Wednesday, 28 October 2020

The Black Annis

Time for a spooky story...

Within the local Dane Hills, known properly as the “dunes”, there used to be a cave, long since filled in, called Black Annis’ Bower, and it was believed to be inhabited by a savage, bedraggled, and scary woman, with great pointy teeth and long, sharp nails.

The Black Annis devoured those that got near, and when the local children went to play in the hills they were assured that if they weren’t careful, this creature - Black Anna - would snatch them.

She had dug the cave out herself with her long claws, and she crouched among the branches of an old pollard oak, which grew over the mouth of her cave. To be caught by Black Anna would mean being scratched to death, sucked dry of blood, and having your skin hung up to dry; later to be worn around the Black Annis’ waist.

“Tis said the soul of mortal man recoiled,
To view Black Annis' eye, so fierce and wild,
Vast talons, foul with human flesh, there grew,
In place of hands, and features livid blue,
Glared in her visage, whilst her obscene waist,
Warm skins of human victims close embraced.
Not without terror they the cave survey,
Where hung the monstrous trophies of her sway,
'Tis said that in the rock large rooms were found,
Scooped with her claws beneath the flinty ground.”

Whilst Prof. Ronald Hutton suggests that the Black Annis is based on a real person - Agnes Scott - could it be that ancient human activity has been merged into this scary story, and that the cannibalism of Black Anna should not be completely doubted? In the 1980s researchers exploring Cheddar Gorge in Somerset found something inside Gough’s Cave: irrefutable evidence of cannibalism in Ancient Britain. The remains of a three-year-old, two adolescents, and at least two adults that appear to have been eaten by humans some 15,000 years ago.

Anyway, a relic of these stories still remains in the minds of the people of Leicestershire and Rutland in the monstrous cat form of Cat Anna; a witch who lived in the cellars of Leicester Castle, who still runs from the castle to the Dane Hills along an underground passage to look for children to consume.

© Original content; repost with clear, written credits. @the_cemetery_witch

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