The Knights Templar were known, here in Brittany, as the Red Monks. Their evil deeds and cruel reputation survived in the popular imagination long after their medieval heyday; cruel ghosts, condemned to forever wander the lonely places to atone for their terrible crimes.
Sacred plant of the ancient druids, mistletoe has, for centuries, been highly prized for its supposed medicinal virtues. Here in Brittany, this pretty parasitic evergreen has traditionally been associated with love, luck and the promise of the New Year.
In Brittany, the magic of Christmas night was once said to have been so complete that no evil could act. It was a moment when only the son of man and the toad slept; a time when animals spoke to each other in the tongues of men and secret treasures were revealed.
The black dog is a recurring image in folklore across the world. In Brittany, these sinister spectral beasts roamed the lonely places and, in many local legends, were closely associated with crossroads, springs and the old sunken pathways.
For centuries, tales of unjustly treated heroines, eventually finding happiness, have featured in the traditions of cultures worldwide. In Europe, the best known example is probably the tale of Cinderella. Variants of this story abound and one of several versions found in Brittany is the tale of the Grey Wolf’s Wife.
Marriage, whether motivated by romantic idealism or social necessity was a key concern for the people of rural Brittany. A number of unusual customs and superstitions once surrounded marriage and the quest for love.
One of the most haunted regions of France; the windswept coastlines, bleak moors and uncultivated lands of Brittany have long been closely associated with the ghostly goings-on of the dead.
Brittany is a land of lore and legends, seeped in the supernatural. Said to be one of the most haunted regions of France, any journey around the castles of Brittany weaves a dark path between legend and rumour; fear and fright. Unsettling tales of lost innocence and tormented souls condemned to forever haunt the old stones so that we might not forget them.
Tales of ghosts and ghostly apparitions form a rich vein in the folklore of Brittany although, in the Breton tradition, there was once no significant separation between the living and the dead, both were seen as dwelling in two discrete worlds that were in perpetual relation with one another.
For yesterday’s Bretons, the world around them was swarming with signs that, if interpreted correctly, predicted the future. Being prepared for the unknown future and warding off misfortune were constant concerns for our ancestors. Natural phenomena, abnormal behaviour and other irregularities were carefully noted for the favourable or ill shadow they cast over daily life and often regularised as good omens or bad omens and omens of death.