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89 called in; the first had not succeeded but the other he thought would manage it. I said that was delightful and that I heard before of certain plans to lay the devil. “Just so, mem, and if I dare divulge it you would know all”. I could hardly repress laughing, I was so diverted as I felt my my notebook safe in my pocket, and thought of the strenuous efforts made to get in by a certain paper not far off. And now, having endeavoured truthfully to repeat what I heard and saw. I think those who have followed the unprejudiced by dogmas and untrammelled by superstition will begin to infer the whole thing may, perhaps be accounted for without either magnesian lights or the more conservative blue blaze. I returned to my hotel to find myself a heroine with my landlady and to receive many warm invitations back to Cookstown. Fere libenter nomines id quod volunt credunt – Men willingly believe what they wish to be true. Belfast Newsletter, 30 November 1874, The Cookstown Ghost If ghosts can “pale”, the shades of Mr Giles Scroggins and Mrs Veal must perform that involuntary act in view of the supernatural manifestations reported to have taken place at Cookstown in the North of Ireland. The current number of the Spiritualist contains a long account of the freaks played by some “unknown power” in and upon a house of business there situate, and of the abortive attempts which have been made by the Royal Irish Constabulary to discover the perpetrators of mischief rather above the ordinary range of practical jokes. The narrative consists of a series of reports which have appeared in the Belfast Newsletter, the property of Mr Henderson, Mayor of Belfast, who recently entertained a very hospitable fashion the British Association for the Advancement of Science. The editor of the Spiritualist recommends the appointment of a scientific committee to investigate the matter and gives special reasons – some of them obviously sarcastic and ironical – why Professor Tyndall, Dr Carpenter, Professor Clerk Maxwell, Colonel Lane Fox, Professor A. Herschell, Dr Andrews, Professor Everett, Professor George Busk and the Mayor of Belfast should be nominated for this grave office of inquiry.58 His own explanation of the facts is contained in the following astute commentary – 58 John Tyndall was an Irish Physicist and President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (BAAS). The others named here are also luminaries of the Victorian scientific community. William Carpenter was a former president of the BAAS. James Clerk Maxwell and Professor J. D. Everett were both noted physicists. Henry Lane-Fox Pitt Rivers was an anthropologist and archaeologist. Professor George Busk was a leading naturalist; Thomas Andrews was Professor of Chemistry at Queen’s University, Belfast. Professor Alex Herschell was a renowned astronomer.

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