Faeries, changelings and herbalist doctors might seem like characters in a winding tale of medieval folklore today, but in 1895, Ireland bore witness to a case that saw these facets of folk tradition flare up in a very real way when Michael Cleary, a skilled tradesman of County Tipperary set fire to his wife, burning her to death. As the body of Bridget Cleary was placed in the ground, her husband was convinced that he would see his wife again, riding on the back of a grey horse as she emerged from an invisible plane. The body in the ground was merely that of a changeling, an imposter placed in his house by the fairies, he had merely expedited the process of return.
Amazon – The burning of Bridget Cleary: Angela Bourke – An excellent book that documents the case of Bridget Cleary along with the social and political issues of the time.
The Irish History Podcast – Fins episode on his own podcast, The Irish History Podcast that covers the Bridget Cleary case.
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