The Grotter & the Strange History of Shell Grottos

Shell grottos have a certain murky ambiguity to their history and folklore. This for me made them all the more enticing to use as the basis for a ghost story in my tale, ‘The Grotter’ in Nyctophobias. Especially with my roots as a Whitstable native in Kent, where grottos are still primarily lit once a year as part of the Oyster Festival celebrations. These grottos are usually stacked in a ‘beehive’ style pyramid, held together with wet sand and illuminated by a short candle.

Yule Logs, Kissing-Bushes and Mistletoe: Christmas Greenery in Pre-Industrial England

Plants play a major part in the many customs surrounding the Christmas festivities. The Yule log for example, was essentially associated with Christmas Eve, for on the evening of that day it was traditional to transport the log to the fireplace, ignite it and allow it to burn for at least 12 hours if ill-luck was to be avoided.

Michaelmas: The Day the Devil Spits on the Blackberries?

On Michaelmas Day the Devil takes possession of the blackberries and to eat one after that day would risk… well, something on the spectrum between a bad taste and instant death.

English Folklore: What Cultural Values Does It Represent?

In broad terms, folklore—or rather its constituents—comprise legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales, stories, tall tales, and customs that are the traditions of a culture. Folklore is a vital feature of our lives.

Marian of Sherwood

Mention Maid Marian and Sherwood Forest in the same breath, and most people think of Robin Hood’s lady love. The forest outlaw and the noble lady are tied together so closely in modern folklore, popular literature, and movies, it’s hard to imagine one without the other.