Strange Creatures In British Folklore

ramonmercado

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You could have posted an excerpt from the article.

Serpents, owl men and demon dogs
By Nic RigbyBBC News, East
  • 4 March 2017
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Sarah Perry's book is loosely based around a folktale about the serpent of Henham.

Phantom dogs, spring-heeled demons and a half-man, half-owl hybrid - these are just some of the strange and mythical creatures from English folklore that have inspired writers for centuries.

It was while novelist Sarah Perry was driving through Essex with her husband that she first heard the story of a giant serpent, with teeth "very white and sharp".

The myth of a 9ft (2.7m) snake which terrorised the county's cattle had been told for centuries. Inspired, she produced her novel The Essex Serpent, which won her the Waterstones Book of the Year prize last year.

The tale of the giant serpent first surfaced in a pamphlet from 1669, which claims its antics were "attested by many credible persons".

"It's a great unsolved mystery," says Perry, who lives in Norwich. "Some say it was all a hoax, a monster that was hand-built by a man and his son.
 
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lordmongrove

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Why, there is no need when you have the link.
 

Mikefule

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It's worth looking up the Lambton Worm too:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lambton_Worm

I know about this from folk song (I'm a Morris dancer and occasional folk singer) and there are a few songs loosely based on the tale.

It's a morality tale in a way, and it shares features from many other famous legends. The hero misses church (bad boy) and goes fishing instead. He only catches weird and ugly fish with legs. He thinks it's the devil (what other explanation could there be?) and throws it down a well and forgets about it (as you do). Off he goes on crusade and while he's away, it lays waste to his father's lands. He comes back to find desolation, kills the worm, but fails to comply with the instructions he has been given and as a result brings down a curse on his family.

Not really a cryptid as there is no doubt it was only a story, but nevertheless fascinating.
 

Mythopoeika

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It's worth looking up the Lambton Worm too:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lambton_Worm

I know about this from folk song (I'm a Morris dancer and occasional folk singer) and there are a few songs loosely based on the tale.

It's a morality tale in a way, and it shares features from many other famous legends. The hero misses church (bad boy) and goes fishing instead. He only catches weird and ugly fish with legs. He thinks it's the devil (what other explanation could there be?) and throws it down a well and forgets about it (as you do). Off he goes on crusade and while he's away, it lays waste to his father's lands. He comes back to find desolation, kills the worm, but fails to comply with the instructions he has been given and as a result brings down a curse on his family.

Not really a cryptid as there is no doubt it was only a story, but nevertheless fascinating.
There are a few 'worm' legends like this in that part of the country. Was it the same creature or a spread of a legend, or was there more than one creature? Interesting.
 

David Plankton

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There are a few 'worm' legends like this in that part of the country.

The Sockburn Worm, said to be the influence for Jabberwocky.


I've been in a church somewhere, I think it was Ripon, where there were things carved on the pews that had some connection with the Alice books by Lewis Carroll. I can definitely remember a depiction of a rabbit going down a hole but there were others.

I think Lewis Carroll's father was head of the clergy there and he saw them as a young boy.
 

EnolaGaia

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Indrid Frost

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How about 'The Barghest O' Whitby' a black 'devil dog/hell hound' most closely resembling the Rottweiler/Mastiff breeds of dog all black in colour. I visited Whitby once as a youngster with the family and was told it was famous for it's fish and chips, a decade or so later and the band 'My Dying Bride' released an album titled 'The Barghest O' Whitby' as a concept album exploring the myth (real or imagined) behind it.
 

David Plankton

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How about 'The Barghest O' Whitby' a black 'devil dog/hell hound' most closely resembling the Rottweiler/Mastiff breeds of dog all black in colour. I visited Whitby once as a youngster with the family and was told it was famous for it's fish and chips, a decade or so later and the band 'My Dying Bride' released an album titled 'The Barghest O' Whitby' as a concept album exploring the myth (real or imagined) behind it.

I've never heard of a Black Dog legend from Whitby but there is said to be one in York that haunts the old 'snickelways'.

