Tag Archives: english

Thursday Myths & Legends 101: Boggarts

The traditional Boggart is not quite as interesting as the one found in Harry Potter, which turns into whatever you fear the most so that no one really knows what it looks like.  Rowling’s Boggart is defeated with laughter, but the genuine article is neither quite as scary, nor quite as easy to deal with.

Boggarts in traditional English legend are a malevolent kind of household fairy.  These creatures spoil milk, make dogs go lame (poor things!) and perform nasty tricks like making things disappear or stealing your sheets while you’re sleeping.

In Northwest England, it is believed that boggarts live underneath bridges or near sharp (pointedly dangerous) curves in roads, and it is custom to pay your respects to the boggart while passing by—in order for it to let you do so safely.

The one defense really against a boggart is to move from the house it resides in, but some boggarts may actually follow you!  Whatever the case, do not name your boggart.  If you give it a name, a boggart becomes completely unmanageable.  If you were ever able to manage it in the first place, that is. 😉

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Thursday Myths & Legends 101: Redcap

Hermitage Castle: a castle with a bloody, violent history, rumored redcap stomping ground

Everyone has heard of haunted castles. Legend has it that places that old and wrought with history boast a ghost or two. But did you know that certain castle ruins near the English/Scottish border lay claim to a murderous (yes, you read that right, I said murderous) evil, little bugger they call a redcap?

Oh yes, ladies and gentlemen, the castles have their very own nightwatchman, and this one does not take kindly to trespassers. In fact, it is said that they murder those who wander into the castles uninvited and then use their blood to dye their pretty little hats, hence the name, redcaps.

And though it might seem like these creatures are doing this out of some sort of loyalty or fondness for the building, the truth is that if they don’t kill, and their bloody hats dry, they die, and so killing is really paramount for their survival.

Interestingly enough, I found no specific creature/monster mentioned as a redcap, since the myths often depict it as a small magical creature, be it goblin or elf or fairy. It’s supernaturally fast and carries around iron weapons of choice. It isn’t meant to be pretty by any means, the way some fae can be, rather it’s got red eyes, large teeth, and taloned hands.

Its like my friend Holly says: “Don’t mess with the redcaps. Their caps are red for a reason.” I agree, Holly. Wholeheartedly.


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