Monday, 18 February 2019

Hell Hath No Fury Like a Cousin Scorned

In my last post, The Potato Pinching Poltergeist on Old Town Hill, the people of Cookstown – and beyond – were mystified by the goings on at a house in the town. A number of theories – none of which involved acknowledging that a magician lived in the house – and precedents were proposed. This one, which appeared in The Belfast News-Letter on 23 November 1874, is my favourite.
Greencastle Street, Kilkeel in 1936

SIR – In your impression of Wednesday last there appeared a lengthened report of a ghost story from Cookstown, which seems rather inexplicable; but, perhaps, the following may help to be the means of unravelling the mystery.
Some years ago, in the neighbourhood of Kilkeel, an occurrence of a similar kind perplexed the inhabitants for many months. In a house there a series of depredations were committed exactly like those which are at present being perpetrated on Mr. Allen, of Cookstown. The windows were smashed among their hands, and, as in the present case, the broken glass was generally found outside, and a stone with which it appeared to have been broken inside. Clothes were destroyed, cows’ tails and pigs’ ears were cut off, and no clue whatever could be got to explain the matter. Often the minister would go and remain for a time with the afflicted family, and just among their hands a pane of glass would be smashed or some like deed done. The police were resorted to, as if their presence would frighten whatever demon haunted the scene. But all was no use. For months a guard was kept about the house night and day; but the unseen agent of the infernal regions (as many thought it to be) was able to prosecute his work of destruction without detection. Every morning when the police arrived in town the inquiring inhabitants were furnished with some additional turn of the ghost story. Some blamed the evil one, and others thought it might be the work of some ill-disposed neighbour. Few, however, were of the latter opinion, as it was utterly impossible that any neighbour could have done it without being taken by the police. However, the ghost was at last discovered, and he whom Burns styles “Old Clootie,” was set scot free. It appeared that there lived in the house a girl - a niece of the proprietor – and that she was in love with her cousin, who preferred some neighbour, and was not accustomed to stop at home with her. Either in revenge for this indignity, or in some mania, she became the agent of the above depredations, and she carried on the work so cunningly as to defy detection for months. However, one of the policemen at length caught her in the act of breaking a window, and she was taken prisoner, and afterwards confessed the whole thing. She broke the glass with a hammer, or something else, and then deposited a stone inside in order to shroud it in mystery. In short, she acted the part of a supernatural agent for a time quite as cleverly as that which your reporter represents to be at present in Cookstown.
 – Yours, &c., 
H. J
Cloverhill, Belturbet, 20thNov., 1874