I wonder if it has anything to do with the large wolf-like creature seen escaping from the ship in Dracula and somehow made it's way into local myth. Being mentioned in that novel makes up a huge part of Whitby's tourist scene - see the twice-yearly Goth Festival and the bookshops that seem to stock very little else.

If anyone gets the chance to go to Whitby (which I'm sure there is a thread dedicated to somewhere) then I ask them to check out the stuffed fox in an antique shop window along the harbour front, unless it's been sold. It's huge.
 

Yossarian

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"Snickelways" might be my favourite word in the entire world. Love it.

The Whitby Barghest is bringing back vague memories, though...it's part of the book The Whitby Witches, that I read way back when; all sorts of local folklore wrapped up in a mad mixture of Lovecraft and Wheatley.
I lived in that neck of the woods once upon a time, and never really heard the story, that I can remember, so assumed it was an invention of the author or a repurposing of other Black Dog/Barghest myths (Barghests being spectral black dogs, particularly around Yorkshire and the Dales - Wikipedia even seems to suggest that the Whitby and York Barghests may be one and the same).


Whitby does dine out on its various gothic connections - between Dracula, the museum's "Hand of Glory", black Jet, the ruined abbey, and the general architectural style of the place, one can see why.

Something I'd always wondered about is that there are one or two sites rumoured to be "Dracula's Grave" in Whitby; a stone coffin in the old abbey, and a grave marked only by a skull & crossbones on the gravestone. Obviously neither is Dracula's grave, as he's fictional, but I've often wondered how the story came about, and who is actually buried there. It must be a nuisance to the church to have hordes of goths stomping through the graveyard looking for it all the time.
 

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I’ve said this before but Goths love Whitby because there’s no chance of getting a tan.
Same reason as Dracula really.

Do they still smoke kippers there?

As for The Lambton Worm, I grew up with the song and the local legend and regularly passed Penshaw Hill where the beast was said to have coiled itself around. As a growing Fortean, I was intrigued that other regions had their own Worm Myth but pissed off as they’d obviously nicked ours.
 

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Thanks to all who responded, yes the Whitby Barghest also enlarged it's 'stomping ground?' to the wider area and I read it also frequented those 'snikelways', so it is believed they are one and the same or at least have a connection of some sort. There was one other account that caught my intrigue by the name of 'Black Shuck' a devil dog of near identical appearance to it's counterpart in Whitby from the flatlands of Norfolk, Suffolk, and also the northern part of Essex, I read that this creature (whatever it is) invaded a church and attacked the parishoners there, they left the church with the 'hell hound on their tail' and relocated at another church not too far away, once there they of course bolted the not insignificant doors shut and Black Shuck was said to have some great long scratch marks on the door, the article went on to say that these marks were still there to be seen to the present day, so I thought "great I'll run a Google search on the church" and sure enough in images one of the first things to come up was photos of the door with the everpresent scratch marks, they look almost like they were burned into the wood, maybe suggesting or exploiting (whichever way you see it) the creatures hellish origin. Could these just be urban legends to garuntee a certain amount of tourism to these otherwise insignificant places (Whitby has a bit more going for it I'll admit, but the vampire connection seems fabricated and I can see how they have benefited from that what with the already mentioned goth festival, some say dracula is a fictional character, others say he is based on a real life person 'Vlad Dracul' or 'Vlad the Impaler' as he was also known, the psychotic ruler of Wallachia which is in modern day Romania but as ever I digress.) There seem to be many spots along the North East coast of Britain claimed to have some connection or other with this dracula character, the disgusting paedophile jimmy savile (always in lower case !) was said to have insisted on being buried 'stood up' so that he would be facing the exact spot along the shoreline where this dracula character (or the one who is supposed to have inspired the story) first arrived by ship to England, why he would want to do such a thing is anyones guess, but I've listened to many different theories including the ones some would deem as 'far out' or strictly for the 'tinfoil hat' brigade, and among them is the belief that it had something to do with the nonces belief in reincarnation, which I'm guessing you can maybe see where that might lead, but I've digressed way too much already and am way off topic ! Anyway back to the hell hounds, I wonder what anyone makes of these supposed scratch marks from Black Shuck on the church door, I forget the name of the church but a Google search on Black Shuck will bring it up, do you think there might be something to it, or is it nothing more than an unscrupulous marketing ploy by local parishoners who supposedly should know better ?
 

