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...

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.135: Pigeons from Hell

My regular early evening perambulation through Hallowmere Playing Fields was today met by two curious and disturbing events: the colony of crows which typically inhabites the site - except for a single corvidae resting silently in the middles of the fields - had alighted and were nowhere to be seen (an ominous omen, as noted in yesterday's Transmission); more unnervingly, I discovered two headless pigeons in the alley which leads to the fields, and which forms part of my usual route through the locale.

Whilst it is quite likely that the unfortunate pigeons were victim to a bird-of-prey (some of which - the Barn owl and Cooper's hawk included - are apparently partial to pigeon heads), I can't dislodge the lurking suspicion that they were placed there by some party or agency as a deterrant from further pursuit of my investigations into the mysteries of the region. In any case, the lone crow in and of itself was enough of a portent to dissuade me from returning to the fields over the next few days. Regardless, regular readers can rest assured that, despite this worrying setback, my inquiries into the various enigmas of Northwich and Horsingdon will continue unabated.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.134: A Hallowmere Murder

Very much like Burn Hill, Hallowmere Playing Fields (location of Northwich's infamous 'Witching Tree') is also home to a colony of crows. This seems typical of many of the stranger and more curious locales in the region. These birds seem drawn to such places - portents and harbingers of the unlikely and preposterous fates that often seem to overtake those unfortunate souls whose destiny appears inextricably linked to these sites. Typically, the days before an otherwise unexpected disappearance or praeternatural manifestation, one will notice a growing congregation of crows, whose cawing becomes increasingly more regular and insistent. Then in an instant they will cease their hollow and sinister song before taking to the skies in a wild panic. In the hours that follow, one can be assured that something terrible will happen.

Needless to say, Hallowmere Playing Fields is best avoided in the aftermath of its murder of crows.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions 133: Trentford Transmissions

Another of Horsingdon's mysterious transmitters: a boundary marker overlooking Trentford Station, a transport hub serving the South and the Midlands the edge of Greater London.

As the occult audioscapes of Horsingdon increasingly colonise the folk frequencies of its neighbouring boroughs, the dreams of Trentford residents have been increasingly afflicted by visions of unremitting horror. No doubt - as the aural mystics attuned to the region's sonic sorceries would claim - a consequence of this unclean monolith infecting, rotting and haunting the subtle lattices of Trentford's skyline and airwaves.

Friday, May 12, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions 132: Railway Arches

Freight trains travel nightly along tracks that run past Southcote and Northwich Park stations, and across the above bridge (near Trentford, just outsidevof Harlowe) - northerly toward Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool, and in a southerly direction toward the ports of Felixstowe, Tilbury and Southampton. Yet much of the solitary journeying of these locomotives occurs well outside the domesticated hubs of industrialised modernity: over fenlands, across barren moors, through tunnels bored deep into domed hills, and aside ancient meres and those deeply forested areas that even today cover over a tenth of the British landscape (of which less than a tenth is currently urbanised and populated).

Who knows what unexpected travellers may have boarded at some remote spot at 3am, when a train had come to a grinding halt as the service was being regulated? And who knows what might have alighted to take shelter in the cool darkness beneath one of Horsingdon's many railway arches?

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.131: Cellars

The cellars of Northwich and Horsingdon form the first cryptic substrate of the region's inner topographies, functioning as the connective tissue between the surface world and other, less-fathomable worlds of chthonic secrets. During my own psychogeographical forays into the cellars of Northwich's derelict houses and tenements, I have witnessed, amongst other things:

- an old camp bed, blankets soiled by mildew, and empty soup tins strewn about it on a filthy floor: signs of life untenable and since abandoned; and scrawled upon the wall above the bed in greying chalk, words steeped in desperation: 'I don't sleep so I don't dream so I don't wake up frightened';

- an archway leading from a cellar to who-knows-where, but recently bricked-up and the sealed entrance marked with signs of warding.

- an ancient, lightless well, about which small offerings of food had recently been arranged;

- what appeared to be the scene of a suicide swathed in shadows, but which on closer inspection revealed itself to be the worn and faceless form of a shopfront mannequin - hanging from the ceiling by a length of hempen rope.

Whilst such nonsensical scenes remain inscrutable as a consequence of their very outlandishness, they are, nonetheless, an effective deterrant - signifying with clarity and precision the perils of delving too deeply into those immeasurable depths which form the foundations of the world.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.130: Shadows Over Horsingdon

A triumvirate of shadowy, unidentified aerial phenomena manifested above Horsingdon Hill on May Eve - as attested to in this photograph which apparently captured the event. Observers claimed that the objects seemed to possess an organic quality, with one of them changing shape shortly before all three converged on the crest of Horsingdon Hill and were lost to view.

A few days ago the body of an elderly male vagrant was discovered in Horsingdon Woods. Formally, the cause of death has been recorded as hypothermia as a result of exposure - despite the mildness of the weather over the last ten days. Informally, a friend of mine who works in the Horsingdon Coroners Office told me that man's death was far from natural: both of the victim's eyes - and at least one other internal organ - had been removed with what was apparently surgical precision. The time of death was estimated at sometime between 10pm on 30th April and 4am on 1st May.

