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West Country Folklore & Superstition


Here are some remarkable recordings by John B Smith of Bristol University in which he interviews a number of West Country speakers, in the first instance for their dialect, but, in this case, revealing some of their personal beliefs and superstitions. The selected speakers are from Cornwall, Devon, Dorset & Somerset - Bill Cole (Altarnum, Launceston, Cornwall), Percy Brook (South Zeal, Okehampton, Devon), Tom House (Ansty, Blandford, Dorset), Bill Tuck (Beaminster, Dorset) - Ernest Shire (Churchinford, Taunton, Somerset), Mrs Ayres (Blackborough, Honiton, Somerset), Mr. & Mrs. Webber (Luxborough, Watchet, Somerset)

  Altarnum Chapel

The Legend of Dolzmeny Pool - Tregeagle - the ghost that couldn't be shot - a Cornish lady in black - the sailor & a haunted house - 'witched cattle and cure - father's pony & trap - Isiah's bush - man who cheated flies - road that went nowhere - metal against witches - World coming to an end - warts by telling - toads for spells - gypsy spell on cow - funeral coach spectre - headless horseman - adders & stinging nettles - quack doctor at the fair - a visiting herbalist - warts and tapeworms - ringworms & witch - stopping nose-bleeds - snakes - wortleberry jam - the way we talk - ghosts, white dog rattling chains, gypsies - witches and conjurers - a frog for King's Evil - Fanny Pope turns into a hare - horse's legs - ringworm - murder & crystal ball - witchcraft & spells - instincts - drunkenness - drug-taking - education - flying saucers - the Savage Mind - radio and TV - a secret weapon in the First World War







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