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The Buggane

The Buggane is a fearsome supernatural creature from the rich folklore of The Isle of Man. It appears in literature in various forms, usually having the power to shape shift. In one of its forms it is associated with water, and is similar to the Cabbyl-Ushtey the Manx Water Horse. In appearance it was like a large black calf but could transform into a man to lure people to their doom, disappearing under the water with the sound of rattling chains.

The Glen Maye Buggane, which haunted the Spooty Wooar waterfall was one of this ilk changing into the form of a man in an attempt to carry of a young woman to its lair, fortunately she managed to cut her Apron strings and escape. This tale appears in 'A Manx Scrap Book' by Peter Gill(1)

In its other form it was a creature of the otherworld capable of growing to an enormous size, described as having a mane of course black hair, sharp tusks, eyes like flaming torches, black wrinkled skin, sharp claws and cloven feet. One such creature was prone to tearing the roof off St Trinians Church near Mount Greeba. A Taylor took a bet to sow a shirt in the church managing to escape just as the Buggane broke from under the earth. The two tales show that there was quite a wide range of forms the Buggane was capable of, and it may have been a generic term for a Manx supernatural creature.

(1) Katherine Briggs, A Dictionary of Fairies.

Image Copyright: 
Andy Paciorek



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