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A bogle, boggle or bogill is the Northumbrian and Scots term for a ghost or folkloric being, used for a variety of related folkloric creatures including Shellycoats, Barguests, Brags, the Hedley Kow and even giants such as those associated with Cobb's Causeymarker (also known as "ettins", "yetuns" or "yotuns" in Northumberlandmarker).The name is derived from the Middle-English Bugge (of which the term bogey is also derived) which is in turn a cognate of the German term word bögge (of which böggel-mann ("Goblin") is derived) and possibly the Norwegian dialect word bugge meaning "important man". The Welsh Bwg could also be connected, and was thought in the past to be the origin of the English term however recently it has been shown that it is probably a borrowing from the older Middle English word. They are reputed to live for the simple purpose of perplexing mankind, rather than seriously harming or serving them.

One of the most famous usages of the term was by Gavin Douglas, who was in turn quoted by Robert Burns at the beginning of Tam O' Shanter

Of Brownyis and of Bogillis full is this Buke.


There is a popular story of a bogle known as Tatty Bogle, who would hide himself in potato fields (hence his name) and either attack unwary humans or cause blight within the patch. This bogle was depicted as a scarecrow, "bogle" being an old name for "scarecrow" in various parts of Englandmarker and Scotlandmarker

It is unclear what the connection is between "Bogle" and various other similarly named creatures in various folklores. The "Bocan" of the Highlands may be a cognate of the Norse Puki however, and thus also the English "Puck".

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