The Faithlegg Phantom

The following story comes from the newspapers of February 1892 and concerns the haunting of an ex-RIC man who had taken up residence in the home of an evicted family.  Make of it what you will!  

In February 1892 a family by the man of Kingworth (Kingsworth but some accounts) had a fearful experience. Mr Kingworth, his wife, and his young family had moved into a farmhouse in Carraiglea, Faithlegg. An ex-Royal Irish Constabulary man, he took on the role of an Emergency Man, protecting the house for the Marquis of Waterford estate after a long-standing tenant had faced eviction.

Not long after, the Kingworth family had their nighttime peace shattered by a horrendous experience. As they doused the candles one winter’s night and settled down to sleep, the furniture flew across the floor, wall hangings fell, dishes smashed and the very house seemed to quake. A high-pitched scream of agony and torment filled the house and the family crouched down, huddled in sheer terror. They eventually ran finding shelter in an outhouse and fitfully dozed until morning, ever fearful of any sound lest the torment fall upon them again.

Next morning, at first light, Kingworth ran to Passage East, and there he reported the happenings to Sargent Murphy at the local RIC barracks. Murphy, who was no believer in ghosts, took his ex-colleague’s word with a pinch of salt no doubt, but he left immediately to investigate the scene, and so concerned was he, that when darkness came that evening, Sargent Murphy commanded an escort party at the house, the approaches of which were barricaded off and a RIC man stationed inside. But once again, when the Kingworths tried to sleep the unearthly sounds returned, and they were witnessed by the RIC men too.

An eviction scene of the 1890s

The man on duty inside saw furniture dashed about by an “invisible agency”. Sergeant Murphy reported the result of his experience to his superior officer in Waterford, and Head-Constable Waters was sent out to investigate the allegation that ghosts were haunting Kingworth’s house. Despite all their support, caretaker Kingworth and his family left in a state of terror. They secured accommodation in Ballybricken in the city, at Costello’s Lane.

There they lived in peace for about two weeks, but then one Saturday night, they doused the candles and lay down to rest and the sound of the screaming returned. Not just that, but the furniture moved, the pictures on the walls fell, the crockery smashed and they huddled in terror once more lamenting that the ghost had followed them. This time those residing in the close-knit neighbourhood heard. And rushing to the Kingworths door they tried to burst in to offer help. Try as they might the screaming increased, their entreaties to those inside only being answered by other neighbours who emerged into the street to assist. All could hear the sounds from inside, including a voice quite audibly moaning and shrieking. The RIC were summoned, and when they eventually gained entry they found the Kingworths huddled insensible and terrorised on the floor and the inside of the cottage in ruins.

Image from La Vie Mysterieuse in 1911. Artist unknown. Wikipedia public domain

On Sunday the RIC were stationed inside out outside the home. Several clergymen visited and numerous prayers were said, both by the family, and also their neighbours in the street outside, and what was reported as hundreds of curious onlookers. Again on Sunday night, the approaches to the Kingworth home were sealed off by the constabulary and hundreds of citizens came out to witness the scene. Despite this, the poltergeist reappeared.

The next morning Kingworth sold what furniture he still had unbroken to a furniture dealer in Patrick St, called Mrs Fahy, and under police escort, they withdrew to an undisclosed location in the county.  Mr. Kingworth expressed the hope to a local journalist that the charitable people of Waterford would pay their passage for the boat to America…confident, he claimed, that the ghosts would not follow him there.

There is no Kingworth family to be found in Waterford in the 1901 census. Maybe the ghosts got them, or maybe the charitable people of Waterford bailed them out. Where ever they got to, I’d imagine Kingworth steered clear of evicted homes thereafter.

This piece was suggested to me by my cousin James Doherty – infamous now for his Dark History Tours of Waterford. Follow him on Eventbrite for details of his next walk.

I merged a number of contemporary news reports from several sources including the Munster Express of February 1892

No ghosts on my next walk, but plenty of river based yarns of the lightermen that operated on John’s River. You can book on Eventbrite or come along on the day, but please let me know you are coming by email in case I need to cancel with this weather.

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