The Cry of the Banshee

Banshee or ‘Bean-sidhe’ is Irish for faerie woman – ban (bean), meaning a woman, and shee ( sidhe), meaning faerie. The banshee can appear in one of three guises: a young woman, a stately matron or a raddled old hag. These represent the triple aspects of the Celtic goddess of war and death, namely Badhbh, Macha and Mor-Rioghain.

There are many Irish families that believe they have Banshees attached to them. According to legend she appears at the family home during the night and wails, this is a chilling warning to the family that one of their loved ones is about to die. It is said she can cry for several nights in a row. According to Irish folklore she can only cry for five major Irish families,the O’Briens, O’Neils,the O’Connors the O’Gradys and the Kavanaghs.

She is a solitary Fairy woman, and most of the legends describe her to be dressed in a green dress with a grey cloak and has piercing red eyes (from all of her centuries of crying) and grey scraggly hair.It is said she has followed Irish families across the world so it would be possible to hear her in America and England where true Irish families have settled. She is known in Scottish folklore as the Bean – Nighe “The washer woman” when seen it is said she is washing the blood stained clothes of the person who is going to die.It is also said that she attends the funeral of the person who passed and that her wails can be heard among the sorrowful cries of the family members left behind.

The Cry of the Banshee
As the moon at midnight moves through the starry sky
Out there in the bog land the Banshee’s shrill cry
The one seldom heard and that human eyes cannot see
Some say the ghost of one who died in agony.

‘Tis said the cry of the banshee is a brief loud shrill screech
That into the depths of the soul seem to reach
And those who have heard it will never forget
That loud ear piercing scream ’til the day of their death.

To those who have heard it fear of the night it does bring
The cry of the banshee is a terrifying thing
The most terrifying scream that they ever did hear
A cry that instil in those who hear it fear.

The cry of the banshee is a blood curdling cry
It pierces the silence of the midnight sky
And those who have heard it never leave us in doubt
That at midnight from their homes they never more venture out.

by -Francis Duggan

I myself have been lucky enough not to hear the chilling wails of the Banshee, but have heard many stories from family members and their experiences. If any of you out there have any experiences or stories about the Banshee I would certainly love to hear them.

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Leap Castle “Another Haunted Irish Castle”

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You may of figured it out by now that I have got quite a thing for Irish Castles and the more haunted that they are said to be the better. Leap Castle has been on my “todo ” list now for quite some time so I am hoping that I will get the chance to visit this place quite soon.The photos that I have shown are not mine,however when I get a chance to visit Leap Castle I can then update this blog with my own photos.

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Leap Castle (pronounced “Lep”) is located in Co Offaly, Ireland about four miles north of the town of Roscrea. County Offaly is blessed with haunted Castles,you may of seen my blog on Charleville Forest Castle which is also located in Co Offaly. Like Charleville Castle,Leap Castle holds the name of one of Ireland’s most haunted Castles.It is thought that the Castle was built in the early 1500′s by the O’Bannon clan.The O’Bannon clan were the secondary chieftains under the ruling of the 0`Carroll clan. It is said that current building was built over another Castle and before that,the Druids are said to of used the site for initiation ceremonies.The castle has been home to much bloodshed and violence over the centuries.

Legend has it that two O’Bannon brothers were contesting the chieftainship of their clan. The only way to settle this argument was a display of strength and bravery. They were to both jump off the rocky outcrop where the castle was to be built. The survivor won the honour and right to be Chieftain.Thus the castle was built, fueled by blood and death. Leap Castle was used as a principle stronghold of the O’Carroll clan. It was used to guard the pass through the Slieve Bloom Mountains and has been said that no castle was more well fortified than Leap.

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The O’Carrolls were said to be fierce and brutal people, hell bent on domination. They were widely known for their ruthless ways, killing others and each other on their path to domination. The ruthless O`Carrolls called Leap their home until 1642, when the Castle was taking from them by by an English soldier of the Cromwellian forces that man was John Darby. The Darbys inhabited Leap Castle from 1642 until it’s burning in 1922. Unfortunately the Castle was the target for an uprising and was looted and burnt to an empty shell in 1922. Here it lay dormant until it was purchased in 1974 by an Australian, Peter Bartlett. This saw the awaking of the ancient building. The work is now being continued by current owners, the Ryan’s.

