The Mayo Béicheadán
Friday 16th, July 2021
Anywhere you go in Ireland there are ghost stories and tales of strange encounters with other worldly entities, everyone in Ireland has some story to tell.

In county Mayo on the west coast of Ireland there is the story of the The Mayo Béicheadán, Béicheadán meaning "yeller" or "bawler", the story of The Mayo Béicheadán is one of the lesser known stories and was brought to the masses by the author Padraic O'Farrell.

The story is based around a forest south of Charlestown in County Mayo, the forest was called Barnalyra Wood and was said to be inhabited by the Béicheadán. The forest doesn't exist anymore though as it was cut down in 1924.

Like a lot of Irish ghost stories the locals believed them and would use the tales to scare their children to steer clear, in this case the story of The Mayo Béicheadán was used by parents to make their children fearful of Barnalyra Woods.

The origins of The Mayo Béicheadán is said to originate from a family of a poor man, his wife and daughter, Eileen. Once the daughter grew up the parents were unable to offer a dowry, this would mean that their daughter would have to marry a local that wouldn't be wealthy or have any influence.

As it happened a retired sea captain arrived at the family's door one night seeking lodging. Elieen is said to have run to her room out of fear of strangers, she did this without being seen by the stranger.

The stranger explained that he just needed a bed for the night and a stable for his horse and would be on his way the next morning, even though having no room they agreed to let the stranger stay the night, the wife went to the room where the daughter Eileen was hiding and both woman proceeded to prepare the room for the stranger. The daughter took her possessions, exited through the bedroom window and went to her grandmother's house until the stranger had left.

After dinner the captain paid the couple with a gold sovereign and proceeded to his room for the night, the wife followed the captain and watched through the keyhole of the bedroom door, she rushed back to her husband with excitement and explained the visiting stranger was counting a saddlebag of gold.

With a suggestion from the wife to her husband that the gold would provide a dowry for a nobleman for their daughter the husband eventually agreed, once the stranger was asleep the husband took a clever and proceeded to kill the visitor, the visitor was beheaded and the husband buried the victim's torso far into the woods and his head in a nearby bog.

A few months following this incident the family were on their way to Claremorries to meet a matchmaker to find a partner for their daughter Eileen, as they reached Barnalyra Woods on their way home they heard a loud blood curdling scream and saw the headless body of their former lodger cross the road in front of them.

With this shocking sight a sudden galeforce wind appeared as if out of nowhere and the scream turned to a mocking laugh which was followed by a tree falling and killing the father.
After the father was laid to rest the wife became very quiet, out of worry for her mother Eileen called anyone she could to help her mother, but no one was able to say what was wrong with her mother.

One night about a year later the daughter and mother were sitting at the fire in a similar way to the night the mother and father decided to kill the visitor in their house. Out of nowhere the mother ran to the bedroom door and started to describe the story of what had happened on the night the stranger arrived at their house. The mother later that night left the house and ventured out into the bog searching for the head the father had buried but she tripped into a boghole and drowned.

With the shock of hearing about her mother on top of learning about what had happened to the stranger, Eileen was deeply affected and started to lose her mind. Eileen stopped eating and became very weak, she would stand at the door of the house each night staring into the woods and bog. The mocking screams and laughter of the Béicheadán seemed to constantly move from the woods to the bog and back again, until Eileen lost her mind completely.
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