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True Irish Ghost Stories


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Author Topic: True Irish Ghost Stories  (Read 376 times)
1000 Ghosts
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« Reply #75 on: May 26, 2009, 02:06:00 am »

unseen hand, the Bible moved out of the room, and seventeen pages torn out of it. They could not keep a lamp or candle in the house, so they went to their neighbours for help, and, to quote the old farmer's words to Professor Barrett, "Jack Flanigan came and lent us a lamp, saying the devil himself would not steal it, as he had got the priest to sprinkle it with holy water." "But that," the old man said, "did us no good either, for the next day it took away that lamp also."

Professor Barrett, at the invitation of Mr. Thomas Plunkett of Enniskillen, went to investigate. He got a full account from the farmer of the freakish tricks which were continually being played in the house, and gives a graphic account of what he himself observed: "After the children, except the boy, had gone to bed, Maggie lay down on the bed without undressing, so that her hands and feet could be observed. The rest of us sat round the kitchen fire, when faint raps, rapidly increasing in loudness, were heard coming apparently from the walls, the ceiling, and various parts of the inner room, the door of which was open. On

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entering the bedroom with a light the noises at first ceased, but recommenced when I put the light on the window-sill in the kitchen. I had the boy and his father by my side, and asked Mr. Plunkett to look round the house outside. Standing in the doorway leading to the bedroom, the noises recommenced, the light was gradually brought nearer, and after much patience I was able to bring the light into the bedroom whilst the disturbances were still loudly going on. At last I was able to go up to the side of the bed, with the lighted candle in my hand, and closely observed each of the occupants lying on the bed. The younger children were apparently asleep, and Maggie was motionless; nevertheless, knocks were going on everywhere around; on the chairs, the bedstead, the walls and ceiling. The closest scrutiny failed to detect any movement on the part of those present that could account for the noises, which were accompanied by a scratching or tearing sound. Suddenly a large pebble fell in my presence on to the bed; no one had moved to dislodge it, even if it had been placed for the purpose. When I replaced the candle on the window-sill in the

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« Reply #76 on: May 26, 2009, 02:06:14 am »

kitchen, the knocks became still louder, like those made by a heavy carpenter's hammer driving nails into flooring."

A couple of days afterwards, the Rev. Maxwell Close, M.A., a well-known member of the S.P.R., joined Professor Barrett and Mr. Plunkett, and together the party of three paid visits on two consecutive nights to the haunted farm-house, and the noises were repeated. Complete search was made, both inside and outside of the house, but no cause could be found. When the party were leaving, the old farmer was much perturbed that they had not "laid the ghost." When questioned he said he thought it was fairies. He was asked if it had answered to questions by raps and he said he had; "but it tells lies as often as truth, and oftener, I think. We tried it, and it only knocked at L M N when we said the alphabet over." Professor Barrett then tested it by asking mentally for a certain number of raps, and immediately the actual number was heard. He repeated this four times with a different number each time, and with the same result.

Perhaps the most interesting part of this particular case is at the end of Professor

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« Reply #77 on: May 26, 2009, 02:06:30 am »

 Barrett's account, when, at the request of the old farmer, Mr. Maxwell Close read some passages from Scripture, followed by the Lord's Prayer, to an accompaniment of knockings and scratches, which were at first so loud that the solemn words could hardly be heard, but which gradually ceased as they all knelt in prayer. And since that night no further disturbance occurred.

Another similar story comes from the north of Ireland. In the year 1866 (as recorded in the Larne Reporter of March 31 in that year), two families residing at Upper Ballygowan, near Larne, suffered a series of annoyances from having stones thrown into their houses both by night and by day. Their neighbours came in great numbers to sympathise with them in their affliction, and on one occasion, after a volley of stones had been poured into the house through the window, a young man who was present fired a musket in the direction of the mysterious assailants. The reply was a loud peal of satanic laughter, followed by a volley of stones and turf. On another occasion a heap of potatoes, which was in an inner apartment of one of the houses, was seen to be in commotion,

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and shortly afterwards its contents were hurled into the kitchen, where the inmates of the house, with some of their neighbours, were assembled.

The explanation given by some people of this mysterious affair was as mysterious as the affair itself. It was said that many years before the occurrences which we have now related took place, the farmer who then occupied the premises in which they happened was greatly annoyed by mischievous tricks which were played upon him by a company of fairies who had a habit of holding their rendezvous in his house. The consequence was that this man had to leave the house, which for a long time stood a roofless ruin. After the lapse of many years, and when the story about the dilapidated fabric having been haunted had probably been forgotten, the people who then occupied the adjoining lands unfortunately took some of the stones of the old deserted mansion to repair their own buildings. At this the fairies, or "good people," were much incensed; and they vented their displeasure on the offender in the way we have described.

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« Reply #78 on: May 26, 2009, 02:06:45 am »

A correspondent from County Wexford, who desires to have his name suppressed, writes as follows: "Less than ten miles from the town of, Co. Wexford, lives a small farmer named M—, who by dint of thrift and industry has reared a large family decently and comfortably.

