Halloween is fast approaching, so what better time to learn about the spookier tales of the Bailiwick of Guernsey? An island with such a long and fascinating history is always bound to be steeped in folklore, some of which may not be for the faint of heart!
Guernsey is believed to have once had a thriving population of witches and wizards. The headland between Perelle and L’Eree, known as the Catioroc, is thought to be where they would congregate every Friday night, while they also supposedly frequented the Longfrie and the crossroads at Les Eturs. 44 people were burned at the stake on suspicion of performing witchcraft in Guernsey, during an 80-year period.
The Bailiwick is also said to be home to a number of ghoulish dogs that roam in the darkness. The most famous of these is La Bête De La Tour, which translates as “The Beast of the Tower”, a ghostly canine that supposedly haunts Cliff Street in St Peter Port and its surrounding areas. It is wrapped in heavy chains that rattle in the wind, creating a spooky sound.
There is another haunting hound supposedly found in the island’s north, upon what was once the separate tidal island of Clos de Valle, called Tchen Bodu. Sark has its own too, known as Tchico, which is said to be the size of a calf with blood-red eyes. It supposedly chases people across La Coupée, a narrow isthmus joining Sark and Little Sark.
During the German Occupation, many believed that Tchico’s presence was scaring their donkeys and that was why they wouldn’t cross La Coupée, however that probably had more to do with the terrifying drop on either side of the pathway!
One of Guernsey's most famous tales is the Invasion of the Fairies, a story believed to have been based around an assault upon the island by mercenaries in 1338.
Legend has it that after witnessing the beauty of a Guernsey woman, Michèle De Garis, a kingdom of fairies decided that they each wanted to marry one. Therefore, they emerged from a cave near Vazon and declared their intentions of taking all of the Guernsey women.
A large battle ensued, but the native Guernseymen could not defeat the fairies with their magical powers, who claimed victory and later married the beautiful women of the island. Some say that most Guernsey folk are descendants of these fairies, due to their relatively short stature.
Many of these spooky tales can be explored further with a guided tour.
If you’re interested in learning more about the island’s heritage and folklore, begin planning your trip to Guernsey today!