Author: Daniel Parkinson

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The Brahan Seer

The Brahan Seer is undoubtedly the most famous of all Celtic seers although the reality of the 17th Century Coinneach Odhar Fiosaiche or Kenneth Mackenzie is hidden deep in legend. The roots of these legends may have come from a holy man in the 1600’s, about whom legends have grown with the years.

Glen Spey Distillery

There are 5 distilleries in the town of Rothes but only one has the reputation for being haunted, and that is the Glen Spey distillery, which is owned by Diageo and has only recently produced its own malt – a 12 year old from the flora and fauna series.

Glenashdale falls

Glenashdale falls is one of the most impressive waterfalls in the West of Scotland, situated on the Isle of Arran, a short ferry ride from the mainland, the area is full of sites of archaeological interest.

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Earth Dogs

A mythical creature that may be confined to one area of Banffshire in Scotland, according to Walter Grigor in his ‘Notes on the folklore of NE Scotland’ published in 1881, the Yird Swine were a “dreaded ..animal” that lived in graveyards and burrowed through the earth feeding on the dead bodies.

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The Flying Dutchman

The Flying Dutchman is the most famous example of a phantom ship, although its true origins are now lost in the mists of time. It is the prime folk motif of this type, appearing in various adaptations and in literature, most recently given graphic solidity in the Pirates of the Caribbean films.

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Turnip Lanterns

Long before carving pumpkins became a staple of Halloween there was a tradition of carving turnips to create lanterns on the 31st of October. These lanterns were left overnight on gateposts, doorways and in windows in many parts of Britain.

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The Elder Mother, Elder Tree

In Danish folk belief every Elder Tree is inhabited and protected by a female spirit known as the Hyldemoer, and is revered as a sacred tree. This tradition may have some parallels in Britain, as I heard a similar folk belief when I was growing up in England. I was told that the tree was guarded by a female spirit and it was unlucky to bring the wood into the house.

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The Ankou

The Ankou was a grim harvester of souls from the dark side of Brittany folklore, once believed to ride the dark lanes of Brittany in search of unwary travellers and the benighted.

The Ankou came in many guises, most commonly as a gangling skeletal figure with long white hair and a revolving head so he could look in every direction, his features shaded by a long brimmed hat.