Whether these two events bear any relation to one another is likely to become yet another of Horsingdon's enduring mysteries; however, local legend states that James Boreham at one time held congress with 'demons from the stars' on the summit of the Hill - about which is also woven a rich tapestry of portentous witchlore regarding Those Who Wait and their eventual, calamitous return.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.129: Gateways

Statistics indicate that Horsingdon suffers from higher-than-average numbers of missing persons than most other Greater London Boroughs. In Horsingdon, sometimes these missing persons are discovered months - or even years - later, adaze in a field, with no recollection of where they have been.

Then there are those who do not return, and are never expected to: individuals - sometimes outsiders to the community - often observed prior to their passing from view as having wandered a little too close to one of those place most right-minded Horsingdon residents steer well-clear of. Of all such sites, locals are the most apprehensive of certain ancient and dilapidated gateways which dot the region. Scriven with strange symbols drawn from the archaic folk lexicon of the guardians of the Black Bowers, these gates appear to lead nowhere; it is, however, common knowledge that traversing these thresholds may carry the unwary traveller further afield than they might imagine - much further afield indeed.

Monday, May 08, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.128: The Steeple

Something heard shuffling about in the belfry which none of the congregation dare investigate; something called forth during a forbidden rite by a rector of dubious morality and heterodox beliefs; something unspeakably ancient and invested with all the malignance of a blindly indifferent cosmos; something which, nightly, stirs within the darkness of the steeple of a Horsingdon church to disturb parishoners' sleep with nightmare visions drawn from some undimensioned zone of unutterable horror.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.127: Atop A Darkened Staircase

In Horsingdon, the top of a darkened staircase always harbours something terrible - something which has waited patiently and with malicious intent to administer an unimaginable fate to whichever unfortunate happens to be its percipient.

Such places echo with the hollow screams of their victims, which reverberate endlessly through the malevolent silence of an unresponsive universe.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.126: This House is Haunted

The murder-suicide of a brother and sister took place this house in Hallowmere Lane sometime during the late 1950 - shortly after their neighbour had discovered that, for the past two decades, the pair had been engaged in an incestuous relationship. The forlorn ghosts of a man and a woman who bear a close resemblance to each other are now said to haunt this place.

In Horsingdon, a dilapidated house with an overgrown garden almost always demarcates the boundary of one of those zones of transition between this world and those which lie beyond, between the human and the inhuman: points of uncanny intersection, about which transgression and tragedy invariably lurk.

Friday, May 05, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.125: Triangulated Airwaves

Another of Horsingdon's larger transmitters: this one on the upper slope of Horsingon Hill itself, forming a triumvirate with two other arrays - at Burn Hill and Harlowe Hill respectively - aligned with the fabled Horsingdon Triangle.

The airwaves around these transmitters are abuzz with a discordant aural dread, disrupting the fragile sonic ecology of Horsingdon's ancient folkways: tales spun around the fireside of nearby pubs seem to transform from reflections on the social order into twisted narratives of atavistic and incestuous familial horror; folk songs once sung sweetly on the crest of Horsingdon Hill take an unexpectedly sinister turn as their words seem to resonate with frightful inferences about unseen powers; and the quaint local legends of Horsingdon, Harlowe and Burn Hills become transmuted into the monstrous, spectral disclosures of an abysmal, audient void - of which the unnatural accoustics of these three transmitters are the least manifestation.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.124: Perfect White Teeth

A path through Horsingdon Woods passes an old iron gate: all that remains of a property once known as 'Mad Bess' Cottage'. Very little is known about 'Mad Bess' herself - or how she came to her presumed state of derangement - other than the fact that she died in the mid-1800s, and was reputedly a witch.

Three years ago, the body of a woman in her late 20s was discovered in undergrowth, exactly on the spot upon which Mad Bess' Cottage used to stand. To this day the identity of the woman remains unknown - as does the cause of death. What is known, however, is the fact that the body was almost unrecognisably human on discovery - although it remains unclear as to whether this was a result of the corpse being in an advanced state of decomposition, or for some other reason entirely; the coroner nevertheless reported that the unfortunate woman exhibited, through the remnant of a wide, horrifying grin, a set of 'perfect white teeth'. Why someone should make an observation of this kind in a case like this I do not know; but I find something rather chilling about the fact that a corpse, found in what was presumably a horribly-disfigured state, nonetheless retained possession - visible through its madly-crooked smile - of a set of perfect white teeth.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.123: Tooth and Bone

Blackbird Farm - which stood at the foot of Burn Hill for at least 300 years - was demolished in the 1950s to make way for a pub, which was in turn demolished a few years ago as the site had been purchased for the development of a new supermarket. 

Preliminary digging at the site at the time revealed the old foundations of Blackbird Farm, as well as a complex of cellars that had previously been filled in. The remains of Roman amphorae dating back 1900 years - as well as iron age flints - were also unearthed in the vicinity, indicating that the site had probably been inhabited for a significant period of time. These discoveries caused the building of the supermaket to be suspended whilst the archaeological significance of the site could be assessed. 

The cellars of the old farm were subsequently excavated, revealing a number of curious things: that parts of the cellar walls were of Roman origin; that there was some sort of well - covered by a seemingly unmovable circular stone inscribed with iron age petroglyphs - in what appeared to be the oldest part of the cellars; and that partial human remains were scattered throughout the cellar complex. Soon after, Horsingdon Council intervened, and their behest the site was concreted over. 

