Exploring the Magical World of Earth : Tales and Legends from Our great Ancestors

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I started to explore my surrounding area for genealogy purpose at first. Then I felt guided to explore the Legends of my Area/state. So these articles will talk about those people. <br>Some are scary with their behavior lol. Hopefully I will be able to extand to others area. <br>Welcome in

North of France start with 2 departments; First one is called the " Pas-de-calais" which is on the side of the sea in front of England; and "the Nord (North)" which is next to Belgium. I will add a map to help you see where all started.

This area was occupied quiet often. It it said Celts, lived there first, then Romans, Germans as well Vickings came around. The names of our cities are a mix of all of them.

Let's started...

 

"In Artois the fantastic beings are found.

The Ternois and the Boulonnais seem to be their favorite places.

In Pierremont, near St Pol sur Ternoise, there is a place called Buisson-des-gobelins, but these goblins are forgotten today.

One does not speak any more either about the goblins or lutons.
About fifty years ago, there was a question in these campaigns, of the latusées "worn laths" of the frames.

The belief in werewolves was still widespread in the 19th century.

It was said that in St pol and Montreuil, the souls of the excommunicated took the form of wolves and howled sinisterly.

The will-o'-the-wisps inspired vague fears.
In Ligny les Aires they were witches and more often souls in pain.

Marie Groette finally holds a great place in the artesian beliefs.

 

The imaginary bestiary specific to the Pas-de-Calais is abundant, and includes many creatures known by particular names, such as the werewolves who are called leuwarou or léwarou, or the Devil, called ech'Mau.

Chelle fureulle
This is the chi'ti (language spoken in north called "patois" )name for feu follet, beings in the shape of small flames reputed to mislead travelers who met them. A story mentions that a feu follet in the town of Saint-Pol, in October 1902, caused a small explosion when it came into contact with the flame of a worker's lantern.

Pale horses (19')

Legendary horses are mentioned in the folklore of Artois, Ternois and in the Boulonnais, as fabulous and diabolic animals. The white mare is a generally evil mare, which appeared at dusk or in the middle of the night to deceive children and men. She would tempt them to ride her and her back could stretch to accommodate, usually, up to seven riders. As soon as they were well installed on her back, the mare would lead them into traps or throw them into the water. It is mentioned in Samer. Very similar creatures are also present, among others the white horse, the white horse of Maisnil or the one of Vaudricourt, which carried twenty children and ended up drowning them, or ech'goblin (the goblin again nothern language lol), which wore a necklace with bells to attract its victims.

The white mare is mentioned in detail in a letter from a doctor, Mr. Vaidy, to Mr. Eloi Johanneau, on June 4, 1805 in Samer. It is recorded by the Celtic Academy:

    "Finally, my dear friend, I went to visit the Tombelles, guided by a peasant woman who told me, without my asking, that this place was the cemetery of a foreign army that had occupied the vicinity of Questreque, long ago. This ancient burial ground is today a small communal plot of land, situated half a league south of Samer, and three quarters of a league south-west of Questreque, in an arid plain, at the foot of the mount of Blanque-Jument (...) The mount of Blanque-Jument, according to the tradition of the inhabitants of Samer, is so named, because one used to see on its summit a white mare, of a perfect beauty, which did not belong to any master, and which approached passers-by familiarly and presented its rump to them to ride. All the wise people were careful not to give in to such a seduction. But one day, an unbeliever had the temerity to ride the white mare and was immediately struck down and crushed. Since that time, the mare, or rather the spirit that had taken this form, has not appeared again.

- Dr Vaidy, Memoirs of the Celtic Academy

Ech goblin,(Ech = the) also known as qu'vau blanc, or ch'gvo blanc (white horse written in é different version in north language) , is a creature very close to the blanc mare, mentioned in the 19th century as a kind of goblin, more precisely a goblin capable of taking the form of a fantastic mammal with a long white coat, and wearing a collar around its neck decorated with bells. The melodious sound of these bells makes people and especially children ride the animal as soon as they hear it. The ech goblin's back grows longer as people ride it. When it carries enough, it runs at full speed to the nearest river to drown its riders. At night, this creature would hide in quarries or excavations along roads leading to the forest.

Until the 1830s, Ech goblin was evoked to frighten disobedient children, to whom one said "Gare a ti, v'lo ch'goblin",(beware, here comes the goblin) essentially in the region of Saint-Pol-sur-Ternoise, near Béthune. Ech goblin was also the name given to the carriage of the mud collectors in the region, to which was harnessed a horse or a donkey equipped with bells...

