Category: Halloween

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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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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5 Lesser Known Monsters In North American Folklore

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

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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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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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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.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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The Clarke Charm Collection: Of Witch Bottles, Witch Cakes and Hag Stones

Clarke’s charm collection reveals a range of uses, including cures for sore throats, the protection of seafarers from drowning, and good luck charms.

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Fighting Magic With Magic in Italy: The Good Walkers

The Benandanti were a surprising third party in the fight of good versus evil in Medieval Italy; one that not even the Holy Inquisition could make sense of.

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Ghosts and Apparitions in Punch Cartoons

From figures of power to figures of fun, ghosts and apparitions changed dramatically in Punch cartoons over the course of two centuries.

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Black Arts and Talismans: Huw Llwyd, the Real Welsh Wizard

Huw Llwyd, the Welsh wizard, has been immortalised in the folklore and fairy tales of Wales, his fantastic exploits told and re-told down the ages.

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A Witchy Interview with #FolkloreThursday’s Willow Winsham

@DeeDeeChainey interviews @WillowWinsham about her book, Accused: British Witches Throughout History

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Old Tails in New Bottles: Folklore’s Influence on Pulp Fiction Werewolves

Werewolves are considered to be a traditional monster in the twenty-first-century popular culture.

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Toil and Trouble? The Goddess Hekate in Ancient Greece

Hekate: goddess of witchcraft, ghosts and the restless dead, frequently represented as a triple deity, associated with dogs, crossroads and flaming torches.

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Halloween Folklore and Superstitions

We all know that Halloween, as a festival, is not an invention of the trick-or-treating Americans but it is far older than many people realise.

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Tales from the Medieval Crypt: Walking Corpses, Devils and Haunted Shoemakers in Walter Map’s De Nugis Curialium

De Nugis Curialium is a strange book in which history, religious debate and court satire are interwoven with a tangle of mythology, folklore and eerie supernatural tales.

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Dark Folklore: The Hand of Glory in Folk Magic

We’ve all heard of the infamous hand of glory, the hand of a dead man, hanged for his crimes, and it’s often said that it could be used to open any lock.

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Folklore Festivals: Five Italian Folklore-Filled Weekends in October

Italian festivals offer glimpses of life in a previous time through food, re-enactments and sporting events. These events will satisfy history buffs and foodies alike. PALIO degli ASINI – Race of the…

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 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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Finnish Folklore: Louhi, Witch of the North

Do you know the stories of The Kalevala? If you do you are in select company like J.R.R. Tolkien who loved the stories and drew on them for his own writing.

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Restless Ghosts and Black Dogs: Was Black Vaughan Really as Evil as Rumour Tells?

According to local legend, after Black Vaughan's headless body was buried, he proved to be a restless spirit who wreaked havoc amongst the townsfolk.

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Supernatural Safeguarding: Hidden Objects in the Post-Medieval Home

What do a child’s shoe, a cod-liver oil bottle, and a desiccated cat have in common? They’re all objects that have been discovered in unusual locations within buildings. In fact, a vast…

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Gruesome Folk Healing: The Curious Cures for Warts and Wens

These remedies, many of them fairly gruesome to our ears, were recorded only 100 years ago by Mrs Ella Mary Leather at the beginning of the 20th century, from the towns and…

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