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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The lepers of Dunwich, Suffolk

The remains of the leper chapel in Dunwich, located in the grounds of St James' Church, date from the 12th century. The area is supposedly haunted by shapeless shadows  - the unhappy shades of the people who once worshipped there?

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Animal omens

According to folklore, the appearance of a crow could bring good or bad luck. Seeing a lone crow meant bad tidings were coming your way. However, seeing two crows together meant you could expect good fortune.

Dogs were also seen as a way to tell future events. If a dog howled three times it meant someone you knew was going to die. And it was also regarded as a very bad omen if a dog howled at night in or near a home where someone was sick. However, you could protect yourself from this particular death omen by turning over a shoe placed under the bed.

And finally, if a bird flies into your home, expect important news. But if it can't get out ..... expect news of a death.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

And yet more death traditions

A person should hold their breath when walking by a graveyard or they may breathe in the spirit of a person recently buried there.

If a robin flies into a room through a window then a death will soon occur in the household.

If a broken clock suddenly chimes then expect a death in your family. Also, you were expected to stop any clocks in a room where someone has died.

And finally ..... opening a window in the room where a person has just died was supposed to help the soul journey to heaven.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

The Devil Dog

The following story was once told by 'beach-folk' along the East Anglian coast:

An Italian gentleman once appeared in a small seaside hamlet. He spoke English and soon befriended a local fisherboy, offering to take him abroad. The boy refused and so the stranger asked him to look after his dog instead, a large black retriever. 

The Italian left the area, the dog being left in the boy's care. It was noted that the dog and man had never ever been seen together during the gentleman's time there.

The lad often went for a swim in the sea, and the dog always joined him. One day, he swam far out to sea and was horrified to find that the dog would not allow him to return to shore, snapping and snarling at him as he tried to turn for land.

On and on he swam, the dog never far behind. At one point he turned and was terrified to see, not the dog but the face of the Italian! Grinning the man changed back into the dog and made for the boy's neck. At this point, the boy hailed a passing ship and was quickly pulled abroad. The dog, deprived of his victim, dived like a whale, never to be seen again.