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Welsh Folk Lore - Stories Of Satan, Ghosts, Etc.

Mermaids And Mermen
It is said that these fabulous beings frequented the sea-co...

Stories Of Satan Ghosts Etc
Although Max Muller, in Chips from a German Workshop, vol. ...

Satan Playing Cards
A good many years ago I travelled from Pentrevoelas to Yspy...

Satan Playing Cards At A Merry Meeting
It was formerly a general custom in Wales for young lads an...

Satan Playing Cards On Rhyd-y-cae Bridge_ _pentrevoelas
Gwas yn y Gilar a phen campwr ei oes am chwareu cardiau oed...

Satan Snatching A Man Up Into The Air
It would appear that poor Bob was doomed to a sad end. His...

Satan Frightening A Man For Gathering Nuts On Sunday
The following tale was related to me by the Rev. W. E. Jone...

Satan Taking Possession Of A Man Who Fished On Sunday
The following tale is in its main features still current in...

Satan Appearing In Many Forms To A Man Who Travelled On Sunday
I received the following tale from my deceased friend, the ...

The Evil Spirit Appearing To A Man Who Frequented Alehouses On Sunday
Jones writes as follows:--W. J. was once a Sabbath-breaker ...

Satan Outwitted
In the preceding tales the Evil One is depicted as an agent...

Satan And Churches
The traditional stories that are still extant respecting th...

The Ejectment Of The Evil Spirit From Llanfor Church
Mr. Roberts states that his grandmother, born in 1744, had ...

An Evil Spirit In Llandysilio Church Montgomeryshire
The history of this Spirit's proceedings is given in Bye-Go...

A Spirit In Llangerniew Church_ _denbighshire
There was a tradition in this parish that on All-Hallows' E...

Satan And Bell Ringing
Durand, according to Bourne, in his Antiquities of the Comm...

Mysterious Removal Of Churches
I. LLANLLECHID CHURCH. There was a tradition extant i...

Apparitions Of The Devil
To accomplish his nefarious designs the Evil Spirit assumed...

The Devil Appearing To A Dissenting Minister At Denbigh
The Rev. Mr. Thomas Baddy, who lived in Denbigh Town, and w...

The Devil's Tree By Eglwys Rhos
At the corner of the first turning after passing the villag...

Satan Appearing As A Lovely Maiden
The following story I received from the Rev. Owen Jones, Pe...

A Man Carried Away By The Evil One
W. E., of Ll--- M---, was a very bad man; he was a brawler,...

Satan Appearing To A Young Man
A young man, who had left Pentrevoelas to live in a farm ho...

Satan Appearing To A Collier
John Roberts of Colliers' Row, Cyfartha, Merthyr, was once ...

Ghosts Or Spirits
Ghosts, or Spirits, were supposed to be the shades of depar...

The Gloddaeth Ghost
The following tale was told the Rev. Owen Jones, Pentrevoel...

Tymawr Ghost Bryneglwys
This Ghost plagued the servants, pinched and tormented them...

Ffrith Farm Ghost
I am indebted to Mr. Williams, schoolmaster, Bryneglwys, fo...

Pont-y-glyn Ghost
There is a picturesque glen between Corwen and Cerrig-y-Dru...

Ysbryd Ystrad Fawr
Yr oedd Ysbryd yn Ystrad Fawr, ger Llangwm, yn arfer ymddan...

Ty Felin Ghost Llanynys
An exciseman, overtaken by night, went to a house called Ty...

Llandegla Spirit
The tale of this Spirit was given me by Mr. Roberts, late S...

Lady Jeffrey's Spirit
This lady could not rest in her grave because of her misdee...

Pentrevoelas Squire Griffith's Ghost
A couple of workmen engaged at Foelas, the seat of the late...

David Salisbury's Ghost
I will quote from Bye-Gones, vol. iii., p. 211, an account ...

A Ghost Appearing To Point Out Hidden Treasures
There is a farm house called Clwchdyrnog in the parish of L...

The Powis Castle Ghost Revealing A Hidden Box To A Woman
The following is the narrative:--It had been for some time ...

The Spirit Of Llyn-nad-y-forwyn
It is said that a young man was about to marry a young girl...

Spirit Laying
It must have been a consolation to those who believed in th...

Cynon's Ghost
One of the wicked Spirits which plagued the secluded Valley...

Caellwyngrydd Spirit
This was a dangerous Spirit. People passing along the road...

Ghost Raising
If the possibility of Ghost Laying was believed in, so also...

