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Literature / An Account of Some Strange Disturbances in Aungier Street

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A short story published by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu in 1853.

It tells of two cousins (the narrator, and Tom Ludlow) who experience mysterious happenings at the titular house in Aungier Street, in Dublin, Ireland, sometime around the 1820s or 1830s.

Among the mysterious tropes in Aungier Street are:

  • Ghostly Goals: Horrocks appears to desire to drive anyone who tries to live in the house on Aungier Street to suicide, preferably by hanging.
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  • Hanging Judge: Old Judge Horrocks, whose ghost haunts the house in Aungier Street, to the point where he seems to enjoy hanging people.
  • Haunted House: The house in Aungier Street, where Uncle Ludlow lets the narrator and Tom take quarters.
  • Haunted House Historian: Three characters fulfill this role in the tale:
    • Uncle Ludlow's (unnamed) house agent knows some of the mundane history of the house; specifically that it dates from at least the 1680's (and possibly older), was sold as "forfeited property" (presumably for treason) in 1702, and was re-fronted around 1760.
    • An old "local woman" (of almost around 80 years of age, hence born around 1750) remembers that old Judge Horrocks, a Hanging Judge, lived there in her youth and hanged himself in the main stair-well. (This must have happened in the 1750's or 1760's, and Horrocks himself must have been born around 1690-1700)
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    • Martha, the 52-year-old daughter of the old local woman, who comes in to the house as a part-time servant, knows some of the history of the haunting of the house.
  • My Death Is Just the Beginning: It is a strong possiblity that Judge Horrocks committed suicide precisely to become a malevolent ghost, given the combination of his evil and insanity.
  • Offing the Offspring: Judge Horrocks' first post-mortem victim was probably his own young daughter!
  • Recurring Dreams: Both the narrator and Tom keep having dreams haunted by the evil of Judge Horrocks.
  • Sole Survivor: While Tom isn't killed in the experiences at Aungier Street, by the time the narrator tells his tale, his cousin Tom has died of a disease contrarocted in missionary work. Given that this all happened decades ago, Uncle Ludlow has by now probably also died.
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  • Spooky Painting: The ghost of the Hanging Judge manifests as a creepy painting, among other things.
  • The Team Benefactor: Uncle Ludlow, Tom's father, is a wealthy man who dwells in the country, and owns a number of old houses in Aungier Street, one of which is the unoccupied house in which Uncle Ludlow let the narrator and Tom stay.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Horrocks shows no mercy to children, and even seems to especially-delight in frightening them to death.
  • You Dirty Rat!: The "monstrous gray rat" (about the size of a very large human foot) which seems to be an avatar or herald of the ghostly Judge Horrocks.