|Purpose||To teach children not to wander|
Black Annis, also known as Black Agnes, is a boogeyman figure in English folklore. She is said to haunt the countryside of Leicestershire, living in a cave in the Dane Hills, with an oak tree at its entrance.
She is imagined as a blue-faced crone or witch with iron claws and a taste for humans (especially children).
She supposedly goes out onto the glens at night looking for unsuspecting children and lambs to eat, then tanning their skins by hanging them on a tree, before wearing them around her waist. She would reach inside houses to snatch people. Legend has it that she used her iron claws to dig into the side of a sandstone cliff, making herself a home there which is known as Black Annis's Bower. The legend led to parents warning their children that Black Annis would catch them if they did not behave.
It is thought that the earliest written reference to Black Annis was from the eighteenth century, from which a title deed referred to a parcel of land as "Black Anny's Bower Close".