The Belfast News-Letter, 23 November 1874

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

The Potato Pinching Poltergeist on Old Town Hill

I thought I’d begin 2019 with a poltergeist story from 1874, which took place on Old Town Hill, in Cookstown, the home of the sausage, and was reported in the Irish Times of 18 November 1874. [1] While many will dismiss the story based on how one of Mr Allen’s sons spent his free time, I love it for its range of poltergeist phenomena - from hovering hats to stolen spuds.
Cookstown has lately been singled out for the attention of a visitor whose freaks and doings have caused no little wonderment and curiosity. Were the time a little further advanced the narrative of the manifestations which have so completely upset the ordinary tranquillity of this community might be embodied in a fairly exciting Christmas story. 
Vincent van Gogh's 'Basket of Potatoes'
The haunted house is situated on Old Town Hill, and is occupied by a Mr. Allen, who carries on a respectable business as a grocer. The manifestations of something unusual, and untoward, first became noticeable some eighteen months ago. The phenomena were then mainly confined to breaking the windows. It may be thought there was nothing very extraordinary nor ghostlike in such a procedure; but there was. When several panes were broken, and the how and means escaped attention, a strict watch was put upon the windows, but all was useless: the cause was still undiscoverable. 
Sometimes stones were used as the media, but by whom or what nobody could see; and more frequently again the glass broke, apparently of its own accord. Even the frames began at last to get abused, more especially at the rere of the house, and the strictest and most constant guard could make nothing of it. 
The house, by the way, is a small two-storey building, with three windows behind, and the ordinary shop and front windows before. The yard is small, and surrounded by a wall ten feet high, from whence extend the open fields. 
All the glass at the back of the premises having been repeatedly broken and every effort at protection avoided, one of the windows was barricaded with a shutter, to which was affixed a bell in such a position that if the shutter were removed the bell must ring. Men were also placed at each window with loaded guns, so that it was impossible for any individual to approach without being at once observed and in their power. Notwithstanding this, the shutter was taken down, the bell simply noting the fact when it was accomplished, and that in such a gentle tinkling monotone as to be almost unheard. 
In the front of the premises glass was broken with the same security and freedom from observation. 
Fear now commenced to grow into serious alarm, which in no way decreased, as other incidents, equally, if not more, bewildering in their character, became of daily occurrence. 
Bowls took a fancy to rotate, with various degrees of swiftness, upon the tables, and then, as if smitten with the same idea of self-martyrdom, shot off at a tangent, ending sharply and forever their symmetrical usefulness upon the floor. 
Coats, which formerly hung with all staidness and propriety upon their respective pins, now shivered and fluttered, as if seized with an ague, and again expanded in all their proportions, as if each were enveloping an invisible Falstaff or an aspiring Claimant. Hats took unto themselves wings, and bodily flew away. 
In sooth, the natural order of affairs in the house was completely deranged, and the more agitated became the inanimate articles, the more excited became, naturally enough, the members of the family. Every conceivable project that could be devised for elucidating these mysteries failed utterly in pointing out a cause which could be understood. 
Even the potatoes boiling in a pot on the fire became mashed, and leaped behind the fire. And when ten or twelve were entered for boiling, a tot up in a few minutes revealed the startling fact that several had altogether and unaccountably disappeared, though many pairs of straining eyes were watching with almost painful eagerness every motion of the immovable pot. 
Latterly, also, large stones, weighing on an average about three pounds or three pounds and a half, have rolled slowly down the stairs, bobbing with leisurely ease from step to step. These have been sometimes damp and wet with clay, as if just removed from a ditch or roadway, and at other times, dry and clean, as if preserved from the weather for a considerable space of time. No persons have been in the upper portion of the house where such events have happened, and not the vaguest shadow upon which to found a belief in the collusion or complicity of any parties in the causing of them has been at all afforded. 
These manifestations will serve to show the cruel and persistent manner in which Mr Allen and his family have been afflicted, though they are from exhausting the minor details of a system of persecution as vexations and hard to be borne as it is strange and unexplainable both in cause and result. 
The family consist of Mr and Mrs Allen, two sons, and a daughter. One of the male branches, a young man of twenty-two or thereabouts, resides constantly with his father, and is said to be an apt student of the art of legerdemain.  Rumour will insist on mixing him up with the occurrences, but they have been known to take place when he was away working on the farm. 
Mr. Allen has ceased to accept, or even listen to any interpretation or explanation of the facts. He is not by any means a nervous man, nor superstitious in his way of thinking, but having seen these things occur, and being utterly unable to assert a reason for them, he would at the present moment be an easily manipulated disciple of the most ardent spiritualist. The whole affair in its recital might seem quite a ludicrous matter, were it not for the very great pain suffered by those most concerned.
  1. The Irish Times lifted the story from the Belfast News-Letter.

