Nails as sharp as iron...
Tales of the Bogeywoman
The Church of St Mary de Castro and nearby Leicester Castle are said to be haunted by the vicious 'Black Annis'. But is her story true or a gruesome myth? Read on to find out more about the fearsome woman and her gory demise...
Stories of Black Annis, the bogeywoman of Leicester, have scared children for hundreds of years.
She is rumoured to occupy a cave located on the face of Dane Hills. Legend states her cave led to a tunnel that ran all the way to Leicester Castle. This is where she is alleged to linger in the form of a ghost.
Watch the video to find out more about Black Annis and the Church of St Mary de Castro...
Black Annis is also referred to by a number of other names including Black Anna, Cat Anna and Black Agnes. County folklore describes Black Annis as an old blue-faced woman with one eye.
Reported stories tell of a bloodthirsty creature who waits in the woods to pounce on unsuspecting children. Once back at her cave she would drink their blood, eat their flesh and hang their skins to dry on the branches of the oak tree outside the entrance to her cave.
The gruesome actions would not stop there. It was said that once the children's skins were dry, she would sew them together and makes them into clothes for herself. Furthermore, she used the remains of the children to decorate the interior of her cave.
It is understood that Black Annis used her cave to hide from the sun, which is believed could turn her to stone. She used the cover of darkness to perform her slaughters.
Who is the original Black Annis?
Some people believe that the tale of Black Annis originates from Agnes Scott, a Dominican nun who wore a black habit and ran a colony to help the sick and homeless.
Does Black Annis roam here?
Following her death in 1455, her legend took a sinister turn to deter children from misbehaving.
Another proposed origin of the myth is as a pagan goddess who commanded the entire world to obey her.
She would sacrifice others if her demands were not met by seeking revenge through any means. A further rumour is derived from a witch who accurately predicted Richard III's death.
Black Annis is still believed to haunt the area of the Church of St. Mary de Castro and Leicester Castle.
Many visitors have reported a supernatural presence. Could this be Black Annis, seeking her next victim?All the content on this page was produced by Claire Davies, Bethan Lewis, Nick Allen Kevin Fowler and Philip Tweddle from the New Media Publishing PGDip course at De Montfort University in Leicester.
last updated: 15/07/07