Tag Archives: witchcraft

Nanny the Witch: 1820s

That bewitching person over at Haunted Ohio suggested to Mrs Daffodil that a Walpurgisnacht post might be amusing and instructive.


By Mrs. J. Allsopp

I have been asked by some friends interested in occult subjects to record some information which came to me in my youth, as likely to prove interesting to others. The facts narrated were told to me by my grandmother, who had personally known the author of the proceedings.

About a hundred years ago near the small town of Brampton, in Cumberland, lived a woman who went by the name of Nanny. She was supposed by the country-folk to be a witch, and to have the power to ill-wish and overlook. The people stood in great awe of her and treated her with a fearful respect. Some envied her powers, others conciliated her as much as possible. She was the usual referendum when things were lost, and could always tell where they were. It chanced that my grandfather, who kept a large dairy farm, had for some time been annoyed by the loss of his butter firkins. This became more and more frequent, and as he could not catch the thief, he decided to seek Nanny’s aid in the matter. A neighbour offered to accompany him, as he was rather nervous. As they approached her dwelling she came out and called to my grandfather before he had the chance to speak, “Don’t come any farther, the man who has your firkins is with you.” And it turned out to be true. The man had the firkins.

She was of a rather peculiar appearance, and a less terrible person than she would have been subjected to ridicule. It happened one day that she was going past a farm where the maidens were washing in the open air. As she passed they laughed at her. She stopped, came back and said: “Ye may laugh and dance till I choose ye to stop.” And they began to laugh and dance, and nothing would make them cease. At last in desperation their master went to the old woman and prayed her on bended knees to forgive the girls. This she did, but they had danced twenty-four hours.

It is said that she once entered a house and all the doors both upstairs and down flew violently open. She is supposed to have uttered many prophecies. Her most famous one is that regarding an important local family. This was that when the church bell should toll without hands in L__ church and the hare litter on the hearth-stone great misfortune would happen to them. This did actually come to pass. The church, fallen into ruins almost, gave free ingress to the cattle, and a cow got in and caught her horns in the bell rope, causing the bell to ring. At N__, their ancestral home, a hare got into a disused room and littered on the hearth. Strange as it may seem, a long period of misfortune ensued.

I have said that her power was envied by some. A girl who had watched her very closely for some time, greatly desired to be as clever as she was. She met her one day and plucked up courage to tell her so. “All right, lass,” said the old dame, “come to my cottage to-night at midnight and see thou tell no one, and thou shalt be as clever as I am.” Greatly elated, the girl determined to do as she was bidden, and at midnight sought the lonely cottage of Nanny. She entered shrinkingly, but Nanny assured her there was nothing to fear. Then she asked her if she really meant what she had said that afternoon. Nanny was assured that she did. “Well then,” said Nanny, “put thy hand on thy head and the other under thy foot and say ‘All’s the Devil’s,’ and thou must really mean it.” There was a terrific burst of thunder, and the girl fled in terror from the cottage. This story about the girl had a very weird effect on me. When I retired that night, it seemed that some one stood by the bed and urged me to repeat Nanny’s words. It became a terrible strife of wills and lasted all night. I insisted on saying “All’s the Lord’s.” It passed with the day, but in the morning the bed was saturated with perspiration, and for many years after I dared not sleep alone. How can these things be accounted for?

Many are the tales still current in the country-side about Nanny. The day she died there was the most awful thunderstorm ever known in those parts. The lightning ran along the ground and the thunder was terrific. She is buried in the tiny churchyard of the old Saxon church of Denton, near Carlisle.

The Occult Review December 1921: p. 341-3

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire:   Nanny seems to have followed the traditional “cunning-woman” career path of “overlooking” (with the Evil Eye), telling the future, finding lost or stolen objects, and dealing out retribution to those who crossed her. The young ladies were fortunate that they weren’t forced to dance until their feet were worn off, as in the old tale.

When “The Queen of Scottish Witches,” Isobel Gowdie, confessed her witchery in 1662, she declared that she “did put the on of my handis to the crowne of my head and the uther to the sole of my foot, and then renuncet all betuixt my two handis, ower to the Divell.” This hands-on method of dedicating oneself to His Satanic Majesty’s service is found in a number of witch testimonials.

