Several hundred years ago people without means had little option other than to beg for food, shelter, clothing and aid. There was no benefit system in place and the poor, hungry and needy had to rely on the generosity of others to survive. This was a time when women were lawfully beaten, sold, kicked and pushed around. Those who were widowed or had children out of wedlock were in an even more perilous position. If they were not taken in by relatives or kindly neighbours then they were spurned and many were left to wander from place to place as their stomachs and sometimes those of their children became emptier and emptier until often they felt as though they wanted to vomit for lack of nourishment.
Women often were so bedraggled that they wore nothing but rags and were regularly mistaken and feared as they resembled boggleboes or old and bent witches. If these poor bedraggled creatures asked for help they were often refused and could do nothing but mutter as they went on their way. It was often claimed that these mutterings were in fact curses and any old crone was pointed out as a witch. It was claimed that boggleboes were so close to the devil that every curse they made would come true.
“A penny, a crust if you please for a hungry soul?”
Even to this day, it is believed that they may come near and ask for a penny or a crust of bread. If a person offers the penny or a portion of loaf they will simply disappear often to be replaced with a cat or other type of familiar. If the bogglebo is refused her request then – watch out – for she may choose to haunt for a very long time and she especially blows a very icy draught!