Friday, October 19, 2007
The Irish Lady in White
While on a trip to Milwaukee last weekend I came across a fitting story to relay. It seems the folklore behind the Lady in White or La Llorona as it is more commonly know is alive and well. I stayed at the County Clare a well and fine Irish Pub and Inn. While getting a warm meal an old Irish woman was performing for the crowd singing Ditties and telling tales. She was quite the character. She had her own clay pipe and harp that she took turns holding during the night.
One of her tales was of a local legend about the pub's name. It dates back to when it was first built in 1846. The family was forced out of Ireland due to the potato famine.
The Branigan family was large and every child had to find odd jobs to help support the family. Clare, the youngest daughter was weary of being made to mend socks and chew rich people's food for them. Clare wanted to seduce a young rich suitor, in hopes of a better life. Clare found a young man who was smitten by her beauty and they wed secretly. Clare had two children by him and for three years was truly happy, until the young man's father prearranged a beneficial marriage. Legend says Clare was driven mad with grief and worry and drowned their two kids in the Milwaukee river.
This is an actual picture of the attack, a young man named Joseph Tanner Mason, was near the river using a new invention called a camera, and mistakenly pointed the lens behind him near the river. He was surprised to discover these pictures instead of the rollicking paddle boats.
The picture can be found at the Pub next to the pay phone.
Clare drowned herself by getting in a large sack of potatoes and three feral cats and hopped into the fast moving river. The old Irish Lady said Clare's actions inspired two young siblings who witnessed the event, to create a game that we now know as the sack race.
Clare's family was heart broken and began to drink away their sorrows. One day it occurred to the family they should make a business out of their loss and opened the Country Clare Pub and Inn in memory of their daughter. Unfortunately Clare returns to her name sake every 38 years on the full moon and picks a young child to drown in a bathtub in room 404. Investigators say she doesn't want to do it, but is compelled to repeat her tragic mistakes. Unpleasant people say Clare's still mad even after death.
The old Irish Woman ended the story by giving this warning, "if you have any young ones or are young at heart. Don't go bathing on a full moon, as Clare might find you. Tis better to stink, and live another day."
You’ve been warned...