Also known as: Bogarts, Boggards, Boogies,
Bugganes, Hob-Gobs, Tut-Guts, Tom-Tits, Tom Tit Tots.
and events may cause Domestic Spirits such as Brownies and Hobs to turn ‘bad’.
In such cases they now often become known as Boggarts and Hobgoblins. ‘Hobgoblin’
is in itself an ambiguous term, for initially it was just an alternative
term for the more benevolent Hobs or Hearth Goblins but later came to
represent more troublesome household and outdoor entities. Boggarts and
Hobgoblins are generally more of a nuisance than life-threatening, however
some of their pranks may verge on the dangerous. Their behaviour can range
from the frustrating (hiding keys and important documents etc.) to the
annoying (moving furniture at night so that people bump into them in the
dark etc.), and from the destructive (smashing crockery, weakening
timber-work etc.) to the downright nasty (delivering minor beatings,
starting small fires etc.). In fact anything that can go wrong could be
attributed (perhaps conveniently) to the activity of a Boggart or Hobgoblin.
Their previous value as helpers has been replaced several-fold by their
extreme and unwelcome talent for mischief.
Hobyahs are extremely vicious Caledonian
forest Goblins, whose numbers are thankfully limited due to their
predilection for infanticide and cannibalism. Their range is also fairly
localised, but it is thought that a number of their brood stealthily
accompanied early Scots pioneers to the New World, particularly to the
States of New England. In their new land they preyed on both the locals and
colonialists until their vulnerability to large dogs was discovered.
Also known as: Ballybogs, Boggies, Bog a Boos,
Boggle-Bo, Boggles, Bo, Bo-Men, Boggans, Mudbogs, Peat Faeries, Swampys, Tom
Loudys, Tod Lowerys, Teuz, Tuez.
Bogles and their related species are most
frequently to be found in or around marsh-land and their weird appearance
and habits seem to well suit this environment. Because of their bizarre
aspect, strange aroma and their slobbering grunting language, many people
might find them to be repulsive and will possibly assume them to be moronic.
However, though many Bogles are without doubt dim-witted, the personal guile
and intellect of individuals is often difficult to ascertain and may well be
dangerously under-estimated. The same can often also be said of their
temperament; some may actually want to befriend humans and may attempt to
help lost travellers, but how are they to realise that we as a species are
not cut out to naturally traverse their boggy terrain ? Otherwise they may
deliberately call or guide humans unto a smelly demise, but it is claimed
that they are more prone to harm liars and murderers. Certain Bog Spirits
known as Tod Lowerys or Tom Loudys are said to be able to take the form of
foxes and have also been rumoured to enter households on occasion.
The various forms of Shape-shifting Bogies
are commonly to be found making a nuisance of themselves after dusk, along
lonely roads, around farms and in other remote bucolic locations. They are
generally irritating and sometimes frightening tricksters rather than deadly
threats. In some regions though, certain Bogies are considered to be the
Phantoms of outlaws, reivers or other scurrilous scoundrels. Probably the
most basic but still unsettling of their pranks is their habit of walking
behind solitary travellers. Should the wanderer be brave or foolish enough
to stop and turn there will usually be nothing to be seen or heard ; as they
continue walking however, they will soon sense that they are being followed
and may even hear heavy breathing or the crunch of footsteps close behind
them. Again there is nothing to be seen and if alarm sets in and the human
wayfarer begins to run, then the Bogey will also start to run and at times
may invisibly overtake and knock the human sprinter to the ground before
vanishing in a fit of laughter.
Many Bogies (though not all) can also assume
a variety of natural forms including dogs, small horses and pigs, though
sometimes there may be something most peculiar about them - for instance
some Barguests (or their similarly named equivalents) will assume the form
of horned dogs. Other Bogey manifestations may be even more surreal such as
a headless duck, a small cyclone or a dancing bag of soot. The Boneless of
Oxfordshire was described as being a jellyfish-like glob of white flesh, yet
it still managed to chase people. The Bibittes of Brittany resemble
umbrellas that had blown away in the wind and had become tangled up in the
branches of trees.
The Hedley Kow of the Northumberland –
Durham borders was particularly known for assuming various strange forms for
its mischief making. Bogies are known locally and individually by many
Also known as: Pucas, Pwcas, Phoukas, Pucks,
Pooks, Pookas, Goat-Heads.