The reasons for this remain unclear; however, I was recently told by one of the archaeologist present at the dig that the uncovered human remains included bones from a wide spread of historical periods,  some of which were at at least 3000 years old, and others that had been deposited at the site as recently as the late 1940s; In addition to which, the bones - regardless of age - uniformly bore evidence of human teeth marks - as well as of other, elongated forms of indentation that were from a less-readily identifiable species.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.122: Sounds from the Abyss

Another transmitter array stationed on the roof of an abandoned building - once the administrative centre for Horsingdon Borough Council - just off Northwich High Street.

 Indistinct figures  - wearing overly-large grey hooded overalls, which gives them a faceless, misshapen demeanour- can sometimes be spied through the grimy windows, shuffling sbout the place; whilst these are doubtless council employees engaged in some onerous task related to the maintenance of the dilapidated edifice, other sources claim that these figures - which, they maintain, first appeared after the initial deployment of the transmitter - are the very reason for the building's abandonment. This being the case, the relationship between these mystifying figures and the transmitter remains unclear; even so, one local conspiracy theorist has informed me that the signals emitting from the building's array bear a striking resemblance to anomalous deep-space radio signals which have been intercepted by various space agencies - and subsequently kept hidden from the public.

This individual had, in fact, endeavoured to record in digital format the signal emanating from the above transmitter. The track, which I had the opportunity to listen to, contained two distinct soundwaves, one overlaying the other - foremost of which was a deep, sonorous and irregular boom, like the intermittent beating of some hideouly cavernous drum; below this, an equally erratic and atonal piping, as if produced by a cracked flute inexpertly played by nameless paws from within some nighted abyss.

Monday, May 01, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.121: Jack-in-the-Dark

Situated atop Harlowe Hill, St. Anselm's Church (whose spire is puctured above) is not only the highest building in the Horsingdon region, but oversees the May Day celebrations in the parish of Harlowe - which include a choir service following the ringing of the Church's famous silver bells at sunrise on May 1st.

Somewhat less known is the variant Jack-in-the-Green procession - known locally as Jack-in-the-Dark - which Harlowe also hosts, occuring around dusk on May Day. This follows a route through the woods on Harlowe Hill - said to be the path worn by Harlowe's witches as, in centuries past, they would find their way to the sacred hillside grove at which they would their enact their fearful rites in honour of Those Who Wait. This grove supposedly stood at the site now occupied by the (heavily  overgrown) burying ground attached to St. Anselm's Church. Here the procession culminates with the mock sacrifice of the Jack (who, unlike the Jacks typically found in many other, similar local British festivals, is adorned in a long black hooded cloak and featureless mask to match), followed by raucous, alcohol-fueled celebrations (during which the Jack's cloak and mask are burnt upon a bonfire) which last until midnight.

Whilst the May Day sacrifice of the Jack (which is integral to many folk-observances throughout the UK) has been treated by anthropologists and folkorists as the means of reaffirming social continuity through a ritual in which death is shown to lead to the regeneration of life (symbolised via the Jack's death marking the completion of Spring and the full flowering of Summer), the Harlowe Jack-in-the-Dark tradition seems to be less about welcoming in the Summer than a kind of cosmic social-strain gauge; therein the Jack supposedly represents a harbinger of Those Who Wait known as 'The Strange, Dark One'. The sacrifice of the Jack does not, therefore, signify a recognition of seasonal change, but encodes the desireability maintaining the cosmological status quo - insofar as the death of this curious figure negates the possibility of the apocalyptic return of Those Who Wait. The subsequent revelries are, then, less celebrations which welcome the Summer than expressions of relief: that, for one more year, those who would call forth 'The Black Sun' (which will supposedly precipitate the birth Those Who Wait once more into our world) have yet again failed in their endeavour.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.120: Hex Night in Horsingdon

May Eve. Walpurgis. Hexennacht. Known in Horsingdon as 'Hex Night', the night of April 30th is when all right-minded locals ensure that their doors and windows are tightly secured, and when the streets are all but deserted after 9pm. Even so, come morning, there will be reports of at least one disappearance, and neighbours will speak in hushed tones of what the lights they saw dancing upon the crown of Horsingdon Hill under a horned moon portend - and whether whatever sacrifice made by the guardians of the Black Bowers the previous night was successful in propitiating Those Who Wait for yet another year.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.119: The Witch Ring of Northwich Park

In the middle of Northwich Park - which largely serves as playing fields for the nearby university campus - stands this curious grove of trees. The interior of the grove is overgrown with briar, but within one can find the remains of a what was supposedly once a small neolithic stone circle - locally known as 'the Witch Ring'. The squat, jagged stones were vandalised by the Puritan witchfinder Willian Hobson during the witch-hunts which swept through Horsingon in the latter part of the 17th century; however, given the stones' speculated age, the site had presumably been used for ritual purposes at a much earlier period of the region's habitation by humans. Indeed, some resonance of the  site's neolithic use might be evident in the spectral figures reputed to haunt the copse on May Eve and All Hallows Eve: misshapen creatures cloaked in furs and animal skins, bearing crowns of antlers, and heard to cry out the Old Names of Those Who Wait in a guttural and barely-human tongue.

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.118: Allotments

The stretch of the Grand Union Canal which flows past Horsingdon Hill bears witness to many strange things - though perhaps none so strange as the squat, crooked gateways which can be found along the left bank of this part of the canal. These gateways - often bearing crudely-carved sigils of curious design - grant entry to allotments situated at the foot of the Hill.

