Pendle Witches.

I love my job and have certainly enjoyed this placement in the Northwest of England, in Lancashire. There is quite a documented history here of the Pendle Witches in Lancashire. In 1612 ten people were executed as witches. Their story is one of politics, fear and how story telling could at that time change or even take someone’s life.  There were actually laws at that time that accepted witches existed, so these poor people where put on trial at Lancaster. You can actually go and visit the castle where the trial was held.

This excellent BBC production can take you on the journey from your armchair. It is well worth watching Tells you all about this event, taking you along the paths walked by the witches and their accusers.

Pendle Hill where the witches where hung in 1612
Pendle Hill

Lancashire has embraced its history and there are lots of activities surrounding the Pendle Witches, children are encouraged to learn their history in various ways. One of the competition entries wrote about how she was part of a project in 2012  discovering the story of the witches, and  over Halloween attended a residential weekend where they all told spooky stories; hers was about the child of one of the witches who turned on her mother.

16 century England was not a place to be old or ugly and have a cat, apparently those are the most obvious signs of being a witch, I guess being old and cantankerous wouldn’t help either. If combined with the above you happened to have a wart or mole then it was obvious you had signed a pact with the devil.

Pendle Witch signpost on walking tour of the area
Black Magic..White magic..







Book suggestions: ‘Sweep ‘by Cate Tiernan. YA fantasy novel about a young witch and the adventures she has with her friends and you must try “ Mist over Pendle” by Robert Neill



All Hallows Eve or All saints Night is celebrated on the 31st October. Some say it has roots back to pagan beliefs and the Samhain festival or autumn festival others that is solely a Christian festival.  Whatever its background it remains for many today a holiday that is focused on witches and potions and the dead, there is a suggestion that some of the activities we conduct over Halloween is to use humour and ridicule to confront the power of death.

I spent one year in New Orleans at Halloween, what a night that was. I was staying with friends and we hired costumes and had freaky makeup done. In the evening we went to Mollys at the Market and joined in a parade, people really enjoy the spooky and macabre in New Orleans!! We then went on to party down Frenchmen Street in Marigny.I was told many ghost stories while I was there, well it claimed is the most haunted city in America..

Macabre costumes for Halloween Parade at Frenchmen  St New Orleans
Macabre costumes

One Halloween tradition we have taken from America to here is pumpkin decorating – my dad is very keen on this , so I challenged him to come to the library and do an demonstration  I could not believe it but he did and the kids  and some adults loved it. I have been told they will keep it as part of their Halloween activities from now on. Have a look at some amazing Jack O Lanterns pumpkin carvings.

Pumpkin carving at Halloween
Scary smiles

Book suggestions: For this post I want to mention of “A fortnight of Fright” although from 2013 the book suggestions are sound and the excellent presentation, i.e. the quiz is a fantastic idea,  I might just pinch the format for my next library project on travel.