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An Irish (true) story: the Enniscorthy poltergeist

4 min read

You want to exange this life of the modern journalist for the dashing life of an Edwardian hunter news?
Well, a century ago, back in 1910, one of the local reporters for County Wexford, Ireland, was one Nicholas Murphy, a man of the Roman Catholic faith who lived at George’s Street in the town of Enniscorthy.
He was aged in or around forty at the time, when the call came to cover a most unusual event just a short stroll from his house.
The scoop was that an upper room at Redmond’s in Court Street had been invaded by a poltergeist, a word translates roughly from the German as meaning a noisy or boisterous spirit. Typically, the poltergeist is a ghost that has no shape or visible form, but it have fun from moving things around, usually in the middle of the night, opening drawers, pulling at curtains, or something similar.

The Redmonds were a comfortably well off family living in Court street in Enniscorthy at the time.
They supplemented their income by renting out rooms in their house to lodgers, until their quiet life was to be interrupted by a sinister guest they hadn’t invited in.
In July of that year they had rented out the room above the kitchen to three tradesmen who were working nearby. One of the men, a carpenter by the name of John Randall was laying asleep, when all of a shot the bedclothes were literally pulled clean off him.
He half woke, believing his room mates were messing with him, and called out for them to stop.
But the other two denied their responsibility, and they lit a match to see what had happened, finding John’s bedclothes in a heap near to the window.
Nothing strange, apparently, and so they gathered up the blankets and went back to sleep.
However, they would get little rest that night: before too long, a loud tapping was heard, getting faster and faster, until just when it was at its fastest, the bed of the other two men slid suddenly across the floor.
Frightened now, they lit a lamp, looking for some logic explanation, but none was to be found, so they called the landlord out of his own bed, and were told to move the bed back to where it had been.
Poor John was so scared he refused to sleep in the one bed by himself, so the three of them shared the large bed.
No sooner had they closed their eyes than the bed once again moved into the middle of the room.
They stayed awake the rest of the night, hearing footsteps throughout the house, and these peculiar goings-on persisted the rest of their stay.
On one occasion, a chair began to rock back and forth by itself, and on another, phantom hands lifted one of them up in the air.
On July the 29th, the bed was flipped entirely on its side, sending the men down in a heap to the floor, and they swore afterwards it made no sound as it righted itself.

So, who do you call? Ghostbusters?
No, just the fearless reporter Nicholas Murphy.
He and his companion (such an Devereux) took up positions with their backs to the wall and bade the occupants to go about their normal nocturnal routine.
According to the report our Nicholas filed for psychic researcher Professor Barrett, the first sign of anything abnormal came around 11.30 p.m., when a tapping noise broke the silence. Devereux suggested that the cause might be a rat chewing timber but this suggestion was later discounted.
At one stage the taps were beating out at two per second.
Then the unfortunate, tormented John Randall complained that the clothes were once more slipping off his bed. Eventually Randall himself was wrapped in his sheets and dragged from his bed before the horrified eyes of the reporters who, impartial, checked for wires, ropes or other trickery, but found nothing. They remained at watch deep into the night but, apart from the some more tapping, their vigil was unrewarded and the bed failed to do any tricks on that occasion.
In any case, the three tradesmen refused to remain at 16 Court Street and moved on to alternative accommodation the next morning.

It’s a great story but, unfortunately, it has left scant trace on the folk memory of Enniscorthy.
There is no plaque up on the front wall of Number 16 to mark the spot and, apparently, despite the house remains in the Redmonds hands, it seems that the poltergeist is no longer there.
To this day, no explanation has been found.

Images from web – Google Research

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