Mrs Daffodil fails to understand why a simple job interview or visit to a hiring fair was not sufficient, but H.S.M. does seem to have a flair for the dramatic: fiery whiz-bang entrances, sulphurous exits, pacts signed in blood, etc. etc. It has often been said that “the Devil walks as a gentleman,” but no gentleman would be caught dead outside of a fancy-dress ball in those red tights.

There are quite a few fascinating posts about witches and witchcraft on the Haunted Ohio site.  Bagging a Witch in Ohio gives a look at New World beliefs, while The Witch Wreath at the Museum tells of sinister feather crowns found in the pillows of the dying, and The Poear Dear and the Wicked Woman: A Suffolk Witch Story. shares the vernacular story of a “spite” accidentally laid on a wife instead of the husband for whom it was meant.

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.

The Witch’s Ring: 1886


A very curious, struggling, sleepy, old village is Addingtune. Half a century behind the rest of the world, it still sits between the green hills of the Eastern State, its elbows on its knees and its chin in its hands, musing on by-gone days, when old King George held the land under his sway, and when, as its old folks sagely remark, things were not as they are now. There are a great many old people in Addingtune—in fact, very few people die young there. The atmosphere is so dreamy and peaceful that excitement cannot exist, and the wear and tear of the busy world is unknown, or at most only hums faintly over the hills, like the buzzing of a fly on a sunny pane on a summer day. And so they sit still in the chimney corners from year to year, and muse, and doze, and dream, until they dream their lives away and take their final sleep. It was to an old crone of this description that I was indebted for my adventure.

In the course of my idle wanderings about the village I chanced one day to peer over a crumbling wall, and discovered an old, disused burial ground. The brown slabs were broken, prostrate, and scattered, with only here and there a forlorn, unsteady stone standing wearily, and waiting for the time to come when it, too, might fall down and rest with the sleepers beneath. Scrambling over the low wall I stooped about among the grass, pushing away the tangled masses of vines and leaves from the faces of the slabs, that I might read the inscriptions there. But the suns and storms of nearly 100 years had obliterated nearly all the letters, so that only a portion of names and dates remained. Finally, down in a deep corner of the enclosure, where the weeds grew densest and the shade was darkest, I found an old stone, which, leaning forward, had protected its face from the storms, and on this stone I read the words:

“Barbara Conwail, born 1670, died 1730. Age 60 years. Having been lawfully executed for the practice of witchcraft.”

My curiosity was at once aroused. I inquired of several persons as to the history of this woman, but without success for a time. Finally, however, I found an old woman, who told me the history of Barbara Conwail as it had been handed down by her ancestors:

Living in an old stone house at the edge of the village she was rarely seen—for no one ever crossed her threshold—save when she was occasionally met by a frightened party of children idling away a summer afternoon’s holiday in the woods, when she would scowl and pass away, stooping along over the fields gathering herbs with which to brew her mighty potions. No one ever interfered with her, however, until a sad year came to Addingtune.

An epidemic broke out and raged with a fury that nothing could withstand. People began to mutter that Barbara the witch was the cause of it. Passing along the road she was stoned by a party of boys, to whom she turned, and, shaking her bony hand, shrieked that the curse was upon them.

Two of the lads sickened and died in a few days, and though scores were carried away in a like manner, no especial import was attached to their death. Barbara began to be watched. They looked through her windows at midnight and found her bending over a seething cauldron, throwing in herbs, muttering cabalistic words, and stirring the mixture with what they reported to be a human bone. Old Barbara was working her charms.

When one morning a man came into town, bruised and covered with mud, and testified that as he rode past old Barbara’s house at 12 o’clock the night before, he saw the Arch Fiend and the witch in conversation upon the housetop, surrounded by flames, and laughing fiendishly in the lurid glare as they shook their fist at the plague-stricken village sleeping below, his tale found ready credence. The fact that he was an habitual drunkard, and had on more than one occasion rolled from his horse in a drunken stupor, and passed the night in a ditch, dreaming wild dreams, did not in the least detract from the belief the villagers in his account of this pair of demons had pounced upon him, and had first tortured and thrown him senseless into a ditch, their indignation became uncontrollable.

Old Barbara was tried, condemned, and hanged, though she protested her innocence to the last. The little sum of money found in her possession was used to buy that gravestone—as no one would dare appropriate it—and to this day if anyone were bold enough to go to her grave at midnight on the same day of the year on which she was hanged, and say, “Barbara, I believe that you were innocent,” at the same time stretching out his hand over the grave, she would, appear to him and place in his hand a talisman.

