Folklore’s are stories passed down orally from generation to generation. Some folklore’s are creepy, some teach us morals and some serve as warnings. English folklore includes some of the most well-known tales. From King Arthur to garden gnomes to Herne the Hunter to the Vampires of Drakelow. There are many interesting English folklore tales. On this list, we’re mentioning the 10 Creepy Stories From English Folklore.
10 Creepy Stories From English Folklore
1. Black Annis:
Black Annis also known as Black Agnes is a bogeyman figure who said to haunt the countryside of Leicestershire. She is said to be a blue-faced hag or witch with iron claws. Black Annis ventures out at night looking for innocent humans, especially children or lambs to eat. She lives in a cave, in the Dane Hills with a great oak tree at the entrance, which she dugout using her iron claws. It is said that she snatches people from their houses or hide in the branches of her oak tree waiting to leap upon naive prey. She was first mentioned in a title deed in 1764.
Redcap was first mentioned in the 14th century introduced by William II de Soules. Redcap is a malevolent goblin who inhabit ruined castles especially the ones with wicked past along the Anglo-Scottish border. The murderous goblin is also known as Redcomb or Bloody Cap feared for his killing people and soaking his cap in the blood of his victims. He is described as a short, thickset old man with long prominent teeth. He has skinny fingers armed with talons like eagles, large red eyes, and grisly hair. He wears a pair of iron boots, a pikestaff and a red cap. According to legends, he kills people by throwing large stones at them and is unaffected by human strength.
Boggarts became famous after J.K. Rowling featured them in Harry Potter as a creepy creature who takes the form of whatever the victim fears most. According to English folklore, Boggart is a household spirit or a malevolent who causes mischiefs like disappearing things, spoiling food and affecting pets. It is told if a boggart inhabits a hole then it is doing something eviler such as kidnapping children. Boggarts attach themselves with households and follow the family wherever they go. According to legends, if you hang a horseshoe on the door and leave a pile of salt outside, then Boggarts won’t enter your house. Also, if you name them, them they become even angrier and more powerful much like a poltergeist.
4. Herne the Hunter:
Herne is a half-human, half-stag chimaera or a ghost who haunts Windsor Forest and Great Park in Berkshire. According to the tales, he has antlers growing from his head and he rides a horse. Shakespeare mentioned Herne the Hunter is his 1597 play The Merry Wives of Windsor. It is said that Herne was a former Windsor Forest keeper who hanged himself from an oak tree in fear of losing his job. Now he haunts the oak tree at midnight in the wintertime. It is said that Herne travels with a pack of hounds, causing mischief and terror wherever he treads.
Gytrash is a black dog who, according to legends, haunt lonely roads awaiting travelers. Gytrash can shapeshift and appear as a horse, mule or a dog. They can either lead people to adrift or be a good guide to lost travelers. They are also known as Guytrash and Guytresh and their forms of a great black dog or an evil cow are signs of death.
6. Legend Of The Mistletoe Bough:
The tale of The Mistletoe Bough first appears in print in the form of a poem by Samuel Rogers titled Ginevra. The tale has been also mentioned in Alfred Hitchcock’ 1948 film Rope as the favourite tale of the main character, Brandon Shaw. So the tale goes like this, a new bride, playing a game of hide-and-seek or somewhere to get away from the crowd during her wedding breakfast, hides in a chest in an attic. She gets stuck there unable to escape. Undiscovered by her family, she suffocates and dies there starving. And many years later a skeleton in a wedding dress is found in a locked chest.
7. Beast Of Bodmin Moor:
Also known as the Beast of Bodmin, Beast of Bodmin Moor is a phantom wild cat living in the southwest of England. The panther-like cat started to gain popularity in 1978 after alleged sightings. It mutilated or killed livestock. Many suggested it was a large animal who escaped from the zoo or an animal trainer. There were 60 reported sightings of the Beast of Bodmin Moor over the years.
8. Cutty Dyer:
According to legends, Cutty Dyer was a water sprite or an ogre who stalked the waters of the River Yeo or Ashburn. He slept in the darkness under the King’s Bridge watching children or drunks who strayed too close to the river’s edge. He then dragged them under the water and filled himself with their warm blood. He said to have bright red eyes and teeth like a shark’s.
9. Spring-Heeled Jack:
In 1837, the first sightings of Spring-Heeled Jack were reported. After that reports started to pour in from all over Great Britain and were especially in suburban London, the Midlands and Scotland. He reportedly had a terrifying appearance, with diabolical features, clawed hands, and fiery red eyes. He wore a black cloak, a helmet and a tight-fitting white garment. Some people also said that he could breathe out blue and white flames and wore sharp metallic claws.
10. Will O’ The Wisp:
Will O’ The Wisp is an atmospheric ghost light seen by travelers at night. They are also known as jack-o’-lantern that misleads travelers by resembling a flickering lamp. They are considered to be ghosts or spirits or fairies but according to science, these lights can be explained as natural phenomena such as bioluminescence or chemiluminescence. In the folklore, the wisps they can mislead travelers or may lead them to safety or even to treasure, depending on the traveler.