Folklore and Fiction: Hybrid Creatures from the Owl Man to the Demon Dog

I am always pleased to find references to English folklore so I just wanted to make mention of this lively and accessible article by Nic Rigby from the BBC site. Serpents, Owl Men and Demon Dogs discusses the way British writers have drawn on stories of mythical and fantastical creatures from the Lambton Worm to the Essex Serpent and the Cornish Owl-man. Other wonders of British folklore Spring Heeled-Jack and Black Shuck or the demon dog have been mentioned on the blog previously and continue to be of interest to OGOM. No mention of Old Stinker, the Hull werewolf here, and I am saving the myth of the Cumberland Cockatrice (dragon’s body and tail with a cock’s head) that informed my childhood for another post!  It is interesting how many of these English myths are about hybrid creatures and I am currently reading The Impossible Zoo: An Encyclopedia of Fabulous Beasts and Mythical Monsters by Leo Ruickbier which is wonderful to dip into and browse and I just had to buy a copy from the shop at the Wellcome Collection. They currently have  a Making Nature: How We See Animals exhibition which includes faux taxonomy and crazy taxidermy. I tweeted some images from this and  found it  very pertinent indeed (I will add a post on it soon).  The theme of hybridity will be further explored in a performance called Sheep Pig Goat on 14th March. Still time to grab some tickets!

 

About Lucy Northenra

Senior Lecturer in Literature, University of Hertfordshire
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