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Boggarts

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Also known as: Bogarts, Boggards, Boogies, Bugganes, Hob-Gobs, Tut-Guts, Tom-Tits, Tom Tit Tots.
Certain circumstances 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

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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.


 

Bogles

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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.


 

Bogies

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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 different names.


 

Phooka

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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.


 

Bull Beggars

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Also known as: Galley Beggars.
The Bull 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.


 

Tatty Bogles

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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.


 

Leap-Upons

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Also known as: Oschaert, Buckys, Dark Riders.
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.


 

Lutins

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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.


 

Shellycoat

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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.


 

Gremlins

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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 inexplicably ‘crash’.


 

Redcaps

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Also known as: Bloody Caps, Fir Larrig, Red Combs.
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 during construction.


 

Spring-heeled Jack

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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.


 

Jack the Ripper

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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 L. Paciorek

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