 

Two similar creatures are mentioned in Vaudricourt, one as a gray donkey and the other as a white horse.

Claude Seignolle speaks in his Evangiles of the Devil of a gray donkey that appeared in the square of Vaudricourt during midnight mass and obediently allowed itself to be ridden by the children who were fleeing the church, while stretching out its back so that twenty of them could sit on it. When the mass was over, he ran off at full speed and plunged into a trough where all his victims were drowned. Since then, this horse reappears every Christmas night carrying the damned children, goes around the village, returns to its starting point at midnight and returns to the trough from which it came14.

Pierre Dubois mentions the same story in his Encyclopedia of Fairies, but this time it is about a "magnificent white horse" that drowns its young riders in a bottomless pond, and disappears into an abyss after each of its reappearances on Christmas Day.

 

Symbolism by Mankind

The Blanque mare (the white horse) and its equivalents in the west of the Pas-de-Calais have characteristics very similar to those of other fabulous horses in popular folklore, particularly in France and Germany. The Dictionary of Symbols cites a large number of "nefarious horses, accomplices of swirling waters ". The exact origin of these legends is not known, but as early as the Roman period, Tacitus evoked white horses in sacred groves, which fascinated the populations. These fabulous horses could be the result of the memory of ritual horse sacrifices practiced by the Gauls, who most often performed them in water, as an "offering to the powers of the elements" or in honor of the Sun. Finally, some elements are related to the legend of the horse Bayard, which Charlemagne tried to drown by tying a millstone around his neck. Bayard has the peculiarity of having a spine that stretches out to carry the four Aymon brothers, just like the white mare. Henri Dontenville would have seen in Bayard a myth derived from the sacred horse of the Germans, which would itself have given the blanque mare and the bian horse, but Bayard is clearly described as reddish-brown.

According to Bernard Coussée, the elongated spine of the blanque mare, found in many other legends about fairy horses, is a later addition, influenced by other legends, since stories about white horses that drown the unwary had been circulating in the Pas-de-Calais for a long time, and their function was to scare children away from dangerous areas. According to Henri Dontenville, this is a serpentine, or at least reptilian, characteristic. Indeed, "you only have to watch a snake or simply an earthworm to understand where this myth comes from".

There are many other horses in French folklore with extendable rumps and backs or a link to water, as mentioned by the elficologist Pierre Dubois in his Encyclopedia of Fairies, citing the Mallet horse, Bayard (one of the few not mentioned as evil), the horse of Guernsey, or the horse of Albret, along with the Blanque mare. Most of these "fairy horses" end up drowning their riders after they try to ride them. Pierre Dubois says that "these animals are descended from Pegasus and Unicorns, if they have become fierce, it is because men have not known how to tame them". The story is often very similar, and features a beautiful pale horse appearing in the middle of the night, which is gently ridden, before escaping the control of its rider(s). One way to get rid of it is to make a sign of the cross, or to recite three Our Fathers

 

White color


The appearance of a white horse is not always a good sign. Here, a painting by James Ward (1769-1869).

The "lunar" white color of these animals is that of cursed horses. Several works, such as the Dictionary of Symbols, focus on these "pale and pallid" horses, whose symbolism is the opposite of Uranian white horses, such as Pegasus. According to Jean-Paul Clébert, these are animals with a "nocturnal, lunar, cold and empty" whiteness. Like a shroud or a ghost, they evoke mourning, like the white mount of one of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, which announces death. Henri Gougaud attributes the same symbolism to the white mare, "nocturnal, livid like the mists, the ghosts, the sweat". It is an inversion of the usual symbolism of the color white, a "deceptive appearance" and a "confusion of genres. Many also see it as an archetype of the horses of death, the white mare shares the same symbolism as the Bian horse of the Vosges or the German Schimmelreiter, an animal of the marine catastrophe that breaks the dykes during storms, and of which it is a negative and sinister "close relative". In England and Germany, to meet a white horse is a sign of bad omen or death.

Nature and function

These equine creatures of the Pas-de-Calais are all more or less assimilated to the transformation of a spirit, an imp or the Devil himself. The Celtic Academy assures that the white mare of Boulonnais is the manifestation of a spirit, and Claude Seignolle assimilates the grey donkey of Vaudricourt to a transformation of the Devil into an animal. Édouard Brasey sees in the white mare and the Schimmel Reiter wispy spirits or bogeymen in charge of frightening disobedient children, as opposed to the Mallet horse which would be a form of the Devil himself Ech Goblin is assimilated to a goblin, i.e. a kind of goblin which was transformed to frighten children. Ch'qu'vau blanc is the same goblin, which takes the form of a white animal.

