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Hangin' t'Boggart


Boggarts
The Boggart, or Bogmen as they were called in North Lancashire, were the evil sprites of the mosses.
When a horse took fright and ran away with it's load, it was said to have 'Took Boggarts' and when a person got caught in the moss and disappeared from human ken forever, the people were sure that the Boggart had got the bogged person and devoured him.
HANGING T'BOGGART
Up to a few years ago there used to be a row of houses in Swan Lane, Hindley Green near to the old Aleck Pit, which was called the Boggart Houses.

Owd Moe,was a boss of one of the pits in the area, whether it was the Bugle Horn, Gawping Throstle, Snotty Jimmy's or Crippen's 2 inch, is unclear, but he lived in Swan Lane. He had a big black tom cat, of which he was very proud, and which, at night, had a habit of wandering the Boggart Houses.
In one of these houses lived a crabby, bad-tempered, dirty, elderly man who was known as Sammy Stinker. Sammy had no friends and lived in the house by himself.One day the Green Boggart, who was at a loose end and happened to be wandering that part of the country, called at Stinker's house and asked him for a drink of water. This was of course, just an excuse to get inside the house.
In spite of Sammy's very rude refusals, the Boggart, who had adopted the form of a human, edged himself into the house. After a while, he managed to overcome Sammy's objections to his presence by using his Boggart's blarney, and managed to get Sammy to play a game of dominoes with him. This game lasted several hours, interspersed with the Boggart's tales of the wonderful and magical things he had done in his time.
The Boggart noticed that there was a beam running across the room with a fairly large hook driven into it at one end and from the hook hung a strong clothes line. After a while the Boggart suddenly said to Sammy, "Does tha know Sammy, that ah wor a Boggart until aw mi mosses dreighed up?"
"Now," replied Sammy, "Ah didn't know."
"But," continued the Boggart, " Ah've noan fergetten any o' mi owd tricks an' Ah've a mind to show thi some on 'em."
The Boggart indicated the hook and rope, and suggested to Sammy that he could hang him (the Boggart) in real hangman's fashion, provided that he could hang Sammy afterwards.
Sammy, thinking that it was a real pushover, told the Boggart to stand on a chair whilst he slipped a noose around his neck. He then made the other end of the rope fast to a wall bracket, leaving nearly a foot of slack in the rope, still on the hook. When he had done this, he snatched the chair from under the Boggart's feet and the Boggart's weight jerked the rope tight and left his dangling about six inches from the floor.
When the body had been hanging several minutes, Sammy had a good look at the Boggart and was sure that he was dead. He stood for a minute or two, and then he decided that he would fetch the taproom lot from the Aleck pub and show them what he had done, so, he went into the back place to get his jacket and cap.
He then returned to the front room and noticed to his horror and dismay, that the Boggart was sitting comfortably by the table. "Well," said the Boggart, "It's tha turn neaw, Sammy."
The Boggart strung Sammy up with the rope on the hook and made no mistake, for Sammy Stinker was well and truly dead when the Boggart left the house.
After a day or two the neighbours began to wonder about Sammy, as no one seemed to have seen or heard of him for a couple of days, so they decided to investigate. When they did, they found Sammy hanging peacefully, as dead as mutton. One thing they also noticed was that all the chairs had been placed neatly around the table, in their proper position with the seats under the table.
This made them scratch their heads, because if Sammy had hung himself, he would have kicked the chair away, so they all agreed that it was the Boggart's handiwork. One or two of them said that they had seen a big, black shape, mauling about the houses after dark, many a time, and this shape must have been the Boggart.
Needless to say, the incident was, for a long time, a main topic of conversation in the taproom at the Aleck, especially as people kept reporting that they had seen the big black shape hovering around Sammy Stinker's house, which had remained unoccupied since Sammy's untimely demise.
Two characters by the names of Lazarus and Juddy Moddy who were regular attenders in the taproom, kept on talking over the uncanny episode, and finally they decided that they would do something about it. So, one dark evening, they entered Sammy's old dwelling place. First, they made sure that the rope and the hook were in place and then they sat down in the dark and waited.
At about midnight Juddy nudged Lazarus and whispered that there was something coming into the house, and sure enough a black shape was moving about the room.
Juddy shouted, "Grab him Lazarus, while ah get t'noose." A terrible struggle started, accompanied by a lot of spitting, hissing and other noises which sounded like curses in a foreign language. After a long and fierce struggle, in which Lazarus got very badly scratched, Juddy managed to get the noose over the 'shape's' head. He then told Lazarus to pull on the rope as hard as he could.
"Tha's getten im awreet, let im ger eawt o that," quoth Juddy.
The two men crept quietly out of the house and went home to bed, where they had a few hours sleep before they had to go to their work at the pit.
During the following day, Owd Moe was making a great to-do about his cat which had not been seen since the night before. That night, Juddy and Lazarus paid their usual visit to the Aleck and started to brag as to how they had fought and hung the Boggart in Sammy Stinker's old house.They invited all the other taproom men to accompany them and have a look at the hanging Boggart.
About a dozen or so went with Juddy and Lazarus to the house and went inside. Hanging from the beam was, not the Boggart, but .....Owd Moe's big black cat. The other men laughed and one said, "Th'owd Boggart's done it agen an ah wouldn't like to be in Lazarus or Juddy's shoon when Owd Moe gets ter ear abeawt it."
This was true enough; Owd Moe was very angry about the death of his cat, and vowed that neither of them would ever get a job at his pit as long as he was alive.
Lazarus and Juddy however, firmly believed that it was the Boggart they had hanged, but that, due to some sort of magic, he had managed to get loose and hang the cat up in his place.


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