The Dreaded Headless Horseman and the Legend of Sleepy Hollow

The Headless Horseman Pursuing Ichabod Crane, John Quidor

he Headless Horseman captures the imagination like nothing else at Halloween. Regional American history and urban legend influences the interpretation of this apparition more than supposed.

Fee, Fie, Fo, Fum: Behind Jack and the Beanstalk

Just why did Jack climb the beanstalk? By Christopher Wood, CC BY-SA 3.0

“I’ve got something a lot better to exchange for that cow though, Jack,” said the man. “Something much more valuable than boring old money; something I think you’ll like, a lad of your… discerning taste.” The man’s eyes were twinkling, and out of his pocket he brought a handful of…beans.”

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

St Barts, Smithfield © 2016 Mike Stuchbery

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.

The Calderstones: Invoking the Spirits of Place

Spirits of Place, Liverpool

South Liverpool, where I was born and live still, is a place full of green-spaces. Its abundance of woodlands, parks, cemeteries, playing fields and golf courses are linked by an intricate network of narrow, bramble-lined public footpaths and overgrown roadside verges. The more romantically inclined might be tempted to call them faerie paths, or corpse […]

Meet the Hulders (Whether You Want to or Not)

Young girls are enchanted to believe they are marrying their sweethearts, when in fact they will be marrying hulders - Image of girl with candle meeting her husband in a crowded room

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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