I love handing the reins over to master horror author Catherine Cavendish because she brings it every single time! This is one you won’t want to miss. Okay, Cat, time to scare the hellions…
Beware the Fiendish Boggart
Boggarts. Devilish little creatures found in deep, dark woods in parts of the North of England. Their sole rajson d’etre appears to be to frighten, maim and kill humans – whom they call ‘forkypeds’.
It seems that while other, more southerly, folk cultures had their ‘house elfs’ who took care of things, homes and humans, the hardy northern folk were surrounded by much darker forces. Almost every home, it seemed, had its own boggart, out to cause mayhem and serious damage.
So what – or who – is a boggart?
In Northumbria, there is a tradition that helpful spirits such as ‘silkies’ could turn bad, and when they did, they became boggarts. In Lancashire, boggarts were mostly evil to begin with. They were said to live outdoors, in holes in the ground, lurking there to trip the unwary, or in marshes, where they would suck unfortunate travellers underground. They would abduct children, kill and eat animals, creep into a house at night and place a cold, clammy hand over the sleeping inhabitants, spreading sickness with their touch.
One famous legend tells of the infamous Grizlehurst Boggart who made his first appearance (in print at least) in 1861, when an elderly Lancashire couple related his story. He was they said, buried at a crossroads nearby, under an ash tree, together with a cockerel. Yet, even though he was buried, he still caused much trouble. They said a farmer’s wife, known to them, had experienced doors banging in her house one evening. She heard raucous laughter, saw three candles burning, with a blue light which illuminated a grotesque figure with cloven hooves and flaming red eyes, as he leaped and danced around. The following morning, she found many tracks of cloven hooves outside her farmhouse.
The couple also maintained that their own horse had been unhitched inexplicably, and their cart overturned, on more than one occasion.
Then there is the infamous boggart of Boggart Hole Clough – yes he even had a place named after him! He lived in a hole outside until one particularly cold winter when he decided to move into a nearby farmhouse. There, he proceeded to cause all kinds of mischief and malicious mayhem. He snatched the food from the children at table, dashing their bowls to the ground. He would tug curtains, and attack the children while they slept. Eventually, so harassed were the farmer and his family that they decided to move out. Unfortunately, that did no good. Once a boggart has made his home with you, he will travel with you. You’re stuck with him for life. When this became clear, the farmer and his family moved back into their old house. Naturally the boggart came too, but for some reason was never so malicious again.
|Boggart Hole Clough – geograph. org.uk|
It seems though that not all boggarts start out evil. I’ve mentioned the Northumbria ‘silkies’, but another tale – this time from Barcroft Hall, in Cliviger, near Burnley in Lancashire – tells of a boggart who started out as a helpful housekeeper. Very much on the lines of a house elf. The farmer’s wife would find all her chores done, laundry washed and ironed, floors swept. The farmer himself was grateful for the help he got bringing in the sheep on a snowy winter evening. He heard the creature’s voice, but never saw it. He was determined to rectify that and made a small hole in the ceiling of the room where the boggart performed most of his household tasks. Sure enough, his patience was rewarded by the sight of a small, wizened, barefoot old man who began to sweep the floor.
Surely his feet must be cold against the stone floor. The farmer thought so anyway and decided to make him a pair of tiny clogs and left them out for him. His son saw him pick them up and heard him call out:
“New clogs, new wood,
T’hob Thurs will ne’er again do any good!”
From then on, the era of good works was over. The boggart began to hound and hurt his family. The animals got sick, the farmer’s prize bull was somehow transported to the farmhouse roof. Household items were smashed indiscriminately. Things got so bad that this family, too, felt forced to flee. But the boggart had other ideas. “Wait there while I fetch me clogs and I’ll come with thee.”
And this is why you should never give a gift to a boggart – for they cannot harm you unless, and until, you do.
Also, never be tempted to give a boggart a name. If you do, then be prepared for the full force of the boggart’s malice to be visited upon you.
In Lancashire and Yorkshire, there are many place names associated with boggarts. In addition to Boggart Hole Clough, you can find Boggart Bridge in Burnley – another Boggart Bridge can be found in Ogden, near Halifax (West Yorkshire). Then there’s Bee Hole Boggart. Burnley also boasts Sweet Clough Boggart and Barcroft Boggart. Rochdale has Clegg Hall Boggart, and Matlock boasts Standbark Boggart. Roads on a council estate in Leeds are prefixed with Boggart. In fact the estate itself is called Boggart Hill.