This talisman would bring good fortune as long as he retained: it, but at some time in his life the witch would return and claim her own.

The old woman ended her story in a low, impressive monotone, which, with her earnestness and sincere belief in what she said, almost carried conviction to me in spite of reason. As I sauntered away, ridiculing these ignorant and superstitious, village folks, I found myself almost unconsciously wandering back through the old burial ground to the witch’s grave. Carelessly glancing at the inscription, I was surprised to find that very day was the 150th anniversary of her death, and still more surprised when the thought occurred to me of watching at her grave that night. I ridiculed and scoffed the idea. Where was my boasted commonsense and incredulity? But, still returning ever, came that wayward thing called fancy—and it conquered.

The world was wild and weird that night, when I stole forth from the village. The wind was moaning through the trees, and sobbing piteously; the black clouds were driven in broken patches across the sky, now letting down the moonshine, and again shrouding it in the blackest night, and making the shadows chase each other about, and steal around corners upon one in a manner that made me wince in spite of myself. Climbing the low stone wall—rather nervously, I confess—I stole away through the old, down-trodden graves, pushing through the weeds and briars as silently as possible, and making my way toward that dark, dreary corner where the old witch reposed. A graveyard at noon is a very different spot from a graveyard at midnight—especially if one is there to seek an interview with a spirit.

I reached the place and stood by the tomb. It still lacked a few minutes of 12, and as I stood there watching the moonlight flitting over the graves, I longed for a little ray to creep in with me. But, no—approaching and receding, and wavering all about me, it never touched this grave, but fled away as often as it approached, as though frightened at the black shadow forever lurking there.

By-and-bye the village clock tolled 12. As the slow, tremulous tones stole out on the night, the wind ceased moaning, the clouds covered the face of the moon, the insects stopped chirping, and when the last stroke was finished the almost unbearable silence was broken only by my own breathing, which I strove in vain to suppress. The darkness was intense, and I could see nothing. A terrible feeling of guilt and terror seized me, that I, a mortal, should be intruding there at such an hour. Mechanically I strove to speak the words I had been told, but my lips refused to form a sound.

Still I stood in that awful black silence, chilled with fear, until with a mighty effort I reached out my arm over the grave and grasped—a hand.

It was only for an instant—not that, for it was jerked away in a twinkle—but long enough to feel how warm and velvety it was— and how small. Not that I lingered there to reflect upon these novel qualities in the hand of the ghost, and an old witch at that, for you altogether mistake my bravery in supposing it; but it was after I had cleared the old wall at a bound, and was out on the moonlit road, walking at a rattling good pace toward town, that I recalled it.

From a state of intense cold I had changed to burning heat. The touch of those soft fingers thrilled me through as with an electric shock, and I walked faster still in my excitement. Gradually the consciousness forced itself upon me that I had something in my clenched hands. There was first a glitter and then a spark, as the moonlight fell into the hollow of my upraised hand, and I saw there a glittering ring set with flashing stones. The icicles began slipping down my back again, and I hurried on. Some persons may be inclined to deride my nervousness on this occasion, but I assure such that I am not naturally a timid man. I have a medal hanging in my room at home which asserts that I am not a timid man, and above all, I had always been void of superstitious fear; but truth compels me to say that I not only lighted all the lights on reaching my room at the little inn that night, but turned them very high into the bargain, and that I made a systematic inspection of all the closets, and removed from its peg a long cloak that was hanging in a very suggestive position on the wall. This done, I sat down and examined the ring.

It was a quaint, old ring, curiously carved and massive. The setting was composed of several small coloured stones, set in a circle about a diamond. My financial circumstances had rendered it unnecessary for me to acquaint myself with precious stones and their values, so that I could only surmise that the ring was somewhat valuable. Considering the excited condition of my nerves by this time, it was not strange that I should start when my eyes fell upon the name that was inscribed in quaint letters inside the ring—” Barbara.”

I sat and mused upon the whole adventure—what the crone had told me—the graveyard, the ring, and (this was returned to me the) oftenest) the thrilling touch of that soft hand in the darkness.

