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True Irish Ghost Stories: Haunted Houses, Banshees, Poltergeists, and Other Supernatural Phenomena (John D. Seymour) online

True Irish Ghost Stories: Haunted Houses, Banshees, Poltergeists, and Other Supernatural Phenomena by John D. Seymour


"It is needless to say that, although the scene of this tumult was on my nearest way home, I did not venture that way, as, although there are many people who would say that I never knew what fear was, I must confess on this occasion I was thoroughly frightened.

"At breakfast I got a good sound rating from my father for staying out so late. My excuse was that I fell asleep and had a horrible dream, which I related. When I finished I was told I had been dreaming with my eyes open!--that I was not the first person who had witnessed this strange sight. He then told me the following narrative: 'It was towards the end of the seventeenth century that a widow named Sally Mackey and her three sons lived on the outskirts of the little settlement of the Mackeys. A warrant was issued by the Government against the three sons for high treason, the warrant being delivered for execution to the officer in command of the infantry regiment stationed at Lifford. A company was told off for the purpose of effecting the arrest, and the troops set out from Lifford at 11 P.M.

"'The cottage home of the Mackeys was approached by a bridle-path, leading from the main road to Derry, which only permitted the military to approach in single file; they arrived there at midnight, and the first intimation the inmates had of danger was the barking, and then the shooting, of the collie dog. Possessing as they did several stand of arms, they opened fire on the soldiers as they came in view and killed and wounded several; it was the mother, Sally Mackey, who did the shooting, the sons loading the muskets. Whether the cottage went on fire by accident or design was never known; it was only when the firing from the cottage ceased and the door was forced open that the officer in command rushed in and brought out the prostrate form of the lady, who was severely wounded and burned. All the sons perished, but the soldiers suffered severely, a good many being killed and wounded.

"'The firing was heard by the sentries at Lifford, and a troop of cavalry was despatched to the scene of conflict, but only arrived in time to see the heroine dragged from the burning cottage. She had not, however, been fatally wounded, and lived for many years afterwards with a kinsmen. My father remembered conversing with old men, when he was a boy, who remembered her well. She seemed to take a delight in narrating incidents of the fight to those who came to visit her, and would always finish up by making them feel the pellets between the skin and her ribs.'"

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