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The Silence

The Silence

This is the second time Liam Neeson has played a 17th century Jesuit priest, but this is a far cry from his role in The Mission. The film opens with him watching his fellows being tortured for refusing to recant their faith. Adam Driver and Andrew Garfield were his students, inspired to follow him to … Continue reading


Elizabethan Witches

Possibly due to having an old unmarried woman on the throne, we don’t hear much of witches at this time. This is from Thomas Platter’s Travels in England 1599 Numerous witches are found in England, for report goes that they do not punish them with death there, because the queen was once on the water, and … Continue reading

Death By Witchcraft or Rabies?

This comes from John Latimer’s Annals of Bristol of 1743, citing the Gloucester Journal. It is interesting it seems not to have been reported locally – many such incidents were not reported to prevent copy catting or local disturbances, while rival towns often reported them to show such matters were not happening on their watches.  … Continue reading

Ghost Soldiers

Yet another Berkshire tale. The idea of ghosts sticking to old building designs seems fairly common, and intriguing. Not sure if the present inhabitants would have known of the additions, so unclear if such ideas were included for veracity. I wonder if the soldiers felt pain. Also has parallels with the teleporter etc of science … Continue reading

Sheep Stealers

Here’s another item from Tales of Old Berkshire. Sheep stealing was a big deal in the past – they were a good size, often left in open fields, but still moveable. But from the early 18th century theft risked a rope necklace. The first one is of the commmon sort, often put about to keep … Continue reading

A Woman Much Feared

Another snippet from Tales of Old Berkshire. This seems to be cobbled together from several different tales. Maybe there were more than one Maria Hales, or the beer in the region may have been of the strong variety: Maria Hale, a woman who lived at Aldermaston Village, some 120 years ago, was very much feared. … Continue reading

Fairy Travel

This is another piece from Hobgoblin & Sweet Puck Fairy Names & Natures by Gillian Edwards. It seems to explain the origin of riding a broomstick. The fairies did occasionally ride horses, either their own or those they stole from mortals, or make themselves mounts out of straws from the fields, but chiefly as a pastime … Continue reading

Naming Supernatural Beasts

This is a fine selection of strange beasts, from 1584. How many names can you recognise? Odd they are called ‘bugs’. This is from Hobgoblin & Sweet Puck Fairy Names & Natures by Gillian Edwards Our mother’s maids have so frayed us with Bull-beggars, Spirits, Witches, Urchins, Elves, Hags, Faeries, Satyrs, Pans, Faunes, Sylens, Kit-wi-the-Canstick, Tritons, … Continue reading

A Mistaken Changeling

A lot of folklore and witch stories are written in a way that it is hard to empathise with those involved, but here’s an item which raises a lot of modern issues, from BBC History Magazine, an article by Richard Sugg on ‘Fear of Fairies. Probably the most notorious Irish case took place in Ballyvdlea, … Continue reading

Curse Tablets

Here is an extraordinary item from Highways & Byways on Yorkshire, as it raises a lot of questions as to its origins: At Gretna Bridge not many years ago was found a pair of tablets which illustrate so luridly the manner in which the hate of families found vent,… Two leaden plates were dug out … Continue reading