Latest Folklore Articles

Some Words About ‘The Quiet Music’ from Jackie Morris

At present I am tangled in brambles and ivy, steeped in acorns and oak and painting the rhythm of the air as it moves through the feathers of a raven’s wing. I…

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Japanese Folklore: Maruyama Ōkyo and the Ghost of Oyuki

In 1750, Edo-period Japan, Maruyama Ōkyo opened his eyes from a fitful sleep and beheld a dead woman.

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All Hael! All Hael! Singing with the Kibbo Kift

What sort of music did a 1920s utopian youth movement fiercely opposed to mainstream society actually like? The Kindred of the Kibbo Kift (‘KK’) were creatures of their time.

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The Tales We Tell: Urban Legends as Modern Folklore

Contemporary life is full of folklore, including urban legends, those odd, funny, or scary stories suited to the times and places we live in.

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Top 5 American Folktales

Here, in no particular order, are the top 5 American Folktales.

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Purgatory in Spanish Folklore: The Night of the Ánimas

In rural Spain, the night still belongs to the ánimas, the spirits of the dead who didn’t go straight to Heaven or Hell.

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Black Shuck: Proof of Existence Finally Found?

“Bones of 7ft Hound from Hell Black Shuck ‘Discovered.'” During an archaeological dig, the skeletal remains of a very large dog were found amongst the ruins.

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Arcadia Britannica: A Modern British Folklore portrait by Henry Bourne

Arcadia Britannica is an ongoing photographic portrait project of the myriad of different British folklore traditions and customs

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Matlock Hare and the Three Hares Symbol

Three – some say, is the lucky number. Others find it equally as unlucky, citing dark suspicions about Shakespeare’s ‘weird-systers’ in the equally infamous ‘Scottish Play’. Love it, loathe it, dismiss it, debunk it,…

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Gargoyles: Demons in the Sky or Grotesque Guardian Angels?

An exploration of the history, myths and enduring legacy of gargoyles in popular culture.

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The Traditional Games of England, Scotland and Ireland

A couple of month’s ago I happened upon a copy of A Dictionary of British Folk-Lore by Alice Gomme, a classic work on childlore. A couple of month’s ago I was lucky…

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Folklore of Archaeology: Of Giants, Fairies, Megaliths and Menhirs

While much fairy folklore associated with prehistoric sites centres around barrows and brochs, many megaliths are linked to fairies, goblins and their counterparts, in both legend and etymology.

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The Evil Under The Soil: Burial and Unearthing in Folk Horror

The burial and subsequent unearthing of cursed objects is an act that is astonishingly common in Folk Horror.

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Slavic Traditions: The Garlands of Midsummer’s Eve

In Poland, Midsummer's Eve garlands would be set on water, their path on the surface foretelling the owner’s future, and protecting from spells and curses.

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Morris Folk: Making History

The Morris Folk project arose from a desire to document something as ephemeral as dance in new and innovative ways.

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Getting Even in Roman Britain: The Curse Tablets from Bath (Aquae Sulis)

For many residents of ancient Britain, curses involved invoking a god to influence a particular individual according to their wishes

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Following Kelpies’ Hoofprints Around Scotland

Kelpies are water-horses, who can shape-shift from underwater monsters to beautiful horses or humans on land

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Poltergeist, Witchcraft or Hoax: The Witch of Scrapfaggot Green

In the Essex village of Great Leighs, a witch named Anne Hughes was burned at the stake for the crime of bewitching her husband to death.

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Upcoming Event: The Ballad of British Folklore

We've just received an exciting press release about an exhibition charting the history of the The Museum of British Folklore.

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Cicorc Conwy: Lucky Cork Sea-Dogs

These cicorc (or cork-dogs) were seen as good luck charms and also gave the sailors something else to think about whilst preparing for long voyages.

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King Herla and the Wild Hunt in Twelfth-Century England and Wales

The ghostly “Wild Hunt” rampaged across European folklore as a company of supernatural huntsmen that often counted fairies and the dead among their number.

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From the Gorgon to the Gift Shop: A Brief Archaeology of the Evil Eye

The matiasma is an apotropaic amulet designed to ward off the evil eye in Greek folklore.

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Girls’ Carnival Morris Dancing: a Contemporary Folk Dance?

Often overlooked in accounts of English Morris dancing, girls’ (carnival) Morris is a highly competitive, team formation dance popular in England and Wales.

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Norwegian Folktales: The Ring in the Fish

The motif of the discarded ring recovered from a fish appears in the folklore of various regions

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Russian Fairy Tales: The Top 5 Women in Russian Folklore

The top five women in Russian fairy tales

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Death Takes Wing: Birds and the Folklore of Death

One could write an encyclopaedia on the appearances of birds in folklore and their association with death and mortality, travelling from Japan to Scandinavia, France and beyond.

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A Feast of Folk: TradFest Edinburgh 2016

The first of two annual festivals run by TRACS (Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland), TradFest Edinburgh • Dùn Èideann is a celebration not only of Scotland’s traditions and heritage, but equally of…

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Folklore of the Sea: A Curiosity of Maritime Myths and Traditions

Sailors have traditionally been associated with many myths and magical aspects of the sea, travellers and bringers of tales and far-off treasures.

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Happy Birthday #FolkloreThursday!

On 18th June 2016, #FolkloreThursday turned a year old!

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Italian Folklore: The Devil’s Column, at the Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio

The Devil’s Column (Colonna del Diavolo), in Milan is the focus of one of Milan’s oldest and most beloved legends ...

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Hookland: Folklore, Landscape Punk and Psychogeography

While landscape changes and stories decay, the marriage of the two – folklore – remains the constant dance in our collective memory.

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Sgeulachdan: Tales from The Scottish Highlands and Hebridean Islands

People have been fond of telling and hearing stories in the Scottish Highlands and Hebridean islands since time immemorial, known in Gaelic as Sgeulachdan.

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Fishing with the Living and the Dead: The Sáiva Lakes of the Sami

For the Pre-Christian Sami people who inhabited parts of modern-day Norway, Finland, Sweden, and Russia, fishing was a livelihood.

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The Girl-Fish, an Underrated Fairy Tale by Andrew Lang

A spellbinding tale of redemption, The Girl-Fish is a tale overlooked by most fairy tale enthusiasts, but it contains a great heroine and her amazing adventure.

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Irish Myths: The Children of Lir

Today we have a featured story from The Emerald Isle, and Dee Dee Chainey talks to Ronan Burke, who runs the website – a great place to find stories of Ireland and…

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Lancashire Fairies

In Bashall Eaves there’s a bridge which is said to have been built in a single night, in order to help a local man escape from witches. At Rowley Hall, by the…

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The Winged Demoness of Death: Vanth and the Etruscan Underworld

On the walls of a 300 BCE Etruscan tomb, Vanth, a winged demoness of dark and stern gaze, flanks a door to the Great Unknown.

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The Fool’s Church: Rahere and the Church of St Bartholomew

The story of the founding of Saint Bartholomew the Great is one that has all the hallmarks of good folklore - an unlikely hero, a vision, and a dangerous journey.

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The Three Little Pigs Go to War: Fairy Tales in 8 + 1 Battles

I first encountered fairy tales as a child. As in most children, the encounter generated mixed feelings—wonder and excitement

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The Polish Tradition of Holy Sepulchre Guardians

A traditional festival is held annually in South Eastern Poland where locals re-enact what may be an historical event, yet is certainly a local legend. Legend tells then when Polish soldiers returned to their village on Good Friday…

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