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While a winter gale rocks the Essex woods, Cian stokes the fire and cracks out a remarkable story written in the mid 19th Century by a fellow Corkman. Allow us to introduce to you the remarkable (and unjustly forgotten) Fitz-James O’Brien: immigrant, man of letters, toast of the literary scene of both London and New York, Civil War fighter, and writer of classic tales of the mysterious. Barely remembered now, this astonishing Irishman once wrote stories of early science fiction that bear comparison to the work of the great H.G. Wells from over forty years later.

In What Was It, a brave New Yorker deigns to spend several nights in a haunted house in order to get to the bottom of the hauntings, only to find that the source of the poltergeist-like activity is something unique in the history of the supernatural (and science fiction of the time!). And for a bonus, for this story, O’Brien gives us a crash course in the kinds of weird literature that were popular at the time, and Cian digs out an old tune for a musical ‘treat’ at the end of the episode.

So if it’s a weird, windy, stormy night for you, wherever you are, find yourself a decent winter ale, start up the fire, and dive into the WIDE ATLANTIC WEIRD to find out … WHAT WAS IT?

Theme Music: by Kevin Gill and Cian Gill

THE GALLOWS TREE: Song by Cian Gill, lyrics from the poem ‘The Demon Of The Gibbet’ by Fitz-James O’Brien