« Lore

Episode 168: Beyond the Pale

2021-04-12 | 🔗

Hope is a powerful emotion, and it has driven humans to do great things over the centuries. It’s also a key element of folklore, but the stories it gives rise to there are more than just inspiring—some of them can also be terrifying.


Lore Resources: 

A fantastic resource on the life and legend of Gerald Fitzgerald is the scholar and historian Dr. Vincent Carey. His books are the best out there regarding the Wizard Earl, and he was generous enough to actually chat with our researcher for this episode’s development. Please check him out.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
They built it to honour one man. But its clear. They had another in mine. It's a red sandstone tower jutting up. The ruins of a much older structure, the in your old castle, Kith Housing, and if you Is it the monument you'll see two different men on display? The first set in copper writing a top a whore.
Is emperor, William. The first who rule Germany about a century and a half ago, but at the base of the tower it inside an open air cave surrounded by terraces for visitors to walk along is someone older and more legendary. The twelfth century holy roman emperor rhetoric, Barbarossa he's carved into the back wall of the space and ancient figure sleeping on a throne with his beard flowing down. Past his knees and he's sleeping because of the legend about him, a legend that will sound familiar to fans of King Arthur. They say that Bob Rosa isn't really dead, but simply hidden, a under a mountain in Germany, sleeping until he is needed again.
The king under the mountain legend, is a lot more common than most people realize. Yes, it's a prominent feature at the end of the king, Arthur story, but it's also a legend told about Charlemagne and a handful of other historic leaders. Why? Because it speaks of hope that while our suffering might be great, it's only temporary and soon enough. the hero will return to set things right, but one story echoes this ancient belief in the returning hero more than any other, it's not a famous as the rest, but a rap, resents, an entire nation oppressed under the thumb of a foreign ruler, in the hope they placed in their here has returned and to hear it. We're going to need to travel to a land of limitless beauty and enduring pain. Ireland, I'm Aaron Monkey, and this is lore.
when it was built. It was a symbol of defeat and that's something. The Normans were very good at what they do. It'd England, in ten sixty six, they spent the next decade conquering every corner of the land, and everywhere they went. They built tall fortresses. They served as seats. power, but also enormous physical reminders that they were now in charge. So and be a surprise that when the Normans invaded Ireland a century later, they did the same thing, although at the beginning, less and invasion and more an invitation, you see, the king of Leinster had lost his throne, and so he sailed to England. Looking for help when he returned it was with english allies and together they reclaimed his.
Crown in the years to come. England would insert itself into the irish landscape both politically and physically, and it's a conflict that has never really gone away, and all of that background is essential to understand when you look upon the walls of Kilkenny Castle because as the oldest continuously occupied castle in Ireland, it's been there through it all built in the year. One thousand one hundred and eighty. just a few years after the English arrived, it has stood watch over a never ending game of conquest and rebellion, and if I spent time tell you about any of those events. You would immediately recognized the pattern. the people of Ireland would rise up fight for their freedom and then be crushed by the fist of english military power. But some happened over the years inside the walls of Kilkenny Castle, you see the family, who called the place home. The Fitzgerald had deep Norman routes, and were descended from the same royal line as the tutors who ruled England by the early sixty.
Century. The Earl of Kildare also served as the Lord Deputy of Ireland on paper. They fully represented english power over the irish people, but at the same time they had become deeply irish over the centuries and held strong sympathies to their plight. It was a tension that reached the breaking point at one thousand, five hundred and thirty four. That's when Gerald Fitzgerald The ninth earl of killed there was called to England by King Henry, the eighth, so he and his wife and daughter is all boarded a ship and set sail within the EU the Earl was dead from his time in the Tower of London and his wife and daughters were forced to serve the royal family or life back home at Kilkenny Castle. The new Earl of killed there. It was twenty three year old, Thomas along
his twelve year old brother Gerald. They represented the last of their line later that year, Thomas would go on to leader revolt against the English in Ireland in July, a fifteen thirty four he and a small army attacking Dublin Castle, but were quickly defeated. Thomas and five of his uncles were eventually taken prisoner transported to London and executed there for all to see, and if you keeping track that just leaves young Gerald, he represented the last of the Fitzgerald sure, but he was more than that to irish rebels. He was their best chance at a future. Without the English, his family had been cousins to King Henry, the eighth powerful in their own right and law by the people of the land, but I just twelve years old. He wasn't ready to lead them and to make matters worse, he was sick. Around the time at his older brother, Thomas was preparing to try to capture Dublin Castle. Young Gerald lay sick and dying from smallpox
knowing that Henry, the eighth would send agents to kill him. Thomas had his sick brother placed in a large baskets and smuggled out of the castle and then left him in the care of a beloved family friend, a priest named Thomas Levers At first, they believe that be simple enough to move Gerald to his aunts estate well, outside the lands controlled by the English around Dublin known as the pale it was there that his health recovered biting off the deadly disease. But after his brothers execution king Recent an army back to Ireland to stamp out any remaining rebel pockets and two fine young Gerald. He did more than that to remember Henry the ape was the man responsible for England leaving the catholic church setting up the protestant replacement? No the Church of England, so in an effort to rid himself of pro catholic rebels in Ireland he shut down all catholic monasteries seized their wealth and then in a final blow to the Fitzgerald Strip them of their land.
