Knockers, Kobolds, Master Hammerlings, Brownies, Dwarves…these are working spirits. Knocking spirits. Folklore is filled with these entities that labor. The fairy Knocker was said to make knocking sounds in empty mine shafts. The Knocker’s knock often foretold of a mine cave-ins…or did they cause it? Was it the natural warning sound of the earth shifting before a collapse…or a clairaudient premonition of an impending disaster? Or subterranean spirits?
Folklore is filled with laborer spirits. They toil performing tasks for an unexplained purpose similar to the work of human beings. If the Knocker mined, the Brownie did common household tasks. If the master of the house had a good relationship with his Brownie, these fairies were said to do useful tasks simply for the offering of a small meal. At night the brownies would mow the hay, churn butter, and milk the cows.
I doubt Brownies ever really did any of this. But there may have been strange sounds, knocking sounds in the night. Objects may have been moved. Not wanting to offend whatever was making these sound and moving objects around, they would pretend noble intentions and suggest it was milking the cow. Politeness combined with a bowl of milk kept the noisy spirit from becoming too aggressive.
This knocking was heard often enough where it became common folklore. This knocking may not be simply imagination. Today’s knocking spirits are known as poltergeists. Poltergeists are modern folklore; excerpt there is compelling evidence this is not simply imagination. Poltergeist activity, on occasion, may be an objective reality. It starts with knocking. Then things begin to move…
What are poltergeists, these knocking spirits? Ghosts trying to communicate with us? Demons? Or as is commonly believed in parapsychology: the manifestation of telekinesis projected by a disturbed individual.
Here is a story about a factory ghost. John is a young guy who got a factory job at the place where his father worked. John worked the nightshift with a handful of other workers. During the day the facility was a busy place but the second shift was staffed by only a few.
Chatting about ghostly experiences, John told me he saw something strange at this factory. When he started working the nightshift, he was sitting at a grinding wheel working some metal, when he saw someone, out of the corner of his eye, run past him. Startled, he looked, but nobody was there. Returning to his job, a minute later the shape ran back again. Again he looked and thought he caught the sight of a blur…a dark shape.
Later that night John asked his father about this weirdness. His dad told him other employees had seen strange things too; ask them about it. Employees who worked the night shift had seen similar blurs, a shadowy shape. And there were sounds. On occasion, from nowhere would be a knock or rap. There were only a few working at night; there was nobody else around to make such noise. This rapping and knocking occurred infrequently, yet often enough that in time nobody paid much attention anymore.
The other workers told John about rumors someone once died in this factory, in an industrial accident. This supposedly happened during the time of the previous owners of this building. They guessed maybe the place was haunted by the spirit of someone who died at work.
If I died, the last place I’d want to haunt would be my workplace. Imagine being trapped in an afterlife working as you did in life, perhaps unaware you were dead. Like miners who died in mining accidents…hammering away, working…knocking. What a terrible fate.