|BURNED AS A WITCH. |
A TERRIBLE IRISH TRAGEDY.
A WOMAN TORTURED BY HER HUSBAND.
| An appalling story of cruelty and superstition
culminating in the murder of a woman by her relatives who thought her bewitched comes from Ireland. The
matter was briefly mentioned in our cabled news a few weeks ago. The young woman's name was
Bridget Cleary, and she lived with her husband at Cloner, near Clonmel, County Tipperary. Ten persons
were arrested, nine of whom are charged jointly and severally with committing the murder. These were
Michael Cleary, her husband; Patrick Boland, her father; Patrick Kennedy, James Kennedy, Michael
Kennedy, John Dunne, and William Ahearn, neighbors. Dennis Grancey, her doctor, was charged with
being accessory before the fact. William Simpson and Johanna Burke, both of whom lived near the
Clearys, were the principal witnesses. Their testimony was substantially the same, and this is the story
as they told it :
Mrs. Cleary had been ill for some time, and on the night of March 14 Mrs. Burke went to see her. She met Simpson and his wife outside. The door was locked, and Mrs. Burke told Simpson that Michael Cleary had said they were giving Mrs. Cleary some herbs which they got from the man over the mountains. Voices could be heard inside saying: "Take it, you witch!" and "Take it, you old faggot, or we will kill you.''
When they finally gained admission they saw Dunne and three of the Kennedys holding Mrs. Cleary down on the bed by her hands and feet. Her husband was standing by the bed with some decoction in a spoon. He called for some vile liquid, which was poured over the woman's body. A man at each side of the bed kept the body swinging about. The woman screamed horribly.
Then she was forced to take the decoction out of the spoon, and Cleary asked: "Are you Bridget Boland, wife of Michael Cleary? Answer in the name of God." She answered: "I am Bridget Boland, in the name of God."
"Come home, Bridget Boland," they all cried, and then Simpson understood that they thought her body had been taken possession of by a witch which they were endeavoring to drive out.
After the woman had answered the question several times John Dunne said: "Hold her over the fire, and she will answer then." She was taken from her bed and carried to the kitchen, where she was placed in a sitting posture over the fire. Simpson noticed some red marks on her body, and was told that they had used a red-hot poker on her to make her take the medicine. As she was held over the fire she was compelled to make answer several times: "I am Bridget Boland, daughter of Patrick Boland, in the name of God!" Then, groaning and screaming, she was carried back to bed.
The night after these occurrences Mrs. Burke went to sit up with Mrs. Cleary. She and the others present sat at the fire and talked about fairies. Mrs. Burke made some tea and offered a cup to Mrs. Cleary, but before she could take it her husband jumped up, and taking three pieces of bread said his wife should eat them before she should have the cup. He asked her three times: "Are you Bridget Cleary, my wife, in the name of God?"
Twice she answered and ate two pieces of bread. The third time she did not answer. Cleary forced the bread into her mouth, saying: "If you don't take it down you will go." He then flung her on the ground, and putting his knee on her chest and one hand upon her throat forced the bread down. "Swallow it," he shouted. "Is it down?" He took a lighted stick and held it to her mouth to see if she had swallowed it.
At this point Mrs. Burke and the others wanted to leave the house, but Cleary said he would not open the door till he got his wife back. He told his wife that he would burn her if she did not answer to her name three times. Her reply did not satisfy him, and he seized a burning lamp and threw it at her. In a moment she was in a blaze. She screamed frantically, but her husband cried: "Hold your tongue. It is not Bridget I am burning. You will soon see a witch going up the chimney."
Mrs. Burke admitted in her testimony that she afterwards saw the corpse carried out of the house in a bag. It was found a week later at the bottom of a ditch, under two feet of mud, on the lands of Tully Cusane.
|FARMER KILLED. WAS CLEANING HIS GUN WITH A RED-HOT POKER.|
|The "Freeman's Journal" states that at Mallow on Wednesday evening a fatal gun explosion occurred. A farmer, named Kelly, with a red-hot poker was endeavouring to clean out the nipple of an old gun when an explosion occurred, and Kelly was killed.|
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