I got my idea for the Spook’s Apprentice series when I moved to the village of Stalmine in Lancashire. It has its own boggart, ‘The Hall Knocker’, which was exorcised by a priest who laid it to rest under the doorstep of a cottage. So boggarts are important in the books!
My son’s first house when he’d just got married was in Hamlet Road in Fleetwood. It was a creepy house badly in need of decoration and it had a bad feeling about it. Strange things began to happen which culminated in a weird event. One night Stephen and his wife were in bed upstairs when they heard a tremendous crash from the kitchen below. The doors were locked and they thought they might have an intruder/burglar.
Nervously, they went downstairs to find a pan in the middle of the kitchen floor; inside it was half a cup. The other half of the cup was yards away near the door. Not only that, the cup was cut into two perfect halves as if a laser beam had sliced it. The cups and pans had not been next to each other and there was no explanation for why they ended up on the floor like that. They had no children (at that time) nor pets that might have caused that and the doors were locked. Nobody human had entered the house!
One explanation is that it was a poltergeist. If so I think that’s what boggarts are. They move things; break thing, make raps and bangs in the night. So the name ‘Hall Knocker’ is a good one for the Stalmine Boggart. You can imagine hundreds of years ago similar kinds of phenomena happening at the big house at the top of the village. The stories would have been passed down through the generations as folk tales, eventually being written up. There are different names for such things in different parts of England but in Lancashire (the County) we call them boggarts!