  • The Irish Times, 18 November 1874

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Bury Me in St Finbarr's

This week, my article “Six ghosts to make the headlines” appeared in the Irish Examiner newspaper. It included an 1853 incident from Cork, where it was believed that a ghost was stoning a cottage. There was more to this story than I could cover in the limited space of the article (I only had about 200 words per story). So, I’m posting an earlier draft of this one; it includes some additional details, including the ghost’s raison d’être.
I hope you enjoy.
On the evening of Tuesday, 13 September 1853, a crowd of 2,000 gathered at St Finbarr’s Cemetery in Cork City to wait for a ghost that was supposedly making its way there from the Quaker Cemetery.
The ghost was that of a Quaker lady who had been buried in the Quaker Cemetery, and not St Finbarr’s, as she’d wanted. And every night since her burial, she had been throwing stones at the home of Mr Hughes, whose only crime was living in the cottage adjoining the Quaker Cemetery.
It was a crazy story, but it took hold and spread very, very quickly. And after the first night of ghostly vandalism, hundreds began gathering at the Quaker Cemetery in the hope of seeing the ghost.
RIC Head Constable Crowley was desperate to solve the mystery. In a meeting with the mayor, he reported that he had uniformed officers on crowd control duty and plain-clothes officers mingling with the crowds to find the culprit. He had a list of all those living in the area and he planned to bring every one on of them in for questioning. He was also using his own money to bribe people for information. 
But despite Crowley’s best efforts, the invisible stone thrower continued its nightly antics - and the crowds continued to grow.
It peaked on the evening of Tuesday, 13 September, when crowds gathered to see the ghost make its own way to St Finbarr’s. 
The ghost never appeared, of course. 
While the nightly stone throwing continued, the press lost interest. But Head Constable Crowley didn’t. He had men hiding in the area, and at 5pm on Friday, 14 October, one of his officers finally caught the culprit in the act.
It was Catherine McCarthy, the Hughes’s servant.
When she appeared in court the following day, McCarthy, whom one paper described as a “dirty looking Cinderella,” offered no plausible reason for her actions.
The Constitution, 15 September and 18 October 1853
The Cork Southern Reporter, 15 October 1853
The Limerick and Clare Examiner, 17 September 1853

Monday, 17 September 2018

Demented Tables and Psychic Jazz

In 1920, the Sheffield Daily Telegraph ran a series of articles on psychic phenomena. The second of these articles looked at William Jackson Crawford’s (referred to in the article as J. N. Crawford for some reason) investigation of the Belfast medium Kathleen Goligher. Crawford had been working with Goligher and her family for six years, and in that time he had developed some interesting theories about psychic phenomena. 
The Goligher Circle
William Jackson Crawford
Of late years the purely physical manifestations of supposed spirit power have tended to go out of date; the best people in both worlds have discouraged them, and preferred to concentrate on voice-communications and automatic writing. But the physical phenomena have gained a revival of interest through the astonishing experiments during the last few years of Dr. J. N. Crawford of Belfast. He is a Spiritualist who has discovered in a Miss Kathleen Goligher a medium simply overflowing with “psychic force.” He holds séances with Miss Goligher and members of her family, at which the table, without being touched by the medium or anybody else, rises in the air, turns completely round, poises sideways on nothing, poises upside down on nothing, and generally performs every stunt of which an animated and demented table could be supposed capable.
Dr. Crawford’s belief is that these effects are obtained by means of psychic rods issuing from the medium’s body. These rods are operated by the attendant spirits on correct mechanical principles (Dr. Crawford is a Lecturer on Mechanical Engineering), and he issues requests to them regarding the manipulation of the rods as cantilevers, struts, and so forth; the spirits respond by raps according to a code, and endeavour to comply. The rods are invisible, but he says they feel cold and clammy, and attach themselves to the table by suckers (writers of ghost stories, please note). Other smaller rods cause raps, thuds, bangs, scrapings, drummings, and bell-ringings, all which miscellaneous din Dr. Crawford has carefully recorded on a phonograph. He has placed the medium on a weighing machine, and has found that during a séance she loses weight – sometimes by the stone – but recovers it all at the end; whereas the other sitters, at the end, are on an average half-a-pound lighter than they were at the start.
Possible Explanations
Several non-spiritual explanations of this psychic jazz may be suggested: --
(1)  That Dr. Crawford is spoofing the public;
(2)  That the medium and her family are spoofing Dr. Crawford;
(3)  That the medium hypnotises Dr. Crawford, or Dr. Crawford the medium; or that the whole party are suffering from collective delusion;
(4)  That the medium possesses and exudes some unexplored natural force, no more ghostly than electricity, but hitherto unknown to science.
Spoof explanations can never be wholly put aside where mediums are concerned; but Dr. Crawford seems sincere, like most Spiritualists, and he tells us that the medium is unpaid and quite a nice girl. The hypnotic explanation seems vague, and does not cover the party’s loss of weight; but I do not believe it is wholly inadmissible. Nor, I think, is the speculative fourth explanation. Dr. Crawford says that the force is operated by spirits. Being a Spiritualist, he would say so as a matter of course; it is the weakness of the spiritualists to prefer supernatural to natural explanations. In ordinary table-turning, questions are answered by raps which are not caused by spirits, but by the unconscious muscular action of the sitters. Similarly, perhaps, with this “psychic force,” which may be a sort of extension of muscular action possessed by a few persons, and responsive like it to the subconscious will of those who exert it.
I admit that this suggestion is highly speculative, but it is at any rate clear of the supernatural, and it appears to explain some features of séances, hauntings, etc., not so readily explicable in any other way.
 - Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 22 January 1920