In the past, householders in the area have remonstrated with Horsingdon Borough Council regarding the state of shabby dilapidation into which the allotments have fallen, noting their neglect in various particulars, but focusing specifically on: the eyesores created by the disused and partially-collapsed sheds which inhabit these small parcels of land, and the curious weeds, shrubs and flowers of ominous hue with which the allotments have become overgrown.

Horsingdon Council has consistently ignored these complaints, and perhaps for good reason: for it is said that these problematic shrubs, weeds and flowers have been spawned by no earthly seed; that they require no earthly sustenance, but are tended by the guardians of the Black Bowers who provide nourishment of another, more ghastly kind; and that those guardians can sometimes be spied at night, singing softly of the ineffable black voids beyond the stars as their grotesque floral charges sway slowly in a ritual rythme, as if buffeted by the sedate force of star winds sweeping gently down from the gulfs of space.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.117: Toad Well

Toad Well is a small, weed-strewn body of water - nothing more than a pond, really - which rests atop the crest of Burn Hill, overlooking Horsingdon and Northwich. It's name apparently derives from the colony of a protected species of toad which has made a habitation of the pond.

During the infamous witch trials of 1678, suspected members of the Burn Hill coven were subjected to the practice of ducking here in order to determine either their guilt or innocence. One of the suspects was Abigail Boreham of Northwich Village - an ancestor of James Boreham - who, coincidentally, had been accused of engaging in 'unlawful relations' with a demon in the form of an immense toad in the vicinity of the pond. The rope attached to her waist came loose during the ducking, after which her body failed to rise from beneath the pond's stagnant waters - a sure sign of her guilt.

When one of the accusers (a man from the same village as Abigail) went to pull the suspected witch out from Toad Well, he himself was dragged under - by what is described in some accounts as a slimy webbed claw. The shocked onlookers refused to take further action until Thomas Hobson - a local squire who was both a Puritan of unpleasantly ascetic demeanour, as well as a self-styled witch hunter who had largely been responsible for whipping up fanatical anti-witchcraft sentiments in the region - threatened to accuse all present as accomplices to the witchery of Abigail Boreham. Three men from the gathered crowd eventually dredged the pond - which they discovered was hardly deep enough to hide a body - only to discover that the remains of neither Abigail Boreham or her presumed victim were anywhere to be found. In and of itself this was seen as evidence enough to convict the other accused witches present at the trial, all of who were hanged in short order from trees overlooking Toad Well. As a consequence, the witches of Horsingdon have maintained a grudge against both the Boreham and Hobson families ever since.

This being Horsingdon, where the past and the present so often intermingle, the aftermath of these events continue to haunt the popular imagination; thus to this day one may still encounter reports - usually provided by miscreant souls who have had occasion to visit the top of Burn Hill on moonless lights - of something squat that hops and croaks in the most appalling manner around the pond: something not entirely dissimilar to a hunched woman, and not entirely unlike a bloated, monstrous toad.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.116: Psychic Contamination

The insidious influence of Horsingdon's multitudinous transmitter arrays extends to the parish boundary between Northwich and Harlowe, as seen from the platform of Harlowe-Upon-Weald station (which occupies an interstitial position on the boundary between parishes).

As much as the mysterious transmitter on the Northwich side of the boundary may very well be afflicting the aural topographies of Harlowe, the borough itself has a long reputation as a hub for paranormal activity - although perhaps this is a consequence of its proximity to Horsingdon. In the above photo, a blackened dome can be spied arising from the Harlowe side of the parish boundary. This squat building with dirt-encrusted windows has long been abandoned, and is thought to have once been a church - although no one now recalls its name, or the nature of the congregation it once housed. In any case, most of Harlowe residents avoid the place on account of the pall of unutterable horror that has settled over the decrepit building.

There is also a curious phenomenon that occurs within the vicinity of church: if one turns on a portable transistor radio within ten feet of the place, the only signal one is able to receive is the hiss of static, overlaying a low, sonorous chanting - a chanting accompanied by a soft voice whispering what are surely terrible secrets of momentous portent...if only one could hear the words more clearly. Perhaps this is an effect of the building's propinquity to the transmitter array - or perhaps it is the echo of some event from the building's past so monstrous that it's psychic contamination continues to haunt the sonic present of Harlowe's airwaves

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.115: Blood and Soil

This tree marks what was once a favoured ritual site of the witches of Burn Hill, and it is rumoured that the victims who were sacrificed by the coven to Those Who Wait were held within the hollow of the tree whilst being ritually disemboweled. If the history of Horsingdon teaches anything, it is that the occulted landscape hereabouts is steeped in blood, which the earth - always indifferent and unresponsive to the demands of those who objure it - nonetheless devours greedily, regardless of the source.

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.114: Dale Farm House

Dale Farm House, off of Eastcote Lane in tne direction of Harlowe, was the last known habitation of Miriam Boreham (nee Belmarsh), wife of James Boreham. As previously documented, not only was Miriam indisposed to showing her face, but upon taking up residence at Dale Farm every window of the house was boarded up - as it remains to this day - lest casual visitants unexpectedly gain a glimpse of her. Some attributed this to extreme jealousy on the part of James Boreham, who was rarely ever seen to visit his wife, and then only nocturnally; others speculate at more terrible reasons as to why both Miriam and her daughter Rachel were only ever seen wearing long black veils in public, and were rarely - if ever - allowed visitors. 