Witches And Conjurors
From and before the days of King Saul, to the present momen...

Llanddona Witches
There is a tradition in the parish of Llanddona, Anglesey, th...

Witches Transforming Themselves Into Cats
One of the forms that witches were supposed to change thems...

The Witches' Revenge On Huw Llwyd
Several months after the occurrence recorded above of Huw L...

A Witch Transformed Into A Hare Injured By One Whom She Tormented
An old woman, thought to be a witch, was said by a neighbou...

A Witch Shot When In The Form Of A Hare
The following tale was told me by the Rev. R. Jones, Rector...

A Witch In The Form Of A Hare In A Churn
In the Spectator, No. 117, are these words:-- If the...

A Hare Crossing The Road
Mr. Jones said that when he was a lad, he and his mother we...

A Witch In The Form Of A Hare Hunted By A Black Greyhound
The writer has heard variants of the following tale in seve...

Early Reference To Witches Turning Themselves Into Hares
The prevalence of the belief that witches could transform t...

Ceridwen And Gwion_ (_gwiawn_) _bach's Transformation
But a striking instance of rapid transition from one form t...

A Man Turned Into A Hare
One of the servant men at Dolfawr, some years before Mr. Wi...

A Man Changed Into A Horse
Mr. Williams writes of the same servant man who figures in ...

A Witch Who Turned A Blue Dye Into A Red Dye
An old hag went to a small farmhouse in Clocaenog parish, a...

A Pig Witched
A woman sold a pig at Beaumaris to a man called Dick y Gree...

A Witch Who Was Refused A Goose And Her Revenge
A witch called at a farm when they were feathering geese fo...

A Horse Witched
Pedws Ffoulk, a supposed witch, was going through a field w...

Cows And Horses Witched
The writer was told the name of the farm where the followin...

Witches Punished
A neighbour, who does not wish to have his name recorded, s...

Conjurors
1. It was formerly believed that men could sell themselves...

Huw Llwyd And His Magical Books
The story, as it has reached our days, is as follows:--It i...

The Magician's Glass
This glass, into which a person looked when he wished to so...

A Conjuror And Robbers
A conjuror, or Gwr Cyfarwydd, was travelling over the Denbi...

The Conjuror And The Cattle
R. H., a farmer in Llansilin parish, who lost several head ...

A Conjuror's Collusion Exposed
This man's house consisted of but few rooms. Between the kit...

The Conjuror's Dress
Conjurors, when engaged in their uncanny work, usually wore...

Charms
The cure of diseases by charms is generally supposed to be ...

Swyno'r 'ryri (charming The Shingles)
The shingles is a skin disease, which encircles the body li...

A Charm For The Shingles
This custom (charming for the shingles) was more prevalent ...

Toothache Charms
By repeating the following doggerel lines the worst case of...

Rosemary Charm For Toothache
Llosg ei bren (Rhosmari) hyd oni bo yn lo du, ac yna dyro e...

Whooping Cough Charm
Children suffering from whooping cough were taken to a seve...

Charm For Fits
A ring made out of the offertory money was a cure for fits....

Charm For Cocks About To Fight
The charm consisted of a verse taken from the Bible, writte...

Charm For Asthma
Place the Bible for three successive nights under the bolst...

Charms For Warts
1. Drop a pin into a holy well and your warts will disappe...

Charm For Removing A Stye From The Eye
Take an ordinary knitting needle, and pass it back and fore...

Charms For Quinsy
Apply to the throat hair cut at midnight from the black sho...

Charming The Wild Wart
Take a branch of elder tree, strip off the bark, split off ...

Charm For Rheumatism
Carry a potato in your pocket, and when one is finished, su...

Charm For Removing The Ringworm
1. Spit on the ground the first thing in the morning, mix ...

Cattle Charms
Mr. Hamer in his Parochial Account of Llanidloes published ...

Charm Against Foot And Mouth Disease
The cattle on a certain farm in Llansilin parish suffered f...

Another Cattle Charm Spell
Mr. Hughes, Plasnewydd, Llansilin, lost several head of cat...

A Charm For Stopping Bleeding
Mrs. Reynolds, whom I have already mentioned in connection ...

Charm To Make A Servant Reliable
Y neb a fyno gael ei weinidog yn gywir, doded beth o'r llud...

Charms Performed With Snake's Skin
1. Burn the skin and preserve the ashes. A little salve m...

The Charms Performed With Rosemary
Rosemary dried in the sun and made into powder, tied in a c...

