We have just added an exciting new item to our OGOM and Supernatural Cities present: The Urban Weird Conference programme: A Boggart workshop!!! Dr Ceri Houlbrook, an ECR at University of Hertfordshire and folklore specialist, will be using a wide range of material, from the pens of antiquarians to local ballads and oral histories, to explore the history and folklore of Boggart Hole Clough, where today, still, ‘there lurks that strange elf’.
Here are some extracts from the curious history of the Mancunian Boggart from Ceri (I love that he resides in Manchester, it is my first city):
Not far from the little snug smoky village of Blakeley, or Blackley, there lies one of the most romantic of dells, rejoicing in a state of singular seclusion, and in the oddest of Lancashire names, to wit the “Boggart-Hole.” … You descend, clinging to the trees and scrambling as best you may, – and now you stand on haunted ground! Tread softly, for this is the Boggart’s clough; and see in yonder dark corner, and beneath the projecting mossy stone, where the dusky sullen cave yawns before us, like a bit of Salvator’s best, there lurks that strange elf, the sly and mischievous Boggart. (John Roby, Traditions of Lancashire, 1829)
‘This description of Boggart Hole Clough dates to the early 19th century. Nearly 200 years later and the area has changed dramatically. No longer a ‘little snug smoky village’, Blackley is now a Manchester suburb, and this ‘most romantic of dells’ has become an urban park. The Boggart, however, is still very much in residence’ (Ceri Houlbrook).
I’m beyond excited about this! Ceri has recently joined our FB group so please give her a warm welcome at OGOM!