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Black Annis



An artist’s depiction of Black Annis. Photo: Fandom

Black Annis is a blue faced witch from English folklore that is said to have a taste for human flesh and a penchant for wearing the tanned hides of children around her waist.

The Legend of Black Annis

Shrouded Hand covers the legend of Black Annis

Once upon a time, in a small village near the Dane Hills, lived a wicked creature known as Black Annis. She was the stuff of nightmares, with long, sharp nails and teeth as sharp as daggers. Her skin was as pale blue, and her hair tangled like the thorns of a rosebush.

Legend had it that Black Annis was a witch who had made a deal with dark forces, granting her extraordinary powers. She would prowl the countryside, especially on moonlit nights, lurking in the shadows, seeking out misbehaving children.
Parents would warn their little ones about the fearsome Black Annis, hoping to keep them safe. They would say, “Stay inside, my child, or Black Annis will come for you! She waits for naughty children who disobey their parents.”

The villagers built a tall fortress to protect themselves from her wicked ways. It was made entirely of sharp thorns, towering over the village like a fortress of brambles. They called it “Black Annis’s Bower.”

One fateful night, a young boy named Jacob decided to challenge his luck. Feeling mischievous, he snuck out of his house, ignoring his parents’ warning. Jacob, wanting to prove his bravery, ventured towards the dark woods where Black Annis was said to dwell.

As he tiptoed through the trees, Jacob soon became lost in the thick foliage. He shivered with fear as the moon’s pale light filtered through the leaves, casting eerie shadows.

Suddenly, he heard a low growl, followed by the sound of rustling leaves.
It was Black Annis, lurking in the darkness, her long nails scraping against the rough tree bark. She let out a wicked cackle, her laughter piercing through the night. Jacob’s heart pounded in his chest as he stumbled backward, desperately trying to escape her clutches.

But just as Black Annis was about to pounce, something unexpected occurred. The thorny branches of Black Annis’s Bower came to life, intertwining like a living creature. The fortress snaked its way towards the witch, encircling her with its sharp thorns.

Black Annis hissed in pain as the thorns pierced her skin, trapping her tightly. The villagers, alerted by the commotion, rushed to Jacob’s aid.

Where did Black Annis Live?

A cave similar to the supposed lair of Black Annis

Black Annis, a legendary figure in folklore, is said to have lived in a cave known as “Black Annis’s Bower.” This eerie cave is to be located within Leicester, England.

Black Annis was said to have used this hidden dwelling as her sinister abode, where she would haunt the surrounding area and instil fear in the hearts of those who crossed her path.

The Wretched Behavior of Black Annis

Legend has it that Black Annis would roam the countryside under the cover of nightfall, searching for vulnerable children who unknowingly wandered into her territory.

Once Black Annis captured her young victims, darkness fell upon them like a shroud of despair. It is believed that she would take them back to her cavernous lair, where she reveled in their terror and feasted on their fear.

Whispers passed down through generations claim that Black Annis had a particular penchant for children’s flesh, gnawing at their tender bodies with her sharp, jagged teeth. It was said that she delighted in the taste of their fear, savoring it like a nefarious delicacy. The terror-stricken cries of her captives echoed through the night, etching themselves into the collective memory of the afflicted townsfolk.

Black Annis is said to have used the children’s hides to craft a darkened garment, which she wore as a trophy. This chilling cloak was believed to grant her unparalleled strength and immortality, enabling her to continue her malevolent deeds for centuries.

These harrowing tales of Black Annis’s atrocities served as a cautionary tale, instilling fear in the hearts of children and reminding them to remain vigilant and cautious when venturing into the unknown.

Possible Origins of the Black Annis Legend

The first known mention of a character called Black Annis was found in an old legal document from the 18th century. This document mentioned a piece of land named after Black Annis. This was reported in a 19th-century book by The Folklore Society, which also mentioned two similar documents from 1764.

