The Mystery of The Great Man
As told by Victor Ferns, also known as Fernie, a well known Glenarm entertainer.
Many years ago, before World War One, the people of Larne went about their business very much in the same way as any other town in those days. So there was great excitement one morning in the spring of the year, when the townspeople woke up, and upon heading down the street on their way to work, or to school, or for a day’s toil in one of the factories, they noticed that many strange posters adorned their town... posters that were not there the day before!
The posters were nailed to the wooden telegraph poles and to fences, and were stuck on walls, and any other places around the town ,where you could display a poster. On these posters there was one solitary message...
THE GREAT MAN IS COMING!
The people of Larne being naturally inquisitive, asked each other, “Who is this great man?” Many people suggested that it may be a visit from some famous actor or singer. Others even suggested that it may mean that the end of the world was nigh, and it might be Jesus, himself.
Two days later the good people of Larne awoke once more, to find that the posters had mysteriously disappeared. However they had been replaced by new posters that read...
THE GREAT MAN WILL BE ARRIVING NEXT WEEK!
The people asked each other when would he arrive, and where would they see him for themselves. At this point the Bookies started taking bets on who this Great Man might be, and business was brisk indeed. Two days later the second lot of posters had disappeared, to be replaced by a third set, which read,
THE GREAT MAN IS HERE! HE WILL BE PRESENT IN THE TOWN HALL AT 8PM THIS THURSDAY. COME EARLY TO GET A SEAT, JUST PAY AT THE DOOR... ENTRANCE FEE ONLY 10 SHILLINGS
That Thursday morning at about 7am a queue had started outside the Larne Town Hall, and by 7pm it had reached Larne Harbour! The local ROYAL IRISH CONSTABULARY had to draft in extra men in order to control the crowds. The doors opened at 7pm and business was brisk at the pay desk. The Town Hall was filled to capacity and the man at the pay desk asked the police to help disperse the crowd, which was now queueing back to the Olderfleet Castle.
At exactly 8PM, as promised, the gas lights were dimmed in the Town Hall and there was a deadly hush, as the curtains slowly opened on the stage, to reveal a very large poster, which read...
THE GREAT MAN HAS GONE!