Barguest (or Barghest)
A goblin or phantom of mischievous character traditionally
reported in the north of England and also in Wales. The meaning
of the term is disputed, some believing it to be ‘‘town ghost’’
(burhghest), others suggesting it derives from the German berggeist
(‘‘mountain demon’’). The goblin often appears in the
form of a monstrous dog with huge teeth and claws. Another
tradition suggests that the phantom is named from his habit of
sitting on bars or gates. A writer in the mid-nineteenth-century
Encyclopaedia Metropolitana relates a story of a woman he knew
who had been brought up in the country. As a child, she had
been passing through the fields one morning and saw someone
sitting on a stile; as she drew near, however, the figure vanished.