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Thanks to all who responded, yes the Whitby Barghest also enlarged it's 'stomping ground?' to the wider area and I read it also frequented those 'snikelways', so it is believed they are one and the same or at least have a connection of some sort. There was one other account that caught my intrigue by the name of 'Black Shuck' a devil dog of near identical appearance to it's counterpart in Whitby from the flatlands of Norfolk, Suffolk, and also the northern part of Essex, I read that this creature (whatever it is) invaded a church and attacked the parishoners there, they left the church with the 'hell hound on their tail' and relocated at another church not too far away, once there they of course bolted the not insignificant doors shut and Black Shuck was said to have some great long scratch marks on the door, the article went on to say that these marks were still there to be seen to the present day, so I thought "great I'll run a Google search on the church" and sure enough in images one of the first things to come up was photos of the door with the everpresent scratch marks, they look almost like they were burned into the wood, maybe suggesting or exploiting (whichever way you see it) the creatures hellish origin. Could these just be urban legends to garuntee a certain amount of tourism to these otherwise insignificant places (Whitby has a bit more going for it I'll admit, but the vampire connection seems fabricated and I can see how they have benefited from that what with the already mentioned goth festival, some say dracula is a fictional character, others say he is based on a real life person 'Vlad Dracul' or 'Vlad the Impaler' as he was also known, the psychotic ruler of Wallachia which is in modern day Romania but as ever I digress.) There seem to be many spots along the North East coast of Britain claimed to have some connection or other with this dracula character, the disgusting paedophile jimmy savile (always in lower case !) was said to have insisted on being buried 'stood up' so that he would be facing the exact spot along the shoreline where this dracula character (or the one who is supposed to have inspired the story) first arrived by ship to England, why he would want to do such a thing is anyones guess, but I've listened to many different theories including the ones some would deem as 'far out' or strictly for the 'tinfoil hat' brigade, and among them is the belief that it had something to do with the nonces belief in reincarnation, which I'm guessing you can maybe see where that might lead, but I've digressed way too much already and am way off topic ! Anyway back to the hell hounds, I wonder what anyone makes of these supposed scratch marks from Black Shuck on the church door, I forget the name of the church but a Google search on Black Shuck will bring it up, do you think there might be something to it, or is it nothing more than an unscrupulous marketing ploy by local parishoners who supposedly should know better ?
I know someone who claims to have seen Black Shuck 20 or more years ago .. on Cromer beach one night to be precise, he told me he'd seen a black dog the size of a small horse running along the shoreline although he's more than likely pulling my leg I suppose .. the legend of Shuck is quite famous around here, you can even buy Black Shuck gin, it's produced by the parents of a waitress I know ..

http://blackshuckltd.co.uk/epages/5...2a621f-429e-45a5-9936-93abb4ff8bff/Categories
 

David Plankton

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you can even buy Black Shuck gin

There is a brewery in Whitby
bdWhitby.png

I bought a bottle from an Off License there once but I can't remember what the ale was like now. Kippers from Whitby? Try driving about 60 miles home in +20 degreeC heat with your kippers wrapped in newspaper on the back seat. Now I'm not sure if the kippers were actually from Craster.
 

maximus otter

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Kippers from Whitby?

I was there a year or two ago, and have photos of the smokery & shop somewhere. Unfortunately it wasn’t open when the memsahib and l passed, or we’d have bought some for immediate consumption.

Yum!

maximus otter
 

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There is a brewery in Whitby
View attachment 10628

I bought a bottle from an Off License there once but I can't remember what the ale was like now. Kippers from Whitby? Try driving about 60 miles home in +20 degreeC heat with your kippers wrapped in newspaper on the back seat. Now I'm not sure if the kippers were actually from Craster.
Cool .. and I found out recently that Cromer also has a second paranormal ghost dog sometimes seen on the beach completely separate it seems from the Shuck legend .. two ghost dogs ? .. we're just being greedy now !