Charm For Clefyd Y Galon_ _or Heart Disease
The Rev. J. Felix, vicar of Cilcen, near Mold, when a young...



Satan And Bell Ringing






Category: STORIES OF SATAN, GHOSTS, ETC.

Durand, according to Bourne, in his Antiquities of the Common People,
ed. 1725, p. 17, was of opinion that Devils were much afraid of bells,
and fled away at the sound of them. Formerly, in all parts of Wales, the
passing bell was tolled for the dying. This is a very ancient custom
being alluded to by the Venerable Bede--

When the bell begins to toll,
Lord, have mercy on the soul.

A small hand bell was also rung by the parish clerk as he preceded the
funeral procession, and the church bell was tolled before, at, and after
the burial. I do not know whether this was done because the people,
entertaining Durand's opinion, wished to save the souls and bodies of
their departed friends from Satan. Reference is often made to small
handbells in parish terriers, and they are enumerated in those documents
with other church property. Thus, in Llanfair Dyffryn Clwyd terrier,
1729, among the articles mentioned as belonging to the church is a small
bell:--

A little bell to be rung before the corps.

In Rhuddlan terrier, 1791, we find:--

One small bell, and another small corps bell.

I may say that there is hardly a terrier belonging to a Church in North
Wales which does not mention this portable handbell. Although the modern
reason given for their use at funerals was, that all impediments might be
removed from the roads before the funeral procession arrived, still it is
probable that the custom at one time meant something more than this. The
custom does not at present exist.

Giraldus Cambrensis thus alludes to these handbells:--

I must not omit that the portable bells . . . were held in great
reverence by the people and clergy both in Ireland, Scotland, and
Wales; insomuch that they had greater regard for oaths sworn on these
than on the gospels.--Bohn's Edition, p. 146.

As it was thought that the Passing Bell was originally intended to drive
away the Evil Spirit hovering about in readiness to seize the soul of the
deceased, so it might have been thought that the tolling of these
handbells at funerals kept the Great Enemy away from the body about to be
consigned to consecrated ground. But from a couple of lines quoted by
Bourne, p. 14, from Spelman, in which all the ancient offices of bells
seem to be included, it does not appear that this opinion was then
current. The lines are:--

Laudo Deum verum, Plebem voco, congrego Clerum,
Defunctos ploro, pestem fugo, Festa decoro.

I praise the true God, call the people, convene the Clergy,
Lament the dead, dispel pestilence, grace Festivals.

There is nothing in these lines corroborative of Durand's opinion, but as
I do not know the age of the lines I cannot controvert his opinion, but
if it was believed that the tolling of a bell could drive away
pestilence, well can it be understood that its sound could be credited
with being inimical to Evil Spirits, and that it sent them away to other
places to seek for rest.

It certainly was an opinion, according to Croker, entertained in Ireland
and elsewhere, that the dwarfs or fairies, were driven away from places
by the ringing of the bells of churches, and Croker in his Fairy Legends
of Ireland, vol. ii., p. 106, states that Thiele collected traditions
according to which the Troldes leave the country on the ringing of bells,
and remain away. Thus these mythic beings are confounded with Satan;
indeed Croker remarks (vol. i., p. 46) The notion of fairies, dwarfs,
brownies, etc., being excluded from salvation, and of their having formed
part of the crew that fell with Satan, seems to be pretty general all
over Europe. He instances Ireland, Denmark, and Spain.

Bells certainly were objects of great superstition. In Dyer's English
Folk-Lore, p. 264, it is stated that--Wynkin de Worde tells us that
bells are rung during thunder storms, to the end that fiends and wicked
Spirits should be abashed and flee and cease the moving of the tempest.

Croker also remarks in vol. ii., p. 140, of the above-named work:--The
belief in fairies and Spirits prevailed over all Europe long before the
introduction of Christianity. The teachers of the new faith endeavoured
to abolish the deeply-rooted heathenish ideas and customs of the people,
by representing them as sinful and connected with the Devil. In this
way the Devil inherited many attributes that once belonged to the
Fairies, and these beings were spoken of as Evil Spirits, Fiends, or
Devils.

I now come to another kind of Welsh Folk-Lore associated with fairies,
Evil Spirits, or some mysterious power, that is the removal of churches
from one site to another. The agency employed varies, but the work of
the day disappeared in the night, and the materials were found, it is
said, the next morning, on the spot where the church was to be erected.





Next: Mysterious Removal Of Churches

Previous: A Spirit In Llangerniew Church_ _denbighshire



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