to give you a better service. And most poignantly of all in the light of what transpired only a few hours after Inga saw these signs for the first and last time, the last of those signs read: ease the strain – take the train. NIR Northern Ireland railways.

Take the train. If only.

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Into the Void: Stranraer station. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

That aside, the station is nowadays largely as it was in 1988. I stand on the platform for a while. Listening to the wind. Looking at the lights. Frozen in the moment, I lose track of time. But it must be a while, because when I next check the time upon arriving in the centre of Stranraer which is only ten minutes’ walk away it is 3am. I decide to leave the station when I start to feel seriously spooked. It’s the single spookiest atmosphere I have ever experienced. Tonight the sea is about as loud as it gets, but the sea itself cannot be seen. I try to find it with my eyes but all I see is a vast void, a black blankness in this wintertime wilderness.

 

Chapter 77: Welcome to Stranraer

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Through the Dark: The derelict Stranraer ferry terminal at night. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

The truth is cooking on a slow simmer
A light still shining even when its dimmer

Beth Orton – ‘Touch Me With Your Love’

 

Turning to go, I cast one last glance over my shoulder. But haunted waters are all that lie beyond the buffers. I’m not long out of the station area before I realise I’ve swapped one wilderness for another. And this one makes the one at the station seem like a fairy story in comparison. I had never been to Stranraer before, so I wasn’t to know that the journey from the station towards the town can only be made one way. And this way consists of a walk that on the left-hand side no more than a few feet away sit the tracks that had brought the train to the station. Looking at the track I realise that thirty years ago the train carrying Inga had rode over this very same section of track. No more than a couple of feet away from the train tracks is where the sea is howling. The footpath is so close to the train tracks, and the train tracks are so close to the sea.

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Wrong Side of the Tracks: Stranraer railway line. The Irish Sea is right in front of the wall here. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

But if I thought that was spooky, what I see when I look in the opposite direction is on another level altogether. Directly to my right I can just about make out in the darkness a caged space that seems to be enormous. I can’t resist moving towards it, pushing my face up against the wire mesh to try find out exactly what it is. And there sits a sight that chills me to my core. It’s the ferry terminal. Or what is left of it. A cold, concrete arena of dereliction. The hollowed-out heart of Stranraer’s once-busy, once-bustling, now-rusting shipping infrastructure. Inga entered that building for her fateful ferry crossing on that April evening thirty years before. And now much like Inga herself the building is sadly gone, thoughtlessly reduced to rubble.

I stand still. Ahead of me and on either side, I am surrounded by complete darkness. So much for “a light that never goes out” – I’m taken aback to discover there are no lights whatsoever once you leave Stranraer station until you reach the main road seven minutes away on foot. Not one light of any kind to guide the way. On my left is the section of train track that was the last section of train track that Inga ever travelled on, and on my right is the now-derelict ferry terminal where she boarded her fateful final ferry. And I’m walking between these two most poignant points. And yet, even in this moment I feel a faint flicker, perhaps an inkling of winning days for Inga’s case that  might lie ahead, the moment where all of this might make sense, the point at which her soul could finally find a measure of peace if at long last justice is finally reached.

The cold is making me shiver. And the wind – being Irish and living as I do in a coastal area, I’m well used to being half-garrotted by gales, but this wind is ferocious. I quicken my step and find my eyes adjusting to the darkness. It’s remarkable how quickly your eyes can adapt after being plunged into the black. As the footpath turns into a bend I can just about make out something ahead. As I get closer, I realise what it is. Then I see there’s more than one. There are many of them. It’s a procession. Of lorries. Motionless in their murkiness. Lurking, smugly, as if smirking. HGVs presumably minus their drivers, abandoned in the darkest part of town. There’s still no light around. I’ll have to pass them if I’m to stand any chance of getting out of here.

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Shadowplay: A convoy of lorries by Stranraer Harbour. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Then suddenly on the road ahead of me I see two red lights. They’re the taillights of a car. Where did that come from? And what is it doing here at 3am? Like the lorries, the car is motionless but unlike the lorries its taillights are on, indicating someone is behind the wheel. Suddenly it starts to drive off. No sooner does it start, it mysteriously slows before stopping again, but still the red lights remain on.

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Night Moves: A HGV and a car on the approach from Stranraer Harbour. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

I’m now walking past the lorries. Sitting eerily still on either side, radiating silent, pent-up menace into the night. I shudder. Only this time the cold is not the cause of my shivers.

The symbolism of the sight is screaming at me.

Lorries.

Of all the things. Of all the places.

Up ahead I can just about make out a sign. It reads:

Welcome to Stranraer

TO BE CONTINUED

Inga-Maria Hauser Inga 1

May 28th 1969 – April 6th 1988. Never forgotten.

_____________________________________________________

Copyright: Keeley Moss ℗&©2019. All rights reserved.

