William Cashen (1838-1912)

The antiquarian and folklorist William Cashen (1838-1912) was born in Dalby (Doarlish Cashen may have been named after an ancestor of his), and remained in the area, later becoming the keeper of Peel Castle.

© IOM iMuseum

In a chapter of his William Cashen’s Manx Folk-lore (1912), ‘􏱣Fairies, Bugganes, Giants and Ghosts’, Cashen tells of:

the Scaa 􏰈Goanlyssagh, the M􏰘alicious 􏰈Ghost … the revengeful spirit of a living person that had an ill-􏰍feeling against some other person or persons, whom it would haunt in the night, when they were in bed. It would torment, nip and pinch them, and give them no rest … Cashen also writes of a girl who “stayed sometimes in the neighbourhood where I lived” and describes what sounds very much like a poltergeist episode: I remember that all the farm lads and men living in the neighbourhood used to go to the house at night with dogs and sticks. Then stones would be thrown down the chimney and through the door they would all run out with dogs and sticks and hunt all around, but 􏰠find nobody, neither could they account for the disturbance. They tied the girl􏰑s hands and placed a watch over her, but still the disturbance continued the same. A􏱯nd when she le􏰙ft the neighbourhood the house got to be as quiet as before she came to it.􏱭􏲞

William Cashen (1838-1912)

Jim Irving told paranormal investigator and psychoanalyst Nandor Fodor that these phenomena had taken place around 1850, “􏰪in the very district where my place 􏱟Doarlish Cashen is situated,” and went on to claim “I knew the author􏲝􏰬􏰰􏲍…”

􏰩Initially I was sceptical about this claim, since the Irvings hadn’t moved to Doarlish Cashen until 1917, and since William Cashen had died five years previously. But as his wife Margaret’s family lived on the Island, in and around Peel (once a popular holiday destination for Liverpudlians) it is entirely possible that Jim had indeed met Cashen some time before the First World War, during a visit to Man.