In this remastered edition of a classic episode, we’ll revisit the folklore of changelings, and the tragic story of Bridget Cleary, with a brand new story at the end, plus refreshed narration and production, and music from Chad Lawson.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Most of us have had the joy of being sick once or twice in our lives. It's part of the human experience. I suppose we get sick and then we get better at least that's how it supposed to work. The one thing I am constantly thankful for is the fact that we live in such a modern, enlightened age of medicine. We no longer use urine as an antiseptic, nor do we diagnose illness based on our astrological signs, but that wasn't always the case
Gone are the days of bleeding ourselves with leeches or trying to balance our humours to make sure our sanguine fluids aren't overpowering our melancholic fluids and I'm probably nothing
me, one whose happy that we no longer treat sick people with Animas administered with metal syringes filled with bore bile yeah bile from a boar, and I could not make this stuff up.
our ancestors didn't know why certain things happened, but they sure did their best to try. Stories were created. Myths were told and superstitions took me
All of them were designed to explain why things happen, and these reasons, even if they were pure fabrications, somehow helped people deal with the realities of life. Why was my child born deformed? Why did my husband's personnel
the change over night. Why did my entire family die from a plague last winter? These questions haunted people in ways we can't understand today and they grasp for anything that would help them cope. They found answers.
In their common folklore, but right there among the countless tales and stories, told there's one superstition from Ireland that saw more usage than most. You see when something didn't seem right. When things went wrong and people suffer
there is only one explanation that covered at all in the minds of the Irish. They blamed it on change lanes.
I'm Aaron Maggie, and this is more a change
According to the folk lore of Europe is a kind of fairy stories of them can be found in Germany, Ireland, England, Scandinavia, Spain and many other countries and in all of those cultures, change lanes
the same methodology, they are a substitute for a kidnapped human being
either out of jealousy or a great need, berries were said to enter our world and to make a trade. Without our knowledge, they would leave one of their own behind and returned to the fairy realm where the kidnapped human would live. Happy, joyful,
lives in Paradise. We have a great summary of change lanes thanks to the irish poet, William Butler Yeats. They steal children, he wrote and leave a withered ferry
one thousand or maybe two thousand years old. Instead at times,
full grown men and women have been taken near the village of colony lives in old woman who was taken in her youth.
when she came back at the end of seven years, she had no toes or she danced them all off. Change lanes, according to the legend, can actually take one of three forms. The first is
kind. Yeats wrote about the senile and ancient fairy who is disguised ass, a child another time
of change, Lena's, an actual fairy child and the third time,
was an inanimate objects, such as a block of wood or a car log. This third type is sometimes known as a stock. The logic it
These two someone in medieval Europe with simple. If a child was born with birth defects was sickly or ill tempered. They were often thought to be the fairy substitute left behind when their real child was taken from their home. If an adult went missing,
later found mysteriously dead. People would often assume that the body was really a bundle of sticks that have merely been enchanted to resemble their loved one folklore blossomed on the subject. Wives too
and legend taught new generations how to spot a changeling instantly, proving both what
more reason to fear every little change in a person's life, but also a clear sign of safety and hope they could cling to
Even the overall well being of a family could hinge on these creatures change things you see were said to drain all luck away from the house.
By doing so, they would leave a family cursed to struggle with poverty and misfortune, all while trying to care for a child. They
as a curse. More and more every day when the story
is focused on men and women who had been swapped out for a fairy. The symptoms were more psychological in nature signs of an adult.
change, lane included mood, swings becoming argumentative and losing interest in friends and family.
Things were said to have enormous appetites to eating. Everything
were given and then still asking for more. It was said that if your infant prefer,
food from the larder rather than be nursed, then there was a chance that they really were your child at all.
while most changeling infants died in early childhood. Those that survive were said to become dim witted
not men and women who survived this long, were sometimes called Boucher, which is where we get the word of
fully, though there were ways to test people to see if they were in fact, changeling one met
it involve putting issue in a bowl of soup. If the babies,
this in laughed, then it was seen as proof that the child was a changeling.