Boggarts answer to only one master. Owd Hob – the archetypal devil with cloven hoofs, forked tail and horns.
How can you protect yourself from a boggart invasion? The best method is to place a horseshoe over your front door and a pile of salt outside your bedroom.
And just be careful when you’re walking over the moors and marshland of Lancashire and Yorkshire. The majestic, bleak beauty of the Pennines hides many mysteries – and there may just be a boggart or two lurking, unseen, ready to pounce.
There are plenty of sinister goings-on – and a terrifying some demon – in my novella, The Devil Inside Her. This is what to expect:
When nightmares become dreams, someone must die
Haunted by the death of her husband and only child, Elinor Gentry’s recurring nightmares have left her exhausted. She’s crippled by debt, and only the remnants of her former life surround her, things she can’t bear to sell, and wouldn’t make much profit from if she did. Then, for no apparent reason, the nightmares transform into pleasant dreams. Dreams that lead her to take back control of her life.
A string of horrific and unexplained suicides–and an unnerving discovery about Elinor herself—lead her best friend to seek help from the one person who has seen all this before, and things begin to spiral out of control. Hazel Messinger knows that Elinor’s newly found wellbeing is not what it seems, and Hazel’s not about to let the demon inside remain there permanently.
You can buy The Devil Inside Her here;
About the author
Following a varied career in sales, advertising and career guidance, Catherine Cavendish is now the full-time author of a number of paranormal, ghostly and Gothic horror novels, novellas and short stories. Cat’s novels include the Nemesis of the Gods trilogy – Wrath of the Ancients, Waking the Ancients and Damned by the Ancients, plus The Devil’s Serenade, The Pendle Curse and Saving Grace Devine.
Her novellas, Cold Revenge, Miss Abigail’s Room, The Demons of Cambian Street, The Devil Inside Her, and The Second Wife have now been released in new editions by Crossroad Press.
She lives with her long-suffering husband, and a black cat who has never forgotten that her species used to be worshipped in ancient Egypt. She sees no reason why that practice should not continue. Cat and her family divide their time between Liverpool and a 260-year-old haunted apartment in North Wales.
You can connect with Cat here:
A few months back, I told you all about two amazing limited run podcasts, Inside The Exorcist and Inside Psycho. They were 6-7 episode deep dives on the making of those landmark movies, both produced by Wondery.
Well, just in time for summer, they’ve started the Inside Jaws podcast. As of today, there are four episodes available and they are awesome. The historical shark attack recreations in the beginning of each episode are brilliant. The series takes you from a young Steve Spielberg to a struggling Peter Benchley and all the issues that plagued the set of Jaws. This is masterful podcasting. Best part is, Inside Jaws is free! So download the episodes, head to the beach and listen while you scan the waves for fins. (Available on iTunes and everywhere podcasts can be found)
Howdy Hellions! While I’m out and about on vacation this week and getting ready to jump into a brand new career next week, I just wanted to pop in and let you all know that MAIL ORDER MASSACRES is now on sale for just 99 cents-a-roonio! “Whaaaaaaat?” you say. That’s right! For the same price as a McChicken on the McDonald’s dollar menu, you get three insane novellas all rolled into one! I’m not sure how long this sale will last, so grab it while you can.
Sea monkeys. 3-D specs. Hypno-coins. Ant farms. Kryptonite rocks. Miniature submarines made from cardboard. All available for a buck or less from the back page of comic books. And we blew our weekly allowance on these rip-offs, only to be disappointed when they turned out to be total crap. But what if these bogus products had side effects not advertised? In horror master Hunter Shea’s MAIL ORDER MASSACRE, sometimes you do get more than you paid for . . . JUST ADD WATER It’s been years since David and Patrick flushed away the dead Sea Serpents they got in the mail. After thriving in the toxic stew of pollution, strange, slimy creatures now rise from the sewers. Once the screaming starts, David and Patrick realize that their childhood pets really did come to life. With a vengeance. They’re massive monsters. . . and ravenous for human flesh! OPTICAL DELUSION Martin punishes his son for wasting his allowance on a pair of cardboard X-ray specs. But when Martin tries them on, he’s stunned to see through walls and clothes. But the novelty becomes a waking nightmare when the glasses burn into his face and he starts seeing horrifying apocalyptic visions no mortal man was ever meant to see. Images that turn him from a husband and father to a bloodthirsty homicidal maniac . . . MONEY BACK GUARANTEE With her son’s heart set on piloting his own nuclear submarine, Rosemary orders the craft advertised on the back of a comic book. But when her son nearly drowns in the swimming pool, an enraged Rosemary complains to the Better Business Bureau. The company’s customer service center retaliates with threatening phone calls. Then her son and husband disappear. Now it’s all-out war. Plus, Rosemary wants her $1.99 back! Praise for Hunter Shea “A lot of splattery fun.”-Publishers Weekly
That’s right, Hellions! JURASSIC FLORIDA is finally here, ready to chew up your e-readers and phones.