It remains unclear as to exactly when Miriam Boreham passed from this world; indeed, there are some who say that she never did, claiming that shuffling footsteps heard emanating from the upper floors of the house continue to be reported to this day - often accompanied by the disconsolate cries of a tearful woman. Others contest the veracity of these claims: for even were Miriam still alive, they argue, what could possibly issue from a face lacking eyes with which to shed tears, and with no mouth from which to scream?

Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.113: The Inmost Light

A view of the upper floor library of Northwich Technical College, which apparently maintained a rather unique special collection - dealing with 'occult technologies' and 'the physics of evocation' -  the preservation of which had been supported by a bursury provided in the will of James Boreham. That is until the late 1968, when most of the library's holdings were destroyed by a fire which, rather mysteriously, burnt itself out before doing any serious structural damage to the building.

The conflagration did, however, result in the loss of one life: that of head librarian Edward Braeburn, who had held that post since anyone could remember, and who was also a close confidant of James Boreham. In the days running up to his death, it appears that Braeburn spent much of his time obsessing over the special collection - despite the fact that it was hardly ever used (and thus seen by the governing body of the college as something of an anomaly).

As to Braeburn's eventual end, his charred corpse was found in a state of seemingly calm repose, resting in a chair in the very room occupied by the special collection - raising questions as to why he had neither attempted to flee, nor raised the alarm. According to accounts that emerged in the aftermath of the fire, the floor around Braeburn's body had also been inscribed with strange sigils, which were still visible despite the scorched condition of the wooden floorboards  -  sigils, rumour would suggest, that were not disimilar to those found in some of the mysterious tomes consumed by the inferno.

As with so much of Horsingdon's history, the spectres of such events continue to haunt the present, such that in recent years travellers wandering past the College during the hours of darkness have had occasion to report a remarkable, if disturbing, sight: that of an elderly man, apparently wreathed in flame - and skin aglow as if illuminated by some inner light - standing at the window of the upper floor of the building, looking awestruck at the nightsky through eyes ablaze with a fearful knowledge.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.112: The Boreham Arms

Tradition holds that, should a pub in the Horsingdon district be renamed, it should adopt the new moniker of The Black Horse. With the increasing gentrification of the borough, this custom has fallen by the wayside, as many of the older pubs have undergone refurbishment and transformation into any number of stylish - but vapid and characterless - winebars and gastropubs.

Fortunately my own local public house has managed to avoid the worst of modernity's excessive abrasions, and underwent the traditional renaming ceremony back in the 1940s. Prior to that, it had been known as The Northwich Stone, and in the early 1900s as The Boreham Arms - this latter redesignation being on account of James Boreham's acquisition of the property at that time. Never popular under that particular title, attempts to distance the establishment's association from the suspect reputation of the once-proud Boreham name led to the defacement of the carved relief of the family coat of arms added by Joseph Boreham to the building's facade sometime around 1904 - the scarred remnants of which can be seen in the above photograph.

Local legend has it that the landlord responsible for this act of vandalism was unable to find a stonemason willing to remove the offending artifice - on account of the commonly-held belief that the revenant of James Boreham would exact vengeance upon those who dared raise a hand against any of his works. Accordingly,  the unnamed landlord took matters into his own hands, scaling the tavern's outer wall with hammer and chisel in tow. Partway through the venture, this foolhardy individual was heard to call out in terror, before being seen to slip and fall. Concerned onlookers who witnessed this and rushed to his aid discovered something very curious indeed: there remained neither sight nor sound of the unfortunate landlord's body near the foot of the ladder where they had presumed it to have fallen - nor of the hammer or chisel which he had employed to partial effect against the offending article. Thus, whilst the Boreham cote of arms had not been entirely effaced, it seems that the hapless landlord had, through the exercise of some momentus means by an unknown power, failed to avoid a similar fate.

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.111: Horsingdon Cemetary

Established in the 1830s, and inspired by early 19th Century French mortuary landscape architecture, the grounds of Horsingdon Cemetary is situated near the boundary of Horsingdon along the Harlowe Road. The classical archway pictured shove marks the entrance to the burying ground, through which one is then confronted by a considerable expanse of greenery - as well as mouldering, ivy-strewn funereal statuary.

Needless to say, Horsingdon Cemetary also contains its own unique cache of mysteries: the series of five consecutive tombstones carved from a greenish-black stone, and inscribed with the characters of a language which has thusfar resisted all attempts at translation, for example; and then there is the rumour that the sepulchre which houses the mortal remains of Charles Boreham - James Boreham's great-grandfather - also contains a cipher for unlocking the secrets of the fabulous Voynich manuscript; or the claim that a black-winged, faceless thing squats upon the unmarked grave of an unnamed witch at midnight every Walpurgis and All Hallow's Eve, and that, if one is willing to make a certain compact with the thing, one might be granted access to certain artefacts buried alongside their nameless mistress; there are of course reports of a vampire haunting the tombstones, and of even worse: a bloated, headless corpse with ravening mouths in place of hands, which wanders the cemetary at night in seek of prey.

