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The Fylde Hag

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#1 KlaineyGStudy


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Posted 08 August 2019 - 04:40 AM

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Meg Shelton the Fylde Witch or the (Fylde Hag)  died in 1705. It is said she is buried beneath a large boulder in the grounds of St Anne’s Church, Woodplumpton. She was buried in a vertical headfirst position, with the boulder placed on top of her grave to prevent her from digging her way out of the grave.

Locals stated, Meg was mischievous and used her witchy powers to steal from the local community. One of the many stories of Meg had her stealing milk from cows in a field, disguising her jug as a goose. The farmer did not pay much attention to Meg and her goose until he saw milk dripping from the animal’s bill. He approached the goose then gave it a good kick, at which point it transformed back into a jug and shattered, spilling all the milk that Meg had stolen. Infuriated with being caught, Meg flew away.Posted Image

Meg was said to walk with a pronounced limp which was an injury she obtained whilst in the form of a rabbit. The story relating to this is incident is that she made a bet with her landlord that she could turn into a rabbit and race his dogs from Wesham to the cottage she rented in Catforth. One condition of the bet was the landlord could not release a large fierce black dog that he owned; Meg thought it was too dangerous! The prize for winning the race would be the cottage she rented. The landlord, of course, set his black dog after Meg and it bit into her hind leg just as she got through the cottage door.

Another story had a young girl outwitting Meg whilst the witch was sat in a chair in front of a fire. The girl trapped her in the chair somehow by sticking a bodkin, crossed with two weaver’s healds on her dress

On another occasion, Mag was said to have turned herself into a sack of corn in a farmer’s barn to steal food from him. However, the shrewd farmer, seeing he had one sack too many decided to stab each sack with a pitchfork, just to be sure they were filled with corn. When he stabbed the transformed Meg she let out a scream, returning to her usual appearance and fled.

Meg died by being crushed to death between a barrel and a wall. Then, of course, Posted ImageMeg made two attempts to dig herself from her grave, before locals foiled any further attempts by burying her headfirst in a very narrow shaft and capping the grave off with the large rock. Their rationale: If Meg tried to dig herself out again she would be digging in the wrong direction....Poor Meg it must have worked!

Meg's Ghost?

There is an account from the1920’s where a boy encountered a strange-looking woman in the churchyard who scared him away and it was thought to be Meg’s ghost.

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#2 True North

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Posted 08 August 2019 - 07:52 PM

This could very well be a case of invented 'posthumous witchery'. People who are outcasts, or not well-liked to begin with, make good candidates to cast as witches when this kind of culprit is needed.

Back in those days, when items or livestock would mysteriously go missing, or animals suddenly become lame, or it was a bad harvest that year, or people were falling ill etc, communities would often 'solve' these problems (i.e. ease the rising tensions between frightened/hungry/angry/quarreling townsfolk and families) by foisting all their miscontent upon a scapegoat / some supposed witch. By dealing with this individual, the community would 'exorcise' it's problems.

Who makes a good scapegoat/witch? A mutually-acceptable social outcast or oddball who preferably doesn't have much in the way of family and friends, or none at all (as there won't be family and friends to protest, and so placing all the blame on them won't divide the community).

As handy as the above solution is though, there's still the bothersome task (and immoral task, if you understand the person's just a scapegoat) of carrying out the punishment. And so, what's an even better solution? Who makes an even better scapegoat/witch? A dead, mutually-acceptable social outcast or oddball (cause if they're already dead there's no punishment to carry out). Convenient huh?

Simply perform whatever religious rites or take whatever measures you think are necessary to prevent all that pesky rising from the grave and getting up to no good that the person's been doing lately. Problem solved. Everyone dusts off their hands and gets back to regular day-to-day life.

The stories are cool. They definitely fit the witch tale templates.

Edited by True North, 08 August 2019 - 11:17 PM.

#3 KlaineyGStudy


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Posted 09 August 2019 - 03:01 AM

Yes, it would have been a very scary immoral time to live in. Thanks for your reply True North :)
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#4 PIT leader

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Posted 09 August 2019 - 07:40 AM

The link to the BBC page in the article is interesting too. The summary itself is very short but the comments are full of experiences and urban myths/rituals from local people that are definitely worth a read and add to the whole story. I'm surprised "Time Team" (UK TV Show) or some other archaeology group haven't used any of their techniques to find out if she really is buried under the boulder.
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