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15 O/S Memoires, Parishes of County Londonderry II, vol. 9, Parish of Drumachose, J. Butler Williams, J. Bleakly, C.W. Ligar, May 1835. (p.126) ‘To cure this, a hank of green yarn (that is unbleached yarn) is drawn over the cow, commencing at the hinder part and putting the cow completely through the circle of the hank 9 times in the name of the Trinity and contrary to the grain of the hair. Also the cow’s back is singed with a coal of fire 9 times, commencing at the hinder part. The superstitious will not allow a coal of fire to leave the house, nor a drink of water given while churning, as they say it takes away the butter, nor will they allow their neighbours to go in at one door of the house and out at the other, for fear of taking away their butter.’ The power of a witch, 1873 [Back to Contents] O/S Memoires, Parishes of Londonderry XIII, vol. 34, Parish of Clandermot, J. Stokes, 1835. (p. 32) ‘So prone indeed are the people to superstition that they believe themselves honoured, not only by the residence of cunning women among them but even of reputed witches. In the neighbourhood of the parish church it is the general opinion that the high wind which in 1831 blew down the spire was caused by the illness and death of Bell Miller, an old woman of Ardlough, for, say they, “the moment she expired, the wind ceased to blow”. She was believed to have the power of transforming herself into any shape, and her neighbours would sooner forfeit a sum of money than incur her displeasure, being persuaded that she had similar power over themselves and their cattle.’ David Herbison, ‘Elegiac Stanzas: On the Death of a Beloved Brother’ (taken from The Select Works of David Herbison, 1880). Known as ‘The Bard of Dunclug’, David Herbison (1800-70) was born in Ballymena in the year 1800, and in his youth was apprenticed to a linen weaver. An attempt to immigrate to Canada in 1827 ended in disaster, when the ship Herbison was sailing on was wrecked on the St Lawrence River, near Quebec. However, while Herbison returned to mid-Antrim and began an illustrious poetic career; the majority of his family settled in North America. The following note is attached to the poem below and describes a youthful haunt of Herbison and his brother, which became associated with the activities of a local witch.

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