Posted in Posts and podcasts

The Banshee – 1888

Irish Examiner 15th December, 1888 p5

The Burren and beyond Photo: EO'D
The Burren and beyond
Photo: EO’D

(abridged)
Once I saw a banshee. It was many years ago. During the summer months the twilight is very long and late one afternoon, when the sun had gone down, I happened to walk over to the farm of M.B. Well, as we stood and talked, my friend suddenly said;
“Mike, do you want to see a banshee?”
Of course I did and looked where he pointed. Sure enough, there in the lane, creeping along near the hedge, was a wee bit of a thing, no more than three feet high. It looked like a young girl, only its hair, which was long and yellow, fell down its back clear to the ground, and as it crept along it whimpered and moaned just like a child in pain. My friend looked very grave, saying;
“That’s a family banshee, and I’m afraid some of my relations are going to be sick.”
Pretty soon after a neighbour came riding up and told my friend to make haste as his mother had been taken very ill.
The next day I learned that the poor woman had died before her son reached her.
The banshees are queer things, and they never let anyone come near them. Another man I knew came across one sitting in a corn field, near the fence. When he suddenly appeared it ran out of sight among the corn, but it dropped its comb from its yellow hair and the man picked it up and put it in his pocket. That night the banshee came near the house and whined so piteously that the man dropped the comb out of the window. The banshee then left, and when a search was made the next morning it was found that the comb had disappeared too.

Posted in Posts and podcasts

A strange discovery near Loughrea – 1876

Northern Argus, 20th October, 1876 p4

Sphagnum Moss  Photo: Wikimol Wikimedia Commons
Sphagnum Moss
Photo: Wikimol
Wikimedia Commons
(abridged)

A correspondent of the Freeman has sent the following account of a remarkable discovery in a bog near Loughrea:

Last week the body of a full-grown female was dug up by a young man while cutting turf in Carnagarry bog, about two miles from this town. The body is supposed to be buried over 200 years, as the turf was quite close all round it and cut like soap, having no appearance of being recently disturbed. Some years ago there was a bank cut off this place about six feet deep. This recent cutting of a second bank uncovered the body two feet below the surface. The body must have been buried about eight feet deep. .

An inquest was held, and the jury found a verdict of murder by some person or persons unknown. The body had the appearance of a well-tanned leather bag of a dark brown colour. With the exception of the top of the nose being shrunk, and the under jaw a little to one side, the features were perfect. The top of the nose could be easily lifted back to its place, it being just like the finger of a glove. The throat was evidently cut, as the cut was quite visible. The feet and hands appear, to be quite small; the calf of the leg large as it formed a great empty bag, the two sides of which were clapped or drawn together. The police say that her height was about 5ft 7in. Her teeth were regular and sound. Her hair seemed as fresh and glossy as if only buried yesterday; in the knot of hair at the back of her head was found a beautiful carved wooden comb, with a cord and tassle attached.

The oldest inhabitant here never remembers having seen anything like it. Some say the cord and tassle are silk, while others say it is flax. As silk is an animal matter it would rot away, but the flax would stand. The comb is in the possession of Mr. Reeves, sub-inspector of police.

There was also found round her neck another cord with a purse attached, which seems to have thrown light upon the matter.

Lord Ashton says, I hear, that there is an old story in his family that shortly after the battle of Aughrim two servant maids were sent by one of his ancestors from Woodlawn to Loughrea with a purse of money to pay an account. They never returned. One was a red-haired woman, the other black.

About three years ago, while cutting turf in the same bog and bank, but not so deep, only about six feet before mentioned, the skull of a red-haired woman was dug up. Rumour also has it that the body has been dug up again and sent to either Dublin or Galway.