————————————————————————–

Acknowledgements for Part 28

Empty Chairs written by Don McLean. Published by Universal Music Publishing Group ©1971

End of the Line written by Bryan Ferry. Published by Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management ©1975

Touch Me With Your Love written by Orton/Barnes/Friend. Published by Warner Chappell Music, Inc, BMG Rights Management ©1996

The Keeley Chronicles PART 27

The definitive account of the only case of its kind, a search for truth, a spiritual journey and a labour-of-love in memory of the victim of a unique murder mystery still officially unsolved 31 years on

Rear cover pic sharpened and reduced to 30%

By Keeley Moss

 

PART 27 - CONTENTS 
Chapter 73: Coming in the Ayr Tonight
Chapter 74: Blazing Your Trail
Acknowledgements for Part 27

 

Chapter 73: Coming in the Ayr Tonight

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Ayr Apparent: The scene at the station upon my arrival. Inga made her last-ever train connection from this platform. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Waiting for the last train
Standing in the pouring rain
Thinking, wishing, hoping

Clutching on the last straw
Seeing things I never saw

One step forward
Two steps back
And you’re gone
Gone

The Mighty Lemon Drops – ‘Inside Out’

 

For anyone who hasn’t been following the previous six instalments of this blog, this is the next stage of my retracing Inga’s movements by undertaking a solo backpacking trip on an Interrail pass through England, Scotland and the north (and south) of Ireland for the purpose of researching my book about Inga and her case (which is a separate work to this blog) and to keep her memory alive by trying to complete the journey that she was so tragically murdered in the process of undertaking. I am also doing this in order to show just how far she travelled and the sheer effort she made to get where she was going before she was killed, a very important aspect of Inga’s legacy that was overlooked for too long. She came so far. So near and yet, so far…

Boarding the packed train in Glasgow Central for Ayr I reach into my rucksack and check my phone for the time. The journey is set to take one hour. By the time of reaching the town of Troon however there is almost nobody left on the train and by the time it reaches the last stop in Ayr, I am one of only three people who get off. The weather on this night is suitably Scottish – blustery, cold and dank. But being Irish I am more than accustomed to inclement climes.

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Coming up for Ayr: Signs at the station. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Stepping onto the platform in Ayr that familiar feeling returns. I had felt it upon arrival in London, Oxford, Headington, Bath, Bristol, Preston, Inverness and Glasgow. The sense of her having been here. I have ninety minutes to kill. But where to go? There’s no seating area or waiting room in Ayr station due to an ongoing rebuilding job that has rendered any and all enclosed spaces inaccessible to the public. Then again, even if there had been somewhere sheltered to sit in the station, I would have preferred to take the opportunity to explore Ayr for the hour and a half I have here.

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Times Change: ScotRail timetable, Ayr station. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

So that’s what I decide to do. Swapping one dark slab of concrete wetness for another, I exit the station and without the slightest clue where I’m going, set off in a randomly chosen direction. My phone has again run out of battery so I can’t access the satellite navigation. Before long I find myself on a motorway, which I hope will lead me towards Ayr town centre. I guess right, and after a while it looms into view. Sniffing out the scent of the centre, I keep walking. Despite the bad weather, I’m excited to be here, in Ayr. Somewhere new. Somewhere else. Somewhere else with a connection to her.

 

Chapter 74: Blazing Your Trail

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Inside-Looking Out: The author at Ayr station, wondering when Inga’s killers will be behind bars… Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

You were there in the turnstiles
With the wind at your heels
You stretched for the stars and you know how it feels
To reach too high
Too far
Too soon
You saw the whole of the moon

Flags, rags, ferryboats
Scimitars and scarves
Every precious dream and vision underneath the stars
Yes, you climbed on the ladder
With the wind in your sails
You came like a comet
Blazing your trail
Too high
Too far
Too soon
You saw the whole of the moon

The Waterboys – ‘The Whole of the Moon’

 

I have still yet to encounter even one person since I stepped off the train. Although a part of my nature favours safety, erring on the side of caution, the Gemini star sign I share with Inga means a larger part of me is drawn to the deep end. Those who are that way inclined tend to break loose and choose the choppier waters in life, unable to quell the curious urges.

And what of Ayr? The streets are completely deserted. No people. No cars. Nowhere. I walk further then choose a street at random, again guided by instinct. Passing by a pub named Rabbie’s, I glance at the windows. It looks like there’s life inside. It’s the only sign of life in Ayr tonight. I pause and ask myself if I should go in? I don’t drink alcohol and pub culture is not my thing. So, what business have I got going in a pub? But everywhere else in the town looks to be closed, and I mean everywhere. I still haven’t set eyes on a human being in the 25 minutes I’ve been here. I want to have an adventure. Going all the way to Ayr only to wander down a motorway and walk through deserted streets in the dark would be hard to qualify as an adventure. But the whole time in the back of my mind there’s the memory of her mission, a pursuit that plummeted from pleasure to peril. This decision is balanced on a knife edge. It’s such a mundane moment – I’m in a Scottish town at night and I’m merely trying to decide whether to enter a pub or not. However because I have spent literally every waking hour of the past three years with the details of Inga’s case on my mind, during this trip retracing her steps I am more conscious than I might be otherwise of the potential life-changing significance of what may appear on the surface to be straightforward events and innocuous choices. Deciding to enter this pub might make no difference to anything or it could change my life in some catastrophic way. Similarly, not entering it could leave me open to some other unforeseen threat to my existence. These are ultimately scenarios we are all faced with most days of our lives. Over-analysing the potential perils and permutations to the extent that you could become paralysed by doubt or fear is no way to live. The best of a bad bunch of options is probably to live on instinct and try to experience as much as possible in life while trying to balance the scales of safety and risk.

