Will o' the Wisp: A Mischievous Fire


Manage episode 293672340 series 2547967
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Annie and Jenny explore spunkie-haunted bogs, the natural phenomenon that has long been regarded in Scottish folklore as a forewarning symbol of danger. In the Highlands, we call them Spunkies, but you may know them as the Will o the Wisps!

These are thought to be caused by the spontaneous ignition of gas that has been produced by rotting marsh vegetation however folklore associated will o the wisp connected them with the spirits of the dead and even imps or fairies. They are known to be deadly, luring travelers to their doom.

We read from extracts in the Inverness Courier, Aberdeen Press & Journal, and Ada Goodrich Freer’s Folklore on the Hebrides.

You can listen to oral histories on Spunkies here:

www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/43382 and


You can read an original Victorian broadside ballad based on the Will o the Wisp here: https://digital.nls.uk/broadsides/view/?id=16041
Stories of Scotland is a multi-award-winning Scottish history podcast, proudly recorded in the Highlands. Made by an archivist and environmental scientist.

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