and titles, but hope is a lot harder to extinguish and for a people who Spent so many long centuries enduring foreign rule, the Irish had hope in abundance. It might not have felt like it at the time with their Earl and his rebellion gun, but they knew if they waited a hero, would return. What they didn't know, however, was that when he did, he would return to them in the most unexpected way. The next Earl of killed there, you see, would be a wizard. To become a wizard, you need a reputation for the unexpected and, if there's one thing that Gerald Fitzgerald was good at it was surprising. People
now. The important thing to keep in mind as we explore the next decade or so of his life, is that there is a difference between reality and perception. Real events would take place over and over four Gerald and they would have reasonable logical explanations, but the perception well, it created the legend of the wizard Earl. His first trick was slipping out of King Henry the eighth grasp impressive, when you consider that Henry was one of the most powerful monarchs in the world, but Gerald managed to pull it off. Thanks to a network of loyal supporters, known ass, the Geraldine Lean They protected him whenever he was in hiding help transport him safely to the next hide out and maintained a network of scouts to watch for english spy, and that game of cat and mouse eventually led the Geraldine League to move the boy out of Ireland altogether. There first stop brain
And keep in mind this was a moment in history when France and England weren't on the best of terms, so that old adage that says the enemy of my enemy is my friend prove true. He found supporters there at the royal court and was provided protection funding and a place to be free for a while, at least France was close enough to England that there were still spies to contend with. Thankfully, Gerald always had his two companions by his side. Both friends of his father is Tudor Thomas Levers and an old cranky servant, name, Robert Walsh, but all good
Things must come to an end. When the english ambassador to France caught Window Gerald stay there, he sent an agent to capture the boy Gerald and his protectors managed to slip away, but I meant leaving the safety of France behind O n that english agent, who pursued them his name, was Sherlock, which honestly just sounds perfect. Doesn't it after France, the boy fugitive travelled to the court of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles the fifth, but that stated at last, very long. So after wandering Europe, a bit Gerald and his protectors landed in ITALY under the Protection of Henry the eighth biggest enemy around the catholic church, and that's where he spent the rest of his exile. It turned out there one of his distant relatives, was a cardinal by the name of Reginald pull yes in English priest right there in ITALY and through those connections, Gerald was able to settle down and begin his edge, Haitian but Gerald, was more interested in action and books and during his
Means he learned of the efforts of an order of catholic soldiers, known as the Knights of Saint John, to fight the Ottoman Empire in Northern Africa. So he left ITALY and threw himself into the conflict near Tripoli. and while he never officially joined the Knights of Saint John, he did walk away with an intense military training and a reputation for great skill in combat upon returning to ITALY. He was hired by customer domenici, the grand Duke of Tuscany, to serve as his master of horse, and we need to just stop and reflect on this moments. Smuggled out of Ireland as a sick and dying child and hunted by the king of England across much of Europe Gerald, had transformed himself into a strong, wealthy courtier with responsibility over the vast horse business of one of ITALY's most powerful men. If that's not sorcery, I dont know
what is and then in fifteen forty nine Gerald made a trip back to the french courts when a messenger approached him out of the crowd you carry The letter from his mother, letting him know that she was still alive and well and something even more joyous king Henry, the eighth. The man who had hunted him for years was dead and his passing meant, Gerald was now safe. A year later, he was on a ship bound for England. At his side were Thomas Laborious and Robert Wash his faithful protectors and advisers, and what transpired next set off a new chance,
