In English folklore, a boggart (or bogart) is a household spirit which causes things to disappear, milk to sour, and dogs to go lame. Always malevolent, the boggart will follow its family wherever they flee. In Northern England, at least, there was the belief that the boggart should never be named, for when the boggart was given a name, it would not be reasoned with or persuaded and become uncontrollable and destructive.
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. Hanging a horseshoe on the door of a house is said to keep a boggart away.
In the folklore of North-West England, boggarts live under bridges on dangerous sharp bends on roads, and it is considered bad luck for drivers not to offer their polite greetings as they cross.
The Scottish variant is the bogle (or boggle).
The Farmer and the Boggart
In one old tale said to originate 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
,' which is bordered by Moston
. 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 inhabited by Boggarts. Supposed mysterious disappearances over the years, particularly in the early 19th century, were often attributed to the Boggart of the Clough.
Half the way between Scarborough to Whitby, on Robin Hood's Bay, there is a place called Boggle Hole. In the local mythology, a Boggle is the local name for a hobgoblin, mischievous 'little people' that were thought to live in caves along the coast. Boggle Hole is a natural cave formed by wave action where smugglers used to land their contraband in past times.
Boggles are evil creatures in the Chronicles of Narnia
, a series of fantasy novels by C. S. Lewis
On Puck, a moon of Uranus, there is a crater named "Bogle," in deference to the system of nomenclature on this satellite, whose features are all named after various mischievous spirits.
Hairy Boggart is in the Monster in My Pocket series. He is very skinny, hairy, and carries a scythe, as per a particular folktale in which a human farmer steals the Boggart's land and comes up with various ways to keep the Boggart from farming it
Tasha Tudor's Corgi-related picture books feature friendly brownies which will, if neglected, turn into a nasty household boggart.
In the Harry Potter books, boggarts are creatures that lurk dark, damp areas in magical buildings and shape-shift (into the terrifying form of whatever the person who sees them fears most) to scare humans into leaving them alone (see Boggart (Harry Potter)).
In the The Wardstone Chronicles series of books by Joseph Delaney (known as The Last Apprentice in the US), boggarts are potentially dangerous creatures which can be bound or used helpfully.
In The Spiderwick Chronicles, when a brownie gets angry, it turns into a boggart.
Bogart is a family name, of which the most well-known is the actor Humphrey Bogart.
In the most recent block of Magic: The Gathering, named "Lorwyn", Boggarts are a new version of the series staple, Goblins. They differ from normal goblins in that they are predominately black aligned as opposed to red.
Boggart is a friendly creature living in a bog in the Septimus Heap series written by Angie Sage beginning with Magyk.
The author Susan Cooper has written two children's novels based around a Boggart who lives in Scotland, 'The Boggart' and 'The Boggart and the Monster'.
The White Wolf game Changeling: The Dreaming contains Boggans as a playable race (or Kith), which are portrayed as helpful, gossiping creatures occasionally found in Hearths who enjoy housework
Boggarts are found in Dean Koontz's "Odd Thomas" novels, as dark shadowy figures that are visible only to those with the gift to see spirits, and gather in places where death and destruction are imminent.
Boggart is also the nickname given to Richard Ford the eminent Geographer