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This section contains descriptions of unexplained facts provided by eyewitnesses or published in the media, as well as the results of their analysis by the group.

Fire Poltergeist. United Kingdom

ID #1686564680
Added Mon, 12/06/2023
Author July N.
Sources
Phenomena
Status
Fact

Initial data

Initial information from sources or from an eyewitness
Source date: 
1964
Location: 
ферма The Ring-Croft of Stocking
United Kingdom

According to a pamphlet first published by local Minister Alexander Telfair in 1696, a farm called The Ring-Croft of Stocking, inhabited by the family of stonemason and farmer Andrew Mackey, was the site of mysterious events such as stone throwing, cattle moving, building burning, were. voices are heard, family members are beaten, notes written in blood are found. 

Telfair wrote that neighbors were stoned and beaten with sticks, and that he saw and felt a ghostly hand that quickly disappeared. 

In the brochure, Telfair described various things that allegedly "caused the Trouble," including McKie, who allegedly swore an oath to dedicate his first child to the Devil, clothes left in the house by a "woman with a bad reputation," and the inability to burn a tooth buried under a threshold stone by a previous tenant on the advice of a "witch wife," but she declared this issue "still unknown." 

According to the story, after Telfair and several other clergymen prayed at the farm, the trouble eventually subsided.

Original news

According to a pamphlet first published by local minister Alexander Telfair in 1696, a farm called The Ring-Croft of Stocking inhabited by the family of stonemason and farmer Andrew MacKie was the site of mysterious occurrences such as stones being thrown, cattle being moved, buildings set on fire, voices heard, family members beaten and dragged, and notes found written in blood. Telfair wrote that neighbours were hit by rocks and beaten by staves, and that he had seen and felt a ghostly arm which quickly vanished. In the pamphlet, Telfair described various things suspected "to have been the occasion of the Trouble", including MacKie supposedly taking an oath to devote his first child to the Devil, clothes left in the house by a "woman of ill repute", and failure to burn a tooth buried under the threshold stone by a previous tenant as advised by a 'witch wife', but declared the matter "still unknown." According to the story, after Telfair and several other clergymen said prayers at the farm, the trouble eventually subsided.[9][10]

Telfair's pamphlet, entitled "A TRUE RELATION OF AN Apparition, Expressions and Actings, OF A SPIRIT, Which Infested the House of Andrew Mackie in Ring-Croft of Stocking, in the Paroch of Rerrick, in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright, in Scotland. By Mr. Alexander Telfair, Minister of that Paroch: and Attested by many other Persons, who were also Eye and Ear-Witnesses", was published by an Edinburgh printer in 1696 and sold at the shop of George Mosman.[11] Telfair's account ascribed the activity to a "violent noisy spirit", and in modern times the episode has been referred to as the "Ringcroft poltergeist", the "Rerrick (or Rerwick) poltergeist," or the "Mackie poltergeist".[12][13]

The 4 October 1890 issue of the Saturday Review dismissed Telfair's story as folklore and "a curious mixture of obvious naked imposture", saying, "Five ministers, a few lairds, and a number of farmers signed this account, in which there is not a single suspicion breathed that the business was merely a practical joke. Mr. Telfair recites it as an argument against atheism, and for other reasons of edification."[14]

Sacheverell Sitwell in his book Poltergeists (1940) wrote that events described in the story were created by one of Mackie's children using ventriloquism. Sitwell observes that a voice awoke MacKie, telling him he would "be troubled till Tuesday" and that if Scotland did not "repent" it would "trouble every family in the land". According to Sitwell, "Here, again there can be no doubt whatever that the actual Poltergeist was one of the children of the family. It had, in fact, learnt to ventriloquise. This, though, does not make the mystery any less unpleasant".[15]

Academics, such as historians Lizanne Henderson and Ole Grell, wrote that Telfair's pamphlet was intended to communicate to a "less sophisticated audience" and counteract what was felt among clergymen of the period to be the dangerous influences of skepticism, atheism and deism. Henderson and Grell note Telfair's pamphlet's stated purpose to disprove "the prevailing Spirit of Atheism and Infidelity in our time, denying both in Opinion and Practice the Existence of Spirits, either of God or Devils; and consequently a Heaven and Hell..."[16][17]

Ring-Croft of Stocking was situated on a rise to the north-west of Auchencairn, then part of the former parish of Rerrick.[12] Traditionally, a wind-blown oak atop the ridge, last of the Auchencairn 'Ghost Trees,' marks the site of the MacKie farm today.[6][10][18] The earliest Ordnance Survey map of the area, published in 1849, shows a structure some distance down from the crest of 'Stocking Hill’ marked as ‘The Ring (now in ruins).' Known also as the 'Ring End' or ‘Ringan,’ this was occupied as late as 1841 and may have marked the actual site of Andrew Mackie's house.

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