It is true enough to say that, in recent decades, the cemetary has been allowed to fall into state of extreme disrepair; whilst this brings with it its own uniquely sombre and morbid aesthetic appeal, nonetheless the high redbrick Victorian walls which circumscribe the site are sagging and in danger of collapse. In the eyes of some locals, this is a cause for significant concern: not so much with regard to the harm it might visit upon passing pedestrians, but for what such a breach of boundaries might connote in terms of who - or what - might thus attain passage from the cemetary into the realm of the living.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.110: Strange Machineries

In recent years strange machineries have begun to appear amidst the industrial blight which surrounds the Horsingdon stretch of the Grand Union canal. The nauseaous electric thrum of their barely-contained currents engenders unexpected thunderheads even on the clearest of day, and puzzling phenomenon have been reported in their vicinity: the sudden appearance of strange, mauve-tinged mists over the canal, within which unimaginably vast shapes seem to writhe; the incursion of half-formed, quasi-anthropoid phantoms within the intricate mechanisms of these devices, inexplicably fading to incorporeal non-existence as quickly as they appear; rumours of black-robed figures glimpsed at night, encircling the machines as if orchestrating some incomprehensible occult ritual.

There is, it seems, no accounting for exactly what is going on here or who is responsible - although the more paranoid amongst Horsingdon's conspiracy theorist have laid blame at the door of the inscrutable Ministry (despite lack of any evidence of that conjectured organisation's involvement in the region for at least two decades). Whatever the case, the entire district seems stricken with a foreboding and sickening pressure, as if something is on the cusp of irrupting into this world from some other unknowable realm or zone of being.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.109: Turbulent Wavelengths

The mysterious arterial waterways of Horsingdon find their aetheric counterparts in the turbulent, cross-current wavelengths genetrated by the lattice of transmatters which dot the region. The transmitter tower above rises from the haunted debris of Horsingdon's canalside industrial past to broadcast equally-haunted signals from some spectral zone of absolute alterity, producing psychic deformations which mirror the physical scars etched across the landscape by the canals themselves: traumas to the tissue of Horsingdon's abnatural topography which are, perhaps, beginning to waken from a torporous drift the nascent consciousness of Those Who Wait, rousing them to an eventual, apocalyptic awareness.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.108: Mystery Walk

This tarmac pathway at the edge of Horsingdon Woods is reputedly haunted by an entity described as both praeternaturally tall and thin, whose face is always hazy or obscure. The thing, it seems, is only ever seen indirectly, and always around dusk - just visible around a corner, or partially hidden by the trees and shrubbery at the edge of the path. Locals know well enough never to approach this phantom when it appears, but to turn around and follow another route out of the woods without ever looking back. Sound advice, I should say - especially if one has the expectation of finding one's way safely back to this world from the many other spheres of terrible aspect to which a tall, thin spectre - unexpectedly encountered at twilight - might beckon one toward for a more terminal sojourn.

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.107: Swimmers In The Depths

The modernist debris of the Industrial Revolution which litters the landscape around the Horsingdon stretch of the Grand Union canal - crumbling brick warehouses, rotting wharves, decaying shells of old factories - stand in stark contrast to the primordially-aquatic occult secrets harboured here by James Boreham.

Rumours continue to abound of vaguely anthropoid shapes spied swimming through the murky waters of these industrial channels, of things that retain the semblance of the human form treading the sedimented depths of the canal, and of furtive, mishappen things glimpsed briefly through the dust-clogged windows of deteriorating narrowboats: interstitial beings whose glazed, quasi-human eyes reflect an inhuman yearning for a final transition, and a time when they can join with their fellow swimmers in the depths

Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.106: 'Windowless Solids With Five Dimensions'

In recent years, a strange windowless edifice has sprung up along the stretch of Grand Union Canal which runs through Horsingdon - accompanied by the ominous electric hum of generators that seem to be producing power for this sinister structure, apparently maintaining the extremely low temperatures which purportedly surrounds it.

Notably, this buildings stands on a site previously occupied by one of the warehouses owned by James Boreham (and discussed in an earlier entry), and is rumoured to be currently maintained by the Ministry. Roland Franklyn notes that, towards the end of his life, James Boreham had been storing artefacts acquired from an unnamed North American university at this particular warehouse. Franklyn goes on to record that, at the time, residents living in the vicinity of the warehouse regularly reported nights disturbed by strange dreams of polar climes, of vast, amorphous things entombed deep beneath the ice, and of enormous structures described by one percipient as 'windowless structures with five dimensions'. Whether this was precognitive of the site's futurity is unclear; nonetheless, dreams of ice - and of terrible non-euclidean monoliths - persist amongst the populace to this day.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.105: Megapolisomancy

The remnants of this defunct column-guided gas holder towers over the Grand Union canal not far from Horsingdon Hill. Built in the 1850s, the site was decomissioned in the late 1920s, after which James Boreham purchased the structure.

 Boreham added the destinctive cross wires, and apparently made other structural adjustments to the building - both in accordance with the principles of an alien geometry set out in certain esoteric texts (supposedly of prehuman provenance) which Boreham had access to. These sources had informed Boreham's wider researches into the field of megapolisomancy - the conjuration of 'paramental' beings out of the psycho-megalithic structures of force generated within vast urban spaces - which he had first encountered in the early 1900s during a sojourn amongst San Francisco's occult fraternity. In the aftermath of the failure of Welkin's Folly, Boreham apparently sought to use the modified edifice for generating some kind of field which could be used to tap into the underlying metageometries of Horsingdon, ultimately with a view to turning the vast metal lattice into some kind of summoning grid...