You're in his life, during a social gathering thrown by the new twelve year old boy, King Edward, the sixth, he met a young woman named able and their romance quickly lead to marriage and then, three years after his return to England, another door open for him, young King Edward dies and after a brief struggle for the crown with Lady Jane Gray, Edwards sister Mary became Queen and Mary was good NEWS for Gerald, because she, unlike her father and brother was catholic, oh and one more thing remember when Gerald Father was called to England and summarily thrown into prison in the Tower of London, leaving his wife and daughters to face punishment by Henry. The eighth do you know who those women had been ordered to serve as Ladys in waiting, Henry's daughters
included Mary, which means that all of a sudden not only did Gerald, find himself living in England that no longer outlawed Catholicism, but his mother and sisters had been constant companions and serpents to the new queen. It's no wonder people began to believe that Gerald was a wizard all of this good fortune. Just screamed magic. Soon he had a written pardon and his ancestral lands entitles had been restored, so Gerald and his new wife Mabel, packed up and headed home, his real home, the Hum He had seen since childhood and he returned to kill care castle, raised his family and ruled over his territory like a good servant of his queen. Well, except for one small problem you see, Gerald was
bit of a troublemaker. He punished the men under his power by burning their fields and rating their storehouses. If they did it make their wives and daughters available to him, and this was where the real Gerald messes up the image of that returned hero, because in a lot of ways he was the bad guy and just as bad as the english overlords. He hated the decline of Gerald Fitzgerald Wizard Earl of killed. There began in fifteen fifty eight when his friendly patron Queen Mary passed away, because when she did her sister Elizabeth took the throne or protestant sister and, despite being on friendly terms with Gerald Sisters, Elizabeth had no patience for anyone who encourage rebellion, something that Gerald was
still doing over in Ireland twice, he was called to testify before her and twice he was thrown into the Tower of London, and both times is somehow managed to return home and pick up where he left off Gerald MAGIC seemed to say be there still allowing him to slip out of the grasp of his enemies, still keeping him alive when the odds demanded otherwise, but it wouldn't last forever. In one thousand five hundred and eighty after encouraging. Yet another rebellion in Ireland Gerald was arrested and hauled off to London once again and thrown into a filthy cell in the tower, and that's where he stayed unable to magic himself. Out of this one final jam historians assume that's where he passed away, never to return to Ireland again, but there are some who disagree is that there are stories about
last performance by the wizard Earl of killed their exactly where it falls on the scale between folklore, in fact, is something I'll leave up to you, but it certainly part of the collection of details that make him the man we still talk about today, the wizard. It seems at one more trick up his sleeve. In a lot of ways, Gerald MAGIC was simply coincidence somehow managing to slip through the fingers of the powerful king of England, outliving him and then finding himself in good graces with Henry's daughter, Mary thanks to his family connections,
Those are just a few examples from a long list of unbelievable Happenstance Gerald Fitzgerald had a way of avoiding death and punishment that led some to believe that he could never be caught in those same people believe that he never really died that he simply stepped into a cave to sleep until Ireland would need him again in a clear echo of the king under the mountain folklore, but where he obtained those powers is. Matter of rumour and speculation. Remember he was alive and active in the middle of the fifteen hundreds a time when few could tell the difference between astrology and astronomy or math and magic and for folks in England and Ireland, the darkest powers and influence someone could seek out were found in the very place Gerald was raised into adulthood, Europe and so putting those specific pieces together would have convinced many that he had travelled Europe learning sorcery and black magic along the way.
