Allan Kardec

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The Goblins

The intervention of incorporeal beings in people’s private interests has been part of popular beliefs through the ages. Wise people will certainly not accept, literally, all these legends, all evil stories and ridiculous tales that are pleasantly repeated by the fireplace. However, these phenomena, witnessed by us, prove that those tales are based on something, as the facts, which take place today, must also have happened at other times. Remove every marvelous and fantastic aspect which made them superstitious and we are left with the characters, facts and gestures of our modern spirits: some good, benefactors, courteous, pleased by serving others, like the good Brownies; others, more or less malicious, jokers, capricious and even malevolent, like the Goblins of Normandy, the Boggles in Scotland, the Bogherts in England, the Cluricaunes in Ireland and the Pucks in Germany.

According to each popular tradition, these Goblins enter into people’s homes to prank them with their bad taste jests. “Knock on doors, displaced furniture, taps on barrels, hammered floors and ceilings, whispering whistles, loud sighs, pulling the drapes and bed sheets of people in bed, etc.”

The English Boghert exercises their perversities mostly against children who they seem to hate. “They frequently seize their bread and butter or bowl of milk; agitate the bed sheets at night; move up and down the stairs with great noise; throw dishes and cause damages to the houses.” In certain areas of France, the Goblins are considered to be like species of family demons, which are carefully fed with the most appreciable delicacies as they bring to their masters stolen wheat from someone else’s granaries. It is really curious to find this old tradition from the ancient Gaul among the Borussians of the 10th Century (today’s Prussians). Their Koltkys, or family demons, would also steal wheat from other granaries and bring that to their affectionate associates. Who does not recognize in these devilish tricks – leaving aside the unkindness of the stolen wheat, which the dishonest would use as excuse on transferring the blame to the bad reputation of the spirits – who, we were saying, cannot recognize the rapping spirits and those that, without harm, can be called disturbers? similar fact to the one described above, about the young orphan maid of “Passage des Panoramas”, if it had happened in the country side, no doubt, it would be attributed to the Goblin of the region, later amplified by the gossipers fertile imagination; someone would have even seen the Goblin hanging on the doorbell, laughing, making fun of the fool who would open the door.

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