The Bloody Chapel and the Castles Ghosts

When you hear stories about Leap “The Bloody Castle” is one of the first things to pop up in the conversation. The Bloody Chapel is said to be the home of many a ghoul. People have said on passing the Castle at night they have seen a very bright light shooting out of the upper windows.This occurrence has been reported since the time of the Darbys. However neighbours have called the current owners the Ryan’s to report that the Chapel was in full Illumination. Strange smells of rubber have also been reported during peoples visit to the upper hall.

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One of the most well known  ghosts is referred to as the O`Carroll priest. After the death of Mulrooney O’Carroll in 1532, a fierce power struggle developed within the remaining O’Carroll family. Brother fought against brother to gain Chieftainship. Legend has it that an O’Carroll murdered his own brother and a priest whilst he was performing a mass in the upper hall of the Castle. It is believed that the priest started the mass before the arrival of his brother and this was considered to be a great insult. O’Carroll then flew into a rage a slaughtered his brother where he stood. The Priest has been seen on many occasions in the Bloody Chapel. This spirit has also been seen lurking around on the stairway below and also leaving the chapel via the western door to the bartizan and down the northern stairs.

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One of the more sinister features of the Bloody Chapel is the oubliette. The oubliette is a small chamber located in the North-Eastern corner of the Bloody Chapel. It is thought that the original use for these chambers was to store valuables. They were also used as a place to hide in the event of a siege. The O’Carrolls used this chamber for a more a deadly purpose. They adapted this chamber to serve as a small dungeon where the poor prisoners were thrown in, dead or dying. The entrance to the chamber is a narrow hole originally fitted with a form of trap door. The name is derived from the French “to forget”.

Once you were unlucky enough to be thrown in the oubliette,you were simply forgotten about “hence the name “Legends tell of several occasions where the O’Carrolls would employ other clans as mercenaries to kill off nearby threats. Upon completion of the job the mercenaries were invited back to Leap Castle for a celebratory feast. Unfortunately for the mercenaries, the feast was poisoned and their throats were cut. The corpses were then thrown into the oubliette. 39 of the O’Neil clan are said to be disposed of in this fashion. In 1599, another deadly deed occurred at Leap Castle. Charles O’Carroll, the last chieftain at Leap, was at war with the Earl of Tyrone and hired the MacMahon clan, from Monaghan as mercenaries. After they had fought for him, the O’Carrolls held a feast for the mercenaries. They were then murdered in their sleep  how nice !!!. The MacMahon clan are also said to haunt the great hall at Leap Castle.

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During the occupation of Leap Castle by the Darbys, the oubliette was cleaned and the contents removed during some of the renovations carried out. It is said that three cartloads of skeletons were removed from the oubliette during this period. Some believe that since this gruesome discovery, an emotional shockwave was sent through the castle and the many spirits including the Elemental were woken from their dormancy.
Sean Ryan speaks of a man who seems to live in the oubliette. He leaves the Bloody Chapel on occasion and wanders down to the lower levels of the castle.

Legend has it that Leap Castle is also haunted by a supernatural entity known as an Elemental. The alleged entity is known as “It” SPOOKY !!!!

It has been visited by paranormal investigators from ABC Family’s Scariest Places on Earth and Living TV’s Most Haunted in its first season, as well as taps from the Ghost hunters third season.

Here is a YouTube video of the current owner the very talented musician Sean Ryan talking of the Castles Ghosts and there are quite a few.

So there you go another haunted Irish Castle another place I feel that will definitely be worth a wee visit.