so. Not only was he someone who represented hope for the Irish to win back their freedom, but he could help them do that with his arcane powers and elusive presence. As I said before, some believe the history books hide the truth about Gerald Final days that he never actually died in that prison cell in the Tower of London, but that his powers allowed him to escape once more and return home when he D Though his surprise arrival was the final straw for his wife Mabel. She had been hearing rumours about magical powers for years, but being devoutly catholic. She chose to nor them it was only when he managed to escape his final imprisonments by Queen Elizabeth that Mabel that Gerald down in the sitting room in the castle and demanded that he demonstrate his powers for her own eyes, reluctantly Gerald agreed, but he prefaced his demonstration with a warning I'll show you my powers. He said
You need to observe them without fear. If you show any sign of fear at all, you will never see me again and of course, Mabel agreed, probably because she had Hard time, believing that her husband had any powers at all, let alone powers that might frighten her. So with that Gerald began, I have three tests for you. He told her and they shall be convincing proof of my powers. First, he motioned toward the window and the property beyond or a small stream, ran through the castle grounds. and then, with a flick of his wrist, the stream rose up within the room. They were seated inclined as high as maples lips. Maybe it was the sheer ridiculous of that the absolute unbelievable nests of their sitting, room flooded with waters from the stream, but Mabel didn't flinch. A bit. spied, that she has shown no fear Gerald made
motion and the water receded vanishing back into the little stream outside next. He turned and gesture towards the rooms door in a heartbeat it open standing in the doorway was an old family friend, a man they had both known and respected for a long time. The trouble was this man had passed away many years before, so the sight of him in there sitting room should have been a frightening shock Mabel didn't show fear, even when the shape of this dead friend shambled over to where she sat and took her hand in a greeting. She held fast and observed at all, as if it were a stage performance and nothing. Nor a moment later, the undead visitor wished and finally, an enormous snake slithered out from beneath her seat and began to rapid self around her legs. Now I'll, be honest. This is the moment when I would have lost it:
Mabel, not a single sign of fear, even when the snake had fully wrapped her body and it's cold, embrace its head position directly in front of her own face, and then it was over Mabel had asked each of the tests, although whether she still believed his powers were real or just skilful. Parlor tricks is up for debate regardless he had done what she had asked him to do, but it seems that Gerald add one last trip to show her. He asked his wife to close her eyes and then instructed her to stay that way until he tapped his foot for times. Mabel nodded and did as he asked and then waited in silence for the signal. There was a long pause and I imagine she began to wonder what he was doing, but soon enough. She heard the sound or distinct taps. On the floor when she opened her eyes, Gerald was gone in his place was a little bird which.
flew into the air and landed on her shoulder singing a quiet sung to her. She laughed as it flew off again zipping around the room landing here and there as it continued to sing. But then another movements caught her eye. A cat had crept into the room, moving beneath the furniture with its eyes locked on that bird before she could stop it's the animal past and Mabel cried out in fear, and that, according to the legend, is when she failed the test. Having shown fear the bird vanished, leaving Mabel alone in the sitting, room and Gerald fits Harold, the wizard Earl of Killed. There was never seen again, sometimes
A magical thing in our world is hope, whether that's because we ve stayed innocent in the face of cynicism where we just prefer to view everything through rose coloured glass. Our ability to be hopeful can drive us hold on to never give up and in many ways Gerald Fitzgerald fits that concept well he was seen by his contemporaries as a figure of hope. Some Who might very well help them obtained the freedom they desperately wanted and his adolescents in Europe with all its trappings of adventure, black magic and military experience? I'll just added to his reputation. Of course, he was far from perfect his actions. Alongside the knights of the order of Saint John involved, more than warfare, there was a good amount of prisoner taking as well prisoners that were sold into slavery for Gerald
If it's any treated the autonomy of women in his territory in Ireland, with just as much disregard, he made terrible choices frequently and there's no reason to hide any of that, but flaws fantasy aside Gerald was a man that a lot of people placed hoping and because of that, a legend. To grow around his story that he hadn't really died, but had instead slipped off to some cave or hidden chamber and gone to sleep and when Ireland needs him most, he will miraculously return. The years have been kind to his story. While still whisper about the wizard Earl when they visit the castle. Today there is even a room at the top of the tower that has said be his alchemy workshop. Of course they call it the haunted room because well, why not right, but the castle itself didn't age so well, Gerald called at home in the second half
fifteen hundreds and after his time there it was handed on down the line. In fact, it stayed in Fitzgerald hands until the nineteen sixties, in one family owned the castle for nearly eight hundred years, already impressive for sure one thousand, eight hundred and forty nine know the family decided to give a castle some much needed restoration. It seems that previous generations had done a bit of treasure hunting on the lake and many of the battlements had been destroyed or dismantled and, as they started, work pieces of the past began to come back to life in one part of the house, a recess was uncovered that contain a number of ancient glass bottles, still seal. And containing an unknown liquid, knowing the stories of the wizard Earl and his experiments with alchemy, the workmen assume, the bottles contained some sort of magical potion.