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Pretty Vacant: The abandoned Ayr town centre after dark. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

So once again I let my heart and head be led by instinct’s instructions, and I open the door to the pub. I need to charge my phone for what feels like the 427th time this day, and at the same time I’m thinking I just might have an experience in here that could be something to remember. I cross the lounge and try to find a power socket to charge my phone. There’s a football match on the TV – it’s the 90th minute of a game Glasgow Rangers are drawing 0-0 against some European side. There are a bunch of men sitting around the TV watching the match. I’m just relieved to be in out of the wretched weather. I’m also wondering how the hell Rangers are in Europe, the last I’d heard they’d been relegated to Division 3 or something. I take my rucksack off my shoulders and place it on the seat beside me. I’m expecting a member of the bar staff to approach me any moment now and expect me to buy a drink, which would be fair enough. Except they rarely serve in pubs the kind of drinks I like (I have very childlike tastes) and I’m not enthusiastic about the idea of buying a drink I don’t want, plus I need to conserve what little remaining funds I have… Wonder where I stay tonight. Need more money.

Suddenly a man approaches me and asks me a question in such an impenetrable accent I don’t understand a word of it. Figuring he must be a member of the bar staff and is asking me what I want to order, I ask “What hot drinks do you have here?” It’s a cold night and I could do with a hot drink. I can tell by the confused expression on his face that he must have asked me a different question than the one I thought I was responding to. However, it soon becomes apparent that not only is that the case, but it turns out he isn’t a member of bar staff at all. He’s just a guy in the bar, and he had approached me to ask if I wanted a drink. This was the last thing I was expecting. I am never asked out in Dublin. Not that he is asking me out. He is asking me if I would like a drink. But is a guy in a pub asking you if you’d like a drink merely a pre-amble before asking or expecting other things? As I say, it doesn’t happen to me in Dublin, so I wasn’t sure how to deal with it now that it was happening in Ayr. I scramble my thoughts and hope some half-sensible reply might come tumbling out of my mouth. In a split second I have to ask myself several questions – namely “Who is this guy?”, “Is he expecting something in return if I accept his offer of a drink?”, “Is this a ruse of some sort?”, “Or worse, is history repeating itself here and is this guy going to end up doing to me what Inga’s killers did to her?” The fact that I was only here to retrace her footsteps had heightened my sense of awareness in terms of trying to avoid a similar fate, and had intensified my second-guessing analysis of the situations I was finding myself in. Since my arrival in Ayr I had already debated with myself whether to leave the leave train station and go and explore the area – I ultimately decided yes. Then I debated with myself whether to enter this pub – I’d decided yes to that as well. Now I was being confronted by a guy I had never met in my life who was asking me if I’d like him to buy me a drink. In that moment I recognised a strange parallel with the moment Inga was approached at Larne – do I say no and risk seeming impolite? Do I say yes and risk getting myself into a situation I might regret? Or do I bypass both of those options and instead say something that confuses the hell out of him?

Evidently my brain chooses the latter option. Having already wrongly mistaken the guy for a member of bar staff, I respond to his question of “Would you like a drink?” with some comment about how I’m looking for a way to charge my phone, which is at least a way to sidestep his question about the drink. This however doesn’t deter him. His next question throws me another curveball. “Would you like a game of pool?” he seemed to be saying. Pool? What sort of a follow-up question is that? “Would I like a game of pool?”, I reply rhetorically, and in doing so I buy myself some time to figure out what I’m going to do. I realise I’m asking myself as much as repeating his question back at him. Would I like a game of pool? I’m not sure. I again go through the whole “Is this some sort of ruse?” analysis in my head. Then I think, “Fuck it, you wanted an adventure, let’s see where it leads”. So I nod, pick up my rucksack and follow him through to the back of the pub where there is a pool table. To my surprise there’s a second guy there, who is clearly known to the guy who asked me if I wanted a drink and a game of pool, and there‘s also a girl here who appears to know them both. Hello. What’s going on here? And all the time unbeknownst to them, in my head the only sound I can hear is “Inga, Inga, Inga, Inga…”

I try to stop being paranoid and get ready for this game of pool. I plug my phone into the wall socket, put my rucksack on a tabletop where I can keep an eye on it, and take off my coat, hat and gloves. The guy who asked me to play pool introduces himself at this point. He says his name is Dean, and it turns out he’s not from Ayr but from Bradford, a city I have holidayed in several times so it’s hard to fathom why I initially found his accent so hard to understand. We begin the game of pool and he soon races into a commanding lead. I’m playing so badly it’s as if I have invented a whole new sport with the exact opposite objective of the game he is playing.

