Pat O'Brien [Laws P39]

DESCRIPTION: Pat asks Nancy to meet him. Having decided not to marry her, he stabs her. Her ghost tells her mother of the crime. Her body is found and Pat arrested. The ghost keeps appearing to him, finally inducing him to confess. He is hanged
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1909 (GreigDuncan2)
KEYWORDS: homicide ghost execution gallows-confession
FOUND IN: US(NE) Ireland Britain(Scotland(Aber)) Canada(Newf)
REFERENCES (6 citations):
Laws P39, "Pat O'Brien"
GreigDuncan2 203, "Pat O'Brien" (1 text)
Munnelly/Deasy-Lenihan 10, "Pat O'Brien" (1 text, 1 tune)
Flanders-NewGreen, pp. 131-135, "Pat O'Brien" (1 text, 1 tune)
Guigne, pp. 300-302, "Pats O'Brien" (1 text, 1 tune)

Roud #1919
John Kehoe, "Pat O'Brien" (on MUNFLA/Leach)
Mrs. K. McCarthy, "Pat O'Brien" (on MUNFLA/Leach)
Charlie Williams, "Patrick Power (Parker)" (on MUNFLA/Leach)

cf. "The Cruel Ship's Carpenter (The Gosport Tragedy; Pretty Polly) [Laws P36A/B]" (theme)
NOTES [81 words]: "The Cruel Ship's Carpenter" is just the first similar ballad that came to mind. As Munnelly notes, "it is a classic of the type of murder ballads which eminated from the popular broadsheet presses of the 19th century." Munnelly also remarks on the "popularity of this song in oral tradition." I don't have a broadside example yet.
The Charlie Williams MUNFLA/Leach recording at first names the ship's carpenter "Patrick Power (Parker?)" but later names the murderer "Pat O'Brien." - BS
Last updated in version 4.2
File: LP39

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