It’s Halloween weekend, so gather round by the warm glow of the fire while I share some of the myths and legends of this magical island. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin…
Le Tchian d’Bouole (le chien de Boulay)
On the north coast of the island, granite cliffs rise out of the ocean, interrupted by tiny bays, many of which are almost inaccessible except by boat or those who wish to risk life and limb by clambering down the sheer rock faces. One of the few that it is possible to visit is Bouley Bay, accessed by a single, small and very winding road which is fringed in places by forest, opening out into gorse covered headlands.
This pretty but always eerily cold little bay is the home of Le Tchian d’Bouole (The Black Dog of Bouley Bay). It is said that this enormous beast roams the cliffsides at night, his fearsome red eyes aglow and on cold nights in winter his blood curdling howls will mark the impending arrival of terrible storms. Unless you want to encounter Le Tchian therefore, you’d better be sure to be safely locked inside at night whilst visiting Bouley Bay.
The Ghost of Waterworks Valley
Once a year, at midnight, a ghostly horse-drawn carriage is said to rumble its way down the winding road in Waterworks Valley. The coachman has white ribbons attached to his horse whip and in the back of the carriage sits a young girl in a bridal gown. If you are unlucky enough to see this ghostly carriage you will be terrified as it passes to see that the young bride has no face.
Legend tells us that the poor young girl was jilted by her lover and upon returning home she was so distraught that she committed suicide. She is now doomed to retrace her journey every year.
The Witches of Rocqueberg
On the south coast of the island in the Parish of St. Clement is a rocky promontory, from which rises a granite outcrop known as Rocqueberg.
According to legend, this eerie place was the meeting place for witches and devil worshipers and no one in their right mind would go near the place on a Friday night, especially at a full moon. On one part of the rock, the cloven hoof print of the devil is said to be clearly visible.
Two specific legends, dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries are associated with this eerie place:
The first involves a young fisherman named Hubert. Hubert was engaged to be married to a young girl called Madeleine. After leaving Madeleine each night, he had to walk by Rocqueberg and became fascinated with the area. One night he saw some beautiful girls dancing around the rock and they invited him to join them the next night. Madeleine, on hearing of the planned meeting, feared for Hubert and followed him. To her horror, she found him surrounded by dancing witches. They had put a spell on the young man and he could only see them as beautiful maidens. Madeleine took a crucifix that she had hidden under her coat and threw it at the old hags. Hubert was freed from the spell and the witches disappeared, their shreaks echoing into the night – never to be seen again.
The second story also involves a young fisherman This part of the Jersey coastline is very treacherous because there are many rocks hidden under the water. Legend has it that the witches of Rocqueberg would only allow fishermen to pass this headland safely if they were thrown every thirteenth fish from the fishermen’s catch. If they failed to do this the hags would cast a spell to raise a great storm, and the boat would be smashed to pieces on the rocks.
One brave fisherman refused to do this – instead he took a five rayed starfish from his catch, cut off one of the arms and threw it at the witches, shouting: ‘The cross is my passport’. It landed amongst the witches in the shape of the cross and they disappeared, never to be seen again.
Have a ghoulishly good time at Halloween now won’t you? Bwahahahaha….