Despite how crazy we all know it would be to drink from old, unmarked bottles, that's exactly what they did. Thankfully, there is no record of any one dine, but the bigger discovery was waiting deeper inside the recess in the war as the workmen brought light into the opening. They realise that the space inside was much larger than they had expected and right in the middle of it all, was a table in a chair, a chair with someone seated in it. Now remember, these were men who had been raised on the legend of the sleeping, Wizard Earl. They would have whispered stories as they worked have serious and half fun about whether or not the Earl would ever be found, and here right site a lost room in the Wizard Earls own Castle with something that fit the story to a t.
As the story goes one of the curious workers step inside and approached the silent figure and then with an outstretched arm. He leaned forward and gently touched the man on the shoulder, perhaps expecting that to wake him. Instead, the ancient figure instantly fell to pieces crumbling into a pile of dust before his eyes. Maybe it was evidence of some ancient crime from the castles past or a hint at more sinister activity, or perhaps it was one last vanishing act by the wizard Earl himself.
The life and adventures of Gerald Fitzgerald are certainly unbelievable, even though much of it is actually true. But while his alchemy and sorcery are fascinating, it might be good to spend just a bit more time discussing his connection to an older tradition, one that has a good chance of leaving you with a few chills stick around. After this brief sponsor break and I'll tell you all got it Some legends can't be contained. They transcend the boundaries of kingdoms. My great into new languages and histories and the legend of the hill.
o king under the mountain is one of them. The folklore dna have stories, though, is always the same. It works something like this: a kingdom or nation falls in love with a hero, think king, Arthur or Charlemagne, and then that hero goes away, but they haven't really died. Instead, they just gone into high. To a cavern or chamber hidden away somewhere, where they might sleep waiting. till they are needed again. A lot at the store The claim that these sleeping heroes are not alone that they ve their loyal nights with them, and sometimes even their horses and together, like some sort of medieval Slumber Party, they all lay waiting for the call that will drive them out and back to the battle interesting side notes. A lot of these stories bleed into the folk lore of the wild hunt. In some places that leaping hero in their band of worry. Your companions will occasionally ride forth and hunt across the landscape giving birth to stories of their own, but most of the time they simply sleep in the earth.
Waiting for the moment when they are needed. Most before that day, though, there are always citing people who stumble upon that hiding place then use Lee that stranger disturbs the sleeping hero, but right Away in fright, before anything significant can happen, never able to find the chamber again and, of course, Stories, fine home in the life and legend of the wizard Earl of Killed there, the most commonly hold tail is of his frequent return for a ride through the castles property once every seven years. They say Earl, appears on a mighty steed and Russia's across the land. those who have seen him claim that he rides straight to the castle and up the high walls when and his horse reached the top of the tower they both vanish
his ghostly ride is supposed to happen over and over every seven years, until the silver horseshoes on his steed or worn down to the thickness of a cats ear. After that, he will return for good defeat. The english and rule as a king over all of Ireland and with the legend like that, it's easy to understand why people have even gone looking for him. In fact, many believe that if the wizard Earl is sleeping anywhere, it's in a cavern beneath an ancient hill, forts known as the wrath of MILAN Mast, which is right there in county, killed there and just like many stories like it fits world is said to be waiting alongside a troop of Knights, all dressed in shimmering armor, with their horses near by, but the endurance That chamber is only visible on the night. His ghostly form rides up a castle walls, something that was apparently confirmed in the late seventeen hundreds According to an irish historian, writing in the nineteenth century, a man was
to be wandering home late. One night after an evening of drinking with friends ass, he passed the wrath in the darkness, a light caught his eye and he turned to follow it. Surely he found himself entering a wide cavern lit by torches and the space was filled with people, all of whom were asleep surprised and a little shaken by what he saw. It said that the man dropped something and, as it hit the stone floor, the sound of it echoed through the chamber stirring one of the nearest nights. The man claim that the armored figure slowly lifted its head in a rough deep voice came from inside the helmet Is it time the figure asked the traveller not knowing what else to say shook his head? No, he replied, but it will be soon and with that the Knights head dropped back to his chest and went silence.
Disturbed by the experience the traveller turned and ran out of the cavern and back into the darkness of the night. After a few paces, though, he turned to get one last look at the warm glow of the hidden chamber beneath the hill forts and then caught his breath. The entrance to the chamber was gone and he was never able to find it again. This episode of law was written and produced by me. Erin monkey with research by Karl Nellis and music by Chad, Lawson more, is much more than just a podcast. There's a book series available and bookstores in online and two seasons of the television show on Amazon. Prime video check them both out. If you want more lore in your life,
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Transcript generated on 2022-03-12.