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True Irish Ghost Stories


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1000 Ghosts
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« on: May 26, 2009, 01:16:01 am »

True Irish Ghost Stories
by St. John D. Seymour and Harry L. Neligan
[1914]




Arnold Bocklin, Island of the Dead [1880] (Public Domain Image)
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« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2009, 01:16:54 am »

There are numerous books about Irish Fairies, but this was one of the first to focus on the Irish Ghost. The text visits haunted houses from one end of the island to the other. We learn about garden-variety ghosts as well as poltergeists and Banshees, and find out what to do if a 'Headless Coach' shows up. Seymour solicited the stories from newspaper readers, and many of them are from respectable military, clergymen, and gentry. Seymour also wrote Irish Witchcraft and Demonology. True Irish Ghost Stories is a unique and very entertaining read, particularly for fans of Irish tales, as well as the paranormal investigator.--J.B. Hare, May 6th, 2009.
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« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2009, 01:17:31 am »

True Irish Ghost Stories
compiled by St. John D. Seymour and Harry L Neligan
Dublin, Hodges, Figgis & Co., ltd.;
[1914]

Scanned, proofed and formatted at sacred-texts.com May 2009, by John Bruno Hare. This text is in the public domain in the US because it was published prior to 1923.

TO
THREE LIVELY POLTERGEISTS
W—, J—, AND G—,
THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED
BY
THE COMPILERS
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« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2009, 01:17:56 am »

p. xi
FOREWORD

This book had its origin on this wise. In my Irish Witchcraft and Demonology, published in October 1913, I inserted a couple of famous 17th century ghost stories which described how lawsuits were set on foot at the instigation of most importunate spirits. It then occurred to me that as far as I knew there was no such thing in existence as a book of Irish ghost stories. Books on Irish fairy and folk-lore there were in abundance—some of which could easily be spared—but there was no book of ghosts. And so I determined to supply this sad omission.

In accordance with the immortal recipe for making hare-soup I had first to obtain my ghost stories. Where was I to get them from? For myself I knew none worth publishing, nor had I ever had any strange experiences, while I feared that my friends and acquaintances were in much the

p. xii
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« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2009, 01:18:09 am »

same predicament. Suddenly a brilliant thought struck me. I wrote out a letter, stating exactly what I wanted, and what I did not want, and requesting the readers of it either to forward me ghost stories, or else to put me in the way of getting them: this letter was sent to the principal Irish newspapers on October 27, and published on October 29, and following days.

I confess I was a little doubtful as to the result of my experiment, and wondered what response the people of Ireland would make to a letter which might place a considerable amount of trouble on their shoulders. My mind was speedily set at rest. On October 30, the first answers reached me. Within a fortnight I had sufficient material to make a book; within a month I had so much material that I could pick and choose—and more was promised. Further on in this preface I give a list of those persons whose contributions I have made use of, but here I should like to take the opportunity of thanking all those ladies and gentlemen throughout the length and breadth of Ireland, the majority of whom were utter strangers to me, who

p. xiii
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« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2009, 01:18:24 am »

went to the trouble of sitting down and writing out page after page of stories. I cannot forget their kindness, and I am only sorry that I could not make use of more of the matter that was sent to me. As one would expect, this material varied in value and extent. Some persons contributed incidents, of little use by themselves, but which worked in as helpful illustrations, while others forwarded budgets of stories, long and short. To sift the mass of matter, and bring the various portions of it into proper sequence, would have been a lengthy and difficult piece of work had I not been ably assisted by Mr. Harry L. Neligan, D.I.; but I leave it as a pleasant task to the Higher Critic to discover what portions of the book were done by him, and what should be attributed to me.

Some of the replies that reached me were sufficiently amusing. One gentleman, who carefully signed himself "Esquire," informed me that he was after "reading a great book of ghost stories, but several letters of mine failed to elicit any subsequent information. Another person offered to sell me ghost stories, while several

p. xiv
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« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2009, 01:18:38 am »

proffered tales that had been worked up comically. One lady addressed a card to me as follows:

"The Revd.—

(Name and address lost of the clergyman whose letter appeared lately in Irish Times, re apparitions")

Cappawhite."

As the number of clergy in the above village who deal in ghost stories is strictly limited, the Post Office succeeded in delivering it safely. I wrote at once in reply, and got a story. In a letter bearing the Dublin postmark a correspondent, veiled in anonymity, sent me a religious tract with the curt note, "Re ghost stories, will you please read this." I did so, but still fail to see the sender's point of view. Another person in a neighbouring parish declared that if I were their rector they would forthwith leave my church, and attend service elsewhere. There are many, I fear, who adopt this attitude; but it will soon become out of date.

