True Irish Ghost Stories : Haunted Houses, Banshees, Poltergeists and Other Supernatural Phenomena
ISBN: 9780486440514 Global Overview for this book
2 journalers for this copy...
" Poltergeists and banshees, spirit-filled houses, and deathbed scenes pervaded by specters fill this enchanting treasury of tales based on supernatural phenomenon. Compiled from Ireland's abundant reserve of ghost stories, this richly varied collection of legendary and ancestral phantoms, uncanny forewarnings of death, and a host of other unearthly experiences relies on the memories of ordinary Irish folk scattered throughout the isle.
The collection of entertaining tales was the offspring of a newspaper article in which authors St. John D. Seymour, a Church of England priest, and his colleague, Harry L. Neligan, asked contributors to send in their favorite ghost stories, which many happily did. Classified by geographical area, the simple yet compelling narratives -- at once disarming, convincing, and illuminating -- provide amazing descriptions of paranormal experiences. An entertaining, authentic glimpse of late 19th- and early-20th-century Ireland and the superstitious natures of its people, True Irish Ghost Stories is a delightful treasury of other-worldly happenings -- to be shared by devotees of Irish lore, mystery lovers, and connoisseurs of the paranormal. "
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Not much is known for Harry N. Neligan who might have been simply an aid to John D. Seymour when compiling this collection. Seymour was a well-known clergy man and writter of several books on the supernatural and similar subjects. In order to collect real stories for this book, they placed an advertisement on newspapers, asking people to post them their experiences or any related story they knew of and thought is credible. These ranged from one paragraph long reports to a few pages long description of events or recollections, supplemented by the author's stories or stories of people they were well-acquainted or related with.
Two things I noticed and I mention here are that a) Because many people on this era were taking this subject seriously, many people wouldn't hesitate to talk openly or relate their experiences or anyway what they thought they experienced and b) Due to the importance they were placing on social status, the authors keep relating the credibility of a story with the person concerned eg This comes from Earl so and so, a very sober man or from a Trinity College proffesor or from so and so priest, thus it's credibility is strong etc etc
On the other hand, I liked the approach of the authors (one of them a clergy man), not giving a definite explanation on such phaenomena and not claiming that these necessarily connect to the otherworld or have religious connotations or even have to do with telepathy or whatever. They claim that soon an explanation will be found that might or might not have to do with all the above. A bittersweet feeling reading this a century latter, but their belief was that humanity reached the top of their narrow-minded, materialistic ego and from now (then) on, people will turn on a more scientific, intellectual direction, "lifting the human race to a purer and loftier conception of God and His universe".
I think it doesn't matter if one believes on poltergeists, banshees, ghosts, haunted houses and the like. This kind of books always has some kind of interest, whatever one's approach is on the subject. Here some stories are more interesting than others and some seem more naive than others, while towards the end some stories coming from a legendary past many centruries ago, touch on the folklore and mythical.
I guess sometimes the book might feel a bit repetitive and the narration somehow dry, but if one knows in advance that this is supposed to be a non-fiction collection of events recalled by several different people and not literature, it worths to give it a try. While I didn't find it extraordinary, I enjoyed it a lot and read it in two afternoons.
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