Monday, May 22, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.142: The Lost Language of Headstones


Rumour has it that, hidden amongst the overgrown bounds of Horsingdon Cemetary, there are two graves, side by side, marked by curiously-angled obsidian headstones, and upon which are transcribed glyphs of an unknown and alien language.

According to these tales, neither grave is marked on the cemetary's register; nor is there any record of who - or what - might be buried there (or, indeed, of when the burials took place). Whilst many anecdotal accounts exist regarding both the location of the headstones and the nature of their strange, otherworldly appearance, there are no extant photographs of these perplexing monuments.

There is a further rumour that Horsingdon Council maintains a standing order that the graves should not, under any circumstances, be disturbed - as well as threatening to employ the sternest legal measures against anyone attempting to translate the unearthly characters inscribed on the headstones.

As with many of Horsingdon's mysteries, it is nigh impossible to determine the truth of such claims; what is, however, an established fact is that in one of the most overgrown parts of the burying ground stands a squat, blocky, concrete structure recently erected by Horsingdon Council to protect (according to the vague statement released by one of its employees) two graves of 'historic and archaeological significance'. Unsurprisingly, there are those who speculate that the structure in question has, in fact, been put in place as the means of forever the concealing the message of the mysterious headstones, and of containing whatever lurks beneath them.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.141: The Black Cats of Horsingdon




It is a fact rarely disputed by older residents that the black cats of Horsingdon play an important role in the guardianship of the region, patrolling the points at which its praeternatural topography forms a boundary with other realms of being; hardy hunters, they stalk the extramundane powers which so-often slip silently into our world, forcing them back from whence they came, through hiss, through tooth, and through claw - or killing and consuming them outright. The partially-eaten remnants of anomalous creatures sporadically discovered in the woods and fields of Horsingdon are the remainder of their sport. These cats are often encountered about gates and doorways, slinking mysteriously about their business. On occasion, they can be persuaded - usually by an act of kindness or a gift of especially creamy milk - to give up one of their lesser secrets.

Black cats have, understandably, long been associated with the witchlore of the region; they are certainly the favoured familiars of the guardians of the Black Bowers. These inky mousers are, however, known to serve their masters and mistresses with what can only be described as a haughty indifference, often pursuing their own inscrutable agendas: at times abandoning their owners should they meander too far along the path of folly, and even doing them harm if maltreated.

In the latter instance, one locally famous case of leonine retribution involves a singularly rotund and enigmatic beast known as Mehegerty the Black, whose owner (a witch with a particularly malign reputation)  disrespectfully threatened to cast the poor feline out into the cold on an especially bitter Winter's night; Mehegerty's vengeful retort was to fix a baleful green stare upon his cruel mistress, who choked to death - slowly and painfully - on the spot.

So if, during your travels throughout Horsingdon, you should encounter a black cat - or indeed one of its kin of another stripe - greet it with affection and goodwill as your journey may be a safer one for it.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.140: A Townhouse in Trentford



Prior to his disappearance and suspected death, James Boreham had sought to avoid further scrutiny from the Horsingdon authorities by relocating further afield, choosing the above townhouse in the neighbouring borough of Trentford - where rumour of his unsavoury activities and occult affiliations had yet to penetrate - as his new base of operations.

In the aftermath of Boreham's presumed demise, the building remained empty for many years. However, a recent spate of disturbing occurances - including a number of disappearances - in and around the grounds of the house has forced Trentford Council to take action. On the advisement of its Horsingdon counterpart, Trentford Council has taken the decision not to demolish the building - perhaps fearful of releasing whatever might lurk within -  and instead sealing all of its widows and doorways. The Council has also appointing a local security firm to monitor activity in around the house for the foreseeable future.

Whilst there are some who complain at a waste of tax payers' money on what seems to be a pointless enterprise, those older residents of Trentford and Horsingdon - having witnessed something of the strangeness having afflicted those regions in the shadow of Boreham's passing - consider it money well-spent.

Despite the traditionalism apparent amongst much of Trentford and Horsingdon's populace, these boroughs have historically been Labour strongholds. A current concern is, therefore, how the recent insidious policy of 'austerity' might impact upon Trentford and Horsingdon Councils' ability to maintain their protective measures around many of the Boreham properties - and the frightful secrets they may still conceal. There are even those who go so far as to claim that, in this matter, there is s genuine possibility of the small-mindedness and short-sightedness of the prevailing political and economic moment unleashing a monstrous apocalypse of the most terrible kind: and then there are those amongst the guardians of the Black Bowers who profess to welcome such an event, citing the self-destructive character of the current political climate as further evidence that humankind's time on this planet is close to reaching its end.

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.139: Witch Gates



Gateways not only designate points of transition between boundaries, they also operate as indices of spaces of category violation: sites at which a greater, more terrible outline of existence grinds against the world.

In Horsingdon, such violations almost inevitably involve intrusions of prateternatural Outsideness, disrupting what is for most people the quotidian, natural order of things. Yet its capacity for its derangement by such forces only goes to demonstrate the arbitrary and indeed artifical character of that order.

