; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Village Locals Fear Cottage Cursed By Violent Fairies

Back in July 2014, locals in the village of Lixnaw, County Kerry, were seeking the demolition of a cottage they believe to be cursed. At least five tragic deaths are associated with the property, including the violent murder of a woman in 2013.

Lixnaw’s parish priest said locals believe there is a “máchail” (defect or harm) or “mí-ádh” (bad luck) associated with the council-owned cottage on the edge of Ballynageragh bog. The local’s fears were brought to light at the first meeting of the Listowel Electoral Area meeting.

Five of the cottage’s residents have been the victims of tragic, accidental or violent deaths. Just last year, on November 27, Susan Dunne (62) was murdered in the house. Her autistic son, Patrick (20) is to stand trial for her murder, at the Central Criminal Court, on April 13.

Locals also say a man who lived in the cottage was stabbed in Wales, another resident died in a road accident, and in the past 20 years there have been three tragic deaths at the cottage, involving different families.

Sinn Fein Councillor Robert Beasley told the Irish Examiner that no one will ever live there again and said locals are concerned that the council will try to house another family in the house.

The council has confirmed that they are considering demolishing the cottage, however the recently deceased Dunne’s personal effects remain in the house. They are liaising with her family and have yet to make a decision about a refurbishment or demolition.

More recently, the following article was published:

Irish Cottage May Be Haunted By Violent Fairies

All is not well in the cottage at the edge of the Ballynageragh bog.

The simple home lies on the outskirts of this blink-and-you'll-miss-it village in west Ireland's County Kerry.

During the last two decades, no fewer than five inhabitants of the tiny white building used for public housing died suddenly in tragic and unusual circumstances.

The unsettling events have tapped into a culture of legend and supernatural belief that continues to color life here.

One man dozed off with a lit cigarette and succumbed to smoke inhalation. Another hanged himself shortly after moving from the house. One inhabitant died in a car accident, and a fourth was stabbed to death while traveling in Wales.

Then in November 2013, neighbors found the body of Susan Dunne, 62, in one of the cottage's bedrooms.

She had moved in 18 months earlier with her autistic teenage son, who stands accused of her murder. Patrick Dunne, 19, is being held in a Dublin mental hospital until his trial in April.

Dunne's murder was the last straw. Villagers buttonholed Kerry County Councillor Robert Beasley during local election campaigns in May to say they wanted the county-owned house destroyed.

Although Beasley says he raised the motion at council meetings, several factors have delayed a decision about the cottage's fate.

Among them, no action will be taken until the county has arranged with Susan Dunne's family to remove her belongings, which remain in the house.

But for all those who want the house leveled, there are also many who argue that the deaths were just a coincidence that doesn't justify the demolition of a perfectly good dwelling.

Ireland's devastating financial collapse in 2008 and prolonged recession forced the local authorities to slash budgets. As a result, County Kerry has been slow to replenish its public housing stock. Waiting lists are long.

Some would be happy to live with the cottage's bloody legacy as long as they have a roof over their heads, locals say.

"There's a lot of people who would love to have it," says Paddy Quilter, proprietor of Quilter's pub in Lixnaw. "All this bullshit about knocking it down — ah."

Quilter says he doesn't believe in ghosts. A clutch of locals drinking at the bar nod in agreement. But all are familiar with the host of legends, superstitions and fairies that once populated late-night tales in rural Ireland — and that still have real-world implications for many people.

"In the old days, they called it piseog," Quilter says, a Gaelic term (pronounced pi-shawg) meaning superstition, voodoo or anything suggesting a supernatural power at hand. "There were a lot of piseogs and ghosts before electricity came in."

It's a word someone might use to explain an unusual or unsettling phenomenon — the mysterious deaths of five residents of a single cottage, for example.

Industrialization weakened Ireland's belief in the fairy world but didn't stamp it out completely, says Criostoir Mac Carthaigh, an archivist at the National Folklore Collection in Dublin.

As a result, he says, many people adopt a better-safe-than-sorry stance. Some farmers continue their forebears' habits of not plowing certain parts of a field said to be favored by fairies, while disavowing belief in the supernatural themselves.

"Even down to today, there's kind of a residual belief and it's not articulated, it's not spoken about," Mac Carthaigh says. "'Leave well enough alone,' is a phrase you sometimes hear people say."

Sometimes it goes farther than that.

In 1999, the National Roads Authority was notified that a proposed bypass in western Ireland would destroy a hawthorn bush that played an important role in fairy military history. (You read that correctly.)

Irish fairies are no Disneyfied pixies. They hold grudges. Destroying the bush could result in violent fairy retribution — faulty brakes, mangled cars, death.

The government rerouted the highway and built a protective fence around the bush as an offering to the spirits.