Perhaps I should say right here that I called myself an old bachelor, and had never been in love—that is, with any mortal. I did not think that I was devoid of sentiment or feeling, for I often dreamed of love and worshipped beautiful things of my own fancy, but my life had been thrown among boys and men; and woman was far away and a mystery. A motherless home, a stern father, a hard-working student’s life at college, a stranger struggling for bread and reputation in a great city—one can perceive how it could be that I had made few acquaintances among women. In reality I was only 25, but much experience had made me feel older; so, as I said, I called myself a bachelor.

I have given the brief history of myself in order to prepare the way for another confession. I was falling in love with the owner of that soft, warm hand. It is preposterous, but it is true. I began to doubt my reason. In vain, I tried to remember that Barbara, the witch, was an old, ugly woman. The only picture I could call up was that of a beautiful, young girl, with—but words fail me; only she was far from ghastly, but was as warm, and substantial, and full of life as that hand had seemed to be.

The fire irons fell with an earthly clatter, and startled me out of my dreams. I went to bed to soothe my nerves with sleep, and lay awake most of the night with the lamps burning.

Fortune smiled upon me from that night. Two years of busy, city life had passed, when old Barbara’s talisman was still unreclaimed, when one day—do you believe in love at first sight? Well, if the appearance of Walter Wyman’s sister had not conquered me as she stood under the parlour lamps, a revelation of beauty and youth, the touch of her hand when she welcomed her brother’s friend would have enslaved me forever. Never had a touch so thrilled me since—since I had the witch’s hand in the graveyard. The same peculiar shock passed through me, and the memory of that spectral night came over me like a flash.

But I did not start out to tell a love story. Let me briefly say that I fell in love, hopelessly and ridiculously in love, and that I acted just as all lovers have done since the world began. It doesn’t matter much about a man’s age. At 27 he will act pretty much as he would have done at 17, and so I wrote verses and sighed, and tormented myself with a thousand hopes and fears, and grew hot and cold by turns, and wonderfully timid, and prided myself on concealing it all, when, as a matter of fact, the state of my feelings was perfectly apparent to all my acquaintances.

Matters were in this interesting state when one day an opportunity occurred of which I availed myself with a degree of skill and presence of mind that I am proud of to this day. It all came about my asking the young lady if she believed in ghosts.

“I suppose I should,” said she, “considering my experience.”

Leave a woman alone to make an evasive answer. Of course I implored an explanation, and she related to me the following story:—

“It was about two years ago when a party of girls, just home from school, were visiting a friend down in the country. One of the girls had heard a foolish story about a witch’s grave, and some nonsense about her annual appearance, and a talisman, and when I expressed my incredulity, they braved me to put it to the test. What is the matter? The place? A little town called Addingtune.”

“Foolishly I accepted their challenge and received a terrible fright. I carried out the instructions and stretched my arm over the grave. It was so dark I could see nothing, but someone seized my hand. I was so benumbed with fear that I could not cry out, but could only fly through the lonely grave-yard to where my trembling companions were awaiting me in the field. It was a foolish adventure, for I fell ill, and it cost me a valuable ring which was left to me by.poor Aunt Barbara. ‘For her little namesake,’ she said, when she sent it across the sea to me. You see the ring was a little large for my finger, and was pulled off by—by—”

“By me!” I interrupted, taking the lost ring from my pocket.

It was time for Barbara (I forgot to say that was her name) to be startled now. I hope I may say that I came out strong on the occasion. I told my story in a very impressive way, lingered over the effect of the witch’s hand on my heart, spoke of the good fortune the talisman had brought me, made very pretty allusion to Barbara, the witch, reclaiming her own—for she was not a witch, after all, as I could testify, having felt her charms—and finally, not only offered to return the ring, but to give myself into the bargain.

She took both.

The Australian Journal: A Family Newspaper of Literature and Science, Vol. 21, April 1886: p. 433-4

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: A jolly “witch” story for Walpurgisnacht, that festival mystifyingly named for a saintly abbess, when the witches have free reign to gambol round the skies and meet on the peak of the Brocken, the highest point in the gnome-haunted Harz Mountains of Germany. It is a feast primarily observed in Northern Europe and Scandinavia. Britain, of course, is entirely witch-free, or so it likes to believe.

That bewitching person over at Haunted Ohio tells of a Swedish witch and her cow-curing charm gotten from a Man in Black.

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.


The Cowman and the Witch: 1915

milking cow


By Sydney H. Kenwood (B.A. Cantab, et Londin.).

