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31 December - A version of burning out the old year, locals walk down the street with blazing tar barrels on their heads. Some of these are then thrown to light a bonfire.
The Laidly (Northumbrian for loathsome) worm was once a beautiful princess named Margaret, who lived in Bamburgh Castle. Her stepmother was a witch who, due to jealousy, cast a spell changing the princess into a huge worm. The worm’s breath caused vegetation to shrivel, and it demanded the milk of seven cows every day. Read More »
This account of a haunting is considered to be one of the earliest possible accounts of a vampire in Britain. It was written by William Parvus, also known as William of Newburgh (or Newbury) (Born 1136 – Died 1198), an Augustinian Canon who wrote several accounts of haunting/potential vampire cases. Read More »
There is a tradition in the North of England and Scotland pertaining to special stones brought over from Ireland that have the ability to heal snake bites on cattle. In Irish Charms in Northern England, Denzil Webb referred to an article by William Morley Egglestone, which appeared in the March 1889 edition of the Monthly Chronicle of North-Country Lore and Legend. Read More »
September 1942, Cresswell radar base near Newbiggin-by-the-Sea. Albert Lancashire (then 27), was on duty when he spotted a light source in the sky that went behind a cloud (or a dark mist in other versions). Then a yellow beam about a foot wide shone out of the object and moved to shine directly in Albert's face. Read More »
The Grade I listed Featherstone Castle is a large country house not far from Hadrian’s Wall. A murdered bridal party is said to haunt the castle on the anniversary of the wedding date, though this is more of a traditional story rather than a reported and witness supported experience. Read More »
Well, anyone that knows me knows that pubs and ghosts are two of my favourite things so luckily this book on Ghost Taverns of the North East handily combines the two. Read More »
In the Historical Register of Remarkable Events by John Sykes (1833) a strange visitor to Berwick-upon-Tweed is mentioned. In September 1757 a six foot long green coloured shark was caught by a net in the River Tweed just above the bridge at Berwick. Read More »
In 793AD monks at the monastery of St Cuthbert witnessed 'dragons' flying in the sky and other strange sky-bourne portents. Shortly after the sighting in January, the monastery was attacked and razed by Viking invaders. The dragons were seen as an evil omen. (This is taken from the Anglo Saxon Chronicles).
In a wood near to the town of Longwitton there are three wells reputed to have healing powers. The waters were used far and wide for healing purposes. Read More »
The construction of Hadrian's Wall began in AD122. It measured 73 miles and ran from Segedunum at Wallsend, across the width of the country to Bowness on Solway in Cumbria. Each mile there was a gateway through the wall which could be found at a milecastle, which was effectively a small fortlet and equally spaced between each milescastle were two turrets. Read More »
According to local folklore, before 1715 there were no venomous snakes in the Derwent Valley, but after the execution of the Earl of Derwentwater an abundance of adders started to appear along the length of the river Derwent. Read More »
4 July - Whalton Baal Festival is a traditional Midsummer fire festival, probably deriving from Celtic times. Baal derives from an old word for light.
"Wolf at Large in Allendale" was the headline of The Hexham Courant on 10th December 1904. The Courant reported that in the last three weeks, farmers around the village of Allendale were stabling their animals at night as loss of livestock had become a serious concern. Read More »