Saturday, 26 July 2014

Black dog of Luskentyre - Outer Hebridies.

Reported in recent times, a hound is said to leave large paw prints on the wet sand of the beach at Luskentyre which disappear half way across, no dog is seen.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Weekend of storytelling.

We were lucky enough to be able to attend the wonderful Festival at the Edge again this year, a whole weekend of storytelling including lots of folklore and fable. I wish there were more events such as this, it is such a simple thing but so important, storytelling goes back through the ages as a method of keeping tales alive and engaging people as a group, well done again FatE.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Domovik Folklore - protective spirits.

The domovik is a protective spirit or that can be found in Slavic and Russian folklore (known as domovoi in Russia), it takes the form of a small old man with a distinctive grey beard who lives behind or under the stove, every Russian home is said to have a resident domovik spirit.

Referred to as ‘the Grandfather’ or just ‘He’ but never by a personal name, the spirit is said to be that of the ancestor who originally founded the family, he moves with them from house to house, when the family moves home, embers from the fire in the old stove are carried to the new one where it is lit to welcome the domovik into his new place of residence. 

It is believed that the domovik will watch over the family, guard the house and protect them against evil spirits or misfortune and will even help out with odd jobs or chores at night when the family are asleep, much like the Brownie house spirits of Scottish folklore, like Brownies, the domovik is also said to be pleased by gifts of food left for him, especially dairy items. 

If the family do something to offend or displease the domovik, he can turn quite mischievous, doing things like moving objects, hiding things and upsetting furniture.  If offended very badly, he may burn the house down, therefore breaking his ties with the family.

The belief in domovik spirits is one that has survived to modern times and much respect is still given to them in many modern homes today, allowances are made for the domovik’s activity and great care is taken to keep them happy.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Hound with horns - Clacktoll, Highlands.

A ghost hound is said to chase people who use the road through the village late at night, he is said to have horns - quite rare in the legends of black dogs and shucks.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

The Aberdeen Witch Trials.

(Taken from my original article 

Many have compared the ‘Aberdeen Witches’ era of history to the famous Salem Witch Trials in America, it was a time of persecution, accusation and terror for women who were practitioners of healing, those who had lived to an old age or those that simply ‘looked like a witch’. 

From 1563, it became a criminal offense to practice witchcraft. King James had an obsession with witchcraft, so much so he wrote a book on the subject which he called  ‘Daemonologie’, he developed a compulsion for hunting witches and rallied groups of witch finders to help in his quest, they consisted of ministers and elders of the reformed church along with general citizens who became embroiled in the craze. Many of these so called  "witches" were nothing more than elderly women, people did not generally live long in the 16th century and longevity was seen as being achieved by magic, other women such as midwives and village healers were also taken for trial. The charges they faced ranged from casting spells on animals, turning milk sour and using enchanted foods to entice young men, it was very much a case of ‘your word against theirs’ when it came to the trials, who would the public believe – a highly respected minister or an old woman?

Many of the accused women actually "confessed" to the charges of witchcraft, simply because the punishment was easier to take than the methods of torture the witch hunters used to get the information, thumb screws, the ducking stool and red hot leg-irons were some of the reputed instruments they had to face. Even if someone was arrested on suspicion of witchcraft and was eventually found not guilty the damage would have been done, they would still be branded with the mark of the witch and be banished from Aberdeen. The ones found guilty by whatever bogus methods the witch finders could exploit were first hanged and then burned on the renowned ‘Heading Hill’ where many criminals came to their end, in fact there is still an early version of a guillotine there today.

A total of at least twenty-three women and one man - Colin Massie who was accused of being a warlock - were charged and executed for witchcraft during this time, countless others would have been captured if they hadn’t been able to escape into the surrounding area. It is a famous and dark period in Scottish history, but gives an insight into the mindset of the day. 

Saturday, 5 July 2014


The spot where two roads meet in a cross (as opposed to a junction) used to be considered a magical place, as well as crossed pathways, hollow ways and tracks. In times passed, people would bury charms at crossroads depending on what they wanted to wish for - a coin for riches, a horseshoe to bring luck for example.

The symbolism of a crossroad is understandable - north, south, east and west or the four winds are represented. In the past, people were sometimes ritually buried at crossroads, and in some countries still are today. Those who had taken their own life or sadly those thought to be mentally ill were known to be buried at these sites.

In Scotland it was thought if one sat in the middle of a crossroad on a three-legged stool on Halloween (Samhain) at midnight, those who will die in the next year will be visible. Would you want to know?

A week old!

We are a week old today! Pleased with the look of the blog, a few teething problems ironed out and files found for more sinister stories to come.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Changelings - sinister fairy legend.

Changelings are said to be the offspring of elves, fairies or trolls which are left in place of a human child they have taken. Blond, good looking, healthy children especially would be taken to fairyland, where usually they would be slaves.

People (according to legend) reported sudden changes in their children such as bad tempers and huge appetites as well as physical differences, sometimes the child became very pale, or very hairy with a change in skin tone. It is said that the substituted child would be enchanted to appear human, the only way to tell would be a difference in the eyes, such as a sudden change of colour. Quite scary one would imagine!

One explanation for the tales of changeling children with such 'deformities' is suggested by the high infant mortality rates of the past, it may have been easier or more accepted to believe in other-worldly explanations for children being ill, and dying. Cases have been reported over a vast period of time however, from before the 15th century up to the late 1800's - who can say for sure what had been going on?