From English folklore comes Black Annis. She is a malevolent blue-skinned haggard witch with sharp iron talons. She is extremely tall and stalks the night with glowing eyes and an ever gaping mouth filled with razor-sharp teeth. The first known written evidence of this entity comes from a title deed dating back to the 18th century, which gives this legend a shred of real-world credibility. But, with every legend and myth reside slivers of truth.

Black Annis is the night haunter of the English countryside and dwells in caves. The witch is unable to be exposed to daylight, otherwise, her curse would cause her to turn to stone. On the darkest nights even hidden from the moon, Black Annis comes out to hunt for innocent children. Ever patient and methodical, the witch grinds her teeth loudly as she approaches a victim. So, on a dark night in England, it’s wise to lock the doors and close the windows if the grinding of teeth is heard out in the darkness. Because Black Annis can stretch her long thin arms grotesquely long and grab unsuspecting children through a window with her iron talons. When Black Annis captures a victim she takes it back to her lair where she flays the skin off of the child and hangs it in the trees to tan. When the skin becomes suitable she will then make a belt of it and wear it on her next hunt.

It used to be common for parents to warn their children that if they didn’t behave, then Black Annis was going to come for them. The witch is also known to hide in the trees at night, falling from the darkness while screaming onto adult victims and eviscerate them into a pool of gore. Black Annis’ howl is terrifying to hear and echoes for miles, which freezes victims in silent horror. She prefers skinning children alive but will feast on any human flesh, or even sheep if no humans are around to murder. So, adults too are not safe from the vile murderous intent of this dark entity.

It has been common practice to make windows smaller than usual in the areas the witch is known to haunt. This way it is harder for her to snatch up children with her long arms. Single windowed homes were also built to reduce her murders and make the abduction of children through them more difficult for her. Certain herbs placed in the window sill could also help in warding off the witch.

There is no way for a normal person to fight Black Annis other than hiding or using herbs to ward her off. Legend states a magician cursed her so that if daylight touches her flesh she will turn to stone, and this is the only way to slay the witch. So, monster hunters must take special caution to confront her, because mundane weapons are as useless as Christian prayers against her.

People call Black Annis a witch, though it is likely she was never human. The entity has been associated with the occult, witchcraft, and Wicca. She is most likely an ancient nature spirit, pagan goddess, or demon. Some have even linked her to a mother goddess that was worshipped on the British Isles long before Christianity consumed Europe, and that the ceasing of her worship transformed her into the monstrous entity she has now become.

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