It is often said that Ireland of the seventies was a much safer place than today.  “The Boy in the Attic”, the true story of Ireland’s only satanic murder dispels such notions. The brutal murder took place in 1973 in Palmerstown, County Dublin and until the publication of the book very few people had ever heard of it.

 When sixteen year old Satanist, Lorcan Bale murdered his seven year old neighbour John Horgan as part of a satanic ritual it would have been a crime that shocked the nation had it been made public . Though written about in foreign newspapers Irish newspapers reported the murder as though it were an accidental death. The seventies was a time of hear no evil see no evil on the part of Church and state. Though the residents of Palmerstown all knew about the case it was never really spoken about and became something of an urban legend which many would later readily dismiss as fanciful.

The author came across the murder in a Canadian newspaper. Researching the case in Ireland the author soon discovered that no death certificate for the victim existed. Nor indeed had any inquest been held. Only in 2011, due to the endeavours of the author did this come to pass

Bale was sentenced to life imprisonment but released after only seven years and went to live in Britain, where he became a devout Christian. The author managed to track him down and though the two had several meetings the question of why he did it was never answered, and after consulting the department of Justice, Bale broke off any further contact with the author.

The topic is gripping but the author leaves many questions unanswered and given that he received very little official cooperation who can blame him? It is for example highly unlikely that Bale acted alone and had help from other Satanists who remain anonymous. It is also bizarre that Bale senior, a devout Catholic, even by the standards of the time, entertained his son’s leaning towards the Dark Side. In the absence of material the author is compelled to resort to padding in the book going into the history of Palmerstown and an IRA prison escape completed unrelated to Lorcan Bale.

It is probable that the author believed by bringing the case into the public domain that more information would be revealed but this did not happen and this bizarre murder case may be soon be forgotten about again and given its nature is probably for the best.

The Boy in the Attic (2011) by David Malone is published by Mainstream Publishing

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