There are many theories about where the Black Annis figure came from. Some think it came from Celtic or Germanic mythology. Others, like T. C. Lethbridge, believe it could be based on ancient European mother goddesses, who were believed to eat children. This character is seen as similar to various goddesses from around the world, including Kali from India, Muilearteach from Gaelic tradition, and Demeter from Greek mythology. Some people even think that the story might be a remnant of old practices where children were sacrificed to a goddess.

Ronald Hutton disagrees with these ideas in his book. He thinks that the legend of Black Annis was based on a real woman named Agnes Scott. She was a religious woman, possibly a nun, who lived alone in prayer in a cave and took care of a leper colony in Leicestershire. After she died, she was buried in a local churchyard.

Hutton believes that the legend of Black Annis grew out of distorted memories of Agnes Scott. The stories were either made up to scare kids or came from anti-religious feelings after the Protestant Reformation. Later on, during the Victorian era, the stories about Agnes Scott got mixed up with tales about a goddess named Anu.

The link between Black Annis and Agnes Scott was actually made before Hutton suggested it. For example, an 1842 issue of the Leicester Chronicle mentioned both the grave and the cave connected to the legend. This was also printed in the same 19th-century book by The Folklore Society.

Black Annis’ Home is Destroyed

Black Annis‘s cave was filled with dirt in the late 1800s. Some people thought this could mean the end of Black Annis. But others suspect she is still roaming the area of Dane Hills to this day. Also, by the end of the 19th century, she was known as “Cat Anna” and was believed to live in the basements of Leicester Castle. There was a supposed secret tunnel connecting the castle with the Dane Hills where she used to live.

Black Annis’s old home on the hillside is now filled with houses. So, if she’s still around, she might be hiding in the underground passages. She would have to be sneakier than before to avoid being noticed in the modern world. And maybe, she’s waiting for a time when the world will be more like it used to be, and she can freely roam again.

If you enjoyed learning about Black Annis you might also be interested in the legends of Peg Powler or Jenny Greenteeth.

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Crisis Apparitions




Can we communicate with our loved ones telepathically during times of crisis?

In the early 1800s, Pastor John Frederick Oberlin moved to the town of Bande-la-Roche, France, hoping to educate the residents and relieve them of their superstitions. In the end it was Oberlin who was educated, becoming convinced that the apparitions residents saw in times of crisis were real.

Pastor John Frederick Oberlin and the Crisis Apparitions of Bande-la-Roche

John Frederick Oberlin, a well-known pastor, teacher, and philanthropist from the 18th and 19th centuries, completely changed the way of life in the Bande-la-Roche valley in the Vosges Mountains of Alsace. When he arrived in the area, he didn’t like the superstitions of the locals, especially their stories about seeing their dying family members appearing to them in spirit form before their deaths. Despite his efforts to educate them and speak against these beliefs, the reports of such sightings continued.

A significant turning point in Oberlin’s attitude towards the apparitions occurred in 1806 when a devastating avalanche struck Rossberg, burying several villages in its wake. The aftermath of this catastrophic event was marked not only by the physical destruction but also by an increase in the number of villagers claiming to have witnessed visions of their deceased loved ones.

As these accounts multiplied, Oberlin, the steadfast clergyman, found himself grappling with a growing sense of doubt. The sheer volume of testimonies and the intensity of the experiences described by the locals led him to reconsider his earlier dismissal of the supernatural. The tragic circumstances surrounding the avalanche seemed to challenge his previously held orthodox views.

In the face of mounting evidence and the profound impact of the disaster on the community, Oberlin began to believe that the villagers were indeed be perceiving spirits of the departed.

What are Crisis Apparitions?

In most supernatural encounters, the spirits involved are usually belonging to people who have passed away. Sometimes, however, the spirit seen is belonging to someone still living. What does this mean?

One idea regarding crisis apparitions suggests that when a person dies, their soul is released from their body. This liberated soul can then move freely across space and time. The belief is that the individual’s soul might want to make a final visit to say goodbye or provide comfort to loved ones.