Some of my readers may cavil at the expression, "True Ghost Stories." For myself I cannot guarantee the genuineness of a single

p. xv
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« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2009, 01:18:55 am »

incident in this book—how could I, as none of them are my own personal experience? This at least I can vouch for, that the majority of the stories were sent to me as first or second-hand experiences by ladies and gentlemen whose statement on an ordinary matter of fact would be accepted without question. And further, in order to prove the bona fides of this book, I make the following offer. The original letters and documents are in my custody at Donohil Rectory, and I am perfectly willing to allow any responsible person to examine them, subject to certain restrictions, these latter obviously being that names of people and places must not be divulged, for I regret to say that in very many instances my correspondents have laid this burden upon me. This is to be the more regretted, because the use of blanks, or fictitious initials, makes a story appear much less convincing than if real names had been employed.

Just one word. I can imagine some of my readers (to be numbered by the thousand, I hope) saying to themselves: "Oh! Mr. Seymour has left out some of the best stories. Did he never hear of such-and-such a

p. xvi
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« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2009, 01:19:09 am »

haunted house, or place?" Or, "I could relate an experience better than anything he has got." If such there be, may I beg of them to send me on their stories with all imagined speed, as they may be turned to account at some future date.

I beg to return thanks to the following for permission to make use of matter in their publications: Messrs. Sealy, Bryers, and Walker, proprietors of the New Ireland Review; the editor of the Review of Reviews; the editor of the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research; the editor of the journal of the American S.P.R.; the editor of the Occult Review, and Mr. Elliott O’Donnell; Messrs. Longmans, Green and Co., and Mrs. Andrew Lang; the editor of the Wide World Magazine; the representatives of the late Rev. Dr. Craig.

In accordance with the promise made in my letter, I have now much pleasure in giving the names of the ladies and gentle-who have contributed to, or assisted in, the compilation of this book, and as well to assure them that Mr. Neligan and I are deeply grateful to them for their kindness.

Mrs. S. Acheson, Drumsna, Co. Roscommon;

p. xvii
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« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2009, 01:19:25 am »

 Mrs. M. Archibald, Cliftonville Road, Belfast; J. J. Burke, Esq., U.D.C., Rahoon, Galway; Capt. R. Beamish, Passage West, Co. Cork; Mrs. A. Bayly, Woodenbridge, Co. Wicklow; R. Blair, Esq., South Shields; Jas. Byrne, Esq., Castletownroche, Co. Cork; Mrs. Kearney Brooks, Killarney; H. Buchanan, Esq., Inishannon, Co. Cork; J. A. Barlow, Esq., Bray, Co. Wicklow; J. Carton, Esq., King's Inns Library, Dublin; Miss A. Cooke, Cappagh House, Co. Limerick; J. P. V. Campbell, Esq., Solicitor, Dublin; Rev. E. G. S. Crosthwait, M.A., Littleton, Thurles; J. Crowley, Esq., Munster and Leinster Bank, Cashel; Miss C. M. Doyle, Ashfield Road, Dublin; J. Ralph Dagg, Esq., Baltinglass; Gerald A. Dillon, Esq., Wicklow; Matthias and Miss Nan Fitzgerald, Cappagh House, Co. Limerick; Lord Walter Fitzgerald, Kilkea Castle; Miss Finch, Rushbrook, Co. Cork; Rev. H. R. B. Gillespie, M.A., Aghacon Rectory, Roscrea; Miss Grene, Grene Park, Co. Tipperary; L. H. Grubb, Esq., J. P., D.L., Ardmayle, Co. Tipperary; H. Keble Gelston, Esq., Letterkenny; Ven. J. A. Haydn, LL.D., Archdeacon of Limerick; Miss Dorothy Hamilton, Portarlington;

p. xviii
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« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2009, 01:19:38 am »

 Richard Hogan, Esq., Bowman St., Limerick; Mrs. G. Kelly, Rathgar, Dublin; Miss Keefe, Carnahallia, Doon; Rev. D. B. Knox, Whitehead, Belfast; Rev. J. D. Kidd, M. A., Castlewellan; E. B. de Lacy, Esq., Marlboro’ Road, Dublin; Miss K. Lloyd, Shinrone, King's Co.; Canon Lett, M.A., Aghaderg Rectory; T. MacFadden, Esq., Carrigart, Co. Donegal; Wm. Mackey, Esq., Strabane; Canon Courtenay Moore, M.A., Mitchelstown, Co. Cork; J. McCrossan, Esq., Journalist, Strabane; G. H. Miller, Esq., J.P., Edgeworthstown; Mrs. P. C. F. Magee, Dublin; Rev. R. D. Paterson, B.A., Ardmore Rectory; E. A. Phelps, Esq., Trinity College Library; Mrs. Pratt, Munster and Leinster Bank, Rathkeale; Miss Pim, Monkstown, Co. Dublin; Miss B. Parker, Passage West, Co. Cork; Henry Reay, Esq., Harold's Cross, Dublin; M. J. Ryan, Esq., Taghmon, Co. Wexford; P. Ryan, Esq., Nicker, Pallasgrean; Canon Ross-Lewin, Kilmurry, Limerick; Miss A. Russell, Elgin Road, Dublin; Lt.-Col. the Hon. F. Shore, Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny; Mrs. Seymour, Donohil Rectory; Mrs. E. L. Stritch, North Great Georges

