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The Dungarvon Whooper

originally written by Micheal Whelan

submitted by Antonio C. Tan

A young cook by the name of Ryan hired himself out to work in a lumber camp near the Dungarvon River.  When he arrived at camp, he brought all his worldly possessions with him.  Around his waist was fastened a money belt stuffed with coins ands large bills.  Nobody knew where he got the money, but the young cook made no secret of the fact that there was plenty of it.

Ryan was a handsome fellow, tall and strong with ruddy cheeks and black, curly hair.  He was well liked and could whoop and holler better than anyone in the camp; and a good strong shout was an accomplishment much valued among woodsmen.

Every morning Ryan was the first one up so as to prepare breakfast and fill the lunch pails with bread and salt pork.  Then he would let out a tremendous ear-splitting whoop to get everyone up.  After breakfast the men would go off to work leaving young Ryan alone.

It was an unlucky day for Ryan, for on this particular morning, the camp boss decided to remain with the young cook.  The boss was a stranger, but he was respected and his orders were obeyed.

When the men returned late in the afternoon, they found young Ryan lying lifeless on the floor.  He was dead and his money belt was gone.

When asked what had happened, the boss said the young cook had taken sick suddenly and died.  None dared question him further but the woodsmen were suspicious.  Where was the money belt?

That night a raging storm swept upon the camp making it impossible to leave so the men had to bury the poor cook in a shallow grave in the forest.  As they trudged back to the camp they stopped dead in their tracks, for above the howling and moaning of the wind came the most dreadful whoops and screams anyone has ever heard.  It continued all that night and all the next day driving the men crazy with fear.  They left camp never to return.

For years the haunting sounds continued until Father Murdock, a priest from Renous, was asked to put the poor spirit to rest.

From over the wilderness grave Father Murdock read some holy words from the Bible and made a sign of the cross.

Some say Father Murdock succeeded in quieting the ghost but others declare the fearful cries of Ryan can be heard to this very day.

The whistle of the train that traveled by the Dungarvon would echo through the hills resembling the whoops of the ghost; hence the name of the train;  THE DUNGARVON WHOOPER.

 

 

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