Another method involve making a tiny loaf of bread inside half an eggshell again meant to make the fairy laugh and once disk
heard a fairy change, they could be driven from the house in a variety of ways, in which case the kidnapped human, child or adult would be returned unharmed
trick involved, holding the suspected child over a fire. While another
recommended forcing the suspect to drink a tea brewed with foxglove poisonous flower. It was thought that, as the person's body expel, the toxin through vomiting and diarrhea, the changeling would be forced to return to the fairy realm. It sounds crazy to think the people would believe such stories even centuries ago. Surely no one actually perform these tests or administer these treatments, especially to their own family. Right, unfortunately, history teaches us that desperate people are capable of just about anything,
In July of eighteen, twenty six, a woman named an roach from county carry in South West. Ireland was carrying for a four year old boy named Michael way. He, according to
around testimony the boy, was unable to walk, stand or speak.
convinced that he was in fact a fairy changeling. She bathed him in icy waters three times to force the fairy out, the boy drowned. She was tried by courts and they found her not guilty.
In eighteen, forty five, a woman suspected of being a changeling, was placed in a large basket, filled with wood shavings and then hung over the kitchen fire until the contents of the basket ignited and eighteen
if the one man in Ireland literally roasted his child to death because he believed the boy to be a fairy, three children,
suspected of being ferries in eighteen, fifty seven they were bathed in a solution of foxglove and then forced to drink. It.
Sometimes babies were left in or near bodies of water as a way of forcing the change leads to leave in eighteen, sixty nine, an exorcism was attempted by dipping child three times in a lake in Ireland. Another woman actually left her infant on the shore of a lake and walked away expecting the ferries to come and make the swap. Thankfully, she,
return later to reclaim her child. Sometimes neighbours stepped in when the parents of an obvious changeling would do nothing in eighteen. Eighty four, while the mother of three year old, Philip Dylan, was out of the house,
Ellen cushion and Anastasia Rourke snuck inside Philip, you see could not use his arms and legs, and these neighbours saw that as proof enough of his condition, one of the neighbors strip, the boy naked, while the other Stoke the fire, then when everything was ready, they placed him on a large shovel and held it over the flames, little Philip survived, but he was severely burned by the incident.
We hate what we fear. You see the rather than fade away as the nineteenth century, moved on the fears and superstitions. Around change lanes only seemed to grow in Ireland and as hard as it might be to believe things were about to get worse,
in the late nineteenth century. One of the governing bodies in Ireland was the board of guardians in each district. They were tasked with dispensing public aid and one of them.
They did, that was by building labour cottages homes build to provide housing for rural agricultural workers. Many farmers had lost their land in the
and famine, and this was one way of helping alleviate some of the homelessness and poverty that had become so common in the country. One cottage was constructed in Bali badly.
All community of just nine homes and thirty one people in County Tipperary Affair
we who was awarded the cottage moved in, but there was a problem. It seems that the house had been built on a raft, a low earthen ring
And while archeologist know them to simply be remnants of an iron age fort some,
of the IRA, still thought of them as very rings portals into another realm after the family moved in odd things began to happen, cries and the night noises that couldn't be identified.
A feeling of dread almost as soon as the tenants had moved in, they were leaving in their stead. The cottage was given to an old return,
laborer name, Patrick Bowling, who moved in with his adult daughter and her husband. His daughter Brigitte was unusual
in eighteen. Ninety five, it was the men who controlled the family. They were the breadwinner,
and the sole provider, but even
though her husband, Michael, did well as a Cooper, someone who makes and repairs barrels a business that has always done well in Ireland. Brigitte wasn't dependent on him. She had her own business, making, dresses and keeping hens and the income from those jobs
was more than enough to meet her needs. She was also is said to be clever, flirtatious and highly independent, so you can
age and how she must have annoyed her husband and caught the eyes of the neighbours, and then there
the rumours of the affair she was having with another man, Brigitte Cleary
as a self made self possessed, woman in every one else was bothered by that I
hell you all of that, because stories have layers
the meaning that you gleaned from the initial telling and then there's the rest of the story. The deeper you dive, the more things begin to make sense and belief,
me, when I tell you there is a lot about this story that fails to make sense,
I urge forth of eighteen. Eighty five Brigitte left home on an errand. She had eggs to deliver to the house of her fathers. Cousin Jack die
it was a short enough distance that she decided to walk by the web.
