Spirits and Folklore

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Spirits and Folklore
By: Moderator / Knowledgeable
Post # 1

I personally love folktales and folklore. I thought a thread to share some that we've either came across or had handed down to us, would be fun!

My ancestors are Scottish and Irish, so I have plenty of stories about the fae, the banshee, etc. That said, please keep in mind these are views and opinions shared by my family and not to be taken as anything more. This is but the folktales and beliefs held by my family and ancestors in regards to the beings discussed below.

The Banshee:

Now, from what my relatives have told me, she doesn't actually scream, at least she never did where my family was concerned. The Banshee's cry is actually her calling out to you in some way. You can either hear the voice of someone you know calling you, or you will hear a woman calling your name. If you hear her calling, someone you know is fated to pass away. It can be the person's voice she called in that will pass on, or another friend or relative.

You may also see the banshee. She will appear as a beautiful woman dressed in a white, flowing gown. Again, if you see her someone you know will soon pass away.

Many of my relatives, my father included, claim to have either seen her or heard her. Each time, a family member or close family friend would pass away shortly after.

Once, my father said he once saw her come out of a bedroom on the second floor and go down the stairs. At first he thought it was his mother, but when he called to her, she was in bed. He looked at the clock and noted that it was around 11:00pm. That night, one of his friends passed away and a woman that lived up the street (a family friend) passed away at around the same time he was the woman.

The Black Dog:

According to the stories I was told, the black dog is a large black dog that is about the size of a cow. It has red eyes and gives off an ominous aura, so to speak.

The dog was said to appear to those fated to die. The person was destined for a not so pleasant afterlife. The dog would appear to them while they were out walking or it would be seen though their windows just sitting and watching them.

A few days later, the person would pass away. Upon the persons death, the dog would either be seen or its howl would be head, sometimes a combination of the two. After the person passed away, the dog would come to claim their soul and take it to the underworld.

It may go by another name, this I am unsure of, but my family simply referred to it as the black dog. I have heard stories about it from other areas of Europe as well, so I don't think this particular story/entity was seen by just the Scottish and the Irish.

The Wee Folk:

The Fae, Wee Folk, and whatever else you'd like to call them were often seen as guardians by my family. While some of them could be mischievous and down right nasty, many of them were viewed as household spirits and guardians. Small treats and gifts were often left for them as a show of appreciation and goodwill. One of the most common ones left to them was sweet breads with honey.My family also saw them as nature spirits that would help with or hinder the growth and fertility of crops, depending on how they felt or if you'd slighted them in some way.

On a related note, from what I was told, and from what I have found from personal experience, the Wee Folk really only let you see them if they want you to see them. A lucky few would spy them as small, glowing golden orbs.

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Re: Spirits and Folklore
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Post # 2
I'm now beyond scared to go out to walk my dog again lol
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Re: Spirits and Folklore
By: Moderator / Knowledgeable
Post # 3

Raw Head, Bloody Bones

Of all of the tall tales and ghoulish stories that I've come across, this is probably one of my favorites. There are several different versions of this story. The earliest seems to appear in 1548 in Great Britain. It was a tale used to frighten children. In some stories it was a demon that lurked in ponds and dragged children into the depths to drown them. It was a cautionary tale; warning children to stay away from the murky waters.

F. W. Jones states in Old Cornwall , that the creature, Old Bloody Bones, lived in Knockers Hole, near Baldhu. In this version it was a malevolent spirit that was attracted to the area by a massacre that supposedly occurred there.

Ruth Tongue mentioned it in Somerset Folklore , and said it lived in dark cupboards or under the stairs. In this story it acted as a sort of boogeyman that came to punish bad children.

In some areas of the Southern U.S the creature has become two separate entities entirely. Raw Head is a bloody skull that has had the skin stripped away. It snaps and bites at anyone unfortunate enough to cross its path. Bloody Bones is a headless skeleton that dances around. In one story a gossip has his head torn off by the monster as a punishment for his slanderous ways.

In a story written by S. E. Schlosser, Raw Head is a razorback boar that is the companion of an old conjure woman. The boar is killed and later comes back for revenge.

The versions and retelling of this particular story seem to travel around the globe and cover several regions.

The version I heard, as a child, was that it was some type of creature/evil being (boogeyman, essentially) that would come and take away children that lied or misbehaved. It would eat them and sleep on a pile of their bones.

As stated, there are other widely differing variations from a lot of locations on what it is and how it functioned. A fun, scary read either way, I think.

Its even had poetry and nursery rhymes written about it.

Resources and References:

  • https://public.oed.com/blog/raw-head-bloody-bones-and-other-terrors-of-the-nursery/

  • https://deepsouthmag.com/2014/10/17/bloody-bones-a-history-of-southern-scares/

  • http://americanfolklore.net/folklore/2010/07/raw_head_and_bloody_bones.html

  • https://www.urbanghostsmedia.com/2016/11/rawhead-bloody-bones-bogeyman/

  • https://maskofreason.wordpress.com/the-book-of-mysteries/know-your-ghosts/europe/rawhead-and-bloody-bones

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Re: Spirits and Folklore
By: Moderator / Knowledgeable
Post # 4

The Knockers or Knackers

Other known names:

  • Bucca - Cornwall
  • Bwca - Wales
  • Tommyknockers - U.S
  • Berggeister - Germany

In some folklore, they were believed to be the earliest inhabitants of Wales and taught the early human societies how to mine. They were said to stand only about 2 feet tall in height, dress like the other miners did, and take food that was left unattended.

The Knockers have played both a malevolent and benevolent role in folklore. Some stories say that their knockings are warnings to the miners that a cave-in or some other mine disaster will soon follow. The ghosts of their fellow miners were coming to warn the living to watch out for danger. However, others say that they are mischievous imps that knock and tap on the mine supports to send them tumbling down onto the miners heads. They were also said to pinch the miners, make off with their tools, and knock their hardhats off of their heads.

When Cornish miners made their way over to Pennsylvania in the 1820s, they brought their stories of the knockers with them. In some of these stories, the Knockers or Knackers could bring good luck and wealth, but when they were angered or misbehaved they would bring nothing but trouble or misfortune.

My grandfather actually told me stories about these little fellows. He and his fellow miners believed strongly in their existence and would even leave a mine shaft if they heard the knocking sound, from fear of the shafts collapse.

Some would even leave small pieces of breads or portions of their lunch to appease the knockers and keep the miners in their good graces.

References and Resources:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTB977dKMVM

http://theghosthuntuk.com/tommyknocker-legend-of-the-mines/

http://www.icysedgwick.com/knockers/

https://www.toptenz.net/10-interesting-facts-about-the-tommyknocker-legend.php

https://www.legendsofamerica.com/gh-tommyknockers/

http://mix1043fm.com/colorado-tommyknocker-legend/

https://www.abctales.com/story/annette-bromley/beware-tommyknockers-ancient-legend

http://americanfolklore.net/folklore/2010/07/tommy_knockers.html

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Re: Spirits and Folklore
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Post # 5

This is a really good post. Thank you for sharing. I always like to read folktales too.

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Re: Spirits and Folklore
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Post # 6
I'll have to find my stories about the Wompus Cat. I've seen it spelled differently as well. Parts of the legend come from hearing my hubby talk about growing up hearing about it and some come from my Cherokee ancestors. It's different things to different people. Some say it's a shape shifting medicine woman. Others say it's a very large shaggy cat with red eyes that hunts kids out after dark. Who knows? We do have some weird howls that come out of the woods by our house.
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