p. xix

[paragraph continues] St., Dublin; M. C. R. Stritch, Esq., Belturbet; Very Rev. the Dean of St. Patrick's. D.D.; Mrs. Spratt, Thurles; W. S. Thompson, Esq., Inishannon, Co. Cork; Mrs, Thomas, Sandycove, Dublin; Mrs. Walker, Glenbeigh, Co. Kerry; Miss Wolfe, Skibbereen, Co. Cork; Mrs. E. Welsh, Nenagh; T. J. Westropp, Esq., M.A., M.R.I.A., Sandymount, Dublin; Mrs. M. A. Wilkins, Rathgar, Dublin; John Ward, Esq., Ballymote; Mrs. Wrench, Ballybrack, Co. Dublin; Miss K. E. Younge, Upper Oldtown, Rathdowney.

ST. JOHN D. SEYMOUR.

Donohil Rectory,
    Cappawhite, Tipperary,
        February 2, 1914.
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« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2009, 01:20:01 am »

p. xx p. xxi
CONTENTS

I.
   

Haunted Houses in or near Dublin
   

1

II.
   

Haunted Houses in Conn's Half
   

32

III.
   

Haunted Houses in Mogh's Half
   

55

IV.
   

Poltergeists
   

100

V.
   

Haunted Places
   

121

VI.
   

Apparitions at or after Death
   

146

VII.
   

Banshees, and other Death-warnings
   

175

VIII.
   

Miscellaneous Supernormal Experiences
   

198

IX.
   

Legendary and Ancestral Ghosts
   

223

X.
   

Mistaken Identity—Conclusion
   

249

 
   

Index of Place Names
   

273
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« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2009, 01:20:31 am »

p. 1
TRUE IRISH GHOST STORIES
CHAPTER I
HAUNTED HOUSES IN OR NEAR DUBLIN

Of all species of ghostly phenomena, that commonly known as "haunted houses" appeals most to the ordinary person. There is something very eerie in being shut up within the four walls of a house with a ghost. The poor human being is placed at such a disadvantage. If we know that a gateway, or road, or field has the reputation of being haunted, we can in nearly every case make a detour, and so avoid the unpleasant locality. But the presence of a ghost in a house creates a very different state of affairs. It appears and disappears at its own sweet will, with a total disregard for our feelings: it seems to be as much

p. 2
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« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2009, 01:20:43 am »

part and parcel of the domicile as the staircase or the hall door, and, consequently, nothing short of leaving the house or of pulling it down (both of these solutions are not always practicable) will free us absolutely from the unwelcome presence.

There is also something so natural, and at the same time so unnatural, in seeing a door open when we know that no human hand rests on the knob, or in hearing the sound of footsteps, light or heavy, and feeling that it cannot be attributed to the feet of mortal man or woman. Or perhaps a form appears in a room, standing, sitting, or walking—in fact, situated in its three dimensions apparently as an ordinary being of flesh and blood, until it proves its unearthly nature by vanishing before our astonished eyes. Or perhaps we are asleep in bed. The room is shrouded in darkness, and our recumbent attitude, together with the weight of bed-clothes, hampers our movements and probably makes us more cowardly. A man will meet pain or danger boldly if he be standing upright—occupying that erect position which is his as Lord of Creation;

p. 3
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« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2009, 01:22:22 am »

but his courage does not well so high if he be supine. We are awakened suddenly by the feel that some superhuman Presence is in the room. We are transfixed with terror, we cannot find either the bell-rope or the matches, while we dare not leap out of bed and make a rush for the door lest we should encounter we know not what. In an agony of fear, we feel it moving towards us; it approaches closer, and yet closer, to the bed, and—for what may or may not then happen we must refer our readers to the pages of this book.

But the sceptical reader will say: "This is all very well, but—there are no haunted houses. All these alleged strange happenings are due to a vivid imagination, or else to rats and mice." (The question of deliberate and conscious fraud may be rejected in almost every instance.) This simple solution has been put forward so often that it should infallibly have solved the problem long ago. But will such a reader explain how it is that the noise made by rats and mice can resemble slow, heavy footsteps, or else take the form of a human being seen by several persons; or how our imagination

p. 4
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