Although the name is a Victorian borrowing from German, the phenomenon has been repeatedly described in English sources from Elizabethan times onwards; sometimes a *boggart or similar household goblin was blamed, sometimes 'witchcraft, sometimes a demon or a ghost. Famous examples, much discussed by learned writers at the time, were the 'devil' haunting the royal palace at Woodstock in 1649; the 'Tedworth Drummer' which caused innumerable disturbances in a Wiltshire house from 1661 to 1663, and was thought to be a demon magically sent by an aggrieved ex-soldier whose drum had been confiscated by the magistrate living there; and the 'Cock Lane Ghost' of 1760-2 (Bennett, 1987: 184-8; Finucane, 1982: 140-3, 157; D. Grant, The Cock Lane Ghost (1965)).

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

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