guytrash


guytrash
 , gytrash, guytrash
   A frightening shape-changing apparition, usually in animal form, in the folklore of northern England. It was described by Branwell Bronte (d. 1848) in his unpublished fragment Percy as 'a spectre not at all similar to the ghosts of those who were once alive, nor to fairies, nor to demons' which appears mostly as 'a black dog dragging a chain, a dusky calf, nay, even a rolling stone'; at the house where his tale is set, the gytrash was known as 'an old, dwarfish and hideous man, as often without a head as with one, moving at dark along the naked fields'. Bran-well's biographer, Winifred Gerin, confirms that this is an authentic tradition linked to Ponden House, and adds that this gytrash could also take the shape of a 'flaming barrel bowling across the fields', and appeared as an omen of disaster to the family there.
   In Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre ((1847) chapter 12), the heroine, hearing a horse approaching towards dusk, remembers her nurse's tales about 'a North-of-England spirit, called a Gytrash, which, in the form of horse, mule or large dog, haunted solitary ways, and sometimes came upon belated travellers, as this horse was coming upon me'. She then sees a black-and-white dog, 'a lion-like creature with long hair and a huge head', which also reminds her of a gytrash; in fact, of course, both dog and horse are perfectly normal animals belonging to Mr Rochester.
   Another possible form is that of a large cow; to see it is an omen of death, for oneself or another (Wright 1913: 194).

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

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  • guytrash — ˈgī.trash noun ( es) Etymology: origin unknown dialect England : a specter or ghost especially in the form of an animal * * * guytrash, guyzard vars. gytrash, guisard …   Useful english dictionary

  • guytrash — guy·trash …   English syllables

  • guyzard — guytrash, guyzard vars. gytrash, guisard …   Useful english dictionary

  • Gytrash — The Gytrash, a legendary black dog known in northern England, was said to haunt lonely roads awaiting travellers. Appearing in the shape of horses, mules, or dogs, the Gytrash haunt solitary ways and lead people astray. They are usually feared,… …   Wikipedia

  • bogey —    , bogy, bogie    In modern folklore studies, the term bogey or bogeyman is applied to any figure deliberately used to frighten others, almost always children, to control their behaviour.    Formerly, the related words bogey, *bogle, *boggart,… …   A Dictionary of English folklore

  • dogs —    It is commonly believed that dogs can sense anything uncanny, and show terror if forced to pass a haunted spot; if they howl for no reason, especially at night, it portends death, either in the house nearest to which they howl or to some of… …   A Dictionary of English folklore

  • fairies —    The basic European repertoire of beliefs and tales about fairies is less fully preserved in England than in the Celtic areas of Wales, Ireland, and Highland Scotland, though much of it was well known here in the 17th century, and later.… …   A Dictionary of English folklore

  • gytrash —  , gytrash, guytrash    A frightening shape changing apparition, usually in animal form, in the folklore of northern England. It was described by Branwell Bronte (d. 1848) in his unpublished fragment Percy as a spectre not at all similar to the… …   A Dictionary of English folklore

  • shape-changing —    A frequent belief about witches was that they would turn into animals. As *Gervase of Tilbury wrote (c.1211), Women have been seen and wounded in the shape of cats by persons who were secretly on the watch, and . . . next day the women have… …   A Dictionary of English folklore

  • gytrash — ˈgī.ˌtrash variant of guytrash …   Useful english dictionary