In some cases, crisis apparitions involve a person who is still alive. For instance, someone might hear the voice of a loved one delivering a message or warning during a vision. According to a theory, when a person is in physical pain or danger due to illness, they might unconsciously project psychic energy to their loved ones. This projection could happen without the person being aware of it, driven by the challenging situation they are facing.

This type of crisis apparition resembles visions of those who have passed away. As the energy is sent to the receiver, their brain interprets it as an image of the sender. Researchers believe that some individuals may be more sensitive to this energy, increasing their likelihood of having paranormal experiences.

Other Notable Examples of Crisis Apparitions

A woman having an out of body experience is seen by her husband who was hundreds of miles away

According to Rosemary Ellen Guiley’s book, The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits, (affiliate link) in 1863, a man named S. R. Wilmot and his sister, Eliza, sailed from England to New York. They faced a severe storm that lasted nine days. Wilmot, feeling seasick, stayed in his sleeping area for several days and nights. On the eighth night, after the storm eased, he dreamt that his wife, Mrs. Wilmot, visited him in a white nightgown, kissed and caressed him, and then left.

The next morning, William J. Tait, who shared quarters with Wilmot, mentioned seeing a lady visitor. Wilmot was surprised because Tait’s description matched exactly what he had dreamt. When asked, Eliza denied being the visitor.

Later, Mrs. Wilmot asked her husband about his dream, describing her own experience of going out during the storm, finding the ship, going to the stern, and entering the cabin. She hesitated at first when she saw Tait but eventually kissed and caressed Wilmot, just like in his dream. Mrs. Wilmot shared this vivid experience with her mother, insisting it felt too real to be just a dream and that she believed she had actually been on the ship.

A Man Sees His Wife’s Dying Sister-in-Law

“In the higher part of the door was a glass window, and I all at once, in the darkness, saw a face looking through that window. The face was very well known to me, though for the instant I did not associate it with the original, as she was 300 miles away. I instantly opened the door, found nobody there, and then searched the ivy with which the porch and house are covered. Finding nothing, and knowing it was impossible anyone could have got away. … I at once knew the face was that of a married sister-in-law of my wife’s. I told all our family of the circumstance directly I got home, and judge of our dismay when we had a letter to say she died at the very hour I saw her. Monday was the evening I saw the face, and on Wednesday, when we were at dinner, the letter came.”

W. Goodyear.

Apparitions of the Living Vol 1 p. 523

A Man Sees His Brother During a Near Death Experience

“It was either in 1874 or 1875. My brother was third mate on board one of Wigram’s large ships. I knew he was somewhere on the coast of Australia  …  I looked up, and, to my astonishment, saw my brother coming towards me from the outside door of the kitchen. … I noticed he was in his sailor uniform with a monkey jacket on, and the wet was shining on his jacket and cap. I exclaimed, ‘Miles, where have you come from?’ He answered in his natural ‘For God’s sake, don’t say I’m here.’ This was all over in a few seconds and as I jumped towards him he was gone. I was very much frightened, for I had really thought it was my brother himself; and it was only when he vanished that I realised it was only an appearance. … About three months afterwards my brother came home, and….I asked him in a casual manner if he had had any adventures, and he said, ‘I was nearly drowned at Melbourne.’ He then told me he was ashore without leave, and on returning to the ship, after midnight, he slipped off the gangway between the side of the ship and the dock. There was very little space, and if he had not been hauled up at once, he must have been drowned. He remembered thinking he was drowning, and then became unconscious. His absence without leave was not found out, so he escaped the punishment he expected. I then told him of how he had appeared to me, and I asked him the date. He was able to fix it exactly. … He had no recollection of thinking specially of me at the time, but he was much struck by the coincidence, and often referred to it. He did not like it, and often when he went away said, ‘Well, I hope I shan’t go dodging about as I did that time.”

Apparitions of the Living, Vol 2, p. 141

Billie Holiday Sees Her Mother at the Time She Died

Billie Holiday wrote in her memoir of a strange incident occurring at the time of her mother’s death. Her mom was very young when she had her, and they were close. In the middle of the book, Billie talks about a strange moment in a hotel room with her boyfriend after a show:

“I don’t believe in ghosts, but something weird happened that night… We were just sitting there when suddenly I felt my mother behind me, touching my shoulders. And I knew she was dead. I told Joe, ‘Mom just left, and she’s dead.’