The fairies' main lobbyist in the human world in that case was Eddie Lenihan, a grizzle-bearded folklorist in western Ireland's County Clare.

He began his career as a "seanchaithe," or traditional storyteller, when he was completing field research for a masters degree in linguistics and found himself more interested in the stories old folks told than the accents they told them in.

Lenihan says he's contacted almost weekly by people who want to placate fairies on their property or suss out their feelings about upcoming construction.

His questions about the Lixnaw cottage have nothing to do with council budgets or housing demand.

"Was the house built in a place where it shouldn't be?" he wonders. "Is there a fairy fort (a remnant of an early Christian structure) nearby?"

"It might be built on a fairy path or a funeral path, which would be a problem," he adds. "It'd be lunacy to be on one of those. According to the old people, if you're on a fairy path, you'll never have peace or luck in a house like that."

No fairy paths are evident near the cottage today. The low-slung structure, abandoned for almost a year now, stands at the end of a dirt drive blocked by a rusting gate.

Overgrown hedges encircle the property. As storm clouds closed in on a recent windy afternoon, the branches rustled with an insistent sound, like the footsteps of someone or something approaching.

The house next door is for sale. - USA Today

Here is an article from November 2013 following Susan Dunne's murder:

Man Accused of Murdering Devoted Mum to Appear in Court

The man accused of murdering Susan Dunne is set to appear in court on Friday.

Gardai have confirmed that the death of Susan Dunne in her home in Lixnaw, Co Kerry, is now a murder investigation.

Horrified neighbours discovered the body of the 53-year-old autism campaigner in the bedroom of her council home yesterday morning.

A Garda spokesman said: "The results of the post mortem have been furnished to the investigation team but are not being made public. We are not naming the deceased at this point.

"An 19 year male remains in custody in Listowel."

The victim, a mum of three, was the head of Kerry Autism Action and regularly appeared in local media.

It is believed she was attacked with hatchet.

She was originally from the UK but had lived in Kerry for a number of years with her teenage son Patrick – who is autistic and recently graduated from the Nano Nagle school in Listowel.

Local parish priest Fr Mossie Brick told how the community has been rocked by the death. He said: “The events have numbed everybody.

“The mother is the heart and soul of every family. Susan was Patrick’s soulmate, his minder and his carer.”

Locals became concerned for her welfare when a man drove into nearby Listowel and collected her welfare payment.

A short time later the postmistress arrived at her home in Ballinageragh.

She noticed the door was ajar and “things seemed out of place”.

The postal worker contacted neighbours and two locals walked into the home and made the discovery in a bedroom.

A security source explained: “She suffered serious head injuries. It would appear that she was beaten to death.

“It is not clear whether a blunt weapon was used or if she was punched to death.”

Emergency services were called but the mum was pronounced dead at the scene.

A short time later gardai arrested a 19-year-old man in Listowel.

He was being medically examined last night and gardai are waiting for clearance from doctors before they can interview him.

He can be detained for 24 hours before being charged or released. Detectives from Listowel are investigating the death.

Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margot Bolster travelled to the scene last night where she carried out a preliminary examination on Ms Dunne’s body.

The remains were due to be removed to Kerry General Hospital in Tralee last night for a postmortem.

Sinn Fein Cllr Robert Beasley said the area was shocked by the death and added: “This is a small farming community and people are really upset.

“A number of people moved to Lixnaw during the boom years.

“It would appear this woman moved into this home around two years ago after the previous owners left.”

Ms Dunne moved to Kerry some years ago and lived in Abbeydorney before moving to Lixnaw.

She has two adult children living in the UK.

It was the third tragedy associated with the council bungalow in Ballinageragh. In 1990 a local man died from smoke inhalation at the house. - herald.ie


The Supernatural 'Little People'

The Pooka are much more frequently sighted (not Leprechaun) and have a much greater effect on how people lived their lives. Pooka are small fairies, feared and respected for their ability to cause harm and mischief. They come out at night and cause havoc around homes and farms. The Pooka causes milk to curdle, frightens hens into stopping laying and will break property if he is not kept appeased. Pooka are kept happy by being offered a small portion of the harvest each year.

The Fir Dearg, or red man, is another solitary mischevious fairy said to dress always in a red coat and a red cap. The Fear Dearg was blamed for household accidents, and for bringing bad dreams at night.

There are other supernatural Irish creatures who are said to bring death in their wake. They evolved out of earlier legends of vengeful gods and goddesses who demanded human sacrifice. In Christian times they morphed into dark figures who foreshadowed a death. Beware...Lon

A History of Irish Fairies

Tolkien's World from A to Z: The Complete Guide to Middle-Earth

Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns, and Goblins: An Encyclopedia

The Celtic Twilight: Faerie and Folklore (Celtic, Irish)