Listen to the Ghosts of the Ireland

October 7, 2010

For all the wind I blow about being a non-believer, I sure do find myself wearing articles of faith. Sometimes I do this insincere promise making I suppose the liberal minded might consider prayer. It goes like this: “Whatever you are if you get me the hell out of this hurricane, I’ll try to be grateful for what I have.” Etc. I also believe in something greater than myself, embrace my own mortality and am fascinated by the spiritual world, but that’s only because I have Irish ghosts.

I’ve criticized God for being contradictory but in the Book of Isaiah, he sticks to his general theme of punishment and forgiveness, destroying people and land and then rebuilding both. He does this over and over again. Why? Because people don’t learn from the mistakes of those who went before them. If they did, this cycle would stop.

Interestingly, God doesn’t want people to listen to the dead — he abhors it. Curious. His prophets are dead. The people in the Old Testament are dead. If a person reads the Bible, aren’t they listening to the dead? Think about what we could learn, what some of us have learned, from the dead.

Let’s look at my Irish ghosts.

Letterfrack Industrial School Graveyard

I don’t like to harp on sexual abuse in the church. It gives religion a bad rap and unfortunately, abuse happens everywhere. However, the physical and sexual abuse administered by the Christian Brotherhood for nearly 100 years is exactly why God should encourage us to listen to the dead.

In the late 1800s through the 1970s, Irish parents turned their sons over to the Christian Brotherhood believing the fathers could not only feed their sons during a period of grave economic depression, but could also teach them a trade. These children attended schools like the Letterfrack Industrial School. Rather than getting an education, many of them were raped, beaten and killed.

My husband and I happened upon the Letterfrack Industrial School several years ago. We learned about it while sitting in a bar. Miraculously I convinced my husband to visit the school’s cemetery at dusk. This is what happened during our encounter with the dead.

What We Discovered Before Going

Thousands of boys were abused and then murdered, buried in surrounding peat bogs; the church wasn’t held responsible; families never knew what happened to their sons; supernatural interactions were common; no one wanted to talk about it.

What We Experienced

10 p.m. Summer. Dusk. Walked through the woods. Extreme presence, heavy. Sounded like singing in the trees. Curiously non-threatening. Opened the gates. Few graves. Large monument. Me taking photos. Husband behind a monument. Suddenly he asked to go, felt unsafe. We headed to the gate, thousands of microscopic bugs ran up our arms, legs, everywhere. Ran through the woods. Got in the car. Looked through the photos. Saw ghosts. Went to a pub. Showed the photos to patrons, watched the pub clear.

We returned to the site the next day to disprove my husband’s theory that the orbs in the photos were actually “medallions”, but we didn’t capture anything else on camera (or see anything in the trees). On the flight home my husband, Mr. Science, admitted that he had actually wanted to leave the graveyard because while standing next to the statue, he felt something on his neck. Interestingly, I took a photo right before he asked to leave. In that photo he’s standing near an orb. Odd.

Water spots are common on pictures, especially digital photos however, I’ve talked to several photographers about this photos and none of them have been able to explain these orbs. (Look at the detailed shot. I see an orb and a face. Crazy?)

I can’t stop thinking about Letterfrack, about what happened to those boys, about the priests, the crimes they got away with and the idea that this might happen again. Can’t we listen to those kids? We listen to prophets. Both are dead.

In the grand scheme of things, Letterfrack is a small example as to what could happen if we would just listen to the dead. What if the Rwandan government listened to those who died during the Holocaust? What if U.S. leaders took a little peek at Roman history? All those dead guys?

Why doesn’t God want us to listen to the dead? The dead wrote the Bible. They destroyed nations. They ruined the reputation of the church. The dead have a lot to say.

I’ve been researching the Letterfrack Industrial School for years and — if given the opportunity to do an in-depth study on some issue — this would be the one. All I need is funding, possibly a bit of protection. If you would like more information about the Letterfrack Industrial School, check out The Knitter blog or “Founded on Fear,” a book written by a man who went to the Letterfrack Industrial School and eventually killed himself.

Stopping Point: Book of Isaiah, Chapters 40-66

Note: My apologies for the Thursday post. Some really cool opportunities were presented to me yesterday and I had to take advantage. Will not happen again.

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4 Responses to “Listen to the Ghosts of the Ireland”

  1. Ellenita said

    You are an amazing woman!!! I just love to read your blogs – sometimes I even learn something from them. I’m proud to havee you as a grandfather. Congratulations on the coool thing that happened to you!

  2. Ellenita said

    Uh-Oh – I meant as a granddaughter!! I forgot to check my writing!!! Love you

  3. […] know history is cumbersome. Lots of dates, lots of names, lots of little details about metals and string and begetting clans […]

  4. […] the 11:15 a.m. service. I try everything short of knocking. No answer. Instead, I walk the grounds searching for ghosts, reading church bulletins and watching the cop in the adjacent Needham Coronation Village Hall […]

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