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Book Review: 'The Burning of Bridget Cleary'

Posted on

The Burning of Bridget Cleary

type:
Book
Current Status:
In Season
author:
Angela Bourke
publisher:
Viking
genre:
Occult and Paranormal, Nonfiction

We gave it an A-

Fusing a true-crime saga with rich cultural history, Angela Bourke’s The Burning of Bridget Cleary explores an 1895 murder in Ireland’s County Tipperary. Bridget Cleary, 26, bedridden with the flu, was burned to death by her husband — while the family looked on — when they all became convinced that fairies had transformed the young woman into an evil ”changeling.” The resulting murder trial provided ample opportunity for English officials to demonize all Irish as savages. But historian Bourke brings to life the schism between modern, literate thinking and traditional oral folk beliefs, showing how each can express and conceal unspeakable impulses and acts. A-