Lancashire Boggarts, Wee Folk, Tricksters or Woodwoose??

Growing up in in the UK you get used to tales of the wee folk, the trolls and pixies, the Fae and in Lancashire we have the Boggart, often described as small and hairy and a horrible appearance, blamed for many a missing horse blanket or milk from a step. Here are some of the tales of the wee folk I have come across whist researching our forest friends.

Boggarts could be nuisances. To calm them you laid saucers of milk or planted holly, well known for scaring away evil spirits. The 1655 Written Stone near Longridge has holly planted next to it to this day. along this road beneath a holly hedge can be found a strange stone slab. Inscribed on the Boggart stone is a warning, RAVFFE RADCLIFF LAID THIS STONE TO LYE FOREVER A.D 1655. It is known locally as the Written Stone and the legend surrounding it says that it was placed here to imprison a Boggart who had been terrorising the local inhabitants by physically attacking them. It is also thought that the Boggart was responsible for the death of a member of the Radcliffe family who lived at a nearby farm. The next owner of this farm for some reason decided he wanted possession of the Written Stone and it is said that it took six horses and many labourers to remove the stone and deliver to the farm where it was placed in the dairy. Over a period of time things started happening, accidents happened to people who came into contact with the stone, objects placed on the stone would be pushed off and damaged. The farmer finally started to believe the stories attached to this strange stone slab and came to the conclusion that it was indeed cursed. The odd thing was that when he finally decided to return it to its place of origin, it only took one horse and a couple of men to return it back, whereas before it had taken a tremendous effort to move it.

It is said that a local doctor hearing about the story scoffed at the tale and decided to take his horse and ride out to where the stone had been returned to, underneath the holly bush. When the Doctor approached the Boggart Stone a swirling mass was seen to emanate from the stone, this caused the horse to bolt for two miles and luckily took the Doctor away from any immediate danger.
Boggart Hole Clough, at Blackley, near Manchester, had a troublesome Boggart who tormented a family. They decided to leave but, as their cart left the farm, a neighbour heard the squealing Boggart on the cart coming with them so resignedly the family returned to their home. The Clough was surrounded by open country side with isolated houses, and was very rural back in 1819. Known to be mischievous Boggarts are blamed for curdling milk or playing tricks on people, stealing food and laundry from the line, banging on house walls, eye-shine in the trees and screeching and howling are all traits of a Boggart. A feeling of dread can be felt when a Boggart is nearby. Hanging a horseshoe above a door or leaving a pile of salt on the doorstep has been suggested as ways to keep the Boggart out of the house. They are thought to live under bridges, like trolls, on sharp bends in roads and, as in this case, in a piece of wild woodland. Mysterious disappearances in the Blackley district over the years have been attributed by some to the Boggarts who live in the clough.  Accounts of missing children stolen at will, and many local murders where claimed to be Boggart Attacks in the early 1880's the name used by some locals is the Boggarts Hole Vampire for this very reason.

Both of these accounts are historical, but would it surprise you if i told you they are both areas that have sightings of British Bigfoot or the Woodwoose. Both Longridge Fell and Boggarts hole clough. Boggarts Hole is known for stones that come whizzing from the trees, feelings of being watched and figures so fleeting the urban myth that a vampire inhabits the area abound.
Longridge Fell has a sighting of a hairy Bigfoot like creature that tried to blend in with the trees, not to far away are the Salford Wildman Accounts and it is of-course a short hop between the two areas. So if any more tales come from my home county I will be sure to let you know.

Until Next Time Deborah