Flashback Tuesday: Athy house haunted by spirit of the devil

Theresa Murray takes a look back at times gone by

Theresa Murray

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Theresa Murray

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Flashback Monday: Athy house haunted by spirit of the devil

The story that appeared in the Leader 75 years ago

Each week, Theresa Murray takes a look back at the Leinster Leader archives to find out what stories were making the news. This is an interesting one from 75 years ago. 

“I have the spirit of the devil in my new cottage, and he comes to me at night playing music on a strange instrument, up on the walls of the house,” stated a tenant of a Board of Health cottage situated in Athy Rural District, in a letter which was read at the Athy Urban Council meeting on Monday night, the Leinster Leader reported on March 11, 1944.

“He begins to curse me and my family the whole night long,” the letter continued, “and blackguarding me in an awful way.

“He told me that if I took the cottage he would destroy me. And he is destroying me ever since. My body is terrified day and night because I cannot get my sleep. Think of it. He is under me in the bed, pinching me to make me cross.

“I am in the best of health and striving to do my own business in my own sway, and it is an awful position I am in, having to put up with the abuse of the devil in this way.

“Could I trouble a couple of the council men to come out to me any night, that I could tell them all about this dreadful experience? Any night you will be welcome. I am ashamed to mention all the things before the women of the council. I was thinking of putting it in the newspapers to let the whole world know of the awful occurrences that may happen to anyone.

“When I told the doctor about it he gave me a bottle but I don’t want medicine, for I am all right that way.”

Chairman (Mr Carbery) — This is an astonishing case. I think we should write and ask the clergy to call on the man.

Mrs Doyle — This is not a matter for this council at all. It is to the County Council that this letter should have gone.

Chairman — Very well, the County Council can deal with it.

Meanwhile, the same paper reported from a meeting off the Naas Urban Council that in Wexford they were building houses at an all-in cost of £400 with a rental of 4s 6d. “If they could do that in Wexford, why not do it here,” asked Mrs Higgins.

Mr Taylor — How many rooms? One?

Mrs Higgins — Not the ordinary size cottage.

Mr Taylor — I don’t know how they can do it.

Mr O’Donoghue — I think we should make an ad miserecordiam appeal to the powers that be to do something for Naas in regard to housing — the town is in a deplorable condition. The shortage of houses here is a disgrace.

Mr Daly — Maybe the county manager might help us.

Mr O’Donoghue — I know of no town that has been so badly treated in the matter of housing.

Mr Dowling — Or that could have been so well treated if the council had been doing its duty in the pre-war years.