These black Goblins share some common ground
with other shape-shifting Bogies, however they are more likely to operate
in packs, particularly in Ireland (though they are highly quarrelsome
amongst themselves). They are especially keen shape-shifters and will
readily assume the form of goats, bulls, pigs, donkeys, horses, ponies,
dogs, bats and even eagles. A common Phooka trick, executed in whatever
form, is to toss weary pilgrims onto their backs and deposit them
unceremoniously into a puddle, hedge or pile of dirt after first treating
them to a terrifyingly wild ride. At times the Phookas will also occupy
themselves by robbery, abducting children, spreading disease, blighting
fruit and crops (by spitting or urinating on them) and at times by
sometimes causing the sudden death of farm animals. The Phookas of Ulster
are reputedly more malign than those of their kind found elsewhere. On
seldom occasion solitary Phooka may also be encountered in parts of Wales.
Also known as: Galley Beggars.
Beggars are somewhere between Phantoms and Bogies, and frequently their
area of activity is said to lie within the locale of an ancient burial
site. They take great pleasure in scaring people. A frequent but simple
trick of theirs is to lie apparently lifeless on the ground and, as a
human approaches to investigate and possibly assist, they will suddenly
leap into the air with a blood-curdling shriek. Other favoured pranks are
more bizarre and often involve the Bull Beggar removing its own head. The
Galley Beggar of the 2 Stowey Hills in Somerset, England was known to use
a hurdle (woven wood fence) as a toboggan and hurtle around with its head
tucked under its arm.
Also known as: Scarecrows, Wurzels,
Tatter-Men, Mommets, Bugbears.
Tatty-Bogles cannot help but frighten, as
they shamble down country roads with their arms outstretched as if
crucified - yet inspiring terror may not be their prime motive, as they
simply want to stretch their legs after a long day of solitude standing.
The fear generated in human observers may be either amusing or regrettable
to them, or it may even go unregistered. It is by their very name and
nature to frighten, for they are the Scarecrows erected in fields by
farmers to try and protect their crops from the hungry beaks of birds. The
reasons for their nocturnal animation is somewhat of a mystery, for
perhaps not all will rise and leave their plot, but some seem more
inclined to come to life at night. Perhaps this is of their own volition
or maybe there is some external enchantment at work. It could be that the
magic of Witches or perhaps Fay beings animate these rag-bag effigies in
order to cause mischief or perform other tasks. Otherwise a Scarecrow
could provide an ideal host for a wandering spirit or Demon that possesses
no true form of its own. Such strange and shapeless souls are the
Brollochan. These uncanny wanderers may visibly consist of at best a mouth
and pair of eyes but they can grant mobility to any inanimate object they
enter. Should a Tatty-Bogle be thus possessed by a Brollochan, this would
be revealed as “Thyself” and “Myself” are said to be the only
words it can utter.
Also known as: Oschaert, Buckys, Dark
The Oschaert were similar in some ways to other road Bogies, but
were altogether more vile and deadly. They would suddenly leap upon the
backs of nocturnal hikers and any efforts to shake them loose would only
cause them to grip tighter, digging in their elbows, knees and heels ever
deeper. As they forced their human beast of burden continually onwards,
the Oschaert would whisper gross profanities and spiteful gossip into
their ears as their fetid breath and bilious acidic drool would scorch
their necks and cause them to retch. As the journey progressed they would
become increasingly heavy and force their human host into mind-numbing
exhaustion and at times even death. Only the peal of church bells, the
crow of a rooster or the break of dawn would cause them to release their
grip and vanish. The Buckys are an akin species that inflict horse-riders.
They would jump up behind the rider and endeavour to strangle or garrotte
them. Leap-Upons are particular to lonely roads and bridle-paths, mainly
in Scotland but also localised across Britain and Ireland. In Ireland the
corpses of restless dead were sometimes inclined to take unwelcome rides
upon the backs of the living.
The Lutins are so keen on shape-shifting
that their true form is indeterminate, and they may in essence be
invisible or of no fixed form. Amongst their favoured assumed forms though
are those of horses, wolf-headed men, levitating flickers of light or
flame, fire-flies and various inanimate objects. They may also manifest as
curious diminutive monks dressed in red cassocks, or as little boys. They
have not been known to take either a feminine form or that of a
conventionally human adult male. The Follet, a sub-species of Lutin, may
appear as tiny old men with long white hair and beards and may be dressed
either in the multicoloured manner of a Harlequin or Court Jester or may
alternatively be garbed in red coats and leggings. All manner of mischief
that occurs in Celtic France has been attributed to Lutins or one of their
many sub-species. Such pranks include adopting the forms of horses and
humiliating anyone unfortunate enough to climb upon their backs, beating
up travellers, damming streams, knotting up horses’ manes, blocking
roads, pulling the horns off cows’ heads & drying up their udders
and causing scab and fleece-baldness in sheep. Lutins also like to gaze at
pretty young women in a lecherous manner.
