Posted in Posts and podcasts

Wreck of the Commerce – 1848

Barque  Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

A most shocking loss of an emigrant ship, with upwards of one hundred persons on board, was reported at Lloyd’s. The vessel that met with the sad disaster was the barque Commerce, belonging to Limerick, 267 ton burthen, Halliday master.
She sailed from Galway in the early part of spring for St. John’s, New Brunswick. About seventy families, principally females and children, embarked on board at Galway, taking with them all they possessed in the world. The master was aware that they were near the Nova Scotia coast, but the prevalence of foggy weather and drizzling rain prevented the exact position of the ship being known.

A good look out is stated to have been kept. Be that as it may, however, she run ashore, the first intimation of the fact being her striking heavily on a rock. A strong effort was made to back her, but a current carried her over the rock, and she was swept with violence onto a bold rocky shore. The emigrants mustered on deck in great confusion; the whole of them were in their bed clothes, and their horror on discovering the awful situation of the ship may be easily conceived.

For a few hours the ship remained in an upright position. As the tide rose, however, a gale sprung up, the sea from which swept the decks. The boats had been lowered, and some of the crew succeeded in ascertaining that the shore was accessible to land the passengers. They returned and made two trips, between the ship and the land, with passengers; but on attempting the third, they were driven against the rocks, and many of the poor creatures met with a watery grave.

The vessel, by the continued beating on the rocks, soon filled. The masts were cut away, and other means to save her from destruction , were adopted, but of no avail. In the meantime, the remainder of the crew contrived to effect a communication with the shore by a line. One after another of the emigrants were dragged through the surf to the shore in a most pitiable condition. Many, we regret to say, were drowned, particularly the children. Between seventy and eighty were saved, as also the crew. The following are the names of some of the survivors;
Mrs Mary Burke and child
Mrs Coyee and infant
Patrick Corcoran aged 21
a boy names Fogant and a lad John Leydon.
A large number of the passengers had nothing on but their night clothes when they landed, some even perfectly naked. They were unable to save anything of their little property from the wreck. Captain Halliday acted with great firmness throughout the trying period. The wreck quickly broke up, with all she contained. She was partially insured.

Posted in Posts and podcasts

Haunted – 1914


COMPILED BY St. John D. Seymour B.D & Harry L. Neligan D.I.R.I.C.  1914

Courtesy: Project Gutenberg


The Spirit of the Dead watches - 1892 Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York Wikimedia Commons
The Spirit of the Dead watches – 1892
Paul Gauguin (1848-1903)
Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York
Wikimedia Commons
A lady, who requests that her name be suppressed, relates a strange sight seen by her sister in Galway. The latter’s husband was stationed in that town about seventeen years ago. One afternoon he was out, and she was lying on a sofa in the drawing-room, when suddenly from behind a screen (where there was no door) came a little old woman, with a small shawl over her head and shoulders, such as the country women used to wear. She had a most diabolical expression on her face. She seized the lady by the hand, and said: “I will drag you down to Hell, where I am!” The lady sprang up in terror and shook her off, when the horrible creature again disappeared behind the screen. The house was an old one, and many stories were rife amongst the people about it, the one most to the point being that the apparition of an old woman, who was supposed to have poisoned someone, used to be seen therein. Needless to say, the lady in question never again sat by herself in the drawing-room.


Another house in Co. Clare, nearer the estuary of the Shannon, which was formerly the residence of the D—— family, but is now pulled down, had some extraordinary tales told about it in which facts (if we may use the word) were well supplemented by legend. To commence with the former. A lady writes: “My father and old Mr. D—— were first cousins. Richard D—— asked my father would he come and sit up with him one night, in order to see what might be seen. Both were particularly sober men. The annoyances in the house were becoming unbearable. Mrs. D——’s work-box used to be thrown down, the table-cloth would be whisked off the table, the fender and fireirons would be hurled about the room, and other similar things would happen. Mr. D—— and my father went up to one of the bedrooms, where a big fire was made up. They searched every part of the room carefully, but nothing uncanny was to be seen or found. They then placed two candles and a brace of pistols on a small table between them, and waited. Nothing happened for some time, till all of a sudden a large black dog walked out from under the bed. Both men fired, and the dog disappeared. That is all! The family had to leave the house.”

Now to the blending of fact with fiction, of which we have already spoken: the intelligent reader can decide in his own mind which is which. It was said that black magic had been practised in this house at one time, and that in consequence terrible and weird occurrences were quite the order of the day there. When being cooked, the hens used to scream and the mutton used to bleat in the pot. Black dogs were seen frequently. The beds used to be lifted up, and the occupants thereof used to be beaten black and blue, by invisible hands. One particularly ghoulish tale was told. It was said that a monk (!) was in love with one of the daughters of the house, who was an exceedingly fat girl. She died unmarried, and was buried in the family vault. Some time later the vault was again opened for an interment, and those who entered it found that Miss D——’s coffin had been disturbed, and the lid loosened. They then saw that all the fat around her heart had been scooped away.