‘You’re crazy,’ he said. ‘You must be losing it.’

‘Listen to me,’ I said, ‘you better be good to me because you’re all I’ve got now.’

Her mom wasn’t sick, and she was only 38, so nobody expected her to die. The next day, people acted strangely around Billie. She went up to the road manager and “told him Mama was dead and what time she died the night before…He blew his top, raised hell with everybody backstage. He swore somebody must have told me. But nobody had told me nothing.” The crew knew about Billie’s Mom but didn’t want her to know as it might impact her performance.

Knock Once for Yes Podcast covers the topic of Crisis Apparitions

Have you ever had a crisis apparition experience? Tell us about it in the comments. If you enjoyed this article you might also be interested in the phenomenon of paranormal apathy or twin telepathy.

Interested in Talking to Spirits? Try one of our paranormal communication apps!

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MacKenzie Family Omens




The MacKenzie family received various omens to warn them of death that was about to occur in the family.

In the early 1900s, the MacKenzie family line in Scotland experienced several different paranormal omens, warning them about deaths that would soon occur in the family.

These stories have been gathered from 1934 book “Family Ghosts and Ghostly Phenomena,” by Elliott O’Donnell.

The Prophecy of the Face

One evening, young Sylvia MacKenzie was alone in her small house, sitting in the living room. She heard a tapping sound at a window facing a small garden. When she looked, she saw a strange face with a long, narrow nose and no nose at all. The eyes were very pale, set at an angle, and far apart. The face seemed to be looking at her in a menacing way. As Sylvia stared, scared and unable to move, the face slowly disappeared. When her parents came home, she told them about the scary vision. They were really upset because, as they explained, their family believed this ghostly face showed up only when something bad was about to happen.

The next day, Sylvia’s brother Robert, who was in the Canadian forces during World War I (between 1914-1918), was killed on the Western front.

Miss MacKenzie and the Ghostly Arm

One morning, another, unamed member of the Mackenzie family went upstairs to get something from her bedroom. While leaving, she heard something fall behind her. When she turned around, she saw an old-fashioned silver candlestick on the floor next to the chest of drawers. Curious, she went to pick it up and noticed a “beautifully round” arm, from the elbow up, coming out of the wall beside the drawers. The skin was very white, and the hand had long, slender fingers and filbert nails, like a woman’s hand. As she watched, the arm slowly faded away and disappeared.

After it was gone, she remembered her family’s stories about a phantom omen—a strange hand seen only by family members that predicted death and misfortune. She worried that her vision foretold her mother’s death, who was very sick at that time. Fortunately, her mother recovered fully. A few days later, the family received news that a cousin had died tragically. It made the young woman wonder if her vision had predicted this sad event.

Mr MacKenzie and the Cold hand

One night, Mr. and Mrs. MacKenzie were at a cinema in Glasgow. While watching the movie, Mr. MacKenzie suddenly felt a cold hand touch his cheek. Annoyed, he thought it was the people around him playing a prank. A little later, he felt the cold hand on the back of his own hand and got really scared. He knew his family believed in a ghostly hand that showed up before someone’s death. Unable to enjoy the movie, they left right away.

When they tried to sleep that night, Mr. MacKenzie felt someone moving in the room. He lit the gas to check, but the room was empty, and the door was locked. As he went back to bed, the cold hand touched his forehead. He grabbed the arm, describing it as soft and slender, and felt it up to the elbow where it suddenly disappeared. The next day, they got a telegram telling them that one of Mr. MacKenzie’s sisters had died during the night.

Here is another gripping ghost story recounted by Scotish author Elliot O’Donnell

Have you had any similar experiences with in your family? Tell us about it in the comments.

If you enjoyed this article you might be interested in other omen phenomena such as Our Lady of Fatima or Katherine Hobbs predicting her own death

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