Scarecrow genealogy is rooted in a rural life style. The Egyptians used the first scarecrows in recorded history to use to protect wheat fields along the Nile River from flocks of quail. Egyptian farmers installed wooden frames in their fields and covered them with nets – historybeacauseitshere.weebly.com
The following story comes out of the Howe of Cromar, as recounted by Stanley Robertson (of the well-known traveller family) to author Sheena Blackhall for “Aberdeenshire Folk Tales”. For the whole of the story, I refer you to the book, here I only recount the instructions given to the farmer by the shade of Colin Massie, the Warlock of Glendye, whom he summoned at the Warlock Stone which still stands today near Torphins.
“First you must pull a turnip from the field, and gouge out sockets for its eyes and mouth. You must cut out the eyes of a barn owl, stoned to death, and cut the mouth from a child dead of the smallpox. Place those in the turnip, and they will take root.
Now dig out an eye from seven corpses; a rabbit, a cow, a deer, a snake, a salmon, a badger, a wildcat, and sew them on as buttons for the jacket. Press the turnip onto a pole and add on the jacket, trouser and boots, all stuffed with straw. The you must cut a pair of hands from a corpse on the gibbet, and pull out its rotten heart to place inside the coat. Be careful nobody’s near to see or hear you. To make it come alive, repeat the words of this magic spell: A laird, a lord, a lily, a leaf, a piper, a drummer, a hummer, a thief.”
With the supernatural aid of such a formidable tattiebogle, the farmer sees off the crows that ruin his crops, but as the power of the scarecrow grows the farmer tries to destroy it, and eventually it sends him mad.
Northeast Scotland notes on folklore history and oddities
Notes on the Histry, Folklore and Oddities of North East Scotland