No one had yet laid eyes on the mysterious helper, and the farmer’s son became curious to know what kind of creature this could be. He made a hole through the floor of his bedroom which allowed him to see the room downstairs. Peering through early one morning, he saw what appeared to be a small, shrivelled old man sweeping the floor, with no shoes on his feet.
After this point, the boggart only did mischief. Pots were broken, animals became sick, and the family even woke one morning to find a bull was stuck up on the roof of the house! Eventually the farmer lost his patience with the boggart, and he and his family decided to pack their things and leave. Having loaded their cart and set off, they reached a bridge spanning the river at the bottom of the valley, when a voice called out from beneath, “Stop while I’ve tied my clogs, and I’ll go with you!”
The farmer realised that he couldn’t escape the boggart that easily, so he might as well turn back around. “Nay!" he said, “If tha’at going with me, I’ll go back again!”
Just a little north of Barcroft is Brunshaw, where you might be unlucky enough to encounter the Bee Hole Boggart. This dreadful little creature is said to have snatched away a woman known as ‘Old Bet’, leaving nothing but pieces of her skin on a thorn bush nearby. Brownside Road, which leads out of Brunshaw, is said locally to be named after the ‘brownies’ which live under the bridge there.
James Bowker’s ‘Goblin Tales of Lancashire’ (1878) tells the story of two men who stumble upon a boggart funeral. One of the men, Robin, sees his own image in the coffin, and dies just a month later.
Those who live south of Yorkshire and Lancashire are less likely to encounter boggarts, but if you suspect there might be one in your area, there are some precautionary measures you can take:
- Plant holly. Not only useful for keeping boggarts away, it will ward of all kinds of malicious creatures.
- Leave a pile of salt outside your house.
- Hang a horseshoe on your door.
- Leave a saucer of milk in the garden. We’re not sure why, but this seemingly does not fit the category of a ‘gift’ to the boggart. Perhaps it just attracts other, less supernatural wildlife which boggarts aren’t very fond of.
- Last but not least, never, EVER, give a boggart a name!