Turns sour. While she was out she spent the next day in bed complaining of raging pain in her head. She had chills and shivered constantly
done, came by the little cottage to visit a few days later and found Brigitte still in bed. He took one look at her and declared that's not Brigitte. According to him, she was a changeling. Thankfully, no one yet believed him. On March, ninth five days after Brigitte walk in the cold, her father walked, for
miles to the nearest doctor and asked for him to come help. Two days later, there was still no sign of the doktor, and so her husband Michael made the journey after yet too,
four days of waiting, the doktor still had not come, and so Michael went again. This time
ensure that he brought along a summons from the local health authority while
Her husband was out. Looking for the doctor, the doctor arrived unexpectedly. He did his typical house call check up, prescribed some medicine and then left still frustrated. The family called upon a priest to come by and give her last rites, just in case things, weren't looking up for
Clearly this was March Thirteenth, now full nine days since taking ill and so later that evening
neighbours and relatives gathered at the cottage to help administer fairy medicine in the form of herbs, Brigitte refused the treatments and they held a red hot poker in her face until she complied
things got worse. The following day, cousin Jack done, had begun to spread word that Brigitte had been taken by the fairies and replaced with the changing at his
urging a man named Dennis gaining was called into the house. He was no.
The community as a fairy doctor and well versed in treating cases such as these his treatments when it necessarily fit into modern medical textbooks, mind you they included,
use of the hot poker foreseen the change thing to drink. First, milk from a cow that had just given birth dousing the person in urine and exposing them to flames. Brigitte was slapped and held in front of the fireplace while her husband demanded that she states, before God and family that she was indeed Brigitte Cleary, even though she answered yes, the gathered crowd didn't believe her. Now, before I can t
you there's something you need to understand about Michael queries, state of mind, while his mother had died when he was young, his father had passed away just hours before he and Brigitte were childless and they lived in her father's house.
spare room in the nineteenth century, equivalent of public housing. His own wife was room
to be cheating on him and she didn't even need him to support her Michael Cleary was adrift. He had come undone, maybe that's what drove him to the edge of sanity
The treatments continued late into the night friends and family began to ask to leave, but Michael was said to have yelled that no one was leaving until Brigitte came home. He locked the door and placed the key in his pocket. If they could just get this right, he told them if they could just drive the fairy out and be done with it. His Brigitte would come home again. She was asked to declare her identity and Brigitte refused historians. Don't know why maybe she was afraid, perhaps her independence, stubborn nature prevented her from handing over authority whatever the reason her silence infuriated Michael, he stripped her to her undergarments and pushed her to the floor. Come home Brigitte in the name of God, somebody was said:
of cried ass. She lay near the fire she's, not my wife, Michael replied, you'll, soon see her go up the chimney and with that he doused her with lamp oil and grabbed the log from the burning fireplace which he used to ignite the flame, Brigitte Cleary burnt
Death on the hearth of her own kitchen floor in front of her husband and father, cousins and friends, she was just twenty six years old,
we haven't always known as much about the world as we do now compared to
centuries before our own. We live in a veritable golden age of knowledge and understanding
and says eradicated, much of the ignorance that one's plagued us and while I'm a fan of mystery and unanswered questions, that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Ignorance has been used as a justification for the barbaric, inhumane treatment of other people to fuel our hatred of those who aren't like us. That kind of fear often becomes the agent of a dark transformation under the influence of fear. Humans have a hiss
ray of mutation, of changing into something grotesque and dangerous. We become monsters, fear drove Michael Cleary and the others to kill his wife, fear of illness and disease of mental and medical mysteries, fear of the loss that seem to be creeping ever closer to his household and blinded by that fear,
echo, Cleary lashed out with the only tool he had superstition in many ways. It's beyond ironic that his fear turn him into some one else. In the end, perhaps he was the changeling after
were seen one of budgets, cousins by knifepoint, to help rap her body and a sheet they carried her to a nearby.
Healed and buried her in a shallow grave. A short time later, some of the neighbors told the local priest. The Brigitte Cleary had gone missing. They said in whispered tones that it had been a fairy exorcism when the priest found Michael Cleary Prayn in the church. The next day he brought up the man's wife. Is your wife all rights. The priest asked I heard she'd been sick. I had a very bad night. Father Michael told him, with a wild look in his eye. When I woke up, my wife was gone.
