TRUE IRISH GHOST STORIES
ST JOHN D. SEYMOUR, B.D.
AUTHOR OF "IRISH WITCHCRAFT AND DEMONOLOGY" ETC.
HARRY L. NELIGAN, D.I.R.I.C.
TO THREE LIVELY POLTERGEISTS W——, J——, AND G——, THIS BOOK IS
DEDICATED BY THE COMPILERS
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
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 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 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")
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 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 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 gentlemen 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
Mrs. S. Acheson, Drumsna, Co. Roscommon; 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; 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 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.
February 2, 1914.
Houses in or Near Dublin
Houses in Conn's Half
Houses in Mogh's Half
V. Haunted Places
Apparitions at or After Death
and Other Death Warnings
Miscellaneous Supernormal Experiences
IX. Legendary and
TRUE IRISH GHOST STORIES