This is a story about a Boggart (or Hob) from The London literary gazette and journal of belles lettres, arts, sciences, etc., 1825, no. 430, pages 252,253. It has similarities at the end with another Boggart / Hob story I have, but the rest is quite different!
One day, a Boggart took up residence (why and how, I never discovered) in the house of a quiet, inoffensive farmer, George Gilbertson. Once there, it seemed to decide that it was the rightful owner and caused a good deal of annoyance. They never saw it of course, as a Boggart is rarely visible to the human eye, though it is frequently seen by cattle and horses. (A Yorkshire term for a ‘shying horse’ is one that has ‘taken the boggle’.)
It seemed to take a particular dislike to the children, tormenting them in various ways. Sometimes their bread and butter would be snatched away, or their porringers of bread and milk be capsized by an invisible hand; at other times, the curtains of their beds would be shaken backwards and forwards, or a heavy weight would press on and nearly suffocate them. The parents had often, on hearing their cries, to fly to their aid.
There was a kind of closet, formed by a wooden partition on the kitchen-stairs, and a large knot having been driven out of one of the deal-boards of which it was made, there remained a hole. Into this one day the farmer’s youngest boy stuck the shoe-horn with which he was amusing himself, when immediately it was thrown out again, and struck the boy on the head. The agent was of course the Boggart, and though the first time was terrifying, it soon became their amusement (which they called laikin’ wi’ Boggart) to put the shoe-horn into the hole and have it shot back at them. This seemed to goad the Boggart into more disruptive behaviour.
At night, heavy steps were heard clattering down the stairs, like someone wearing clogs. Sounds like earthernware and pewter dishes smashing against the kitchen floor were heard, though the dishes were intact on their shelves in the morning.
The Boggart at length proved such a torment that the farmer and his wife resolved to quit the house and let him have it all to himself. This was put into execution, and the farmer and his family were following the last loads of furniture, when a neighbour named John Marshall came up—”Well, Georgey,” said he, “and soa you’re leaving t’ould hoose at last?”—”Heigh, Johnny, my lad, I’m forced tull it; for that damned Boggart torments us soa, we can neither rest neet nor day for’t. It seems loike to have such a malice again t’poor bairns, it ommost kills my poor dame here at thoughts on’t, and soa, ye see, we’re forced to flitt loike.” He scarce had uttered the words when a voice from a deep upright churn cried out, “Aye, aye, Georgey, we’re flitting ye see.”—”‘Od damn thee,” cried the poor farmer, “if I’d known thou’d been there, I wadn’t ha’ stirred a peg. Nay, nay, it’s no use, Mally,” turning to his wife, “we may as weel turn back again to t’ould hoose as be tormented in another that’s not so convenient.”
I believe they did turn back, and seemed to come to a better understanding with the Boggart, though it continued it’s trick of firing the horn from the knot-hole. I remember an old tailor, who used to visit the farmhouse on his rounds, told me the horn was frequently pitched at his head, many years after this first took place.