Knockers, Goblins, Gnomes and Aliens

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KNOCKERS, GOBLINS, GNOMES AND ALIENS

Imagine you rarely saw the sun, and most of your short existence was spent deep underground, 10 hours a day, 6 days of the week. That was the life of a tin miner in 18th and 19th century England with many not living past the age of 30. The mines could reach out for some 2.5km under the sea, 640m deep, and miners would hear the thundering roar of boulders tumbling across the seabed above their heads. Devon and Cornwall's landscape is shaped deeply by its mining heritage and the fortitude of its mining communities. The work was hazardous and arduous with arsenic being a biproduct of the mining practice and children as young as 9 would haul out the barrows full of tin ore. Given scant respite and seeing very little of the sun, is it any wonder that reports of paranormal creatures, who lived deep in the twisted tunnels, have been spoken of by miners not only in the west of England but across the world.


In Devon & Cornwall, these subterranean spirits are known as the knockers, and no doubt when mining communities traversed the Atlantic Ocean to America, they took their tales with them and the Tommyknockers were spawned. In Wales they are known as the Coblynau, in Germany Kobold, in the Ukraine they are known as Shubin and there are variations of these small, goblin like beasts in many of the mining countries.


In the UK miners would take precautionary measures and leave offerings for the knockers to keep in their good favour, often a portion of their Cornish pasty, as if they became irritated, they would steal and hide your tools or lead you deep into the cave system, never to be seen or heard of again. The knockers could be heard prior to a disaster, banging on cavernous walls inside the mining shafts, perhaps in warning that a mine was about to cave in but according to some legends however, the knockers are malevolent spirits and if their banging is heard, it is not to warn the miners, but the sound of them sabotaging the mine supports to bring the ceiling down.


Resources:


Introduction

Cornish Mines

Story 1

Story 2


Thanks so much for listening and we'll catch up with you again next week for some more true, scary stories.


Sarah and Tobie xx


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