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Blinking Cows

"I think you'll find it's pronounced 'Boo.'"
It was 1927: John Logie Baird was transmitting the first long distance television signals; Charles Lindbergh was crossing the Atlantic; and Fritz Lang’s Metropolis was being seen for the first time.
At home, Mary Bailey was becoming the first woman to fly a plane across the Irish Sea; we were getting our first automatic telephone exchange; and the moon was blocking out the sun across the island.
But our focus was on Killyman, County Tyrone, where William Blair’s cows had become a bit lethargic and weren’t producing a lot of milk. 
They’d obviously been “blinked” – and Blair blamed Isabella Hazelton for “blinking” them. 
Why Blair blamed Hazelton is anyone’s guess (although, Isabella Hazelton really is a great name for a witch). But he told just about everyone he knew – and a few people he didn’t – that she had bewitched his cows. 
Soon, everyone in Killyman “knew” Isabella was a witch. She wasn’t at all pleased about this, so she “lawed” him.
The following account of the case appeared in the Northern Whig of 8 October 1927.
Allegations that cattle had been “blinked” by a woman who had the power of the “evil eye” were the main features of an extraordinary slander case at Dungannon Quarter Sessions before his Honour Judge Linehan. Witnesses stated that to dispel the evil thatch was burned at the noses of the cattle and red rags tied to their tails to keep away the witchcraft.
The parties concerned were Isabella Hazelton, of Drumcrow, Killyman, who brought remitted actions for slander against William Blair, of Drumcrow, and Isaac and Sarah McFarland, of Drumhorrick, County Tyrone.
Mr. John Skeffington appeared for plaintiff, and Mr. W. F. McCoy (instructed by Mr. A. P. Orr and Mr. W. J. Irwin) represented the defendants.
Opening the case, Mr Skeffington said the issue was whether the plaintiff had the “evil eye.” Plaintiff’s case was that the power to blink did not exist. Defendant’s case, as far as he knew, was that certain persons had the power to blink or bewitch cattle, even at a distance, but that they never said it was the plaintiff.
Plaintiff, in evidence, said in her district a number of people believed in the power to blink cattle, and rumours had got out that she had that power. She knew that defendants’ cattle had been failing in milk supply, but she had nothing to do with that. In consequence of stories circulated she and her husband visited William Blair on the 19thApril. Her husband asked Blair what slanderous statements he had been making about witness. Blair said that the statements were true, for the thatch of his house [Hazelton’s] had cured the cattle. (Laughter.) Blair added that burning the thatch was one of the recognised cures for blinked cattle, and said he had burned it under the cow’s nose, and the cow had jumped to her feet and got better. Blair referred to the breaking of the byre door; and said that witness broke it to get in to the cattle.
With her husband witness also visited Isaac McFarland on the same evening, and McFarland said witness had destroyed his cattle, and added that he wouldn’t say anything further there, but would say it in the right place. McFarland said he wouldn’t clear her character. Witness heard about the reputation she had got for miles around, and no one in the district would speak to her.