The Shellycoat is an odd solitary creature
of Scotland, but is mischievous rather than malicious. His jolly japes
however can be extremely annoying , but it has been claimed that if a
human verbally reprimands a Shellycoat’s behaviour he will go away and
sulk awhile (though will be subsequently soon be back up to his old
tricks). A favourite Shellycoat prank preys on human compassion or
conscience; upon a person’s approach the well hidden Shellycoat will
shout “Lost . . . lost” and, thinking that someone is in distress, the
human will more often than not follow the voice in a bid to help. Though
the continuous cries of “Lost . . . lost” seem to be getting further
and further away from the person’s original path, they will usually
proceed to search and follow for to give in now could provoke the mental
torture of realising that they willingly failed to save a life. At some
distant point the weary human will grasp that the deploring voice is now
calling from the original source of their search and the realisation that
they have been way-led and tricked will dawn. Dejected and tired, the
human’s efforts would oft be rewarded by gurgling laughter and a round
of applause from the Shellycoat.
The Gremlins first came to greater
attention following sightings of them sitting disturbingly in the cockpits
of both Ally and Axis fighter planes during World War II. Though it is
possible that Gremlins have been around since at least the Industrial
Revolution, many of them do seem to have a particular love-hate
relationship with aircraft. One theory suggests that this is because they
once had the power of flight themselves but somehow lost it, and are now
both intrigued and envious of mankind’s aerial achievements. A
particular breed of Gremlin known as Spandules are responsible for the
freezing up of aeroplane engines and wings.
Gremlins however can also commonly be found
in any other machinery, vehicles and electronic contraptions. They are
chiefly responsible for the sudden and baffling malfunctions in normally
operational machinery. They normally only cause frustration, annoyance and
sometimes financial expense but some of their habits such as chewing up
cables and pulling out wires could be potentially very dangerous where
vehicles, heavy machinery and live power sources are concerned. Similarly
the Gremlins often known as Glitches or Bugs, who are associated to
computers, are very irritating when they cause (usually unsaved) work to
Also known as: Bloody Caps, Fir Larrig, Red
These malevolent Goblins get their names from their habit of
butchering humans and washing their headgear in the blood-spill. They are
attracted to places that have a history of war and genocide and are most
commonly found on the Scottish-English borders. Though the Redcaps have at
times been invoked to do the foul bidding of Warlocks, they are content to
slaughter on their own volition and neither human nor Fay should feel safe
in their company. They carry monstrous weapons ideal for hacking up
nocturnal travellers, particularly those sheltering from the elements
amidst the ruins of old castles.
Associated to the Redcaps are the Powries
(also known as Dunters). These intangible Phantoms tend to haunt the same
or similar locales as the Redcaps, and although they are not brutal
themselves they may be attracted by suffering and gore. It has been
suggested that Redcaps and Powries may both be the restless souls of
sacrificed people or animals that were buried in the castle foundations
Spring-heeled Jack is a strange solitary
figure and may even be one of a kind, though his habit of terrifying
humans simply for pleasure associates him with Bogies, Bull Beggars and
Jack in Irons. His appearance and other details of his modus operandi set
him apart as an entity in his own right. In addition to jumping out at
unsuspecting people, Jack has been known to scale church spires and to hop
from building to building, glaring in through upper storey windows.
Sometimes plumes of blue fire are seen to be exhaled from his mouth and
normally the extent of his attacks would be no more severe than slapping,
shaking or slashing at the clothes of his victims with his metallic claws.
At least one murder was accredited to Spring-heeled Jack however, that
being the killing of 13 year old harlot, Maria Davis, who was thrown from
a bridge in Bermondsley, London in 1845. Due to his erratic appearances
over several generations it has been assumed that either Jack was
particularly long-lived or that there may have been more than one
character to adopt such a persona.
Also known as: Saucy Jack, Leather Apron,
The Whitechapel Murderer.
Between 1888 and 1891, the Whitechapel and
Spitalfields districts of London were held enthralled in a web of fear,
anger, repulsion and frustration by the horrific slayings of several
fallen women. Yet murders were no more uncommon then as now and already
more industrious 'serial killers' had filled up the cemeteries . . . so
why the infamy of Jack the Ripper ? It is the mystery that prevails, the
fact that he (or she, or it) has never had his identity truly revealed.
Indeed the theories and rumours and superstitions have continued to rise
around this heinous butcher of women, but still the truth remains as
impenetrable as the London Peculiars - the intense yellowish fog into
which the killer vanished, having satiated his sick fancy.
All artwork and text © Andrew
TO TOP ]