True Crime: The Cooper’s Wife is Missing, by Joan Hoff and Marion Yeates

3.0 out of 5 stars They found her,

Poor Bridget Cleary, killed for her belief in fairies. These fairies, embedded deep in Irish folklore, are not the of the Tinkerbell ilk at all. Rather, they are capable of bringing all sorts of mischief into the lives of ordinary mortals. Bridget’s husband believed that she became a changeling, her body inhabited by an evil fairy spirit while her own was taken to live in the other world. As a result, her husband, with some friends and relatives, attempted to drive out the evil spirit, and in doing so, burned Bridget to death. The narrative in this history is chilling in its detail.
Interspersed with this incredible account are more prosaic chapters covering the history of Ireland around the turn of the 20th century. Belief in the spirits of folklore, very much alive in spite of the efforts of the Catholic church to eradicate it, was one of the reasons given for withholding home rule from Ireland. The tale of the cooper’s wife played into the political situation by providing sensational propoganda for the opposition to exploit.

Amazing story, well researched.

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