The defendants, added witness, had circulated the story that the first cure was the burning of the thatch, and this was followed by the application of salt. After the cows were cured the defendants protected the animals by tying a red rag on their tails. (Laughter.) “And, mind you, it was not a wee rag, for you could see it a good piece away,” she added, amid laughter.
Mr McCoy – Do you believe in blinking? – I do not, but McFarland and Balir do.
Does anyone else in Killyman believe in blinking? – I don’t know. The neighbours say I can blink the cows, although I know nothing about it. I saw where the thatch was pulled off our house to burn at the cow’s nose.
If a wisp of straw was burned under a cow’s nose would she jump? – If it was burned under your nose you would leave the road. (Laughter.)
Do you read the Bible? – Yes.
Witness denied that Blair advised her and her husband to go home and have sense. People said she had taken the butter from defendant’s cows, as she had more butter than any six of the neighbours.
Robert McKitterick, Cormullagh, a feeble old man, who was assisted into the witness box, said he possessed the cure for blinking, and people came to him from all parts of the country to have their cattle cured of it. The defendants, who lived a considerable distance away, came to him to get the cure, and they asked whether he could tell who was blinking their cattle. He said he could not, and the defendants said they blamed a woman.
Witness said, “Don’t tell me her name, I don’t want to hear it, and she might law you.” (Laughter.) Witness cured the blink by the use of salt in the name of God, and taught the defendants the way to use the salt, as he was too feeble to go with them. He believed people had the power to blink cattle, as he had seen many cases of it. “The Bible stated that blinking can be done,” he added.
Mr McCoy – What effect has the blink on cattle? – They pine away and won’t eat well when affected.
Herbert Toner, Kernaghan, said Blair went to Mrs. Hazelton’s house and took a handful of thatch from the roof. He burned it under the cow’s nose, and the cow got alright again. Blair also told him that he had a red rag tied to the cow’s tail to ward off the blinking.
William Clements, Cohannon, said he spoke to Blair many a time about the cattle. When the cattle were not well Blair would say they had been blinked or overlooked, and blamed Mrs. Hazelton for doing it.
Mr McCoy refused to produce the defendants, and Mr Skeffington said that if the actions were dismissed, so far as the country was concerned, it meant that Mrs Hazelton had the power to blink.
His Honour said the defamation relied on was outlandish and highly improbable, but still serious. From McKitterick’s evidence it was fairly obvious that the imputation was broadcast throughout Killyman that the practice of blinking was attributable to some persons. If he (his Honour) found that the defendants or one of them uttered words suggesting that the plaintiff possessed these powers they would be made answerable for the accusation. He did not agree with counsel not putting his clients in the box; but that was counsel’s responsibility.
Concluding, his Honour said he held that the uttering of a gross scandal by Blair had been proved, and that no justification had been offered. In this instance privilege did not arise, and he awarded sufficient damages to clear the character of the plaintiff at £5 and costs. He dismissed the case against Isaac and Sarah McFarland.
  • Northern Whig, 8 October 1927

