September 5, 2019

Superstition is a part of the very being of humanity; and when we fancy that we are banishing it altogether, it takes refuge in the strangest nooks and corners, and then suddenly comes forth again, as soon as it believes itself at all safe.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Maxims and Reflections

horse stream mist

The Gwragedd Annwn (literally, wives of the lower world, or hell) are the elfin dames who dwell under the water. I find no resemblance in the Welsh fairy to our familiar mermaid, beyond the watery abode, and the sometimes winning ways. The Gwragedd Annwn are not fishy of aspect, nor do they dwell in the sea. Their haunt is the lakes and rivers, but especially the wild and lonely lakes upon the mountain heights. These romantic sheets are surrounded with numberless superstitions, which will be further treated of. In the realm of faerie they serve as avenues of communication between this world and the lower one of annwn, the shadowy domain presided over by Gwyn ap Nudd, king of the fairies. This sub-aqueous realm is peopled by those children of mystery termed Plant Annwn, and the belief is current among the inhabitants of the Welsh mountains that the Gwragedd Annwn still occasionally visit this upper world of ours.

Wirt Sikes
British Goblins: Welsh Folk-lore, Fairy Mythology, Legends and Traditions

The realm of the dead

June 13, 2016

ghost wood

The dead are never far away. Whatever happens to their bodies, the spirits of those who had died have to go somewhere. While some spiritual presences are believed to be benign, inevitably there are many fears about spirits of the dead who wish harm upon the living. Superstition about such malevolent forces is prevalent throughout Scotland.

The realm of the dead is seen in much the same way as the realm of the fairies. Living persons can be spirited away to either realm, either temporarily or permanently. Those who claim to have gone through such an experience are usually greatly changed by it. In common with stories of visits to the fairy realm, tales of being spirited away by the dead indicate that time in the realm of the dead is different from earthly time. Great distances are traveled in no time at all, and although several hours or even days might seem to pass, the person who has been spirited away, once safely back in the land of mortals, will discover that his or her absence has been very brief in earthly time.

The Sluagh, or host of the dead, is greatly feared in the Highlands. The sight and sound of their grim parades through the realms of the living strikes terror into the hearts of those who witness them. The Sluagh can bring death to those in its path. Those of a superstitious nature will not leave a window on the west side of the house open at night. To do so is to court disaster, for the Sluagh can then enter and cause trouble.

Lily Seafield
Scottish Ghosts

never seen a ghost…

May 30, 2016


I have always been interested in witchcraft and superstition, but have never had much traffic with ghosts, so I began asking people everywhere what they thought about such things, and I began to find out that there was one common factor – most people have never seen a ghost, and never want or expect to, but almost everyone will admit that sometimes they have a sneaking feeling that they just possibly could meet a ghost if they weren’t careful – if they were to turn a corner too suddenly, perhaps, or open their eyes too soon when they wake up at night, or go into a dark room without hesitating first.

Shirley Jackson
Come Along With Me