Peterborough: Folklore from a Neglected Corner of England

The city of Peterborough in the east of England and its surrounding region is one of the few English areas that has not previously benefitted from a thorough study of its folklore.

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Grotesques, Green Men and Glorious Angels

The Church of St Mary and St David in Kilpeck in Herefordshire has been a centre for Christian worship since the 12th century, and today is a place of pilgrimage. 

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Dragon Legends: Myth or Half-Truth?

Dragons play a popular role in legend, Where might their origins have begun, and can we see parallels between them and other creatures, mythical and real?

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Women on a Quest: The Hawaiian Saga of Pele the Volcano Goddess and Hiiaka

The saga of Pele's youngest sister Hiiaka is a heroic quest across the Hawaiian archipelago. It conveys a perspective of women throughout Hawaiian culture.

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Smuggler Legends: Owlers, Woolers & Restless Ghosts

Smuggling. The word has been entwined with romantic delusions and depictions for many years. However, in reality this could not be further from the truth. From concepts of men in fancy clothes…

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This, That and the Other: Folklore of the Three Realms

A lot of folklore is concerned with other realms. Worlds that exist apart, yet overlap or interact to varying degrees. It is this aspect that aligns many features of myth, folklore and…

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Folklore Gift Ideas for Christmas

We've started our Christmas shopping early here at #FolkloreThursday, and we thought we'd share some of the wonderful folkloric gifts we've come across on the way!

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The Top 3 Japanese Ghosts

19th century Japan was obsessed with ghost stories. These stories are so influential that they serve as direct inspiration for today’s horror films.

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The Scottish Play and the Welsh Wizard: Witches in Punch Cartoons

From its beginnings in the 1840s until the late twentieth century it was Shakespeare’s Three Witches who inspired the majority of cartoons featuring witches in Punch.

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Skeleton Folklore: “I Can Feel it in My Bones”

Icy Sedgwick explores the folklore, beliefs, and superstitions associated with the human skeleton in traditional and contemporary cultures across the world.

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Kulning, An Ancient Scandinavian Herding Call

Kulning is a high pitched singing technique used by women to communicate with animals and over great distances, most common from 1500 to 1800 in Scandinavia.

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Folkore of Wales: The Skeleton Tree, Derwen Ceubren yr Ellyll

Derwen Ceubren yr Ellyll, which means “The Hollow Oak, Haunt of Demons” or “The Blasted Oak of Spirits” was a real tree. Its story is dark and terrifying.

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King Arthur, the Mabinogion and Wales’ Legendary Landscapes

The National Library of Wales discuss their exhibition 'Arthur and Welsh Mythology', and how Welsh folklore is engrained in its legendary landscape.

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Sky Goddesses, Spring Mechanisms, or Sprites: Why Is it Bad Luck to Open an Umbrella Inside?

Madeline D'Este explores the possible origins behind the common belief that the act of opening an umbrella indoors invites bad luck.

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5 Lesser Known Monsters In North American Folklore

Here, we catch up with five “lesser known” North American monsters...

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Philippine Folktales and Legends: Catalina of Dumaguete

Even the wild people who once roamed the remote mountains spoke of Catalina with love. As the wind howled they would tell the story of Catalina of Dumaguete.

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The Skull-Faced Bishop: The Horrific Image of One Vancouver Island Ghost

Bishop Seghers’ apparition is one of Vancouver Island’s most terrifying visages.

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The Leprechaun: Harmless Hoarder or Malevolent Miser?

Some say that, like all fairykind, leprechauns came from the Otherworld, the land of the gods. Others report that leprechauns evolved from fallen angels.

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Folklore of the Welsh Lakes: Reflecting on Faerie Brides, Drowned Towns, and the Otherworld

There are may lakes scattered around Wales, each with their own unique characteristics and history. Many also have the most amazing legends and folklore.

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Folklore: To Define or Not To Define? Why is This a Question?

