Purgatory Hammers

It was formerly believed in the Isle of Man that Roman Catholics were buried with a loaf of bread and a hammer. The latter was to be used in knocking at the gates of Purgatory. A Manx clergyman, who told

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Manx Language and the Irish Folklore Commission

Over sixty years ago, the Irish Folklore Commission made recordings of the last native Manx speakers. In doing so, the Commission ensured the preservation of the Manx language for generations to come. It was summer 1947. Irish Taoiseach, Éamon de

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The Manx Lia Fáil or Stone of Destiny

A monarchy under a feudal system was a political machine from which the element of free choice was as far as possible eliminated. A ruler, whether king or lord, ruled by right of primogeniture, where all authority passed to the

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The Crosh Vushta (Mustering Cross)

The Crosh Vushta or mustering cross was the means by which the country was raised to defend it and stern were the rules that governed its use. The assembling token was in the form of a wooden cross, and is

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The First Bee

The old fishermen thought it very lucky to catch the first bee they happened to see in April. It was the sign of a good herring season, they said. I have seen men chasing the first bee they saw for

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In the Country

“An’ what do you fin’, Mrs Cottier, To do in the counthry?” says she With an edge on her vice like a knife blade! Fancy talkin’ so condescendin’ to ME! As though she’d navar even heard o’ the counthry! An’

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How to Become a Witch

Below is an interesting ritual from a 1938 publication (privately published) by Manx author W. Walter Gill. “From a Southside source, anonymous by desire, I learn that a woman who was ambitious to succeed in bespelling and charming, and all

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On William Cashen

This poem is about Manx Folklorist William Cashen who was custodian/guardian of Peel Castle and who died whilst on duty there in 1912. The old man ceased and in the pause, We watched the smoke against the hill, As in

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Fairy Christening

The man that was telling this story said he knew the house and the young men as well, and that the house was haunted by the fairies. There was one night and there was no water in the house, and

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The Evil Eye

Brushing the dust at the head of four (cross) ways, and putting the dust over man, or beast, was thought to take away the evil eye. I have heard people speak about an old woman from Ballachrink who swept the

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