Denham Tracts (folklore)

From Kook Science

The Denham Tracts are a series of pamphlets and broadsides of collected proverbs, slogans, myths, and folklore of northern England, first published by Michael Aislabie Denham over a thirteen year period (1846-1859), and later republished in a two-volume collected edition by the London-based Folklore Society (FLS).




The Literary Gazette: A Weekly Journal of Literature, Science, and the Fine Arts (1666): 849, 23 December 1848 

"Ghosts never appear on Christmas eve!"

So says the immortal Shakespeare; and the truth thereof few now-a-days, I hope, will call in question. Grose observes, too, that those born on Christmas day cannot see spirits; which is another incontrovertible fact. What a happiness this must have been seventy or eighty years ago and upwards, to those chosen few who had the good luck to be born on this festal day; when the whole earth was so overrun with ghosts, boggles, bloody-bones, spirits, demons, ignis-fatui, fairies, brownies, bugbears, black-dogs, spectres, shelly-coats, scarecrows, witches, wizards, barguests, Robin Goodfellows, hags, night-bats, scrags, break-necks, fantasms, hobgoblins, hob-houlards, boggy-boes, dobbies, hob-thrusts, fetches, kelpies, warlocks, mock-beggars, mumpokers, jemmy-burties, urchins, satyrs, Pans, fauns, sirens, tritons, centaurs, calcars, nymphs, imps, incubuses, spoorns, men-in-the-oak, hell-wains, firedrakes, kit-a-cansticks, Tom-tumblers, melch-dicks, larrs, kitty-witches, hobby-lanthorns, Dick-a-Tuesdays, elf-fires, Gyl-burnt-tails, knockers, elves, rawheads, Meg-with-the-wads, oldshocks, ouphs, pad-fooits, pixies, pictrees,* giants, dwarfs, Tom-pokers, tutgots, snapdragons, sprets, thrummy-caps, spunks, conjurers, thurses, spurns, tantarabobs, swaithes, tints, tod-lowries, Jack-in-the-wads, mormos, changelings, redcaps, yeth-hounds, colt-pixies, Tom-thumbs, black-bugs, boggarts, scar-bugs, shagfoals, hodgepochers, hob-thrushes, bugs, bull-beggars, bygorns, bolls, caddies, bomen, brags, cutties, wraiths, waffs, flay-boggarts, fiends, gallytrots, imps, gytrashes, patches, hob-and-lanthorns, gringes, boguests, breens, bonelesses, bull-bears, pegpoulers, pucks, fays, kidnappers, gally-beggars, hudskins, nickers, madcaps, trolls, Robinets, friar's-lanthorns, silkies, cauld-lads, death-hearses, and goblins and apparitions of every shape and make, kind and description, that there was not a village in England that had not its own peculiar ghost! Nay, every lone tenement, castle or mansion-house which could boast of any antiquity had its boggle, its spectre, or its knocker. The churches and church-yards were all haunted. Every green lane had its boulder-stone, on which an apparition kept watch by night. Every common had a circle of fairies belonging to it; and there was scarce a shepherd to be met with who had not seen a spirit.


P.B. Dec. 1848.

* There is a village of this name near Chester-le-street in the county of Durham.
✝ Phantom foxes.