Tuesday 20 October 2015

A Spoon, a Devil and Terrible Fate for a Tongue

My occasional dip into the newspapers of the glorious Georgian era today today finds us leafing through Trewman's Exeter Flying Post, or, Plymouth and Cornish Advertiser, dated 12th August 1824. Be warned though, this tale of devils and drink is not for the squeamish. 


The following account of the unfortunate issue of another attempt to cast out a devil in Ireland is from the Dublin Star:-

A poor humble man, named Halloran, residing near Loughren, in the neighbourhood of Kilchrist, being in a state of lunacy, his relatives were persuaded by their Confessor that he was possessed of a devil. In such an exigency no time was to be lost; and as the Holy Father who had made the discovery was a celebrated exorcise, he was immediately employed to dispossess the demoniac of his troublesome spiritual tenant. Having, therefore, procured a sufficient quantity of strong spirits for the occasion, his Reverence commenced his exorcisms by taking a potion, to prepare him the better for the spiritual warfare in which he was about to engage. The demoniac was then stretched on a bed, in the presence of his mother and several spectators, who assisted in the operation. After opening his mouth by means of a gag, the exorcist forced a large spoon down the unfortunate man's throat, for the purpose of bringing up, as he said, the demon! but, instead of bringing out a spirit, he pulled the tongue out of the lunatic's mouth, in consequence of which he expired shortly afterwards! - Why was this horrible transaction passed over without investigation? Was there not an inquest held on the body? Perhaps it maybe  said the officiating Priest was insane. To this we answer in the negative; for, after undergoing the trifling punishment of three months suspension from his duty, to which he was sentenced by his superiors, he was restored to his clerical situation and is now invested with full authority to perform all his spiritual functions.

A terrible tale indeed and one that is not easily forgotten at any time of the year, let alone as Halloween approaches!


Sarah said...

Poor man! One wonders whether his 'possession' or lunacy was owing to some terrible wasting within his head that also ate far enough through the tongue that it might be easily removed.

Bev Newman said...

It does point towards something like TB in the oral cavity or an invasive tumour as the tongue is a very solid muscle.

Catherine Curzon said...

I think that's likely; poor chap.

Catherine Curzon said...

A horrendous fate.