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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Cars, Coins and Cursed Colours: A Brief Introduction to the Folklore of Vehicles

Cars and motorbikes have been with us for over 130 years. In that time they’ve gathered superstitions and urban legends around them like exhaust fumes.

Continue reading

The Origins of ‘Touch Wood’: Tree Spirits, The True Cross, or Tag?

The superstition of 'touch wood', or 'knock on wood' is still common today, but what was its original source? Madeleine D'Este explores some possibilities.

Continue reading

Folk Healing & Hypnotism: Arthur Spray, ‘The Mysterious Cobbler’ of Bexhill

Arthur Spray, known as 'The Mysterious Cobbler of Bexhill', wrote an autobiography in 1935 which detailed his famed powers in healing and hypnotism.

Continue reading

Welsh Lake Legends and Folklore: Llyn Barfog, the Female Dwellers of Annwn and King Arthur and the Afanc

In Wales, legends and folklore of King Arthur and the Otherworld are never far away, and lakes are often the settings for such stories.

Continue reading

Just Hanging Around: The Gallows in English Folklore

The gallows play a dark role in the history of punishment, but also show an important influence in folklore, folk practices, and even everyday language.

Continue reading

The Fairy Midwife and the Magic Ointment

An old woman in the cottage gave the midwife a box of ointment and asked her to anoint the baby all over, but to not get any of the ointment in her…

Continue reading

The Duality of Modern Haitian Vodou

When the traditional Vodun religion of West African slaves collided in the Caribbean with the incoming Christianity of colonists, Haitian Vodou was born.

Continue reading

The Legendary Llangollen Faery Festival: The Fae Fly to Wales this August!

Now in its fifth year, The Legendary Llangollen Faery Festival in North Wales has become one of the largest fairy events in the UK.

Continue reading

Animal Folklore: Chasing Hares Through Stories, Myth, and Legend

Hares are widespread geographically, so hare stories are widespread culturally. But hares take on a surprising variety of roles in folklore, myth & legend.

Continue reading

A Welsh Legend: The Men in the Cave by Horatio Clare

In this short story, Horatio Clare presents a retelling of the sleeping hero tale of Arthurian legend through the eyes of Gaheris, King Arthur's nephew.

Continue reading

Welsh Lake Legends and Folklore: Llyn Cwm Llwch and the Door of the Tylwyth Teg

Welsh lake legends from the Brecon Beacons: A strange and dangerous old woman, an invisible island and an otherworldly guardian.

Continue reading

How to Sell Your Wife …

How do you rid yourself of a wife who no longer pleases you? Sell her, of course.

Continue reading

Bad Luck comes in Threes: Matches, Murderers or Mathematics

One installment in a series of common superstitions in the English speaking world: ‘Bad luck comes in threes.’

Continue reading

Ferrous Friend or Foe? How Iron Became the Enemy of Fairy Folk

Iron bands around coffin of a witch were believed to prevent them from escaping their tombs. Yet iron has also been the saviour of many church bell ringers.

Continue reading

Spinning a Tale: Spinning and Weaving in Myths and Legends

Spinning is a fundamentally human thing, and something that we have been doing since far into the ancient past.

Continue reading

Fairy Folklore: Come Away, O Human Child

To be led astray, Peter Pan style, by a fairy – ‘pixie led’ – is an old fear from isolated communities where weather and terrain seemed to judge and punish.

Continue reading

Protection and Punishment: Beliefs About Angels in Tudor and Stuart England

In Tudor and Stuart England, angels were believed to deliver messages, protect the godly, carry souls to heaven, punish sinners, and carry out God’s will.

Continue reading

The Medieval Robin Hood: Folk Carnivals and Ballads

Robin Hood is known by everyone as the English outlaw hero, dashing through the greenwood with his band of merry men to rob from the rich and give to the poor, before…

Continue reading

Ezekial Bone: Harnessing the Spirit of Robin Hood

The world needs heroes. Ezekial Bone explains why the time has come to put Robin Hood on the pedestal he deserves.

Continue reading

Who Was the Real Robin Hood? A New Theory from Michael Reuel

Michael Reuel talks about his theory that historical roots for the character of Robin Hood may be seen in medieval folklore ballads.

Continue reading

Japanese Legends: The Three Most Evil Yokai of Japan

Japan has a love of official top three lists. You may have heard of the Three Views of Japan (Matsushima, Amanohashidate, and Itsukushima), the Three Great Gardens of Japan (Kenroku-en, Koraku-en, and…

Continue reading

Georgian Folklore: The Prince Who Befriended the Beasts

This is a story collected in Michael Berman’s book Georgia Through its Folktales. The book explores the shamanic possibilities held within folk tales.

Continue reading

Dumplings and Dragonboats: The Chinese Duan Wu Festival

When I was a little girl, I used to watch with open-mouthed admiration and puzzlement as my mother prepared the ingredients for the making of zong zi (rice wrapped in leaf). She…

Continue reading

Stories from the Arabian Gulf: Bu Draeyah, Um Homar and the Survival of Qatari Folktales

Two popular folktales of the Arab world tell of Bu Draeyah, a cruel sea creature, and Homarat Al-Guyla, a half-woman, half-donkey, who eats children.

Continue reading

Psychogeography & Landscape in ‘Spirits of Place’: An Interview with Contributors

Spirits of Place is an anthology examining the relationship between place and narrative: how stories, folkloric or historic, become embedded in a location.

Continue reading

Welsh Lake Legends and Folklore: The Drowned Town of Kenfig

Many Welsh lakes have legends and myths connected to them, and Kenfig Pool is no exception having associations with a legendary drowned town under the lake.

Continue reading

Zombies: Through Folklore, Film and Fiction

When one hears the word “zombie” various images come to mind: usually that of flesh-eating, brain-devouring monsters; that is just our modern perception.

Continue reading

The Folklore of Bells

Folklore shows that bells were not just used to call to prayer or to make an announcement, but also played a role in healing, superstition, and protection.

Continue reading

Ghosts, Angels & Death Omens: The Seven Whistlers in Mining Folklore

On 21st September, 1874, after hearing the cries of the ‘Seven Whistlers’, miners employed in North Warwickshire refused to descend into the coal pits.

Continue reading

From Generation to Generation: An Exploration of Myth and Landscape in the Work of Alan Garner

The emotional and spiritual dimension of being in place, in the work of Alan Garner, powerfully reminds us of our connection to the land and stories.

Continue reading

Here Be Pirates: The Tales of Edward Teach, Anne Bonney and Mary Read

Avast ye scurvy landlubber, listen up and hear me well, for I have got a tale or two of derring-do to tell ye all!

Continue reading