The early reviews have been phenomenal. Hey, what better time than the summer to munch on a quick monster mayhem romp? Here’s what some folks have to say:
“Jurassic, Florida is a hell of a romp, too, filled with monsters, gore, and carnage, with the pace cranked up to rapid-fire. There were a few moments that manage to surprise me with just how blackhearted Shea can be.” — Michael Patrick Hicks Reviews
“I highly recommend this fast paced and exciting 5 star read.” — Horror Maiden Book Reviews
“Shea delivers the chomp’n’stomp in epic fashion.” — Sc-Fi & Scary
“Mankind’s on the menu–go get em’, champs! Dinner bell’ s rung!!” — The Haunted Reading Room
This is just the first in my new, One Size Eats All trilogy. Hope it leaves you hungry for more. 🙂
I can’t believe I finally got to write about killer swarms of rats in New York City. And no, these rats aren’t content to just drag slices of pizza around. Here is the absolutely wonderful cover for my upcoming novella, RATTUS NEW YORKUS, available this August through Lyrical Underground. This is book #2 in my ONE SIZE EATS ALL series.
Doing research for the book, I met with exterminators to learn about rat and mouse behavior and how hard they are to, let’s just say, ‘make them swim with the fishes’. I was horrified by the stories they told me. I walked away feeling 100% sure that the rats will eventually own big cities.
And now, a little about the book….
Deep in the sewers of New York City, the rat population is growing. Dr. Randolph Finch is determined to break the cycle. His new rodenticide, Degenesis, doesn’t kill rats. It sterilizes them from reproducing. But nothing adapts faster than a New York rat . . .
City exterminators and soon-to-be divorced Chris and Benita Jackson think they know how these rats think. They know how rats breed. And they fear that Degenesis has only made these rats stronger. More aggressive. More intelligent. And more ravenous than ever . . .
TONIGHT’S DINNER SPECIAL: US
After a noticable surge in rat den activity, the Jacksons witness something strange. Without warning, the rats disappear—only to reassemble in a massive lair beneath Grand Central Station. Millions upon millions of them. Working together. Operating as a hive mind. Feasting on the flesh of the homeless below—and planning their all-out attack on the unsuspecting humans above . . .
RATTUS NEW YORKUS will be available in ebook only, at least for now. Here’s hoping we get a print edition like MAIL ORDER MASSACRES.
Talk about your pleasant surprises! Publishers Weekly just dropped a review for my upcoming Lyrical Underground novella, JURASSIC FLORIDA, and it looks like they dig it! Here’s the review :
The tiny town of Polo Springs, Fla., is the epicenter of this hilarious creature-feature gorefest from pulp horror maven Shea (The Jersey Devil). Eighteen-year-old Ann Hickok is the town’s mayor, and she’s got two problems: Hurricane Ramona is bearing down on Polo Springs, and the city is infested with tiny iguanas. When Ramona makes landfall, Ann learns that lurking beneath the ground are the giant lizards spawning all the little critters, and they’re about to unleash hell. Few of the 317 residents will be spared. Shea introduces a variety of characters, including a wayward New York City mobster, but readers shouldn’t get too attached to them. What the book lacks in plot, it more than makes up in twisted humor and campy horror. Those looking for a brain break and a bloody mess will revel in this promising series launch.
Folks at Lyrical Underground suggested I start making merch that says PULP HORROR MAVEN. Hmmmmm. I just love that the reviewer totally gets the vibe of the book. To say I’m thrilled about the PW review is the understatement of the year. This is the best start for my ONE SIZE EATS ALL series I could have asked for. If you’re looking for a fun beach read with lots of monster stomping fun, this is for you.
JURASSIC FLORIDA comes out on June 19th wherever ebooks are sold. You can pre-order your copy today by clicking here.