True Irish Ghost Stories
by St. John D. Seymour and Harry L. Neligan
In 1913, St. John D. Seymour realized that Ireland had folklore and fairy-tale collections a-plenty, but the country's rich tradition of ghost stories was for the most part untapped. So, working with Harry L. Neligan, he set out to gather a few. The resulting book, first published in 1914 and revised with additional stories in 1926, is back on the market for a new generation of curiosity seekers.
True Irish Ghost Stories doesn't try to be horrific or to shock its readers with gruesome or frightening tales. The editors published a request for anecdotes in the newspapers of the day and waited for the stories to roll in. They got a lot of responses, but there isn't much detail or depth, and there's very little effort made to explain the background or cause of the events described.
The resulting book is conversational in tone. These aren't the sort of ghost stories to be told around a campfire; they read more like some polite parlor discourse over a pot of tea or a bit of gossip down at the pub. There's a hint of embarrassment, too, as if a ghostly experience isn't something you'd want linked to the family name -- in fact, most of the names and locations are not revealed.
I like ghost stories that cause a bit of a shiver. True Irish Ghost Stories isn't scary, or even unnerving, but it does provide the occasional shiver and it is, on the whole, entertaining. If nothing else, it's a peek at late 19th- and early 20th-century Ireland, the superstitious natures of its people and the gleeful but hushed manner in which they approach the supernatural.
There are numerous books about Irish Fairies, but this was one of the first to focus on the Irish Ghost. The text visits haunted houses from one end of the island to the other. We learn about garden-variety ghosts as well as poltergeists and Banshees, and find out what to do if a 'Headless Coach' shows up. Seymour solicited the stories from newspaper readers, and many of them are from respectable military, clergymen, and gentry. True Irish Ghost Stories is a unique and very entertaining read, particularly for fans of Irish tales, as well as the paranormal investigator.--J.B. Hare, May 6th, 2009.
Chapter I. Haunted Houses in or near Dublin
Chapter II. Haunted Houses in Conn's Half
Chapter III. Haunted Houses in Mogh's Half
Chapter IV. Poltergeists
Chapter V. Haunted Places
Chapter VI. Apparitions At or After Death
Chapter VII. Banshees, and Other Death-Warnings
Chapter VIII. Miscellaneous Supernormal Experiences
Chapter IX. Legendary and Ancestral Ghosts
Chapter X. Mistaken Identity—Conclusion