Thank you to everyone who attended last Wednesday’s lecture on the Rev. Edward Spring and his Mission. Given that it is Halloween, the following addendum to the story of Edward Spring deals not with religious affairs but instead with things that go bump in the night.
In November 1864, the Skibbereen Eagle newspaper, in its inimitable style, reported that for months past strange noises had been heard in Aughadown Glebe House. These ‘knocks on the floor’ began every evening at precisely 10 o’clock and were only heard when the rector, Archdeacon Stuart, was absent. Floorboards had been lifted to discover the cause, but nothing was found. Since the noises commenced, Archdeacon Stuart had departed the parish to be replaced as rector by the Rev. Edward Spring. However, the newspaper reported that the knocking had persisted and though the Rev. Spring had heard it the Eagle reported that he would not be ‘knocked out’ by this, for while the spirit was a ‘little noisy’ it was ‘perfectly harmless’.
This story was picked up by several newspapers throughout Ireland. As a result, one individual, who claimed to be a clergyman and no believer in ‘spirit-rapping’, wrote to the Cork Constitution relating his experiences in the same Glebe House in the summer of 1835. He stated that while there on several occasions he was awoken between half past three and four in the morning by loud noises that appeared to come from the kitchen. These consisted of ‘chairs … raised up and slapped down at great force – kettles, pans, metal pots, fire irons etc., appeared to be thrown about with considerable violence’. When he went to investigate all was in order and when he questioned servants they protested that they knew nothing of the matter.
On 25 November 1864, Edward Spring wrote to the Skibbereen Eagle to give his understanding of these events. He reassured readers that the stories were much exaggerated and that the floorboards in the Glebe had not been pulled up. He admitted there were noises in one bedroom, but they did not occur at any precise time. He suspected that the cause was a large ancient-looking bedstead. He had since bought this item in an auction and it no longer caused any issue – (presumably because he had it broken up). Since then no noises had been heard.
The Eagle replied that their report was obtained from a gentleman who had been ‘expressly invited’ to the Glebe to hear the ‘knocking’ and far from being exaggerated their initial report had fallen ‘far short’ of what was told to them.
Afterwards, nothing else appears to have been heard of the mysterious noise in Aughadown Glebe. Poltergeist, ghost, or an old creaking bed, that is up to you to decide.