Soon after we began the game, he opens up and begins telling me his life story. His is a classic cautionary tale, but ultimately one that has led to redemption and salvation. He had been a heroin addict for most of his life, had become involved in crime in order to feed his addiction, ended up burgling what sounds like half the houses in Bradford and ended up in prison where he continued to abuse hard drugs. It took him until he met his second wife who he credits with having turned his life around before the self-destructive and reckless path he had been on for many years came to an end. We end up talking for a good while, and during this time it becomes apparent to me that rather than him being someone to be wary of, as I had first been when he approached me and asked if I would like a drink, I realise he is only someone to admire – his honesty, his willingness to recognise his flaws and acknowledge the damage he had done to himself and many others around him, and furthermore his intelligence. He’s an ordinary working-class guy from Bradford, a former long-term heroin addict with a string of criminal convictions, and yet he is as wise as anyone I have met. And what’s more, a genuinely lovely guy. By some miracle, the very same pool game in which he’s played like a pro for much of it, while for much of it I’ve played like a demented octopus, I end up finding form late on and somehow emerge the victor. He is magnanimous in defeat, I end up accepting his second offer of a drink, he’s totally sincere in expecting nothing in return and after a thoroughly enjoyable and illuminating time spent in his company playing the good game of pool and talking, we hug goodbye and I put my coat on, lift my rucksack onto my shoulders once more and prepare to return to Ayr station to catch the last train to Stranraer.

The streets of Ayr are still empty, the weather still dank and dreary. But something has changed. Nothing has changed on the surface, but I have just witnessed the enormous impact change can have on a human being, a person who managed to turn his life around and away from the hellish harems of hard drug addiction and criminality. I take several things away from this encounter, a rare minor sporting triumph for one thing, a soulful connection with a fellow human being for another, and one more example that not everything is as it first appears on the surface. It was ultimately a far better use of my ninety minutes in Ayr than if I’d spent the whole time in the train station. I had taken a chance in exploring this remote town late at night and I’d been fine. I had taken another chance in embracing the uncertainty of spending time in the company of a guy I didn’t know from Adam, and again it had all worked out even better than I had hoped. But with each thing that was going right for me, it caused me to cast my mind back to Inga once more, and the way her backpacking trip and even more so her entire life had suddenly and through no fault of her own unravelled disastrously and tragically.

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The Ayr that I Breathe: The view from the station carpark. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

I make my way back to the train station and after exploring the station area I head for the platform. Huddling in my coat beneath the tangerine tones of the station lights the winter cold of an Ayrshire night unfurls its freezing flag. Looking up, through a haze of Scottish fog I see the electric information board display the following statement:

 

Departures
23:31 Stranraer
On time Platform 4
23:23:56

 

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In the Midnight Hour: The last train to Stranraer appears on the departures board.
Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Only eight minutes left to wait now. I stand on the platform with my rucksack and visualise her standing here the same way three decades before. She was here, on this same platform, in this same station, albeit for a mere two minutes as she hopped off one train and onto another. But the second of those trains would unwittingly deliver her into danger, into a sequence of events that would reverberate far into the future and continue doing so right up to the present day. And beyond.

And it was beyond where she was bound. And in retracing her steps through the rural and urban jungles of all these cities and towns, beyond was where I too was bound.

And so, the next leg of this spiritual mission dawns. Ayr to Stranraer.

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Here It Comes: The last train of the night arrives at Ayr. Note the absence of passengers waiting to board. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Suddenly, the distant glimmer of lights appear on the horizon and gradually become larger as the locomotive draws closer. I grasp for a semblance of security by putting my hand in my coat pocket and fumbling around for my Interrail pass which I hadn’t seen since Glasgow two and a half hours ago.

It was still there. I was still here. She is gone. Soon I would be too.

Bound for whatever lies beyond.

 

TO BE CONTINUED

 

Inga-Maria Hauser Inga 1

May 28th 1969 – April 6th 1988. Never forgotten.

_______________________________________________________

Copyright: Keeley Moss ℗&©2019. All rights reserved.

————————————————————————–

Acknowledgements for Part 27

Inside Out written by Newton/Linehan. Published by Warner Bros. Music Ltd. ©1988

The Whole of the Moon written by Mike Scott. Published by Warner/Chappell Music ©1985

The Keeley Chronicles PART 26

The definitive account of the only case of its kind, a search for truth, a spiritual journey and a labour-of-love in memory of the victim of a unique murder mystery still officially unsolved 31 years on

Rear cover pic sharpened and reduced to 30%

By Keeley Moss

 

PART 26 - CONTENTS
Chapter 71: Glasgow Queen Street
Chapter 72: Glasgow Central Revisited
Acknowledgements for Part 26

 

Chapter 71: Glasgow Queen Street

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Station to Station: Stirling, one of the stops between Inverness and Glasgow. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

She never thought about the future, she just did what she would
Oh, but she really cared about her music
And on the road
Where all but a few fall by the wayside on the grassier verge
She battled through
Against the others in her world, and the sleep, and the odds

Genesis – ‘Duchess’

 

For anyone who hasn’t been following the previous five instalments of this blog, this is the next stage of my retracing Inga’s movements by undertaking a solo backpacking trip on an Interrail pass through England, Scotland and the north (and south) of Ireland for the purpose of researching my book about Inga and her case (which is a separate work to this blog) and to keep her memory alive by trying to complete the journey that she was so tragically murdered in the process of undertaking. I am also doing this in order to show just how far she travelled and the sheer effort she made to get where she was going before she was killed, a very important aspect of Inga’s legacy that was overlooked for too long. She came so far. So near and yet, so far…

Climbing aboard the packed ScotRail train just in time, I sink my limbs into the only seat not taken as we start to move and Inverness begins to recede into the distance. Scanning the windows from left to right, the lush Scottish countryside drips with mildew on either side as the high tides of the Highlands slither through the rivers. A stunning evening sun begins to blaze through gaping gaps in the clouds above. I’m wondering all the time, is this what she saw? Did it look like this when she sat here on that day in 1988? Even now all around there are fields, so she must have been watching the same scenery, the same scenes.

