Halloween month continues at Balladeer’s Blog with another look at a Gothic horror tale that doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

Killcrop the ChangelingKILLCROP THE CHANGELING (1828) – By Richard Thompson. Gothic horror stories always earn extra points from me if they spotlight a supernatural menace that is NOT a vampire or a ghost. This tale features a goblin child who changes places with a human child.

Killcrop the Changeling features the nearly forgotten version of goblin lore, which presented them as supernatural humanoid vermin who mystically inhabit old, uninhabited buildings. In this case the London building in question used to belong to an undertaker who also sold equipment for infants. The establishment was called Both Ends in reference to this cradle and grave specialization, NOT because it was a gay bar.

The goblins calling the building home have made it impossible to sell or rent and the deceased owner’s solicitors have made a great show of offering it up for free for several months to try to throw off its reputation for being haunted. An old Royal Navy man named Noah Fluke, who is caring for the newly-orphaned son of his former Lieutenant takes the solicitors up on the offer of a free, furnished residence for himself and his new charge.

Killcrop the Changeling 2The orphan, named Basil Hartwell, takes to exploring abandoned portions of the building he and his guardian live in. Noah Fluke disregards as childish imagination the boy’s tales of the goblins he encounters and plays with until one day little Basil is gone and a changeling is left in his place.

That changeling is Killcrop, a goblin child whose features are a horrific parody of Basil’s and who proves as malicious and hard to handle as the killer doll in the original Trilogy of Terror movie. The old seaman, wielding his old service sword, at last subdues and collars the voraciously hungry Killcrop, but is afraid to kill him for fear of what the goblins who hold Basil will do to him in retaliation.

Mascot FOUR original picsNoah Fluke seeks out supernatural advice on how to negotiate an exchange to get Basil back and return the terrifying goblin child to its own kind. In accordance with that advice Fluke finds himself spending the night in a graveyard, camped beside a freshly dug empty grave in which he has deposited the gagged and bound Killcrop. Per the instructions he received Noah recites a spell and settles in to prove he can stay by the grave throughout the entire night despite a rainstorm and a legion of ghosts who rise from the graves surrounding him and attempt to terrify him into fleeing.

Our hero courageously endures both the elements and the supernatural assault throughout the entire night and is still beside the grave come sunrise. But did Noah recite the spell correctly or did he muff the wording Ash Williams- style, bringing on a nightmarish twist to the tale?  


© Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.



Filed under Halloween Season


  1. Killcrop deserves a movie! Now!!!!!

  2. Killcrop is an awesome name!

  3. Lynette

    I pictured Bruce Campbell as the star when you made that joke!

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