Loftus Hall “Things that go bump in the night”

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Hello there I have not been blogging for a while,this blog was actually set up as part of a college project but I enjoyed doing it and I decided to check in today and start blogging again.So my blog today is about the famous haunted house in Wexford Ireland Loftus Hall.I always had a huge interest in the paranormal and things that go bump in the night since I was a child. When I heard about Loftus Hall and the story behind it I must say I was intrigued.I have not been lucky enough to visit this place yet but is definitely on my todo list and the photos that are shown are not my own I can not take any credit for them.

So what is the story that gives this house the title of “The most haunted house in Ireland ” Well legend has it that Loftus Hall which is located on the Hook peninsula in Co Wexford is haunted by the Devil and the ghost of a young woman.The Loftus family were away on business and Charles Tottenham and his family came to mind the mansion in 1766.Charles Tottenham, his wife and daughter, Anne, were all taking care of the mansion.

Charles came for a long stay in the house with his second wife, and his daughter Anne from his first marriage. During a storm, a ship unexpectedly arrived at the Hook peninsula, which was not far from the mansion. A young man was welcomed into the mansion. Anne and the young man became very close. One night, the family and mysterious man were in the Card room playing cards. In the game, each player received 3 cards apart from Anne who was only dealt 2 by the mystery man. A butler serving the Tottenham family at the table was just about to question the man when Anne bent down to pick another card from the floor which she must have dropped. It is said that when Anne bent over to pick up the card, she looked beneath the table to see that the mysterious man had a cloven foot.

It was then that Anne stood up and said to the man you have a cloven foot and the man went up through the roof, leaving behind a large hole in the ceiling.Soon Anne became mentally ill. It is believed that the family were ashamed of Anne and locked her away in her favourite room where she would be happy yet out of everyone’s view which was known as the Tapestry Room. She refused food and drink and sat with her knees under her chin looking out the Tapestry Room window across the sea to where Dunmore East is today waiting for her mysterious stranger to return until she died in the Tapestry Room in 1775. It is said that when she died, they could not straighten her body as her muscles had seized and she was buried in the same sitting position in which she had died.

A rumour states that the hole could never be properly repaired, and it is alleged that even to this day, there is still a certain part of the ceiling which is slightly different from the rest. Meanwhile it was believed that the stranger with the cloven hoof returned to the house and caused persistent poltergeist activity. A number of Protestant clergymen apparently tried and failed to put a stop to this. The family, who were themselves Protestants, eventually called on Father Thomas Broaders (a Catholic priest, who was also a tenant on the Loftus Hall estate) to exorcise the house.

The apparent success of Father Broaders’ exorcism did not end the ghostly visitations at Loftus Hall. The ghost of a young woman, presumed to be Anne Tottenham, was reported to have made frequent appearances in the Hall and has been reported to have been seen on the tour, opened in 2011.Interest in the ghost story has remained strong and many aspects of the story seem to have attached themselves to the house. Also mentioned in a documentary about the mansion many years later after the last owners had gone had said that there were reports from staff that had previously worked at the mansion, that they have seen Anne’s ghost walk down the stairs, and that horses can be heard around the building.

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So there you go I really need to go here and have a snoop around,as far as I know you only get to see 5/6 rooms and do not get to go upstairs apparently it is not safe enough as the house is in a state and a lot of work and money is needed to restore this amazing place to its former glory.The staircase in Loftus Hall is one of only three of that design in the world, one is at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean as the Grand Staircase in The Titanic and the other is in Vatican City.

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As far as I know there are a few different tours you can do during the day and at night which are meant to be  a lot of fun so hopefully I can manage to persuade my boyfriend to take on the 4 hour drive someday and get spooked.

 

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot

S’io credesse che mia risposta fosse
A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma perciocche giammai di questo fondo
Non torno vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero,
Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question…
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair—
[They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”]
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—
[They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”]
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all—
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
And how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
[But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!]
Is it perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?

. . . . .

Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows? …

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

. . . . .

And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep… tired… or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head [grown slightly bald] brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet—and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”—
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
Should say: “That is not what I meant at all.
That is not it, at all.”

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
“That is not it at all,
That is not what I meant, at all.”

. . . . .

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.

I grow old… I grow old…
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.