Black Annis

Black Annis (also known as Black Agnes) is a witch and boogeyman figure in English folklore dating back to the eighteenth-century.

The Tale

It is said that she haunts the countryside of Leicestershire, living in a dark cave located somewhere in the Dane Hills, known as "Black Annis' Bower" by locals, with an old oak tree marking the entrance, a tree she often hid in waiting for someone to snatch up.

She was said to be very tall and horrible, with blue skin, glowing eyes, long, sharp teeth and claw-like fingers, which she used to tear into the small children she prepared to eat.

After she had eaten the child, she hung their skin on the old oak tree to dry, later to be sewn in her skirt made purely of child skin.

The hag only left the cave at dark, where she set off to find tasty children, the tastiest being those who misbehaved. She also fed on farm animals, like sheep and lamb, much to the local farmers' disdain.

Children were warned not to venture into the Dane Hills alone, lest they run into Black Annis and be snatched away into her Bower to be sucked dry.

It was most common to see her long, bony arms pulling children through shack windows, as glass was not put in place during the eighteenth-century.

The witch's horrible howl could be heard from miles away, giving time to prepare for her visit. It is said that you could even hear her sharp teeth grinding together if you listened.

Her cave was filled with dirt late into the nineteenth-century, possibly literally burying Black Annis forever. A housing estate now stands on the grounds of the old crone's lair.

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