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81 Poltergeists56 [Back to Contents] The Cookstown Ghost Belfast Newsletter, 16 November 1874, The Cookstown Ghost. Cookstown has lately been singled out for the attentions of a visitor whose freaks and doings have caused no little wonderment and [illegible]. Were the time a little farther 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. It would abound with mystery and weirdness and incomprehensibleness. The story, however, would lack the orthodox moral; it would be wanting in an end; the inexplicable would remain unexplained, for the simple reason that at present it admits not of solution. The stranger has not yet made himself visible to any eye but his presence is too obtrusively indicated by uncanny acts to be either unnoticed or uncared for. The absolute identity of the unseen is, therefore, a matter of grave conjecture, public opinion being strongly divided as to whether he is a ghost, a spirit or simply an atom of depraved humanity indulging in a fanciful and certainly much-to-be- condemned form of amusement. According to all preconceived notions of ghostdom, a form from that land of shades should assume a spectral, faintly illuminated human aspect, having a peculiar predilection for the witching hour of midnight, “when churchyards yawn and graves give up their dead”. Such is not the case in this instance, for in no shape or entity is our unquiet friend ever observable, while neither cock crow, the sun at noon day, nor the hush of twilight, exercise controlling power over his actions. If a ghost then he be, he undoubtedly has a dispensation freeing him from all the known thraldom of his kindred genus. By some, who have sufficient nerve and courage to become factious on the subject, it is asserted that a spirit has broken loose form the mystic storeroom of Mrs Guppy – one which disdains the further confinement of dark séances and the undignified monotony of table-rapping. There are others again who are quite incredulous and hem and haw and hint and declare that the thing is not so ghost-like or mysterious as it seems; that, in fact, if they just had their way, Cookstown would soon resume its wonted serenity and be no more troubled with this paradoxical invisible apparition. Whatever the agent may be, though, certain it is that the household selected for its scene of operations has been put to infinite pain and annoyance. And not all the sympathy and kindness and assistance of friends and neighbours are able to relive them from their unwelcome guest, or prevent them from suffering unpleasantness 56 For a readable history of this subject, see: Peter Maxwell-Stuart, Poltergeists, A History of Violent Ghostly Phenomenon (Stroud, 2011).

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