One by one the train passes through a succession of sleepy Scottish stations, first Aviemore then Perth and then Stirling before arriving at the last stop, Glasgow Queen Street, some three and a half hours after leaving Inverness. That sounds like a long time but somehow it feels like time has both flown and stood still simultaneously. I watch for the sign to appear, to be able to see the words of this latest place name that had like all the other ones long since burned its way into the background of my brain. Glasgow Queen Street. Inga arrived at this very station on the afternoon of the last day of her life, and while I had previously visited Glasgow Central station I had never been to Glasgow Queen Street before, where a fresh blitz of emotions would hit me in the heart upon arrival. Following the other passengers I clamber off the train and take my first steps along the platform, taking time to soak up the surroundings, seeking to be at one with the flow of the moment. All around me other passengers are rushing to be somewhere else, but I had come here only to be here.

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‘Queen’ of the New Year: Queen Street station, evening time. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

And now here it was. Glasgow Queen Street. It was so much bigger and blanker than I had anticipated. I had seen a photo taken in April 1988 of the outside part of the platform and so I had been expecting it to look a bit, well, quaint. But quaint it is not. Instead it looked like the interior of a giant aircraft hangar. It was very spacious, dark and dank. The transitory ambience it possessed was unlike any of the other train stations I had been in in Scotland. It looked like the sort of place people are herded through only en route to somewhere else, anywhere else. But as one of the places where Inga had actually been, and what’s more as one of the places where she had been on the last day of her life, leaving it off the itinerary was simply not an option. Nondescript or not, it was every bit as valid to visit as Inverness, Ayr, Stranraer or Larne.

By this point I had been on so many trains over the previous days that it was becoming a clockwork-like ritual. And yet there was not one moment at any stage when I felt bored, or tired, not even after having only scavenged on scant scraps of sleep over several nights when sleep just couldn’t be sourced. On the contrary it felt a strange mixture of exciting, humbling and haunting. I knew why I was here. Her. She couldn’t be here; she hadn’t been here since then. She would never be here, there or anywhere else again. And yet, in another way it felt like she was everywhere. Every corner I turned, on every street that felt my feet I thought I could sense the faintest echo of her presence. But that could have been just wishful thinking.

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Everyone Everywhere: Rush hour at Queen Street. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Here was no different though. Loitering in the airy, echoey concourse of Glasgow Queen Street station surrounded by the massed blur of the other commuters’ rushing and jostling in every direction, their frantic action a jarring contrast to my stillness in the same building. But which of us is travelling faster? Perhaps they are, or perhaps not. In this moment I feel like I’m travelling without moving, transfixed by images of an ancient age, a custodian of Inga’s flickering flame stumbling blindly towards the dim light of dawn.

Stood in this hulk of nothingness, a sedentary oddity at odds with the busy bodies that swarm around me, I try to picture her here all those years before. This was another transitional point on her journey towards what should have been the first of two or three nights on the island of Ireland, instead of what would turn out to be her last night anywhere.

 

Chapter 72: Glasgow Central Revisited

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Railway Jam: The listed building that is Glasgow Central Station. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Past and present
They converge on every side
The wires all get tangled
When now and then collide

Bittersweet taste of a time and another place before
Sleepwalking, see you talking
Feel the city inside you
Feel this city define you
Leave this city behind you

The Sundays – ‘Leave This City’

 

Eventually I begin to make a move towards the doors. Leaving the din within, swapping one hotbed of humanity for another it’s time to go back on the ‘Waterfront Beat’. Glasgow. The sounds, the sins, the streets. A city’s heartbeat. She had walked the same way all those years ago, from Queen Street Station to Central Station. On foot it’s a journey that takes ten minutes. 861 metres. That’s all Inga ever saw of Glasgow, and all Glasgow ever saw of her.

It’s raining. Again. I have no umbrella. No matter. I’ll be there in a few minutes.

And then suddenly there it is, its ancient architecture an arresting presence amidst all the modern gloss.

Glasgow Central

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Ground Level: Glasgow Central entrance, evening time. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

A huge, cavernous building replete with a large archway through which traffic passes, Glasgow Central is the principal mainline rail terminus in the city and is protected as a category ‘A’ listed building. For a while I stand around outside. Raindrops trickle their rivulets through to the ends of my hair. I’m soaking up the moment. I’m soaking.