Indeed, as some of Horsingdon's mystics have asserted, the region's manifold manifestations of the supranormal - which its strange topography has been all too ready to countenance - demonstrate that our sense of what constitues the world is fractional: a localised understanding of things, which fragments and dissolves when one comes to perceive that the whole is but a particulate of a greater reality.

Journeying through gateways is transformative and unilinear: once traversed, there is no going back - no unseeing of the world which the procession into an expanded frame of reference brings. Historically, those who were willing to take the step into such an altered mode of being attracted the label of witch. Anthropologically speaking, the witch is a category of anti-person: someone who seeks - through traffic with transmundane powers - to transgress and negate the social order; someone whose very existence is ontologically undermining  - pollutants whose contact with the imagined invariant structure of the socio-cosmic hierarchy bring about its disintegration.

Even today, the guardians of the Black Bowers are avoided because they instantiate and immanentize the fundamental human fear that things are not as they seem; an aura of contagion bleeds from their very pores for the very reason that, having stared into the abyss, the abyss stares back at us through them, threatening to contaminate us with the nameless knowledge they embody, jeopardising our cosy view of the world through their very presence.

To walk through one of Horsingdon's Witch Gates - like the one depicted above, once used in rituals of transmutation by the Horsingdon coven - is not only to confront the Outside, but through the transfiguration wrought by such an encounter, to forever become an outsider oneself.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.138: Hollowmere Lights


This image of spectral lights floating over Hallowmere Playing Fields appeared in my e-mail this morning. The photograph was digitally tagged as having been taken at about 11.55pm the previous night. The e-mail contained only a single word: 'Cold' - an epithet which readers might remember from an earlier Transmission. 

About an hour later one of my neighbours informed me that a bedraggled dog had been found on the fields, cold, shaking and soaking wet - apparently it had been left there for most of the night. The lead was still attached to the dog's collar, with no sign of the owner.

Perhaps this is just a case of an unwanted pet callously abandoned. Or perhaps Hallowmere Playing Fields - or whatever lurks in or about the site - has laid claim to another victim.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions 137: The Witch of Scarle Lane.


The bungalow mentioned in yesterday's Transmission was once believed to be the haunt of a witch - at least in according to the playground lore of local children in the 1950s. Whilst he bungalow (located in Scarle Lane near the pathway that grants access to Hallowmere Playing Fields) was unoccupied during this period, it was the focus - especially around Hallowe'en - of a particular rite of passage in which chidren would dare one another to go and knock at it's door in hope of summoning forth the spectre of one 'Mrs Grimer', an old woman who had died in mysterious circumstances sometime in the 1940s, and who had apparently acquired a reputation for witchcraft. Rumour has it that, after her death, the bones of two small children - bound together with catgut - were found buried in her garden. There are, however, no records of this in the archives of the local newspapers (although some local residents maintain that the incident was covered up by Horsingdon Borough Council).

What is on record is the fact that, in 1957, two children who lived nearby did disappear mysteriously - and on the evening of October 31st of that year - never to be seen again. In the aftermath of this local tragedy, it seems that fearful parents in the area forbade their children from going anywhere near the bungalow, and did everything in their power to eradicate the childish tale of Mrs Grimer the Scarle Lane Witch from local memory. The efficacy of such erasures is always questionable, as the vestiges of local lore - the fearful frisson of witchlore in particular - has a habit of hiding in the crooked cracks and nooks and crannies of folk memory.

Indeed, an associate of mine told me that whispered playground tales regarding the Witch of Scarle Lane persisted at least into 1977, when he was dared to knock on the door of that wretched, squalid little bungalow on the night of October 31st: on receiving no immediate answer, and already fearful of who or what might respond, he walked away quickly. However, just my friend was passing the front of the bungalow, a slight movement caught his attention; on turning he noticed that one of the curtains had been drawn back, revealing what he believed could only be a Hallowe'en mask: the deeply creased and greying flesh of an incredibly aged woman, grinning with blackened teeth and possessed of a crooked and pointed nose - and with holes in the face where the eyes should have been.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.136: The Hallowmere Bungalow



This dilapidated bungalow near Hallowmere Playing Fields - which I cant help but think looks like a witch's cottage - once belonged to James Boreham, and to this day rumours persist of underground tunnels or burrows linking the house's cellar to a cave or structure beneath the fields. Until recently, the bungalow evidenced no indication of habitation, but the Black Bower marking its entrance has shown signs of pruning, and yesterday evening prior to my uncounter with the headless pigeons, I heard a scratchy voice singing tunelessly from behind the bungalow's dirty, curtained windows - an eerie, lingering strain as incomprehensible as it was disturbing.

In retrospect, I am led to wondering whether this brief aural encounter with the bungalow's unseen and newly-ensconced occupant might somehow be related to my discovery of the dead birds on the path to Hallowmere Playing Fields...