31 Days of Hallowe’en Tales: Day 17 – Three Pilling Boggarts

Day 17 of our Hallowe’en Tales is inspired by the village of Pilling and history of boggarts. Pilling is usually known for its windmills, new potatoes and the Pilling Pig locomotive, however, it has a very strange history of boggart hauntings which take on bizarre and surprising forms.

Firstly, what is a boggart? Boggarts are ancient folkloric spirits of Britain, they can be either benign, mischievous or downright evil. They are known to help around the house when they’re being nice and curdle the milk and abduct children when they’re not.

Lancashire especially has a strong history and tradition of boggarts. Amazingly, in Blackburn in 1869 the police and courts ruled that one was the culprit in a case of vandalism. Lancashire folk responded by ‘laying’ these spirits – burying them underneath trees or trapping them under huge slabs of stone or iron to prevent them rising to cause mischief.

But what of the boggarts of Pilling?

Well, the first was reported at Preesall Hill, where a boggart in the form a cat wearing a red army uniform was said to appear. Why this boggart haunted this area and in this strange guise nobody knows, but there is speculation that a keeill – an ancient church – was once nearby and boggarts were often tied to these sacred places as guardians of the dead.

Another boggart was reported at the 17th century manor, now turned farmhouse, Hackensall Hall. A seemingly friendly boggart taking the shape of a horse would charge about the house to alert the family that the fires in the hearth were about to go out. It was also known to help out around the farm, doing various chores.

Our final boggart is found at Pilling Hall. Taking the shape of a Donkey, this boggart haunted the barn and scared children. The local kids would sing Buttermilk and Barleycorn to ward off its mischievous attention.

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
Day 14 – Miss Bamber of Marton and her Charms
Day 15 – A Severed Head at Mowbreck Hall
Day 16 – Burnley’s Satanic Pigs and the Clogging of Owd Nick

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

Reclaim Blackpool - Mapping Sexual Harrasment
  • 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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