Moving inside the building, I try to get my bearings. I’m at ground level. There’s the ticket office. The ticket machines. The escalators. Everything seems to be where it should be. But is it really? Where is Inga? In a grave. Where is justice? Still tantalisingly just beyond reach. For all the developments elsewhere in the wider world in the intervening years, suddenly 2018 didn’t seem all that far removed from 1988. Also, standing here in this station from the appearance of several things it could’ve still been 1988. The same orange colour scheme on the ground floor tiles for one thing. I close my eyes and hear the same sounds – of movement, of people and trains, of whirring escalators, of scurrying footsteps – that no doubt entered Inga’s ears during the minutes she was here.

I walk towards the escalators on the other side of the ticket office. Unlike the ones on the far side, these ones will take me to the upper level. I place my feet onto the escalator and think of her standing in this very same spot three decades earlier. She had definitely stood here, as the only way to enter the station from ground level is by coming in the same way I had and the only way to get to the train she needed to catch was to go to the main concourse on the upper level, and to do that she would have had to take this same escalator.

Arriving on the next level I stand in the vast main concourse and picture Inga in the same place, her blue rucksack, her sleeping bag on top in the green cover with ‘USAF’ emblazoned on it and with the canvas bag on her right shoulder, walking amongst the other passengers, who may have snatched a brief glimpse of this brave young explorer and one or two of who may have spared her a thought at the time, perhaps wondering where she had come from and to where she might be heading. All the while never knowing the thousand miles that had passed beneath her feet in the seven days since she had had left Haidhausen for this inaugural trip abroad on her own. Like Inga herself, at this time her fellow passengers couldn’t have known just how little time she had left on Earth. By the time she entered Glasgow Central that day, she had only hours to live.

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Time’s Up: Preparing to board the train to Ayr. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

It was at one of these platforms where she caught the train to Ayr on the afternoon of April 6th 1988. She walked right through here on her way not just towards Ayr, Stranraer and Larne but on to the strangest and cruellest of fates. Perhaps it’s a matter of my being so wrapped up in her case, but as I cast one last look around the main concourse of Glasgow Central, I sense a lingering sadness, a silence without solace, pain where there should be peace.

I learn that there’s a train to Ayr in 20 minutes’ time. I will have to go there to catch the connecting train to Stranraer, just as Inga did. However, where she only got to spend a mere two minutes in Ayr between train connections, thirty years on and at a different time of day the schedule is slightly different so I will have to wait 90 minutes there.

Just before boarding the train to Ayr for a journey that will take an hour, I walk around the concourse and see several trains on their respective platforms. Poised to depart any minute, adhering to an orderly schedule. The trains are on time. But justice for one of their former passengers is running late.

Thirty-one years late.

And counting.

TO BE CONTINUED

 

Inga-Maria Hauser  Inga 1

May 28th 1969-April 6th 1988. Never forgotten.

_____________________________________________________

Copyright: Keeley Moss ℗&©2019. All rights reserved.

————————————————————————–

Acknowledgements for Part 26

Duchess written by Banks/Collins/Rutherford. Published by Hit & Run Music Ltd. ©1980

Leave This City written by Gavurin/Wheeler. Published by Universal Music Publishing Group ©1997

The Keeley Chronicles PART 25

The definitive account of the only case of its kind, a search for truth, a spiritual journey and a labour-of-love in memory of the victim of a unique murder mystery still officially unsolved 31 years on

Rear cover pic sharpened and reduced to 30%

By Keeley Moss

 

PART 25 - CONTENTS
Chapter 68: Morning Has Broken in Scotland
Chapter 69: Breakfast in Inverness
Chapter 70: All Those Days You’re Not Around
Acknowledgements for Part 25

 

Chapter 68: Morning Has Broken in Scotland

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An Hour Before the Light: Still image from the 1988 Crimewatch UK reconstruction detailing Inga’s last movements that shows the girl portraying Inga in the reconstruction sleeping upright in the moments before her arrival in Inverness. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Morning has broken in Scotland

Inga-Maria Hauser, postcard, April 6th 1988

 

For anyone who hasn’t been following the previous four instalments of this blog, this is the next stage of my retracing Inga’s movements by undertaking a solo backpacking trip on an Interrail pass through England, Scotland and the north (and south) of Ireland for the purpose of researching my book about Inga and her case (which is a separate work to this blog) and to keep her memory alive by trying to complete the journey that she was so tragically murdered in the process of undertaking. I am also doing this in order to show just how far she travelled and the sheer effort she made to get where she was going before she was killed, a very important aspect of Inga’s legacy that was overlooked for too long. She came so far. So near and yet, so far…

Suddenly after around fifteen minutes the ‘Caledonian Sleeper’ stops sleeping and begins to pull out from Preston station. I had climbed back on board just in time and had not long shut the door behind me when it began moving again. During the fifteen minutes that the train was silently sitting stationary, no one had gotten on or off. The entire time there was absolutely no one on the platform save for my brief excursion. The dense fog, the eerie silence, the fact that it is the middle of the night and most of all the knowledge Inga had stood here and boarded the same sleeper train all those years before on the way to her terrible fate contributed to a weird atmosphere I had never experienced before and that I did not expect to experience again. I was not to know it then, but the next two nights would prove that assumption to be very much mistaken.