Today, the area is largely avoided by the more superstitious of Horsingdon's residents, who consider it to be haunted; I am also aware of at least one person who claims to have witnessed the manifestation of monstrous, composite beings of wood, wire, steel and flesh within the structure's boundaries.

Friday, April 14, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.104: Deep Secrets

This warehouse rests on the edge of the Grand Union Canal (which traces its path through Northwich and Horsingdon) and once belonged to James Boreham. Along with a number of other similar canalside properties which Boreham also owned, this warehouse was subject to a compulsory purchase order in the late 1950s, and thence investigated by Ministry officials - after which the windows and doorways of all said properties were promptly bricked-up.

One can only speculate as to the nature of the secrets revealed by the Ministry's enquiries which caused them to take such action; in any case, whatever Boreham dredged up from the aqueous depth remain to this day sealed and entombed within these now faceless and anonymous structures.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.103:Objects in Space, Demons from the Stars

The above photo of the full moon over Northwich was taken two days ago. What I failed to notice at the time was the phenomenon captured in the bottom-left corner of the photo: a small diamond-shaped object appears to be rising into the air - from roughly the direction in which Horsingdon Hill lays - leaving what looks like a thin, hazy trail in its wake. Interestingly, I was informed yesterday that, earlier that night, the police had been called by concerned residents from a small Horsingdon housing estate regarding figures acting suspiciously in the vicinity of the Hill. The source of this information - someone well-placed in the Horsingdon Police force - also informed me that the officers who were called out to the incident found evidence of what he termed 'occult activity' near the crown of the Hill.

During his investigations into the life of James Boreham, Roland Franklyn discovered that Boreham made regular trips to Horsingdon Hill, almost always at night. Ostensibly, this was for the purpose of undertaking astronomical observations necessary to his occult research; Franklyn also notes that a common rumour at the time was that Boreham was actually calling down - and communing with - what the locals refered to as 'demons from the stars' during these mysterious night-time excursions.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.102: Black Goat Grove

At the foot of Burn Hill stands a small copse which once formed part of a wider forest which covered much of the region prior to its urbanisation. The copse - locally known as Black Goat Grove - has been fenced off for some years, ostensibly on account its being part of a designated Conservation Area (protected by the Civil Amenities Act of 1967). Notable is the largest tree in the copse, whose morphology has become so gnarled and twisted that the uppermost branches are readily mistaken for the grotesque, quasi-anthropomorphic visage of a horned goat. Needless to say, this particular tree has attained much significance in the region's witchlore on account of the pareidolia which it has historically stimulated.

For reasons which remain unclear, the copse is flagged by two tall floodlights. The floodlights only ever appear to illuminate the copse twice annually: on the 30th April, and on the 31st October.  Horsingdon Borough Council has not, as yet, released any official statement regarding this matter;
however, those familiar with the witchcraft traditions of the British Isles have recognised the significance of those dates, and have subsequently speculated accordingly...

The Horsingdon Transmissions 101(A): Introducing The Horsingdon Transmissions (Redux)

The Horsingdon Transmissions is a daily blog documenting the praeternatural goings-on in my particular corner of North West London, at one time known locally (for those of us old enough to remember) as the Horsingdon Triangle - although with the steady gentrification of the region, this term is now less-well remembered, and you won’t find it on any map (at least not the ones that Horsingdon Council have made publicly available).

The Horsingden Triangle constitutes a geographical area broadly circumscribed by a triumvirate of hills: Harlowe Hill (with its curious hillside graveyard); the witch-haunted Blackbird’s Cross (also know as Burn Hill); and Horsingdon Hill itself - once the site of an Iron Age hill fort, and from where, on a clear day, one can see the Home Counties of Surrey, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire (the villages of Dedham and Witchford are also, on occasion, visible from the very top of the hill). As I write, I can see from the window of my study Harlowe Hill, as well as the dreary outline of Northwich Park Hospital which rests at its base. An outpost of one of London's universities (where I once taught undergraduate courses in anthropology) sits next to the hospital.

As to the nature of the project, The Horsingdon Transmissions is comprised of  a melange of weird psychogeographical perambulations, eldritch fakelore, folkloric horror, unspeakable pseudo-myth, blasphemous local unhistory, aberrant half-truths, hauntological allusions, and Lovecraftian ostension regarding the parishes of this curious region - namely the (sub)urban zones which fall within the Horsingdon Triangle: Harlowe, Northwich (of which I have been a resident for most of my life), and the area around Horsingdon Hill itself. Whilst the borough of Horsingdon is now substantially urbanised, these Transmissions aim to tease out some of the shocking and unspeakable truths which lurk beneath the region's ancient landscape (albeit concealed by the prosaic veneer of metropolitan modernity), ultimately tracing an esoteric network of frightful correspondences that have spread further throughout the capital, perhaps revealing something more of the occulted Lovecraftian history of London - as well as some of the diverse horrors which lurk below the Dead-But-Dreaming Spires of Middle England.