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Spook Wanted

In 1914, opponents of the Government of Ireland Act 1914 (better known as the Home Rule Act) shipped 25,000 rifles and 5 million rounds of ammunition into Larne and Bangor, in what became known as the Larne Gun Running episode.
It was a key event in the creation of Northern Ireland.
It was also a key event in the history of Larne. But in 1908, just a few years earlier, Larne seemed to be a place devoid of political worries.
The following item – written by “Nemo” - appeared in the “Round the Town” column of The Larne Times and Weekly Telegraph of 20 June 1908.
Larne (Photographer: R Welch)
By Public Record Office of Northern Ireland
We haven’t got a ghost. And it’s a poor town that hasn’t got a ghost. I have lived a fair number of years in Larne now, and whilst other towns can point to their haunted houses, and boast of their headless horsemen, white ladies, and banshees, I have never yet heard of even the ghost of a dead pussy-cat stalking abroad in Larne or its environs. It’s a poor town that has no ghost. And, alas! we have no grisly phantom that we can boast of. No one in Larne has ever seen a pale young woman of ethereal texture gliding silently up the stairs in the moonlight, or the white-robed spectre of a forgotten chief revisiting the glimpses of the moon. We have no bony skeleton that click-clicks o’er the rotting floor of some lonely and empty house, whilst from its osseous wrists dangle rusty chains that clank and echo through the dark and empty rooms. For, of course, no self-respecting skeleton would think of stalking forth without a good supply of rusty chains. Did you ever read of a skeleton yet which went on its nightly rounds without such a necessary part of its stock-in-trade as rusty chains? Of course not! But we haven’t got a public phantom or a haunted house of any sort to mention in guide-books, or to show our summer visitors. Truly, it is a poor town that has no ghost. Many of us, of course, have got a skeleton in the cupboard – a grisly spectre that steps forth at some untimely hour, sinking its bony fingers into some poor devil’s throat, sending him to despair and ruin. But the cupboard bag-of-bones – although, alas! too often horrible enough – is really only a figurative spook – a skeleton in the abstract. What we want is the genuine article – absolutely no deception – a spook like the spectre of Tapington, or a good old mediaeval ghost, with rusty armour and a blood-stained mace – one with a good stock of clanking chains preferred. Yes, we really must have a municipal ghost. For it’s a poor town that has no ghost. I would suggest that the Town Council advertise for a suitable house-haunter, chains, groans, blood-stains, moonlight, etc, all complete. Let the council get the ghost and provide the empty house, and I’ll undertake to write a blood curdling legend around the whole thing – a legend which will make your blood run cold as you proudly relate it to an envious circle of family friends who have been blowing you up about the phantom pig that haunts the bridge across the river of the town they come from. You can make their hair stand on end as you relate how “ye younge knyghte slew with hys shyneing hauberk ye mother of ye beauteous mayden who was even hys wyfe.” That’s an extract from a contemporary of Chaucer, and I’ve never been able to make out whether “ye younge knyghte” slew his wife or his mother-in-law. But the fact remains that we have neither a ghost nor a haunted house. I wait, therefore, to hear what steps the Council intend to take in the matter. For it’s a poor town that has no ghost.
The Larne Times and Weekly Telegraph, 20 June 1908

