Inside the dark tunnels of Cornish tin mines live tiny creatures called The Knockers, L.H. DAVIES reports
If you stand and look towards the dilapidated remains of crumbling tin mine buildings, a ghost of Cornwall’s more industrial past, it is easy to see how such places have inspired terrifying tales. In particular the oft spoken of ‘Knockers’.
Views differ between miners as to the intent of these small creatures, with their thin limbs and hooked noses. Sometimes benevolent, they were said to mine deep within the darkest recesses of the mines, away from human interference.
Though appearing throughout Celtic folklore, the Knockers are most prevalent within Cornish lore as the spirits of unfortunate miners who lost their lives in the pits, who, it was thought would warn miners of impending cave-ins by knocking loudly on the tunnel walls. The action which inspired their name.
It was often considered lucky to leave offerings for them. A favoured treat would be the remains of the miner’s Cornish Pasty. Failure to do this might result in bad luck, with miners experiencing tricks played upon them.
In other stories, the Knockers were in fact malevolent creatures who were actually responsible for the cave-ins. The knocking on the tunnel walls not an aid to warn the miners of an impending accident, but the source itself.
Whistling was said to aggravate them and so miners avoided this for fear of bringing doom down upon themselves.
Also thought to inhabit wells and other natural features, tales of the Knockers were taken to Pennsylvania, USA in the 1800s by Welsh miners relating their experiences with the ‘Bwca’.
Sightings of the Knockers have diminished since the death of the tin mining industry, however, they are still believed to reside within the dark tunnels beneath the bleak and desolate Cornish moors.
L.H. DAVIES ia a young writer from Grimsby, Humberside. Now living in South Shields she enjoys writing all things paranormal/supernatural, and also dabbles in epic fantasy, music reviews and interviews.