John "The Gneech" Robey (the_gneech) wrote,
John "The Gneech" Robey

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Happy Birthday, fferret!

For your present, here's today's Forgotten English!

Appearance as a phantom.
--Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary Supplement, Spurious Words, 1933

Washing the Sark

On All Hallowe'en, a Border maiden may wash her sark [an undergarment or a nightgown] and hang it over a chair to dry, taking care to tell no one what she is about. If she lie awake long enough, she will see the form of her future spouse enter the room and turn the sark. We are told of one young girl who, after fulfilling this rite, looked out of bed and saw a coffin behind the sark; it remained invisible and then disappeared. The girl rose up in agony and told her family what had occurred, and the next morning she heard of her lover's death. In another instance, the young woman is said to have seen her lover at first, but this image quickly vanished and was replaced by a coffin; she was shortly afterwards married to the man, but he soon died ... I have heard of precisely the same practice in Ireland and in the county of Sussex.
--William Henderson's Folk-lore of the Northern Counties of England, 1879

It remained invisible and then disappeared? I suppose it was also silent until she couldn't hear it any more.

This is the kind of thing that would show up on Snopes today with a big ol' FALSE next to it, like the dorm room girl and the scratching on the door.

-The Gneech
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