The influences that underpin The Horsingdon Transmissions are many and varied: the folk horror of Tales from the Black Meadow,  Hookland and Arthur Machen are certainly evident, as are Ramsey Campbell's Cthulhu Mythos tales of Brichester and the Severn Valley. Cold War conspiracies - as reflected in the speculative sci-fi horror of Nigel Kneale - have also shaped the social history of the region, where the blocky architecture of military installations stand side-by-side with the remnants of ancient barrows. These elements also dovetail in often-unexpected ways with both the nihilistic corporate horror of Thomas Ligotti, and the sonic folk horrors of Matthew Bartlett. Similarly, the episodic horror of podcasts such as The Black Tapes, Tanis, Welcome to Nightvale - as well as Mr. Jim Moon's wonderful Hypnogoria – have also left their mark upon Horsingdon’s landscape. The Transmissions also offer hauntological reflections on how the spectre of 1970s creepy nostalgia continues to assert its influence on the uncanny topographies of contemporary British culture; indeed, I'd almost go as far to say that, in order to fully understand modern British horror, one needs to have experienced not only the griminess of that decade, but to have encountered first-hand the horrific televisual allure of British children’s television of the time. The 70s was also marked by a boom in popular paperbacks dealing with UFOs and the paranormal – topics that are also deeply entangled with The history and landscape of Horsingdon. In any case, if some or all of these things appeal to you, then you may find The Horsingdon Transmissions of interest.

Most of the places described in The Transmissions are very real – and the vast majority of accompanying photographs documenting them have been taken by me during my irresponsible wanderings throughout the alleyways, cul-de-sacs and green spaces of the borough of Horsingdon. The names,, however, have in many instances been changed in order to protect the unwary. As an additional proviso, The Horsingdon Transmissions is a work in progress: I have a busy daily schedule, so blog entries are written relatively swiftly, often with only a single quick editorial sweep before publishing. This means that grammatical and spelling mistakes may be more common than I would like – for which I seek your indulgence, kind reader. When and where possible, I do try to go back and re-edit earlier posts with a view to cleaning up wayward grammar and the like. However, this is not always possible – and my current intention is to subject all of the entries to further revision when the year is out, perhaps making the revised entries available in another format.

Followers of my previous daily blogging project – 2016's Lovecraftian Thing a Day - can rest assured of one thing: the spectre of that particular endeavour will continue to haunt this new project, as undoubtedly strange artefacts and curious tomes will reveal themselves as part of the year’s unfolding narrative. Die-hard fans can  anticipate its return in 2018. But for now, welcome to the first 100 broadcasts of The Horsingdon Transmissions, wherein you may find that there are some sounds which you can never unhear...

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.101: Worms of the Earth

Gaily-bedecked garden gnomes are a common type of ornamentation found on the lawns of many British households. Mythologically-speaking, the gnome is, of course, a type of elemental power often associated with the regenerative powers of the earth - as well as with death, decay and darkness; in the classical period, the gardens of Rome displayed small statues of the deity Priapus, to ensure growth and fertility - a practice some have claimed as the origin of the simple garden gnome.

Whilst the custom of exhibiting garden gnomes is also common throughout Horsingdon, the residents hereabouts are more circumspect with regard to the manner in which such figurines are displayed: often in the darker recesses of the garden, and usually not in plain sight. Rather than the comedic figures entertained in the typical English garden, in Horsingdon one is more likely to find dwarfish, malformed effigies, often bearing staffs or wands, and with gnarled, grotesque faces sometimes displaying a sinister row of sharpened teeth. In some households, an oblation of beer (and, it is rumoured, a small amount of human blood) is offered up to these misshapen statuettes on the occasion of certain festivals.

One may, infrequently, hear the locals make fearful reference to these beings as 'the Worms of the Earth'; more rarely, one may even hear tales of how, in living memory (but before Horsingdon had yet become fully colonised), on certain nights squat, dark figures might be spied crawling from out the ancient barrows which then dotted the landscape, of yellow eyes seen shining in the darkness, and of a sibilant hissing which might be heard filtering through that darkness - the sound of something neither fully serpentine, but not yet entirely human.

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.100: Vacant Frequencies, Haunted Airwaves

Adjacent to the parish boundary which separates Northwich from Harlowe, the old Horsingdon Council Chambers stands in close proximity to both St. Ignatius' Church and the Church of St. John the Divine. The building was let to the Ministry for a period during the 1960s (although it remains unclear as to what purpose); more recently it has acquired an extensive transmitter array - despite having been unoccupied for at least a decade.

Whatever the reason for the array's construction, paranormal investigators have discovered that the previously untenanted airwaves, vacant frequencies and deserted bandwidths along the liminal zone that is the Northwich-Harlowe border are now swarming with Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP), Intrumental Trans-Communications (ITC), and any number of other spectrally-discarnate sounds to which, no doubt, other snappy initialisms or acronyms could be readily applied. Spirit mediums who have attempted to attune themselves to this uncanny sonic morass have either been struck dumb with madness, or found themselves afflicted by an incurable form of tinnitus - one which masks any transmissions or communiques from the hereafter with a desolate wall of inpenetrable white noise.

Oddly enough, there is a recurrent aural motif which beleaguers those brave enough to document the praeternatural sounds emanating from the area: a phrase first recorded by Konstantins Raudive in his classic, early study of EVP, and an oddly unsettling expression - one which, I suspect, only readers of a certain age may have heard (and then only if they are familiar with the flexidisc of EVP recordings provided with the first issue the classic 1980s British paranormalist partwork, The Unexplained): 'You are sleeping. You do not want to believe'.