A scarecrow or hay-man is a decoy or mannequin in the shape of a human which is dressed in old clothes and placed in fields to discourage birds such as crows or sparrows from disturbing and feeding on recently cast seed and growing crops.
The 1881 Household Cyclopedia of General Information gives the following advice:
Machinery of various kinds, such as wind-mills in miniature, horse rattles, etc., to be put in motion by the wind, are often employed to frighten crows; but with all of these they soon become familiar, when they cease to be of any use whatever.
The most effectual method of banishing them from a field, as far as experience goes, is to combine with one or other of the scarecrows in vogue the frequent use of the musket. Nothing strikes such terror into these sagacious animals as the sight of a fowling-piece and the explosion of gun powder, which they have known so often to be fatal to their race.Such is their dread of a fowling-piece, that if one is placed upon a dyke or other eminence, it will for a long time prevent them from alighting on the adjacent grounds. Many persons now, however, believe that crows like most other birds, do more good by destroying insects and worms, etc., than harm by eating grain.
Crows can be a substantial problem for gardens in the springtime: they can work down a row pulling up recently sprouted corn to eat the remaining seed/seedlings. In the southern Appalachians another common method of scaring off crows was use of a dead crow hung upside down from a pole.
Modern scarecrows, though still essentially decoys, seldom take a human shape. On California farmland, highly reflective aluminized PET film ribbons are tied to the plants to create shimmers from the sun. Another approach is automatic noise guns powered by propane gas.
In the United Kingdom, where the use of scarecrows as a protector of crops date from time immemorial, and where dialects were rife, there are a wide range of alternative names such as:
|Tattie Bogal||Isle of Skye|
Bodach-rocais (lit. "old man of the rooks")
Alternative names for scarecrows also include these localized versions:
|Sola Kolla Bommai||Tamil|
(Trudgill, Peter. Sociolinguistics: An Introduction to Language and Society. London: Penguin Books, 2000)
Cultural impact 
The impact of the scarecrow extends beyond its immediate utilitarian function.
In literature and film 
Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story "Feathertop" is about a scarecrow created and brought to life in 17th century Salem, Massachusetts by a witch in league with the devil. He is intended to be used for sinister purposes and at first believes himself to be human, but develops human feelings and deliberately cuts his own life short when he realizes what he really is. The basic framework of the story was used by American dramatist Percy MacKaye in his 1908 play The Scarecrow.
L. Frank Baum's tale The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has a scarecrow as one of the main protagonists. The Scarecrow of Oz was searching for brains from the Great Wizard. The scarecrow was portrayed by Frank Moore in the 1914 film His Majesty, the Scarecrow of Oz, by Ray Bolger in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, and by Michael Jackson in the 1978 musical film adaptation The Wiz.
The Scarecrow is the alter ego of the Reverend Doctor Christopher Syn, the smuggler-Robin-Hood hero in a series of novels written by Russell Thorndike. The first book, Doctor Syn: A Tale of the Romney Marsh, was published in 1915. The story was made into a movie (1937) and later taken up by Disney in 1963 and dramatized for its Sunday night audience as Dr. Syn: The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh starring Patrick McGoohan.
A film directed by Jerry Schatzberg in 1973 starring Al Pacino and Gene Hackman is titled Scarecrow and deals with two characters on a journey reminiscent of the one in L. Frank Baum's book. The film also features a dialogue regarding scarecrows which presents the idea that the crows find scarecrows funny, and crows, as a sign of gratitude for the laughter, decide to keep off of crops where scarecrows are posted.
Cillian Murphy portrays the Scarecrow in the Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy (as a villain in the 2005 feature film Batman Begins and the 2008 sequel The Dark Knight, and as a judge in Bane's court in the 2012 finale The Dark Knight Rises). In the film, Jonathan Crane is the lead psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum and also working with mobster Carmine Falcone, declaring his arrested henchmen insane so they can be released quicker. However, he also conducts experiments on his patients, using a fear toxin developed with Ra's al Ghul to break their minds. This version just wears a poorly stitched burlap sack with a built-in rebreather, doubling as a gas mask. Murphy explained that the relatively simple mask was done because "[He] wanted to avoid the Worzel Gummidge look, because he's not a very physically imposing man - he's more interested in the manipulation of the mind and what that can do."
In Supernatural Season 1, Episode 11, entitled Scarecrow, two hunters (brothers Sam and Dean) of evil spirits travel to a small town in Indiana where couples have gone missing the same day each year, only to discover the local farmers are sacrificing the innocent victims in order to end a geographic blight long cursing the region, to a Pagan God who takes the form of a scarecrow.
In the British TV series Doctor Who two episodes, Human Nature and Family of Blood, contain numerous scarecrows used as henchmen for the episodes' alien antagonists. They are animated through an unknown scientific method. In the end one of the antagonists is left conscious, but paralyzed, in a field disguised as a scarecrow.
The Scarecrow and his Servant is a 2004 children's novel by Philip Pullman, in which a scarecrow comes to life after being struck by lightning and sets out on a quest with an orphan boy named Jack.
In the 2012 Disney/Pixar film Brave, very early in the film King Fergus of Clan Dumbroch refers to a Dancing Tattie Bogle as an impossibility when Merida says she has seen a Will O' the Wisp.
The Scarecrow is a character in the DC Comics universe, a classic supervillain and one of Batman's greatest enemies. Similar characters, known as Scarecrow and Straw Man, have appeared in Marvel Comics.
A scarecrow called Mervyn Pumpkinhead is one of the dreams who serve Dream of the Endless in Neil Gaiman's The Sandman (Vertigo) series. Mervyn is a builder of dreamscapes as well as a caretaker or maintenance worker of sorts.
