In 1895 twenty-six-year-old Bridget Cleary disappeared from her cottage in rural County Tipperary and remained missing for several days. At last her body was discovered, bent, broken, and badly burned in a shallow grave. Within a few days, her unimaginable story came to light: for almost a week before her death she had been confined, starved, threatened, physically and verbally abused, exorcised, and finally burned to death by her husband, father, aunt, cousins, and neighbors, who had collectively confused a simple flu with possession by the fairies. In The Cooper's Wife Is Missing, Joan Hoff and Marian Yeates try to make sense of this outlandish, unfathomable, medieval "trial" and murder. Drawing on firsthand accounts, contemporary newspaper reports, police records, trial testimony, and a rich wealth of folklore, they weave a mesmerizing fireside tale of magic, madness, and mystery. This is narrative history at its evocative best.
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