Thursday, 20 October 2016

The Journalist and the Poltergeist

In July 1910, a poltergeist moved into a room in a boarding house on John Street, in Enniscorthy, County Wexford. The room was already occupied by “two young men and a boy,” and, according to the Dublin Daily Express, they had lived there for “a considerable time” without incident.
One night in July [no date is given by either source] the boarders went to bed at their usual time. At midnight, one of the men was awoken by the sound of tapping. It came at intervals, and from different parts of the room.
But he paid little attention to it.
Then, the bedclothes were pulled slowly off the bed. He thought that the others were playing a joke and asked them to stop.
The tapping started again.
Now that everyone was awake, they lit a candle and searched the room. Finding no one else in the room, they locked the door, put out the candle and went back to bed.
The tapping started immediately. They lit the candle again. The tapping stopped. They extinguished the candle. The tapping started.
This went on for two hours.
In the morning, they found that what would become known as “the haunted bed” had been moved across the room.
The next night followed the same pattern, prompting the haunted bed’s regular occupant to refuse to sleep in it. Which, given what happened next, was a very wise choice. As he and his friend cowered in one bed, the haunted bed floated to the ceiling, flipped over, and was then gently lowered to the floor.
That was their last night in the room.
After their departure, the room remained unoccupied. It was checked each morning. And each time it was checked, the furniture in the room was found to have been rearranged.
“The occurrences have caused much surprise in the town, and their cause is still a matter of mystery,” wrote the Dublin Daily Express.
A few days later, a local journalist arrived to investigate. He examined the beds, the floor and the walls. “Everything was found to be in perfect order, with no sign of a trap in any place.”
That night, accompanied by a companion, the journalist went to bed in the haunted room. They extinguished the candle at 11pm; and at 11.30pm the infamous tapping began.
It grew quicker and quicker.
From the other bed, the journalist heard his companion shout: “The clothes are going off me. Good God, they are going off me.”
On lighting the candle, the journalist could see the bedclothes being slowly pulled from his companion’s bed. His companion was terrified, and seemed unable to move.
When the room was calm again, the candle was put out. The tapping started immediately. And once more his companion cried out: “They are going again. They are at me. Something is shoving me. I am going.”
Once more the journalist reached for his matches. This time he found his companion on the floor, with a sheet under him and a quilt over him, “as if he had been carried from the bed.” He was white, trembling, and dripping with sweat.
Despite the terror at least one of the men was experiencing, they stayed in the room for about four hours.
“The watchers left at three o’clock in the morning, having secured absolutely no clue to one of the most weird occurrences that has startled the town and district for many years.”
  • Dublin Daily Express, 30 July 1910
  • Derry Journal, 5 August 1910

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