Author Daniel’s dark tales from the North

Author Daniel’s dark tales from the North

Daniel Cobban, an aficionado of the gothic genre, has had a horror novel published, based on a ghostly tale from Lancashire folklore.

The 251-page book, The Curse of Peg O’Nell: or The Demon of the Well, has already been attracting five-star reviews online.

According to the local legends, Peg O’Nell was a servant who worked at Waddow Hall, home of the prominent Starkie family, in the 1800s. A spirited girl, she often argued with her mistress. On one occasion, her mistress sent her to fetch water and added that she hoped Peg broke her neck. Some time later, on an icy night, this wish came true, with Peg falling into the nearby Ribble.

After that, not only did the Starkies suffer hard times, with many believing it was Peg’s curse on the family, but other ghostly stories also entered local folklore.

Daniel (OE 1994–2001), who currently lives in Clitheroe, Lancashire, said: “Peg O’Nell is perhaps the most talked-about and iconic piece of folklore in the county. She is a mysterious water spirit who dwells in the River Ribble and, although usually dormant, is said to return every seven years, demanding her septennial sacrifice – animal or human, she doesn’t mind – but either way, no one is guaranteed any safety on Peg’s night.”

“I’m a big fan of the Victoriana and gothic genres of literature, and I couldn’t resist fleshing out a full gothic/folk story about Peg O’Nell,” said Daniel, who wrote under the pen name, Daniel Nicholas Cobban and was published by Scottish house, Beul Athris Publishing, who specialise in folklore, among other genres. “It took a lot of research and patience!”

Looking back at his school days, Daniel especially remembers his A-level English classes with great fondness. “Mr [Eric] Houston and Miss [Victoria] Maule were both amazing at helping us get to grips with challenging texts such as Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience and Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels.

“Also, as a writer, I deeply appreciated the fact that the School encouraged creative writing: I remember participating in a creative writing competition in Year 8 (or the second year, we called it back then!) and I achieved the runner-up position.”

After QE, Daniel studied English and film at Glasgow University. He qualified as a TEFL teacher and spent some time teaching English to elementary school children in Mexico a few years ago.

“I’m currently a supervisor at a restaurant in my home town Clitheroe, and the flexibility of the hours helps me to continue embracing my passion for writing.”