24th November 1861


An extraordinary assault case was heard at Michaelstown the other day. A man, named Thomas Quinn, stated that he was sent for by John Condon and Mrs Condon—the defendants in the case—to their house, where he went; and that the defendants dragged him into the piggery in the yard, and assaulted him; that they insisted on his spitting on three large pigs which they were preparing for market, alleging that he had some days previously cast an evil eye on the pigs, and by some witchcraft or necromancy prevented them from eating their food for seven days.

Mr O’Mara: “My defence is that the defendants state most emphatically that Quinn came to their house, stood over their pigs, and by some mysterious or unholy spell or influence prevented them from using food for seven days. Your worship may perceive, on looking at Quinn’s vulpine, countenance, he has an evil eye”—(Loud laughter). “The defendants sent for him to remove the evil he had done, and sent for the police to induce him to do so. Quinn refused, and said, ‘Go, herd them to the ____.’ Defendants then went to some ancient prophet or soothsayer to consult him on the matter, who directed defendants to procure Quinn’s stockings and pocket-handkerchief, and, boil them, and give the water to the pigs. The defendant, Condon, being brother to Quinn’s wife, actually got the stockings boiled, and gave the water to the pigs, and they were instantly as voracious as hawks”—(Loud laughter).

Mr Browne: “It is a most sad and deplorable exhibition to see persons of your age so utterly ignorant as to believe in the odious superstition which you seem to labour under in this case, as stated by your attorney. Let each of the defendants be fined—John Condon, 2s 6d; his wife, 1s; and costs.”


On Monday morning, a young woman, named Mary Ann Winterbottom, aged 23 years, expired at Westminster hospital after most dreadful sufferings.

It would appear that she was in the service of Dr Allen, of 35 Dartmouth-street. Having occasion to stoop down towards the fireplace in the kitchen, her dress, which was expanded by crinoline, came against the bars, and in a moment she was on fire. She instantly rushed into the street, uttering the most piercing screams for help, her clothing all one mass of bright flame. A number of persons soon followed, and eventually caught her and threw her down, and threw coats and mats around her, but met with the utmost difficulty in extinguishing the flames.

She was conveyed to the hospital but, owing to the frightful burns she had received, she gradually sank and expired.

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