The following story was told by an ignorant Sussex labourer, whom I knew well, and who had, as far as I know, never been more than a few miles from the remote village in which he was born. The tale is so startling that few will think it true; but it is incredible to anyone who knew him to suppose that the hero invented it. He was, as I have said, an ignorant labourer; he might even have been called extremely ignorant; and imagination is not one of the gifts common among the Sussex peasantry. I have set down the facts as told to me, the name being the only fiction as far as I am concerned.

Henry Hogbin was a cowman on a farm in Sussex. He was a man of excellent character and well known as a sober, industrious and efficient hand. Having been associated with cow-keeping all his life, he was well acquainted with the peculiarities and perversities of cattle, and well able to deal with such difficulties as they arose. No one was more convinced of his competency than Hogbin himself, and it was a rude shock to the honest fellow when he found himself powerless to remedy the refusal of his best cow to give milk.

Naturally, he was at first full of hope, and even of assurance, that his rustic science would soon put matters right; but he tried in vain all the remedies known to him. Then Hogbin stooped to ask advice—not of neighbours, for he had his own peasant pride; but of distant farmers and their cowmen. Whatever they recommended he duly tried, and to no good effect.

Despair began to invade the heart of Henry Hogbin. Men of his breed and training do not easily give in: some of us would as soon have Sussex men by in the hour of danger as the most reliable and canny Scots ever sung of by gushing poets. But here he was up against the most unyielding thing in nature, a fact: and the fact was that he was beaten, and with the proverbial slowness of his race he was beginning to know it.

He was going rather sullenly about his work one day when a quavering voice hailed him. It was the oldest inhabitant, a person of extreme debility and questionable reputation, who was leaning on the yard gate.

“Mornin’,” piped the old man; “how’s dat dere cow?”

“Oo told you about the cow?” said Henry ungraciously. No business of youm, I rackon.”

“’Taint none o’ yourn nuther, seems so!” retorted the village elder, “seein’ as you can’t do ‘er no good.”

Hogbin was silent, crushed by truth and the lack of suitable repartee.

“If you bain’t a fool you’re purty bly of one, not to come an’ ax me,” continued the old man; “an’ it’s only because yer grandad and me was friends, like, that I’ve come to you. Now you do what I say. You go into dat dere cow-shed with dat cow and stay dere all night, an’ whatever you see” (this with tremendous emphasis) “pick it up an’ stick it in the maxin. Mind you, whatever you see.”

The “maxin ” is the Sussex manure-heap. So much, of course, Hogbin fully understood; but the rest of the old man’s meaning was Greek to him. He ran after his aged adviser and begged, even humbly, for further light; but he could extract nothing more.

Hogbin walked slowly back to his work, reflecting on his failure and its probable effect on his reputation. After all, he thought, he had exhausted all orthodox resources, and nothing remained but to try the strange advice of a doddering old man. Strange advice it was, indeed; but though plenty of people could be found to call the oldest inhabitant a “bad lot,” none had ever been heard to suggest that he was a fool. The prevalent idea was, in fact, that he was “leery ”—which term suggests a rogue, but a clever one.

When night fell Hogbin fell also—to the temptation of following the apparently absurd counsel and putting it to the test of experience. He made his way to the shed in which was the rebellious cow, and took his seat on a milking-stool. As yet the night was dark, and in the gloomy byre he could see nothing; but presently the moon rose, and he was able to make out the dim shape of the animal, the window, and some few other objects. This seemed to be all he was likely to see. The old man had said “whatever you see.” Did he mean him to pick up the cow, the shed, and any other articles lying to hand, and stick them in the maxin? Hogbin laughed rather bitterly at his own joke. At any rate, it would do to twit old “grandfer” with on the morrow. He got up stiff, disgusted and sleepy. He would have no more of this nonsense. How could he have been such a fool? What would—–


What on earth was that? An unaccountable sound, evidently out in the yard. It was continuing, too, and coming nearer. Hogbin stole to the door and looked out.

The moon was shining brightly now, and but for the mysterious ting-ting, the yard looked normal. There was nothing to account for the noise, which, however, did not cease.

Ah! what was that?—something moving, certainly, in the shadow, moving towards him and the cow-shed. Soon, if it came nearer, it would be in the moonlight, and he would see.


It was nearing; it was coming into the light; now it was there!

It was a manure-fork walking!

Hogbin would have run if he could, but terror held him spellbound for a while. Then he acted, impelled probably as much by a dim feeling that this marvel had some connection with his trouble as by personal bravery. He ran forward, seized the fork, which struggled like a live thing in his grasp, and stuck it deep into the “maxin.” Then he turned and ran to his home, some distance away.

