Black Annis

A blue-faced hag, akin to the Cailleachs Bheare and Bheur, who eats people. She is supposed to live in a cave in the Dane Hills in Leicestershire. There was a great oak at the mouth of the cave in which she was said to hide to leap out, catch and devour stray children and lambs. The cave, which was called ‘Black Annis’ Bower Close’, was supposed to have been dug out of the rock by her own nails.

On Easter Monday it was the custom from early times to hold a drag hunt from Annis’ Bower to the Mayor of Leicester’s house. The bait dragged was a dead cat drenched in aniseed. Black Annis and Gentle Annie are supposed to derive from Anu, or Dana, a Celtic mother goddess. It has also been suggested that she is MILTON’S ‘blew meager hag’.