Boggarts are malevolent spirits or Wights that inhabit homes or fields, marshes and other open areas. The term ‘Bogeyman’ is derived from Boggart. The household boggart causes mischief and things to disappear, such as milk turning sour and dogs going lame. They are said to climb into bed with you and put a clammy hand over your face or pull your ears. Those inhabiting marshes or holes in the ground are considered to be more malevolent and engaging in more serious evil such as abducting children and eating people who get lost in the marsh. It seems likely that the Wight ‘Grendel’ in the epic poem Beowulf was a forerunner of the Boggart.









It is said that mistreating friendly house spirits such as Elf’s and Brownies, will turn them into Boggarts with a vendetta against you.




In Northern England, there was the belief that the boggart should never be named. If it were given a name, it became uncontrollable and destructive. The name of at least one Lancashire boggart was recorded, "Nut-Nan", who ran amongst hazel bushes in Moston near Manchester emitting a shrill scream. In Yorkshire, a boggart is said to inhabit Cave Ha, a limestone cavern at Giggleswick.







Folklore is remarkably varied as to the appearance and size of Boggarts. Many are described as relatively human-like in form, though usually uncouth, very ugly and often with bestial attributes. One such boggart was "a squat hairy man, strong as a six year old horse, and with arms almost as long as tacklepoles". Other accounts give a more completely beast-like form. The "Boggart of Longar Hede" from Yorkshire was said to be a fearsome creature the size of a calf, with long shaggy hair and eyes like saucers. It trailed a long chain after itself, which made a noise like the baying of hounds. The "Boggart of Hackensall Hall" in Lancashire had the appearance of a huge horse. The boggarts of Lancashire were said to have a leader, or master, called 'Owd Hob', who looked like the archetypical devil with horns, cloven hooves and a tail. Indeed, Hob is an old name for the devil.







In an old Lancashire tale, written down 1861, the author had a conversation with an elderly couple one evening about their local boggart. They maintained that the boggart was buried at a nearby bend in the road under an ash tree, along with a cockerel with a stake driven through it. Despite being buried, the boggart was still able to create trouble. A farmer's wife, the old couple claimed, just two weeks earlier had heard doors banging in her farmhouse at night, then loud laughter, she looked out to see three candles casting blue light and a creature with red burning eyes leaping about. The following morning many marks of cloven hooves were seen outside the house. The couple claimed that the boggart had unhitched their own horse and overturned their cart on occasion. "Never name it, the old man advised, and said that he would never dig near its grave.







In an old tale from the village of Mumby in Lincolnshire, a boggart is described as being rather squat, hairy and smelly. The story goes that a farmer bought a patch of land that was inhabited by the boggart. When the farmer tried to cultivate the field the boggart got angry, but after much arguing they decided to work the land together and share the bounty. The clever farmer however, began to ponder a way to cheat the boggart out of his share. When they were debating what to plant, he asked the boggart, "Which half of the crop do you want for your share, the part below the ground or the part above it?" The boggart thought for a while before answering "The part below the ground". The farmer sowed the field with barley. At harvest time he had a big pile of barley whilst all the boggart had to show for his work was stubble. It flew into a rage and screeched that next time it would take what lay above the ground. The next time the farmer sowed the field with potatoes. At harvest time the farmer laughed as he claimed his massive pile of potatoes while the boggart was yet again left with nothing to show for his efforts. Simmering with rage, the boggart stormed off, never to return again.




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