"Some twenty years ago Mr. M—, through the death of a relative, fell in for a legacy of about a hundred pounds. As he was already in rather prosperous circumstances, and as his old thatched dwelling-house was not large enough to accommodate his increasing family, he resolved to spend the money in building a new one."

"Not long afterwards building operations commenced, and in about a year he had a fine slated cottage, or small farm-house, erected and ready for occupation: so far very well; but it is little our friend M— anticipated the troubles which were still ahead of him. He purchased some new furniture at the nearest town, and on a certain day he removed all the furniture which the old house contained into the new one; and in the evening the family found themselves installed in the latter for

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good, as they thought. They all retired to rest at their usual hour; scarcely were they snugly settled in bed when they heard peculiar noises inside the house. As time passed the din became terrible—there was shuffling of feet, slamming of doors, pulling about of furniture, and so forth. The man of the house got up to explore, but could see nothing, neither was anything disturbed. The door was securely locked as he had left it. After a thorough investigation, in which his wife assisted, he had to own he could find no clue to the cause of the disturbance. The couple went to bed again, and almost immediately the racket recommenced, and continued more or less till dawn.

"The inmates were puzzled and frightened, but determined to try whether the noise would be repeated the next night before telling their neighbours what had happened. But the pandemonium experienced the first night of their occupation was as nothing compared with what they had to endure the second night and for several succeeding nights. Sleep was impossible, and finally Mr. M— and family in terror

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« Reply #79 on: May 26, 2009, 02:06:58 am »

abandoned their new home, and retook possession of their old one.

"That is the state of things to this day. The old house has been repaired and is tenanted. The new house, a few perches off, facing the public road, is used as a storehouse. The writer has seen it scores of times, and its story is well known all over the country-side. Mr. M— is disinclined to discuss the matter or to answer questions; but it is said he made several subsequent attempts to occupy the house, but always failed to stand his ground when night came with its usual rowdy disturbances.

"It is said that when building operations were about to begin, a little man of bizarre appearance accosted Mr. M— and exhorted him to build on a different site; otherwise the consequences would be unpleasant for him and his; while the local peasantry allege that the house was built across a fairy pathway between two raths, and that this was the cause of the trouble. It is quite true that there are two large raths in the vicinity, and the haunted house is directly in a bee-line between them. For myself I offer no explanation; but I guarantee

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the substantial accuracy of what I have stated above."

Professor Barrett, in the paper to which we have already referred, draws certain conclusions from his study of this subject; one of the chief of these is that "the widespread belief in fairies, pixies, gnomes, brownies, &c., probably rests on the varied manifestations of poltergeists." The popular explanation of the above story bears out this conclusion, and it is further emphasized by the following, which comes from Portarlington: A man near that town had saved five hundred pounds, and determined to build a house with the money. He fixed on a certain spot, and began to build, very much against the advice of his friends, who said it was on a fairy path, and would bring him ill-luck. Soon the house was finished, and the owner moved in; but the very first night his troubles began, for some unseen hand threw the furniture about and broke it, while the man himself was injured. Being unwilling to lose the value of his money, he tried to make the best of things. But night after night the disturbances continued, and life in the house was impossible; the

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« Reply #80 on: May 26, 2009, 02:07:15 am »

owner chose the better part of valour and left. No tenant has been found since, and the house stands empty, a silent testimony to the power of the poltergeist.

Poltergeistic phenomena from their very nature lend themselves to spurious reproduction and imitation, as witness the famous case of **** Lane and many other similar stories. At least one well-known case occurred in Ireland, and is interesting as showing that where fraud is at work, close investigation will discover it. It is related that an old Royal Irish Constabulary pensioner, who obtained a post as emergency man during the land troubles, and who in 1892 was in charge of an evicted farm in the Passage East district, was being continually disturbed by furniture and crockery being thrown about in a mysterious manner. Reports were brought to the police, and they investigated the matter; but nothing was heard or seen beyond knocking on an inside wall of a bedroom in which one of the sons was sleeping; this knocking ceased when the police were in the bedroom, and no search was made in the boy's bed to see if he had a stick. The police therefore

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could find no explanation, the noises continued night after night, and eventually the family left and went to live in Waterford. A great furore was raised when it was learnt that the hauntings had followed them, and again investigation was made, but it seems to have been more careful this time: an eye was kept on the movements of the young son, and at least two independent witnesses saw him throwing things about—fireirons and jam-pots—when he thought his father was not looking. It seems to have been a plot between the mother and son owing to the former's dislike to her husband's occupation, which entailed great unpopularity and considerable personal risk. Fearing for her own and her family's safety, the wife conceived of this plan to force her husband to give up his post. Her efforts were successful, as the man soon resigned his position and went to live elsewhere. 1

Footnotes

101:1 Proceedings, August 1911, pp. 377–95.

120:1 Proceedings, S.P.R.
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