 

David Plankton

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This is in Whitby but like I said before, I'm sure it has it's own thread...

2534781518_a05a0b9947_b.jpg

I was there a few years ago when Rynner went awol and a gull had a shite on me. I posted that this was an omen and sure enough when I got back home, he had been tracked down and interviewed by the police!
 

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Bringing this thread back from some three years ago, on account of a wonderful British strange folklore creature on which I have lately stumbled via the Net (in pursuit of something totally different): the Stratford Lyon -- nothing to do with Shakespeare's Stratford; belonging to the New Forest.

What follows, essentially directly quoting / paraphrasing from Wikipedia: the local tradition is that John de Stratford (historically known to have existed), a young aristocrat resident in the southerly parts of the New Forest, inherited in 1401, his father's and grandfather's lands in that area; including a wood called Haresmede. In the course of surveying his recent acquisitions, John de S. was riding through that wood: where he observed a large pair of stag-like antlers sticking out of the earth. Dismounting, he started pulling at the antlers, until they began to give way. He saw that the antlers were attached to a giant head; he continued pulling until the entire creature -- basically a huge lion with antlers -- was uprooted, though it struggled and fought as he did so. The monster charged at Stratford, who was able to dodge the attack; and using the antlers, climbed onto the thing's back. It bucked and charged three times around the boundary of the forest, attempting to throw its rider, before finally Stratford wrestled it into submission and tamed the beast. It then pledged its service to Stratford and his family.

All accounts agree that the beast looks essentially like a lion; that it is red, possesses large, pronged stag-like antlers, and is of a prodigious size. Usually emphasised are the large eyes, sometimes described as being yellow or "like saucers", and large teeth, sometimes described as fangs and sometimes as tusks. The mane of the Lyon is usually described as especially impressive and wild.

Tradition holds that the Red Lion pub (dating from the 17th century) in Boldre, in that part of the forest; was named after the creature -- an association going back for sure, to the 18th century.

In the 1960s sightings of a red, antlered Big Cat in the proximity of the Red Lion pub; were reported, and ascribed to the Stratford Lyon. Sightings spread throughout the New Forest area, and continued as recently as the 1980s. They include accounts of the Lyon peering in at windows, watching from a distance, charging to attack, or racing through the landscape with the ghost of John de Stratford on its back. It was believed that the Lyon appeared on the birth and death of every Stratford; or in some accounts, whenever the family met with triumph or disaster.
 

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Another Worm (Wyrm?) legend of the north-east (along with the Lambton Worm) is that of the Laidley Worm of Bamburgh. There's an article about it here, which includes quotes from the ballad, but suggests that the ballad may be of recent origin. Whether it's based on earlier stories of sources isn't made clear.

Of course, north-east England included the kingdom of Bernicia/Northumbria which was Anglian; so finding a certain continuity of legends with the Saxon kingdoms of Kent, Essex, etc. as regards worm legends is natural.
 

EnolaGaia

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Since it came up as a joke in the Rendlesham thread, it's worth mentioning the Shug Monkey:
In the folklore of Cambridgeshire, the Shug Monkey is a creature that shares features of a dog and monkey, which reportedly haunted Slough Hill Lane (a street that leads from the village of West Wratting to nearby Balsham). The creature, believed to have the body of a jet-black shaggy sheepdog and the face of a monkey with staring eyes,was believed to be a supernatural ghost or demon. Local writer and broadcaster James Wentworth Day, who first related stories of the Shug Monkey in Here Are Ghosts and Witches (1954), described it as a curious variation of Black Shuck, while local folklorist Polly Howat suggests that both share common origins in Norse mythology.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shug_Monkey

The Shug Monkey is sometimes described as exhibiting parts of different / additional animals, but the monkey face seems to be a constant.
 
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