Matthew Lolley [also spelt Lally and Lolly], a private of the 2nd Queen’s Royal Regiment, gained the affections and the confidence of the inhabitants of Callons, Westmeath, while his regiment was quartered there. After they left he obtained a furlough, and returned to Callons, where he introduced himself to a family as their son whom they supposed had been dead sixteen years. Lolly said that he had been spirited away by the fairies with whom he had lived thirteen years, after which, they allowed him to return to earth. And, in proof that he was their son, he had the grave and coffin opened in which they supposed that they son had been buried, and instead of their son’s body they found in the coffin a log of wood.’ Lolley vanished only to appear in Longford where he was later implicated in the death of one Corrigan: a fact the local peasantry ascribed to his powerful relations with the fairies. Lolly was not prosecuted: though his activities were decried in at least two newspapers.
Anon ‘Extraordinary Credulity in the Nineteenth Century’ (1848)