Next morning he went to the yard with a deep conviction that he had fallen asleep in the cow-shed and dreamt the whole thing.

Not so. Waist-deep in the maxin was an old woman. Hogbin recognized her as an inhabitant of his village.

The cow, he said, thenceforward gave milk as usual.

The Occult Review: April 1915

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire:  But what happened to the old lady in the manure? Was she alive or dead? To be Relentlessly Informative, the word “bly” may be defined as “a resemblance.” [A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect, William Douglas Parish.] That same Dictionary tells us that “maxon” is the term for a manure heap, from “meox,” the Anglo Saxon word for “dung.”  Mr Kenwood, B.A. Cantab, so contemptuous of the Sussex labourer whose ignorance he belabours, seems to have incorrectly transliterated this word, the key to breaking the witch’s spell. But Mrs Daffodil will not stoop to the vulgarism of slinging muck.

There are a few instances of dung used as an anti-witch specific. For example: The buckthorn, made into little crosses and stuck in manure, will, according to a Bohemian superstition, keep one safe from all pranks of witches on their Walpurgis-night. One imagines that this particular Sussex witch, if she found herself alive and in the unpleasant position of being thorax-deep in the maxon, needed no buckthorn to induce her to reverse the spell on the cow.

Witches, of course, were known for turning themselves into hares, cats, and other animate creatures. But the walking manure-fork, is, Mrs Daffodil confesses, a novelty in the annals of witchery despite its resemblance to a pitchfork.

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.


Week-end Compendium 20 February 2016

The wind is howling outside Mrs Daffodil’s window and she wishes she had the fetching fan pictured above to hold outside so she could watch it spin in the breezes, which are more March-lion-like than anything February. As we are half-way through the month of February, Mrs Daffodil reminds any of her marriage-minded readers that it is a Leap Year. Proposals must be drafted; venues and rings selected.

A young man’s impulsive sending of a Valentine has life-changing repercussions, in “What Became of a Valentine.” Moral: “Always be Kind to Seamstresses.”

(That heartless person over at Haunted Ohio also shared a Spiritualist sentiment for the holiday in “The Medium’s Valentine.”)

The little-known history of the techniques behind false-eyelashes in “Art Eyelashes and Eye Winkers.”  Suffering for beauty.

A strange story of a mysterious woman who saves the life of a dying man far from home in “A Curious Porcelain Bowl.”

On Sunday, Mrs Daffodil will relate shocking deeds and vile insults as a ladies’ club in a small town tries to stage a “Lady Washington Tea.”

Over at the Haunted Ohio blog, a young man is tormented by a “discontented daemon” who strangles him, slashes his clothes, and levitates him over his master’s house into a quagmire in “Some Discontented Daemon.” Mrs Daffodil is pursing her lips dubiously.

In a late example of a witchcraft trial, a beautiful foreigner is tried for being “The Witch of Leadville,” in 1899 Colorado.

If one wishes to peruse the Haunted Ohio version of the Weekend Compendium, of a decidedly less elevated tone, one should follow this link.

From the archives, The Chignon Horror: hair-curling horror about what evils lurk in false hair and Chignon Satire: Victorian hairpiece humour.

Also art imitates life or vice-versa? in a story about a green jungle hell and a terrifyingly large spider.  Of special interest to M.R. James fans.

Some of the favourite links of the week: A toothsome post on Irish fairies and Irish food.  Incidentally, “The Fairy Investigation Society” now has an official Face-book page and invites all interested to visit for fairy news and art.

Speaking of “daemons,” EsoterX takes on demon-speak in They Talk Funny in West Hell.

Crash go the chariots: The discovery of the first complete Bronze-age wheel at the site called the “Peterborough Pompeii,” is confounding the experts.


Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.

Chris Woodyard is the author of The Victorian Book of the Dead, The Ghost Wore Black, The Headless Horror, The Face in the Window, and the 7-volume Haunted Ohio series. She is also the chronicler of the adventures of that amiable murderess Mrs Daffodil in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales. The books are available in paperback and for Kindle. Indexes and fact sheets for all of these books may be found by searching hauntedohiobooks.com. Join her on FB at Haunted Ohio by Chris Woodyard or The Victorian Book of the Dead.