The Howling Mother

I. A miner from Zellerfeld once went home late in the evening. Then the Howling Mother sat on his path and howled, and one leg was on the fence on one side of the road, and the other leg was on a fence on the other side. Since the miner was not easily intimidated, he walked straight through beneath the Howling Mother. But at this moment, she knocked his hat off his head. The miner left the hat laying there. But when he reached his home, a woman was living there. He told her that he had lost his hat, asked her to bring the hat to him, and told her that it would probably be lying between the two fences. The woman went there and picked up the hat. But as soon as she had arrived at the house, the Howling Mother was outside. She howled terribly, and threatened the entire house. Then they threw the hat out of the window, and with this she calmed down. But the hat was found on the street the next morning, and it had been ripped into threads.

II. Around fifty to sixty years ago, a mine smith went to work in his mine around one o’clock in the morning. As he was walking along the Zellbach stream and came through the so-called Prachtgäßchen alley, he heard a delicate and thin voice which spoke to him: “Stand still! Stand still!” But he knew that the woman who lived in the small house along the street was a witch, and thought: “This is the witch, and she wants to play a prank on you.” He thus started to run as fast as he could. But immediately, he heard pattering and rappelling, cheering and screaming in a manner that he was almost deafened - and yet, he did not see anything. Suddenly there was a jolt, and he felt a heavy load on his shoulders as if a human had sat down on them, and their legs were hanging down in front. He also felt how fingers tore into his skin like claws. And the thing did not leave him before he had opened the door to the entrance of the lower Burgstätt Lode, where he arrived utterly exhausted. Then the creature struck him on the back with such force that he fell into the building and was bereft of his senses, and only recovered from his ordeal after several hours. In the evening, when he got home, he still had the black spots on his shoulders and his back.

Source: Pröhle, H. Harzsagen zum Teil in der Mundart der Gebirgsbewohner. 1886, p. 123f.

Notes & commentary: Tales of Clausthal-Zellerfeld