Dr. Lynne S. McNeill explains what folklore is, and what folklorists do.

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Haunting Scars in the Landscape – A Review of “Spirits of Place”

Paul Watson reviews a collection of essays which explores case studies of the associated folklore of landscape and place in countries throughout the world.

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The Devil’s Instrument: Hardanger Fiddles and Norwegian-American Folk Music

The Hardanger fiddle is a staple of traditional Norwegian folk music, which connects people visually, bodily, and aurally, with their Norwegian heritage.

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Beauty and the Beast: From French Folklore to Victorian Romance

A tale with a handsome prince cursed to live as a monstrous beast and a courageous beauty who consents to be his prisoner in order to save her father.

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Origins of Breaking the Wishbone: Horseshoes, Groins and Chicken Ouija Boards

‘Breaking the wishbone’ is a tradition around the world in the days after a Sunday roast, Thanksgiving or Christmas.

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Headless Horsemen and Ghostly Lights: The Top 5 Texas Urban Legends

Nowhere else on the planet in the last three hundred years has there been a pioneer narrative quite like the legends and myths of the American Frontier.

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Harvest Folklore

Before the advent of agricultural machinery, harvest time was an important period of physical work and folk tradition and ritual amongst rural communities.

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Folk Horror: Hours Dreadful and Things Strange by Adam Scovell, a Review

G. H. Finn reviews Adam Scovell's excellent new book: Folk Horror: Hours Dreadful and Things Strange.

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What Lies Beneath: Legendary Creatures from the Seas

Deep below the depths of the ocean, creatures from myth, legend, and lore, stalk our nightmares and give us chills, but we are always wanting more.

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Meet the Hulders (Whether You Want to or Not)

The Norwegian hulder-folk pursue Christian-folk - kidnapping their children, making them their partners and servants, and getting their help to steal food.

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Seven Years Bad Luck? – Reflections, Romans, and Reckless Servants

Bad luck from breaking a mirror has a long history, and the ominous associations are pervasive around the world.

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5 Legendary Monsters of North American Folklore

Legendary monsters thrive in North American lore, of that there is no doubt; and narrowing the array down to a “Top 5” list is a difficult task.

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Folklore of the Welsh Lakes: The Legend and Legacy of the Lady of Llyn y Fan Fach

In Wales, legends of encounters with the Otherworld are never far away. One such legend is associated with Llyn y Fan Fach, a lake in Carmarthenshire.

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Folklore as a Mode of Tyrannical Resistance

Folklore can be said to flourish in times of unrest and oppression, and can be seen as a powerful and imaginative means of resistance to social tyranny.

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Trows, Changelings and Wise Women in Early Nineteenth Century Kirkwall

A nineteenth century autobiography written by the minister William Leask offers a fascinating insight into supernatural belief in contemporary Orkney.

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Off the Grid: The Epic Tale of The Dun Cow, or… How Now Brown Cow?

There was once a bright-white cow which travelled round the world, giving milk enough for all comers. Whoever drank of her milk immediately became wise.

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A Brief Tour of European Wedding Cake Traditions

The cutting of a couple’s wedding cake is often the highlight of a wedding reception with newlyweds making their first ceremonial slice into the cake.

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50 Shades of Red: Sexuality and Loss of Innocence in Little Red Riding Hood

Of all the folk and fairy tales known to us, the tale of Little Red Riding Hood is perhaps one of the most enduring and provocative.

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Tongue, Pen, Ear, Page — Collecting and Performing Folktales and Ballads

How do writers collect and re-tell regional folktales? Kevan Manwaring explains his influences, methods, and inspirations for his work in this area.

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A Very British Book: The Road to ‘Tales of Britain’

Author Jem Roberts explains the genesis of Unbound Publishing’s 21st Century roadmap of British folktales.

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Riddles, Heroes, and Folktales Come True: Folklore in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings

Folklore is central in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings: not only “external” folklore, the folklore of the “real” world, but also “internal” folklore.

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