Introduction

Hi and welcome to my site.
Cheshire is full of weird and wonderful stories of the supernatural, local heores and the mysterious.
I will take you on a tour as I look deep into the Cheshire that lies underneath the wonderful countryside and find the secrets that still hide there.
What magic and long lost secrets will we find?
So, sit back and enjoy my journey. This is a land of Magic, Knights, Dragons, Wizards, Witches, Boggarts, Murder, Ghosts and Old Forgotten Knowledge.


I would love to hear your stories as well. So if you have anything you would like me to look into and find information out, please let me know.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

ANIMALS




What is Cheshire's most famous animal?

Of course, THE CHESHIRE CAT.


In this section, I will look at all animals, whether they are real or myth.





CATS

Lewis Carroll made this animal famous when he wrote about it in Alice's Adventure in Wonderland. The cat disappears leaving behind its grin. But what has a grinning cat got to do with Cheshire. I will list a few examples of where the saying could have come from and then let you deside -----

--- an unhappy sign painter trying to represent the lion of the Egerton family on boards outside a few inns. Very few people knew what a growling lion looked like and most painting from this time looked more like a large furry cat smiling.
--- the arms of the Earls of Chester (which is a wolf's head) has sometimes been mistaken for a grinning cat.
--- local Cheshire Cheese was commonly fashioned into various animal shapes years ago. One of these was a grinning cat.
--- the British Blue Cat are known for a smiling expression and these cats were popular in Cheshire.
--- one of the ancient Celtic tribes living in this area during the Roman occupation were called Cornovii, whose symbol was a cat. They were known as and Cheshire is still known by this "PEOPLE OF THE CAT".

--- there is a rock feature known as the Cat Stones, which are part of The Cloud. This area, it is said, that people came here from about the second century to worship the Moon Goddess. There are some carvings in stone on Bidston Hill, these show the Moon Goddess. She has a moon at her feet and the face of a cat. Did the same people who made the carvings also worship at The Cloud.


--- there is also something known as The Cheshire Smile or Cheshire Grin. This was a term once widely used in Cheshire as a form of death for poachers. They had their throats cut from ear to ear, hence the smile.

Cats have always been associated in legends.


In Egypt, a cat was so important that if you killed a cat, you were punished by death. If the family cat died, the entire family would shave off their eyebrows as a sign of mourning.









In Norse mythology, the chariot of the Goddess Freya (Goddess of beauty, love and fertility) is drawn by two large longhaired cats.








In Japan, a cat brings good luck. And in Czechoslovakia, the cat is also a symbol of fertility.


In Britain, as well as most of Europe, the cat esp a black cat, is associated with bad luck, witchcraft and black magic. During the Middle Ages, the cat was said to be a familar to a witch.









Did Cheshire stand alone from the rest of the country, in its legend of the Cat People, Cat Stones or is it just because of the countryside and farms, that cats have always survived in.

Whatever the reason, the Cheshire Cat is famous around the world.

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DOGS









Another animal known across the country and esp in Cheshire is The Black Dog.

They are either guardians of a churchyard or foretellers of doom and death. The most famous is the Black Dog of Barthomley, who haunts around the Church and Rectory. This could have come from the belief that if a black dog was buried in a new churchyard, it would then guard it against the Devil.

But what about the Hounds from Hell. These Black dogs collect the human souls for the Devil.
So whichever way we look at it, these dogs are associated with the death of a human, weather it is protecting it or collecting. I know I am in no rush to met one of these dogs.

I have come across a tale of a White Hound with a chain around its neck. He has been seen near the church at Bunbury. Not sure if this hound is the guardian or not.

There is another belief associated with dogs but this time you dont have to see them, just hear them. A dog can sense when its owner is ill or dying. This is due to the dog sensing the chemical changes in the human body. The dog sometimes howls when this is happening. But long before science found this out, people who heard a dog howling considered this as a death omen and it was said that the actual moment of death was thought to be marked by a dog howling three times. A case of science finally catching up with myth.


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WEREWOLF










This werewolf came from Longdendale, near the Cheshire/Staffordshire border. This tale is from around the time of King Henry II's reign.

The Abbott of Basingwerke was asked by the local people of the area for help against this evil creature that cursed this land for such a long time. The Abbott cursed the animal so it should remain in the condition it was at that time.

King Henry had heard about this creature and together with his son, Prince Henry, Lord Longdendale, Baron Ashton and other dignitories deceided to hunt down the creature. The hunting party set off nut the Prince became seperated and he was attacked by the werewolf. The Baron of Ashton came to his help and killed the beast.

News travelled fast and the village celebrated that they were finally rid of the creature. The body of the werewolf had been cut open and it is said that the heads of three babies fell out.

Later that day, a forester said he had seen the werewolf in the forest earlier that morning. It was screaming like a woman and trying to tear its own skin off.

Had the curse worked and when the werewolf had tried to change back into human form, it realised it couldnt.

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WHITE OWL










There is a legend associated with the churchyard at Old St Chads, Tushingham and a couple of other churchyards across Cheshire. The legend is that if anyone sees a white owl flying down the tower and lands in the churchyard, they or someone close to them will die.






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DRAGONS

These creatures are known not only throughout the country but the world. There are many tales in folklore and legends. These large creatures had long tails, huge wings, long necks, they could breath fire and were covered in scales. They lived in caves, forests or near lakes.

In folklore, they attacked isolated villages, killing humans and livestock. They were also associated with supernatural powers and to be able to speak.


The word DRAGON entered the English language in the early 13th century from the old French word, which in turn came from the Latin DRACONEM meaning HUGE SERPENT.


Dragons are commonly depicted as malevolent(evil) but there are a couple of exceptions like Y DDRAIG GOCH, the Red Dragon of Wales.






The Romans used the dragon as a symbol of fear. One of their military standards was a large dragon fixed to the end of a lance, its jaws were made of silver and the rest of its body made of coloured silk. It made a noise as the wind went through it jaws.



In Cheshire, we have our own Dragon tale, The Dragon from Moston. I have already written about this on my blog.

But there is another Dragon associated with this area. You may have heard of Leylines or Engry lines. Well we have these lines called Dragon Lines or Dragon Paths. These link abcient sites to one another. For example, there is a line running through Tattenhall, running from Lower Hall, Newton Hall, St Alban Tattenhall Church, Dragon Hall and then down to a Tumulus at Meadows Farm.

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