By Melanie Ward
You may remember reading about the Coonian Ghost in Ireland’s Own a few years ago. Since then, some new information has come to light about what happened to the Murphy Family after the Poltergeist paid them a visit.
If you dare to read on, you can find out…
In 1913, Bridget Murphy and her seven children were living on a farm at Coonian, on the Fermanagh/Tyrone border. Bridget’s husband, Michael, had died suddenly six years before, a month before she had given birth to her last child. It was doubtless a traumatic experience for Bridget and it left her the head of the household, responsible for running the family’s 40-acre farm.
The family’s troubles began in February that year, when Bridget’s son, James, returned home from a céilí to find his mother and six sisters in a state of near hysteria – they had heard knocking and scratching coming from within the walls of the house.
James searched high and low, both inside and outside the house but could find nothing, and told his mother and sisters that it must have been a rat.
In the following weeks the noises continued and strange things started happening – drawers opened and closed by themselves, delft fell from the dresser. The family found it hard to settle and when neighbours heard of the curious events they came to sit with the family.
It wasn’t long until the happenings came to the attention of the local clergy. The Parish Priest sent his curate, Father Smyth, to say Mass at the house and though this had the effect of banishing the spirit from the kitchen, strange noises were still to be heard in the bedrooms and loft.
A curate from Maguiresbridge, Father Eugene Coyle, also visited the house but the presence of clergy seemed to vex the ghost further.
The priests questioned the ghost, who responded in a series of knocks. It was able to answer questions put to it in English, Irish and Latin and though it never spoke, it was heard to whistle – sometimes The Soldier’s Song and sometimes The Boyne Water.