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A boggart performing some trick

In Celtic mythology, a boggart (or bogart, bogan, bogle or boggle) is a household spirit, sometimes mischievous, sometimes helpful.



Hobgoblins, Bogans, Bauchans, Gobelins, the Boogey Man, Boogies, Padfoot, Hobbers, Gobs, Blobs.

Today the word boggart is a verb meaning to steal, to take more than one's fair share, or to refuse to share.


A male dwarf with a squat and distorted form.


Cousin of the Brownie but more ill-tempered and greedy.




It is said that the boggart crawls into people's beds at night and puts a clammy hand on their faces. Sometimes he strips the bedsheets off them. Sometimes a boggart will also pull on a person's ears. A horseshoe hung on the door of a house will keep a boggart away.

More extreme specimen squats sometimes houses that the utterly destroys. The Boggart especially loves to eat smooth wood like a termite and to torment children.

It is also an agricultural goblin, responsible for missing implements on the farm.


In Northern England, at least, there was the belief that the boggart should never be named, as when the boggart was given a name, it would not be reasoned with or persuaded and become uncontrollable and destructive.

One of the best ways to get rid of him is to ask the boggart to leave the house and stay out as long as 'the hollies are green'. It will mostly likely take at least two seasons for him to remember that hollies are always green and that he has been tricked. His resulting anger most likely needn't be feared as he will never be able to enter the house again.



Scottish lore.


The Farmer and the Boggart

In an old tale from the village of Mumby in the Lincolnshire countryside, the boggart is described as being rather squat, hairy and smelly. The story goes that a farmer bought a patch of land that was inhabited by the boggart. When the farmer tried to cultivate the field the boggart got angry, and after much arguing they decided to work the land together and share the bounty. The farmer, however, being greedy, began to ponder a way to cheat the boggart out of his share. When they were debating what to plant, he asked the boggart, 'Which half of the crop do you want for your share, the part below the ground or the part above it?' The boggart thought for a while before answering 'The part below the ground.' The farmer sowed the field with barley. At harvest time the farmer boasted a big pile of barley while all the boggart had to show for his work was stubble. It flew into a rage and screeched that next time it would take what lay above the ground. The next time the farmer sowed the field with potatoes. At harvest time the farmer laughed as he claimed his massive pile of potatoes while the boggart was yet again left with nothing to show for his efforts. Simmering with rage, the boggart stormed off, never to return again.


There is a large municipal park called 'Boggart Hole Clough'in Manchester, England. Clough is a northern dialect word for a steep sided, wooded valley; a large part of Boggart Hole Clough is made up of these valleys and are said to be haunted by Boggarts. Supposed mysterious disappearances over the years, particularly in the early 19th century, were often attributed to the Boggart of the Clough.

Popular Culture

The Game Magic: The Gathering's Lorwyn block, which focuses on Celtic mythology, replaced its goblin's with boggarts, seen as mischievous thieves with a very communal system of stealing for their tribe.


One wee little Hobgoblin
All dressed up in red,
Was spying on a farmhouse
With mischief in his head.
"this place," said the little Hobgoblin,
"It could be lots of fun,
Everything's so clean and tidy,
And begging to be undone."
So the wee little Hobgoblin
He went to work with glee,
He let the cattle out the gate
And set the piglets free.
He spilled some milk in the kitchen,
And overturned the butterchurn.
He yanked the laundry off the line
And caused the soup to burn.
He pinched the baby and scared the cat
And had the mostest fun.
And when his spree was over
He said, "That's a job well done!"

Mark Shapiro The Wee Little Hobgoblin

See also


  • Part of this article consists of modified text from Wikipedia, and the article is therefore licensed under GFDL.
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