Kakashi (Japanese for scarecrows) is the title of a horror manga by Junji Ito, which was later adapted to a live-action film by Norio Tsuruta. In it, the scarecrows are the central point of the story, where the isolated village of Kozukata has an annual tradition called the "Scarecrow Festival" where the spirits of the dead would possess scarecrows so they may reunite with the living.
Kakashi Hatake is a main character in the manga series Naruto. His name means "field scarecrow" in Japanese and in the anime adaptation he is seen to trick his team on a few occasions by using scarecrows as decoys.
Disney created a themesong for its 1963 Dr. Syn: The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh, which included the lyrics, "Scarecrow! Scarecrow! The soldiers of the King feared his name. Scarecrow! Scarecrow! The country folk all loved him just the same. SCARECROW!". It was written by Terry Gilkyson. It is available on DVD as "Dr. Syn: The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh" in Walt Disney Treasures: Wave Eight.
John Cougar Mellencamp's Scarecrow album, which peaked at No. 2 in the Fall of 1985, spawned five Top 40 singles including "Rain on the Scarecrow" (#21).
Lord Infamous, an American rapper and co-founder of the Memphis rap group Three 6 Mafia, is also known as "Scarecrow"
The Japanese band, The Pillows, put out a single titled "Scarecrow" on April 4, 2007.
David Hutto aka Boondox, uses a scarecrow persona for his southern/horrorcore rap style, he is signed to Psychopathic Records
On 24 April 2012, iamamiwhoami released their music video 'idle talk', you can see Jonna standing in a field, in a scarecrow pose
A band from Brooklyn,NY is named "scarecrows for hire"
In August 2004, a scarecrow dressed as a policewoman was stolen from Middleton-in-Teesdale by staff at Loaded magazine who appointed it as guest editor for one issue.
Scarecrows are also a type of creature in the trading card game Magic: The Gathering. They act as ordinary scarecrows animated by magical means.
Scarecrow Festivals 
In the UK, the Urchfont Scarecrow Festival was established in the 1990s and has grown into a major local event, attracting up to 10,000 people annually for the May Day Bank Holiday. Originally based on an idea imported from Derbyshire, it was certainly the first to be established in Wiltshire, and was possibly the first in the whole of southern England.
The festival at Wray, Lancashire was established in the early 1990s and continues to the present day. In the village of Orton, Eden, scarecrows are displayed each year, often using topical themes such as a Dalek exterminating a Wind turbine to represent local opposition to a wind farm. Norland, West Yorkshire has a festival. Tetford and Salmonby jointly host one. In Teesdale, the villages of Cotherstone, Staindrop and Middleton-in-Teesdale have annual scarecrow festivals. The village of Meerbrook in Staffordshire holds an annual Scarecrow Festival during the month of May. Kettlewell in North Yorkshire has held an annual festival since 1994. Scotland's first scarecrow festival was held in West Kilbride, North Ayrshire in 2004, and there is also one held in Montrose. On the Isle of Skye, Minginish the Tattie bogal event, is held each year with workshops, scarecrow trail, family fun day, and Ceildh & Barn Dance.
In Dymchurch on Romney Marsh a man dressed as a scarecrow rode down the street annually since 1964 in celebration of local author Russel Thorndike's Dr Syn books, however, in 2008 he was required to walk due to health and safety regulations. Tonbridge in Kent also host an annual Scarecrow Trail, organised by the local Rotary Club to raise money for local charities. In the USA, St. Charles, Illinois hosts an annual Scarecrow Festival.
The 'pumpkin people' come in the fall months in the valley region of Nova Scotia, Canada. They are scarecrows with pumpkin heads doing various things such as playing the fiddle or riding a wooden horse. Cats and pigs made from pumpkins are also present. Hickling, in the south of Nottinghamshire, is another village that celebrates an annual scarecrow event. It is very popular and has successfully raised a great deal of money for charity. Photographs of some of the hundreds of scarecrows built at Hickling can be found here...
Meaford, Ontario has celebrated the Scarecrow Invasion since 1996. From mid-September to mid-October scarecrows are found everywhere in this small apple town including hanging from lamp posts,posing in parks and sitting on lawns. The Invasion includes a scarecrow parade and family festival, the Friday night of the weekend before Canadian Thanksgiving in October. The Invasion is volunteer driven with over 250 volunteers filling 455 roles, serving 2,818 hours/year.In 2002, challenged the record for most scarecrows in the Guinness Book of World Records. Meaford created 2,221 scarecrows – close to the record but not the winner. The Invasion has inspired the short film “No Room for a Scarecrow” by Meaford Youth Film Studio which was shown at Meaford International Film Festival (2009) and two “Scarecrow Theme Songs” by Will Matthews and Allan Johnson.
See also 
- Lesley Brown (ed.). (2007). "Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles". 6th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-923324-3.
- Hartshorne, Henry. (1881). "The Household Cyclopedia of General Information". New York: Thomas Kelly.
- Warrack, Alexander (1982). "Chambers Scots Dictionary". Chambers. ISBN 0-550-11801-2.
- "The Pillows discography - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia". En.wikipedia.org. Retrieved 2012-07-12.
- Mercury, Teesdale. "Men's magazine owns up to stealing scarecrow Nancy".
- "Kettlewell Scarecrow Festival draws in crowds". Bbc.co.uk. 2011-08-14. Retrieved 2012-07-12.
- [dead link]
- "Scarecrow Trail".
- "Scarecrow Festival".
- Published on Tuesday 9 February 2010 14:47 (2010-02-09). "Village hands over £13,500 - Local". Melton Times. Retrieved 2012-07-12.
- "Summer fun images | Summer fun photos". Good-times.webshots.com. 2006-09-27. Retrieved 2012-07-12.
Further reading 
Scarecrow Fact and Fable, Peter Haining, 1986
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