I return to the carriage and to my still-sleeping fellow passengers, amazed that not one of them has stirred since leaving Euston, not even during the stopover in Preston, all the more so considering there are no berths in the carriage and nowhere comfortable to rest.  I can’t sleep – but they apparently can’t wake up. The train soon picks up speed and before long passes through Carlisle. Not long after the light of a new dawn arrives in the sky appropriately heralding the train’s arrival north of the border.

“Morning has broken in Scotland” were the opening words of a postcard Inga wrote to three of her schoolfriends in Munich on the morning she arrived in Inverness. Morning was again breaking in Scotland and now here I was on the same train route, heading towards the same remote outpost in the Scottish Highlands and searching for something difficult to define. I didn’t know if I would find it. If I found it would I recognise it for what it was? I wasn’t sure. But merely searching for it felt like enough. It made me feel closer. Closer to my goal. Closer to the spirit of her soul.

After Carlisle the train gradually edges higher into the highlands, proceeding through the very same stations she had passed through on the morning of April 6th 1988…Edinburgh, Stirling, Dunblane, Gleneagles, Perth, Dunkeld & Birnam, Pitlochry, Blair Atholl, Dalwhinnie, Newtonmore, Kingussie, Aviemore and Carrbridge. Unlike on the train Inga had travelled on, no breakfast car is added in Perth to the train I was on, due to that increasingly familiar refrain “staff shortages”. Surely, they could find someone to rustle up a bowl of corn flakes or a croissant? Alas not. So, the breakfast that I had anticipated munching on while savouring those “dawn views of the Grampians during the slow pull over Drumochter Pass” that had been mentioned in the Interrail guide would not be possible. So be it. It looked like it was going to be another miserably wet day, but I didn’t mind. Watching from the window my heart is lifted by the sight of the Highlands. I had only been to Scotland for the first time three weeks previously and had never been to the Highlands before. I would learn they’re not called the Highlands for nothing by the time another three hours passes. I silently sit in my seat and watch as a sky’s worth of rain gushes from above. I had finally managed to charge my phone at Waverley station during a short stop in Edinburgh so for now I can at least tell what time it is. Suddenly an overhead screen at the top of the train communicates the news that the next stop will be the last one: Inverness.

 

Chapter 69: Breakfast in Inverness

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Come a Long Way: Inverness station. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Breakfast in Inverness. Nice town.

Inga-Maria Hauser, postcard, April 6th 1988

 

Inverness is the largest city and cultural capital of the Highlands of Scotland, a truly remote part of the British Isles. I knew in advance that it was going to take twelve hours on a train to reach there from London. And I knew that in order to fulfil what was a crucial stage of this spiritual mission, and to follow Inga’s footsteps to the letter, I would only get to spend little more than a couple of hours there before having to board a train to Glasgow in order to make it to Stranraer the same night. Suddenly the train pulls into Inverness and I step onto the platform, blinking into the light of a new-born morning. The words she wrote ringing in my ears – “I have just arrived in Inverness…”

I was aware then just how far Inga had come on the last day of her life. The other passengers who disembarked from the train at the same time as I did all immediately made their way to the exit. But I just stood there, soaking up the moment. I would have only two hours and forty-five minutes in Inverness before having to board the train to Glasgow. Inga had had even less time the morning she was here, and yet she had accomplished so much during a very short window of time. That morning in Inverness she had no idea just how little time she had left in this life.

I stand on the platform and visualised her stepping off the train here. Inverness. The highpoint of the Highlands. Leonard Cohen once wrote the words, “Came so far for beauty”. Inga came all the way here to see the beauty of rural Scotland, unaware that Scotland briefly saw her own beauty that day, for what would be the first and only time.

Leaving the platform, I make my way through the barriers and towards the exit. The same mixed feelings descend once again. I feel excited to be here. But at the same time, I sense a heavy shadow. Walking out into the sleet-spattered streets of Inverness, suddenly I see it before me – the bank where Inga cashed £20 worth of Traveller’s Cheques. I cross the road and step inside. It’s a bank, much like any other. Then again, it’s not. I can tell by looking at the faces of those working here and those in the queue waiting to be served that none of them are thinking about Inga-Maria Hauser. I stand in the bank visualising her on that morning in 1988 in the queue with her rucksack and bag, visualising her approaching the counter and asking the bank clerk to cash her Traveller’s Cheques. The £20 she received that day in Scottish Sterling would be the last money she would ever handle, and an undisclosed amount of the money that remained from that £20 note would be found scattered among the trees in Ballypatrick Forest near to her body when her remains were discovered fourteen days later.

