Monday, 28 October 2013

Cottage company brings fairytales to life

Ever wanted to stay in a gingerbread cottage? Well, you probably can't, but Sykes Cottages has at least made it look like you can stay at the famed fairytale cottage from Hansel and Gretel.

Yep, the company has included the cottage as part of its offering, with features like a 'live-in witch housekeeper' and an 'extra large oven'. Oo-err.

Check out the whole enchilada over at the Sykes Cottages website.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

The Boggle of Hob Hole, Whitby

This post is part of The Fairytale Traveler's Monster A Day series.

Few places can pull off being both gorgeously picturesque and quietly eerie like Whitby can. It’s a town that blends coastal beauty with an ancient Gothic bleakness, with the ruins of the abbey standing as a sentinel over the streets below.

It’s no surprise then that Whitby is a town steeped in mythology and has been instrumental in bringing to life fictional characters like Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Robin Jarvis’s warlock. Almost every night you can find a top hatted tour guide whisking crowds through the dark streets telling tales of the many ghosts that are said to inhabit the port town.

But it’s not just the town that’s soaked in vibrant folklore. Should you venture up the coast midway to the fishing village of Runswick Bay you will find caves tucked into the coastal walls. One such cave is known as Hob Hole, a place where in the past smugglers would stash their contraband.

In local legend, Hob Hole is said to be inhabited by a little mischievous person called a boggle, which is a type of hobgoblin (also referred to as a hob or boggart). Boggles are believed to be malevolent, souring milk and hiding people’s belongings, but the particular inhabitant of Hob Hole was said to have the gift of being able to cure whooping cough. Fishermen’s wives were said to take their sick children into the cave and ask for help, while their husbands were too afraid to do so.

In order to ask for the boggle’s assistance, ninteenth century historian John Walker Ord explained that “The patient was carried into the cave, and the parent with a loud voice invoked its deity:

Hob-hole Hob!

My bairn’s gettin’ t’ kink-cough,

Tak’t off, tak’t off!”

Hob Hole is just one such location where boggles can be found. In fact, the entirely of North Yorkshire is a playground for these creatures, so you’re bound to find similar legends in other areas.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Museum curator brings folklore to a new generation

Well here's a story that's sure to warm your hearts. A new lottery-funded project in Cambridge is set to explore the writings of folklorist Enid Porter, curator of the Museum of Cambridge between 1947 and 1976.

Porter travelled the country recording cultural traditions, her notes being the focal point of the community project that will involve communities and schools in a celebration of her findings.

There will be a bigger celebration in July 2014 to present what the project has uncovered and findings will be made available online.

Cllr David Harty, the council’s cabinet member for learning, said: “The Enid Porter notebooks contain a unique collection of folklore of national significance, specifically collected in Cambridge and its surrounding towns and villages.

“They will form the basis of some really exciting research into how these traditions fit into our modern lives - transcending time and technology.

“The lottery money allows this project to take place and bring together schools, community groups and local historians together so we can learn how the past reflects in our modern world.”

Read more here.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Russian police officer nominated for award after trapping spirit in a jar

It's been a while since we've had some kooky folklore news on the blog, but this one's been worth the wait. According to a local newspaper in Russia, a police officer has been nominated for an award after helping a local elderly man out after he complained his house was being used as a playground by an evil 'domovoi'.

In Slavic folklore, domovoi are benevolent spirits that inhabit every household. They help out around the house and are generally pleasant unless you manage to piss one off and disrespect by not looking after your house properly- then it gets nasty.

Knowledgeable about the lore, the officer recommended the man trap the domovoi in a glass jar. Two days later the man returned to the officer with the jar and thanked him, telling him that the spirit had been trapped and he had experienced no disturbances.

You can read the full story here.

Aside from being house guardians and rapscallions, domovoi are also viewed as oracles, their behaviour forewarning people of future tidings. If you're a woman and your hair is pulled, then that's taken as a warning of an abusive man, or if the spirit wept then there would be a death in the family. A domovoi is said to make the sound  "He! He! He!, Ho! Ho!, Ho!" when excited or happy, which is actually kind of terrifying.