Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.30: Dead Sounds, Lost Tapes

The dead sounds of Radio Horsingdon. Most notable for its Nightime Northwich late night call-in show, which ran every Friday night from 1990 until the station ceased broadcasting in 1992. Whilst the show was initially driven by topics drawn from the week's news, in an episode which aired in mid-1991, the host Simon Grant decided to ask local callers to recount their paranormal experiences. This particular episode proved to be immensely popular, and quickly set the tone for the show until the station finally closed its doors. Grant himself admitted to having a long-standing interest in paranormal phenomenon - and in particular the seemingly extensive history of paranormal events that had plagued Horsingdon. 

In fact, the eventual fate of Radio Horsingdon would be bound up with Nightime Northwich. The day after a particularly terrifying episode, where callers recounted some of their terrifying encounters with various entities and spectral forces supposedly haunting the woods around Horsingdon Hill, the local press reported that one listener - a young man who had been dealing with long-term mental health issues, and who lived In the vicinity of the Hill - had become so perturbed by he content of the show that, tragically, he was driven to take his own life.

Somewhat disturbingly - and an aspect of the case which has led some commentators to suggest that there was something more to the young man's death than suicide - his body was discovered hanging from an elm tree in the very same woods which had been the focus of the previous night's discussion. Even more curious is the fact that this particular elm tree was one which, according to local folklore, had long associations with the history of witchcraft in the region.

In the scandal that followed, Simon Grant was forced to resign from Radio Horsingdon; the backlash which followed led to a steep decline in the station's popularity, such that it was shut down after its owners presumably felt that it was no longer a viable commercial venture.

Nightime Northwich was never syndicated, and as a consequence is not widely known outside of Horsingdon; even so, it has acquired a cult reputation as well as something of a hauntological afterlife, with online communities trading analogue recordings of episodes originally made on cassette tape by dedicated listeners. There are also other less-creditable tales found on equally less-reputable sites recounting the terrible things that have overtaken those who listen to those cassette tapes.

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