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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Dolphin Folklore of the Ancient World

Dolphins are frequently found in ancient Greek and Roman folklore, where tales tell of their roles in medicine and myth, and as helpers to Gods and mortals.

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Wobbly Poets: Joe Hill, Signe Aurell, and Scandinavian-American Laborlore

The songs and poetry of the American labor movement are an example of occupational folklore or 'laborlore', which records worker voices and traditions.

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The Shadows and Light Folktale Series: Discovering Story-Power

For a writer whose most famous book is about the biology of animal faeces, it may seem like a stretch to be creating stories with their roots in folktales.

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Tinker Bell’s Lover: The Hidden Desires of Celtic Fairies

“The ocean is not so strong as the waves of thy longing,” the fairy whispered to the man she desired as a human lover. Was she casting a spell on him?

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Folklore of the Welsh Lakes: The Legend of the Bride from the Red Lake

A Welsh legend from the Red Lake tells the story of a doomed marriage between a mortal farmer and a beautiful Otherworld maiden who emerged from the lake.

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Death Omens: How Well Do You Know Them?

We might all lay claim to some superstitions to guard against bad luck, but an ingrained belief in death omens is another matter.

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Japanese Folklore of the Ocean: The Ama Divers, Sea Demons, and Ise Jingu

Mie is home to the ama divers, an ancient tradition of women who breath-dive for abalone, and Ise Jingu, the most sacred Shinto shrine in the whole of Japan.

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Animal Folklore: A Mole in the Hand

Today, moles are usually unappreciated residents of our gardens and fields, but they are embedded in folklore and for centuries were used in remedies.

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Past Anxieties: Defining the Folk Horror Narrative

‘Have you ever heard the term ‘folk horror’ before?’ I asked a colleague of mine: a classics professor. ‘In particular, when describing drama?’

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Harbingers of Heaven: Chinese Dragons of Earth and Sea

Chinese dragons are believed to be symbols of good luck and wisdom, bearers of immense power, and controllers of the sea and the weather.

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Mermaid Folktales: A 19th Century History

During the nineteenth century, mermaids regularly appeared in art, literature, and music, as well as in the news, with reported public sightings recorded.

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Breton Folklore: Death, the Devil and Other Good Stories

Brittany has a strong storytelling tradition, and the wealth of varied Breton folklore surviving today reflects a society which highly values its past.

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Luke Stephenson & Helen Champion: The Clown Egg Register

For over 70 years, the oldest established clowning organization has been painting the faces of clowns on eggs. Each is a record of a clown's unique identity

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The Secret History of the Grimm Fairy Tales

Like many people, I thought the Grimm brothers had lived long ago & travelled around Germany collecting stories from old women hunched over spinning wheels.

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The Pishtaco: Fat-stealing Ghoul of the Andes

This legendary fat-stealer stalks indigenous communities in the rural Andean highlands. In the Peruvian Andes, they say he wanders the roads at night.

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Bringing Venetian Folklore to the Big Screen: The Plague Doctor

Though we’ve not lost any of our academic appreciation for the hearthside story or campsite tall tale, it cannot be denied that we as a species have moved into the art of…

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Folk-Ore: The Magical Power of Blacksmiths and Their Enduring Stories

The folklore of iron and smithing has been common since prehistory, and one of the oldest folktales tells of a blacksmith forging a deal with the devil.

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Traditional Recipes: An Adventure in Ottoman Folklore, Aegean Bread and a Cursed Loaf

A crime writer encounters an ancient Ottoman curse – on his bread.

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Sheep Folklore: The Life and Lore of the Shepherd

Sheep have been integral to British life for thousands of years, and a long tradition of lore has developed around shepherds and their flocks.

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Angels and Devils: The Legend of the Holy Mountain

The Skirrid Fawr Hill near Abergavenny in Wales is no ordinary hill, but a place of myth, legend, strong religious connection, and black deeds.

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Animal Legends: The Wild Wolves of Ancient Rome

Wolves played a vital part in Roman myths. A defining symbol of ancient Rome is the image of the twins Romulus and Remus being suckled by a she-wolf.

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English Folktales: Fox Robin’s Ghost and the Buried Treasure

Fox Robin was a crotchety farmer from Westleigh in Greater Manchester, whose antics in life and death are told in many stories.

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