Let us begin with a ghost story. In 1872, fourteen-year-old Agnes McDonough announced that she was communicating with the spirit of her deceased father. She was part of a community of Irish Americans who settled in Virginia City, Nevada, home to the fabulous Comstock Lode and the Big Bonanza (giving its name to a famous television show). Crediting her father’s ghost, the young girl revealed insights about the afterworld, all scrutinized by a local priest who hoped to control the sensational aspects of the incident.
Welsh miners of the nineteenth century held strong superstitions in supernatural elements, which they believed existed deep in the mines.