A study on changelins notes that "at the water's edge, the silhouettes of the goblin and the horse tend to merge". According to another study on the dwarf in the Middle Ages, there are very close links between goblins and fantasy horses (or fairy horses) because, in songs of gesture as well as in more modern folklore, when the little people adopt an animal form, it is most often that of a horse. The Japanese author Yanagida sees in this a ritual transformation of the horse into the liquid element, and notes that since the Neolithic period, the water geniuses have had a relationship with equines."

 

I don't know if there a demons creature made by man but I also want to add since the Celtic Academy says it's the apparition of a spirit, Angel Layliel my mom has the White Stallion as her animals, they say "that their function was to keep children away from dangerous areas by scare them." "Lailah is the guardian of children from ages 13 and under. She cares for the innocent souls who have not yet been corrupted by worldly things. She came to provide comfort " and she is often confused for the tooth fairy a demon projection created by man itself LOL

 

Gra-mère à chindes (sand grandmother I think )
The gra-mère à chindes is the equivalent of the sandman in the Pas-de-Calais. She used to throw ashes or dust in the eyes of children to put them to sleep.

 

Cauqu'male (I don't know the nightmare man maybe ? LOOL)
Cauqu'male is a fantastic being who used to sit on the chest of the sleepers to suffocate them and cause them horrible nightmares.

 

Boogeymen I think you know those one too

The lattusées are monstrous creatures living in the attics, of which one frightened the children. The grandfather loripette used his hood to carry away children who were not good enough. These bricassies (nothern word I don't know the french translation It's a smilar name for boogeymen) were also used to scare children who wanted to go out at night.

 

The flayers
Sort of ghosts, they appeared as two beaters armed with a flail (flayer), and prevented travelers from passing near Saint-Pol-sur-Ternoise.

 

 

 


So now let's give you a first Legend in the city called Mont-Saint-Eloi, near the Hamlet of Ecoivres

The stones of the devil :

 



Near the chaussée brunehaut, at the limit of Mont Saint Eloi are two small menhirs called the stones of the devil or twin stones.
A legend is attached to them:

Satan had offered his services to the queen Brunehaut to build a road to the country of the Morins.
A pact was made: the work would be done in one night, if it was finished before the first crow of the cock, the soul of the queen would belong to the devil.

But Brunehaut is wise and deceives this unsuspecting devil.
Before the day, she will wake up her rooster which starts to sing.
Furious, Satan who had not completed his work, throws in a field two enormous stones that he was holding at the time: they are the two twin stones.

The second version of the Legend is the following. A farmer would have exchanged his soul with the Devil against the promise to build his farm in one night, the end of the night being marked again by the crowing of the rooster at dawn. But, in order to foil the Devil, the farmer's wife woke the rooster early. The Devil, in his anger, would then have dropped the last two stones he was holding in his hand into the field

~~~~~~

 

The doubt remains on the time of their erection, either in the Neolithic period and it would then be two menhirs, or in the Carolingian period and it would then be steles.

In 1820, the Count of Brandt-de-Galametz, owner of the land, carried out excavations near the stones. He discovered, in the space between the two stones, coffins made of rough sandstone containing iron weapons. The presence of this grave, perhaps contemporary with the monoliths, casts doubt on a possible Neolithic origin. However, the tomb may be later than the erection of the megaliths.

The chronicles of the abbey of Mont-Saint-Eloi, written by Georges Wartel1, mention the following text:
"Monsieur le comte de Brandt de Marconne, seigneur d'Escoivres, made excavation at the foot of these enormous masses, in 1763, believing to find there some inscription, coins, or some other monument suitable to clear up this point of history, but he was frustrated of his hopes. "

 

And to finish

Girls of Acq

Some girls from Acq, coming back late from a ball in Villers-au-Bois, would have been punished and transformed into sandstone statues on their way back. This is why these stones are also called Les Demoiselles d'Acq

Baudouin Bras-de-Fer

"The chronicles of the abbey of Mont-Saint-Eloi and the oral tradition attribute the presence of these stones to Baldwin I of Flanders, who would have erected them in 862, in commemoration of the victories won over the French king Charles II the Bald "

Baldwin is said to have abducted the daughter of the French king, Judith, in order to make her his wife, and thus triggered Charles' anger. Defeated in battle by Baldwin, Charles granted him his daughter and made Flanders a county.

 

Picture

 

 

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