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Bank of the Dead: Clydesdale Bank in the centre of Inverness. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Chapter 70: All Those Days You’re Not Around

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Shadows and Tall Trees: The author at Victorian Market, Inverness. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

Raintown, rain down
On all those days you’re not around

Deacon Blue – ‘Raintown’

 

I leave the bank and wander down Academy Street, looking to take shelter from the rain. Soon I find myself at the entrance to some kind of market arcade. Victorian Market, it is called. I need to buy postcards and this looks like the kind of place where I’ll find some. Entering the first shop I see inside the building I speak with a Scottish lady behind the counter, telling her I’m Irish and have just arrived in Inverness for the first time. After buying several postcards I take a wander around the Victorian Market. This age-old place has a timeless quality and is I learn one of the stand-out places for tourists visiting Inverness. In the light of that, just like at The Roman Baths in Bath, it is very likely Inga was here. The number of quaint curios throughout and the artisan atmosphere in the air would have stirred her senses I’m sure. I know that she bought postcards in Inverness, and I wonder if perhaps she bought them at the Victorian Market. Walking around the market I feel that familiar feeling rise. An inescapable sense of sorrow and wasted potential on behalf of this person I never knew, never met but who I feel a closer bond with than anyone I’ve ever known.

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Once Upon a Long Ago: Victorian Market, Inverness. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

I look for a café to have breakfast in but find nothing suitable in the Victorian Market. Then I’m told about an award-winning café nearby, so I head off in search of that. On my way I take a detour to the post office to buy stamps. The rain is falling heavier now. Then I remember Loch Ness. If you’re going to come all the way to Inverness you might as well try to catch a glimpse of the fabled Loch Ness Monster, however unlikely it is that the infamous sea creature would actually be visible. As I’m crossing the street, I spot a taxi driver who has stopped at traffic lights and ask him how much he would charge to take me to Loch Ness. “Forty-five pounds”, he replies in a distinctly Scotch burr. It’s a lot of money to spend to go see an almost certainly non-existent sea monster. In another of the strange parallels with Inga’s predicament that will become even more apparent over the next couple of days, while in Inverness I first become aware that I’m running low on funds. Strangely while in the very same place on the morning of April 6th 1988 Inga wrote in her diary, “Unfortunately my money is slowly running out”. Now here I was in the same obscure place only to find the same thing happening to me. As a result, I won’t be able to afford the taxi trip to see – or more than likely not see – the Loch Ness monster. Nae bother.

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Raintown: Academy Street, Inverness. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

I resume walking to the café where once inside it’s a relief to be out of the rain. Finding the last unoccupied table, I sit down and upon the arrival of the friendly Scottish waitress I order breakfast. Again, Inga’s written words are ringing in my head. Breakfast in Inverness. Nice town.

And indeed, it’s a nice breakfast. Simultaneously while having breakfast I hurriedly write my postcards, conscious as I am of how quickly time is passing. Suddenly I realise I somehow only have fifteen minutes left before I have to catch my train to Glasgow. I write my last postcard and stick stamps on all of them, then approach the counter to pay the bill that has come to £9.50. They don’t accept laser card payments though and I have almost no cash on me. I realise I have no option but to run to the bank to withdraw £10 from what little money there is left in my account. I throw my rucksack over my shoulders and dash off back out into the rain. At this stage I have only a few minutes to get to the bank, withdraw money, run back to the café, pay my bill there then get to the post office to post my postcards and get back to the train station in time to catch what is the last train out of here in time to make the last transport connection to Stranraer by tonight. I’m already cutting it very fine as it is without taking into account the detour to the post office but I’m determined to continue to honour the spirit of Inga’s day here and post my cards from Inverness rather than waiting until I’m in Glasgow to do so. I was going to do it right, or not at all. That said, I’m seriously under pressure now. The train is set to depart any minute now and if I get stranded here, well that’s it. Not only do I have nowhere to stay in Inverness and I don’t know anybody here but the whole point of my coming here in the first place was to try honour the spirit of her journey by following her movements to the letter. I need to establish (and experience) exactly how possible it was for her to get from Preston to Inverness to Glasgow to Ayr to Stranraer in the same day. So staying in Inverness for a night is not an option, doing that would screw everything up. Besides I couldn’t afford it.

I arrive breathlessly at the bank and launch myself at the ATM machine like a praying mantis. Attempting to withdraw £10, suddenly a message appears on the screen that warns:

£20 NOTES ONLY – NO OTHER DENOMINATIONS AVAILABLE

£20 – the same amount Inga received from the same bank in the same city. What is going on here? I push the button, grab the money out of the dispenser and run back to the café as fast as my legs will carry me where I pay my bill before making my stubborn/crazy detour to the post office where I post my six postcards and then scurry off again this time in the direction of the train station. I make it onto the platform with literally seconds to spare. At this point the rain stops for the first time all day, the grey gloom lifts and suddenly from out of nowhere there appears a beautiful sun-split skyline as the train begins to pull out from Inverness station.

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Your Skies are Mine: The skyline upon leaving Inverness. Photo: Keeley Moss ©2018

 

The timing is as perfect as it is poignant. For just as I’m about to leave Inverness and continue the spiritual mission of retracing the footsteps of someone who on the last day of her life, on what would be the only day she would ever get to spend in Scotland, would write in her diary, “Scotland is beautiful”, here, just in the nick of time was confirmation of those words she had written some thirty years earlier.

TO BE CONTINUED

 

Inga-Maria Hauser Inga scenic (colour enhanced)

May 28th 1969 – April 6th 1988. Never forgotten. 

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Copyright: Keeley Moss ℗&©2019. All rights reserved.

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Acknowledgements for Part 25

Raintown written by Ricky Ross. Published by Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group ©1987