Saturday, 28 July 2018

The Great Causeway Giant: Part III

The Giant's Causeway (Alphonse Dousseau [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons)
Here it is – the final part of The Northern Whig’s lengthy report on the finding of the Causeway Giant.
Perhaps you would now like my own opinion of the stone representation of the huge human figure, which during the past week has caused so much excitement here. Well, I am not a geologist, and consequently am in complete ignorance of mineralogical distinctions. For the life of me I could not distinguish basalt from the ordinary trap; and, although I have an idea of what is meant by the columnar class, I could not tell the amorphous from the concretionary, nor either of them from the ferruginous. If I were asked what I, in my ignorance, thought the Giant consisted of, I should unhesitatingly express my belief that he was chiselled out of Whitehead limestone, and well coated for a time with soft red clay; that, after he had been duly pickled for a while in a mixture of that sort, he had been carefully brushed down, so as to leave a sufficient quantity of the clay in the crevices and marks with which his body is covered so profusely. 
With regard to the exhibitors of the Giant, there are three of them – a lady and two gentlemen – Mr. and Mrs. Dyer and Mr. Ford. They are all Americans, and have, it seems, been in this country for the past few months. Mr. Dyer is a shrewd, plausible gentleman, of about fifty years of age; his wife, a nice, lady-like person, takes a great interest in the discovery which her husband had made – and lifts the money; Mr. Ford, a sort of Franco-Yankee, aged about thirty-five, acts in the capacity of the business manager. 
Mr. Dyer told me that he intended taking the Giant over to the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, and in answer to my statement that I thought exhibits should have been there long since, he said that it would be quite time enough before the 15thof July. After keeping it there until the Centennial closes, he stated that he would bring it back to Ireland and show it in Dublin and some others of the large towns, concluding with Belfast, from whence he would proceed to Glasgow. 
No information can be obtained from him or any of the party as to the precise spot where the Giant was discovered. “County Antrim” is the stereotyped reply to all questions on the subject. It arrived at the Causeway Hotel late on Sunday night, or early on Monday morning, and it remained there until yesterday afternoon. During the first two days admission was free; the other two days a shilling was charged. While it lay in front of the hotel, Mr. Mack, photographer, of Coleraine, attended, and took a series of views of the figure and its surroundings, showing the hotel and the Causeway headlands in the background. Who after that would attempt to deny that it was found at the Causeway? 
This forenoon the following placard was posted profusely in and around Portrush:-- “Ireland Ahead! The greatest novelty of the age is the discovery of the fossil remains of the Causeway Giant, which will be on exhibition at Coleman’s Hotel, Portrush, on Friday and Saturday, 2ndand 3rdJune, from ten a.m. till ten p.m. Admission, one shilling. Children half price. Schools by agreement. No exhibition on Sunday.”
Is not the very fact that the far-sighted people of this town paid their shillings to see the Giant another strong proof that the discovery is bona-fide? None of the guides or boatmen at the Causeway today could throw any light upon the gigantic fossil, or where it was found, and they seemed greatly chagrined that, with all their ingenuity in the way of money making, and supplying “boxes of specimens,” they allowed the Yankees to box the most wondrous specimen ever heard of in the district.
And here I may be allowed to relate an incident at once interesting and affecting. Some few months ago there arrived, on the County Antrim side of Belfast Lough, three gentlemen from America. They came on a somewhat painful mission. A short time previously there had expired in the Far West a gentleman whose birth had taken place in this “dear ould country.” He had left it many years ago, but in the land of his adoption Providence had smiled on his honest and indefatigable labours, and his dying request was – indeed, if I mistake not, it was also embodied in his will – that over his remains there should be erected a huge cross of Irish limestone. 
In strict obedience to the request of this patriotic Irishman, the trio of Americans arrived at the locality mentioned some months since, and soon entered on their work upon a huge block of limestone from Whitehead. I understand that afterwards a second block was procured. I need not just now indicate the exact scene of their labours; but almost day and night they plied the mallet and chisel. No one was allowed to enter the temporary edifice which was used as a workshop, and in which they were so busily employed preparing this ancient national monument which was to adorn in a far distant land the grave of the true-hearted Irishman now no more. 
A short time since the work was announced to be completed, and the Americans took their departure, but no one, so far as I can discover, has yet witnessed the finished piece of workmanship. On last Friday a lorry, laden with a large wooden case, was seen going through Ballymena, and, if I mistake not, passed on Saturday night through Ballymoney. The mention of this incident shows the interest taken in this country by the Yankees. At the Causeway we have one batch bringing to light the petrified remains of a great, very great, man of other days, while here, close to Belfast, we have another batch preparing a gigantic tombstone for a departed Irishman in America!
A good deal of curiosity will now be manifested over the North of Ireland as to the exact spot where the “Great Causeway Giant” was found. Mr. Dyer will, no doubt, soon become less reticent, supply full particulars, and produce the workmen who assisted at the interesting excavation. Messrs. McCrea and McFarland, the well-known carriers, will also doubtless relate how far their vehicle carried the huge coffin. Our scientific friends, the Belfast Naturalists’ Field Club amongst the number, are certain to have an excursion down to see both the Giant and Mr. Dyer, and in a few days the public will likely have full details of this wonderful discovery.
 - The Northern Whig, 3 June 1876