Monday, July 13, 2015

Irish Ghost Tales and Things That Go Bump In The Night.

Irish Ghost Tales and Things That Go Bump In The Night.
Due for release in October 2015.

Do ghosts exist, do supernatural beings walk the land and do creatures linger in the shadows.  Are legends of blood sucking creatures based on some truth found on the edges of reality?  Within these pages Tony Locke will take you on a journey through the magical land of Erin.  As you turn the pages you will find a whole host of dark spectral beings just waiting to take you by the hand. From the banshee to the undead, witches and warlocks or the vengeful druid who guards a tomb.

You will explore castles and graveyards; you will be introduced to the spirit of a child that possesses a doll, the horror of being buried alive, and the cannibal woman who enjoyed eating children.  As night time approaches and darkness descends you may turn on the light but remember this, it is within the light that shadows exist and things that go bump in the night. Old stories told by the ancients around camp fires right up to the present day storyteller sat by the hearth are here waiting for you to begin your journey. So why not pull up a chair and sit awhile. You know you’re never too old for a story.
Saint Swithin’s Day.
St Swithin is not an Irish saint but he is well known in Ireland because of the folklore associated with his name. This Wednesday is the 15th July and in the Christian calendar it is also known as Saint Swithin’s Day. According to an ancient tradition, if it rains on St Swithin's Day, it will rain for the next 40 days.
Saint Swithin was the Bishop of Westminster in England in the ninth century between 852 and 862. He was well known for building churches and restoring old ones, anonymously repairing them at his own cost.
He was reported as being something of a humble man who preferred to travel on foot rather that in a grand carriage which befitted the style of Bishop’s and when he hosted banquets he would invite poor peasants rather than the rich. Just before he died in 862, he asked to be buried outside the walls of Winchester Cathedral, so the rain would fall on his grave and the people of Winchester would walk above him. He wished to be buried as an ordinary man in the graveyard and not a fine tomb. His wishes were granted.
However, nine years later on 15 July 971, following the orders of King Edgar, Bishop Ethelwold and his monks moved Swithin’s remains to a new shrine inside Winchester Cathedral. A great storm was said to have developed during the moving of his body and it continued to rain for 40 days.
The countryside was flooded and the monks beseeched St. Swithin to intercede for them. It's said that he appeared to one of his monks and revealed to him how displeasing it was to God to spend their time in useless expenditures of time and money which might easily be spent with more advantage in the relief of the poor and needy; he also forbade the monks to ever interfere with his remains again.
People said that the saint in heaven was weeping because his bones had been moved away from the ordinary people. For going against his dying wishes it was believed that his curse was forty continuous days of rain.  In AD 963, the work on the mausoleum was finally completed, but, by then, the legend of St. Swithin as a rain-saint was firmly established. The shrine was destroyed in 1538 by King Henry VIII' s men during the Dissolution of the Monasteries.
The legend made its way to Ireland during the middle ages and is still remembered today in the words of the following rhyme.
St Swithin’s Day, if it does rain
Full forty days, it will remain
St Swithin’s Day, if it be fair
For forty days, t'will rain no more."

While most of us would rather not see rain on July 15th, apple-growers hope for it on this day, as it is believed that the saint is watering the crops. Some apple growers will tell you that if it fails to rain on Saint Swithin’s Day, the apple-crop will be a poor one. They also suggest that no apple should picked before July 15th and all apples growing at this time will ripen.

So if you are praying for sunshine, then may your prayers be granted. However, if you're in an area of drought, may you be blessed with a wet St. Swithin’s Day!
Sadly for those who like the romance of such folklore, there is no evidence to back up the prophecy.  It has been put to the test on 55 occasions by the Meteorological Office in the U.K., when it has been wet on St Swithin's Day and 40 days of rain did not follow.
However, the legend remains popular and even if no one takes it seriously, it usually gets an airing every on St Swithin’s Day every year.  So my advice to you would be:

If on St Swithun’s day it really pours
You’d be better off to stay indoors.