I think the fairies had taken her. He was still convinced that she would return. He had plans to visit a near by ferry, ring and wait for her,
she would arrive in a white gown on a pale horse and he would cut her by means with the blackened knife. His Brigitte would come home the priest.
to his credit, didn't believe a single word, he called the police,
and a massive search was undertaken on March to
Second, to constables, found her body
the shallow grave, her husband had dug just days before she had been badly burned and lay in the feed opposition, with her knees against her chest. Arms rat tightly around them because her face had escaped the fire. A cloth sack
placed over her head. All the remained. The little clothing she had been wearing was a pair of black stockings. Brigitte Cleary would never come home. The story of Brigitte Cleary is one of the most tragic
take place at the intersection of documented history and ancient folk lore. In many ways her tail is one of true crime, but its dressed, insignificant and essential details that seem pulled straight out of a fantasy now and sadly, it's not the only one
In fact, the world of change, leans abduction and misguided belief have left us a number of painful stories and if you stick around through this brief, sponsor break our share another powerful example.
Mrs currents was a widow, but that wasn't anything new. In fact, her husband had passed away many years before long
if that their only child Mary was now a young woman. Thankfully, though, the two of them still lived in the same house just like Brigitte Cleary, they too lived in County Tipperary in a small village of tomb of our neighbours, were kind and folks seem to support their
for it to provide for themselves. According to the newspaper article I tracked down about them, they were
busy in the needlework trade. It was a good, peaceful life as good as one could ask for at least.
but in late February of eighteen, thirty four darkness entered MRS Kerns life, an ash.
Stood inside the police office. She explained to anyone who would listen, how it all began. It was the strangers who had visited her two weeks before she was sure of it, and she remembered every detail about
when Missus currents had answered the knock at the door. She says she was greeted by
A middle aged woman with pockmarked on her reddish face black hair and a red coats, and before MRS Kerns could
ass the stranger what she needed. This woman began to speak. She was a fairy woman, she told her
not a woman who was a fairy mind you, but a woman from the community who considered herself to be an experts in all things fairy. She knew their customs, their culture then
in the places in this world that they preferred to inhabit. She even claim
that knowledge gave her the ability to raise the dead from the grave and this woman who called herself Mary MAC had a message for MRS currents,
Your husband is with the fairies she told the old widow, and I know how to bring him home now,
MRS currents knew enough to know the stranger was line. It was nothing
more than superstition and if her husband,
really was alive out there somewhere he'd have returned a long time ago, so she shut the
nor in Mary MAX Face- but even
net short encounter, a seed was planted? You see
this is currents daughter, Mary was in the room when the encounter took place and she overheard everything. And while she didn't speak up that day
the notion that her father was out there somewhere and could possibly come home was just too tempting to dismiss. So when Mary MAC.
returned a few days later, while young Mary Kerns mother was out of the House young Mary
Was a lot more willing to listen and according to the fairy woman, there was good news. Would you
like to see your father again, the strange woman asked
and young Mary nodded, but
the older women that she was afraid. It wasn't true, which is when
of Mary, MAX accomplices, hidden away
inside a near by Bush, called
In a masculine voice, I am your father Mary. I cannot stay today, but I will return in four days time, but Merrimac told the young woman to make it
and you're going to need to accompany me on a short journey. It's a two day walked to the place where we need to leave a gift and then two days back and that gift will need to be expensive. It's your father's life
talking about? After all and young Mary agreed believe
in ferries and the power of the stranger she gathered up a large sum of money and then left the woman to escort her away. Presumably
were headed to a special location, one dripping with fairy magic or other worldly powers, and soon enough all would be right, except I don't have to tell you
wasn't when marries mother returned home. That day, she found the house had been completely stripped of everything: valuable apparent
the fairy woman had more than one accomplice and they made quick work of the little house once Mary left. Sadly, there is no record that Mary Kerns ever returned home. Her mother made that visit to the local police station to report the theft and the kidnapping, but despite offering a reward, the authorities came up empty, handed: ask most people today and they'll. Tell you what you most likely already believe that ferries are real and that they can't kidnap our loved ones and leave change leans in their place, but there's no actual magic. The fear, but there is something we should be afraid of. The power of belief in history has taught us anything. It's that folklore will always find a victim in the gullible, the desperate or the naive, and, let's just hope, that's not us.
This episode of war was researched, written and produced by me. Erin monkey with music by Chad, Lawson Lore, is much more than just a podcast there's a books, you
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Transcript generated on 2022-03-11.