31 Days of Hallowe’en Tales: Day 14 – Miss Bamber of Marton and her Charms

How did a Blackpool peasant woman manage what many doctors of the time late 1800s could not? On day 14 of spooky season, we serve up another slice of local folklore

One of the main roles of healers through the ages has been to control blood loss. A person need only to lose 20 per cent of their blood to potentially end up in haemorrhagic shock. When 40 per cent is lost, organs begin to shut down, and in most cases, this is fatal.

Over the war-torn centuries, many a battlefield surgeon had to think on their feet to try and stop the rapid loss of blood in their patients. Many different methods were used the world over, from tourniquets and cauterisation, to ligation and eventually blood transfusions. But even with early medical knowledge, stopping blood loss was high risk and often failed or resulted in terrible life-threatening infections.

But imagine if all that was needed was a single word to cease blood-loss? Just a simple charm from a Lancashire peasant woman.

It is unclear whether Miss Bamber knew she was using early scientific methods or whether she believed herself to be a witch.

On 25th February 1882, the Stalybridge Reporter printed an article entitled Gleanings of Lancashire Lore. It reported, quite matter-of-factly, that “some persons in Lancashire were celebrated for their personal efficacy in blood-stopping by a word”.

It named one person in particular, a Miss Bamber from the area of Marton in Blackpool, who had become somewhat of a local celebrity for her miraculous ability to prevent haemorrhage. People travelled as far as 20 miles to be treated by Miss Bamber, such was her uncanny skill and unique success with blood-stopping.

It is not explained how Miss Bamber consistently achieved this result. There is no report of the methods used other than the description of ‘magical charms’. It is unclear whether Miss Bamber knew she was using early scientific methods or whether she believed herself to be a witch – all that is known is that in an uncertain world without modern medicine, Miss Bamber of Marton was achieving what many doctors of the time could not. With one word, she would stop the blood and save a life.

Read our previous Hallowe’en Tales

Day 1 – The Curse of Carleton Crematorium.
Day 2 – The Witch Ducking Stools of Poulton-Le-Fylde.
Day 3 – The Ghost-Seer of Weeton.
Day 4 – Smuggling, Drowned Nuns and Fallen Acrobats at Raikes Hall

Day 5 – The Hauntings at the Old Coach House
Day 6 – Old Scrat
Day 7 – A Goblin Funeral at Extwistle Hall
Day 8 – The Ghost of Lady Macbeth
Day 9 – The Mermaid & The Sea Serpent of Marton Mere
Day 10 – The Banshee of Poulton
Day 11 – The Possession of the Lancashire Seven
Day 12 – Lady Fleetwood of old Ross Hall
Day 13 – Tales of Boggart House Farm

Take a look at Zowie Swan’s debut novel, Chingle Hall here.

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  • Zowie Swan is a local writer of fiction and folklaw. Her debut novel, Chingle Hall, is out now with Safety Pin Publishing. She's also bassist for Blackpool band Dischord.

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