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'.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.99: Horsingdon Gardens

Whilst they represent an attempt at domesticating Horsingdon's ancient and potent landscape, in many of the borough's residential garden's one can, nonetheless, still find likenesses of the Old Gods, the Wild Gods: a barely-disguised idolatry cognisant of the fact that human habitation of the land is fleeting, temporary - and at best only tolerated by those Powers which inhere in the region's topography.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.98: Signals From Space

During one of my recent customary nightly perambulations, I decided (somewhat unwisely, given the reputation of the place) to walk across Hallowmere Playing Fields (the tree just left-of-centre in the image above is the Witching Tree, whose history I have discussed in an earlier missive).

In any case, on the night of this particular psychogeographical ramble through Northwich's benighted
topography, I was fortunate enough to both witness (and make record of) one of the strange events which have typically become a regular occurence throughout the borough of Horsingdon: the point of light which can be seen near the top right-hand corner of the photograph I initially mistook for a star - until it began pulsing in an apparently random manner. Seemingly in response to this, a duplicate point of light appeared within the undergrowth at the far edge of the field (this can be seen near the bottom right-hand corner of the photo); this subsequently began to replicate the pulsing pattern of its skyborne twin, so that the two were oscillating in rythme. This continued for a very short period of time (although enough for me to capture this snapshot of the event) before both lights disappeared.

I contemplated further investigation of the undergrowth from which the earthbound light first emanated, with a view to determining its source; I have, however, become all too adept at interpreting the many uncanny portents that reveal themselves within and about the Horsingdon landscape to know that not all lights in the darkness mark the safest route - and that wayward travellers, having followed the course laid out by such praeternatural auguries, have all too often found themselves stepping unintentionally across an unseen threshold into a realm which has claimed so many of the region's other lost souls.

Friday, April 07, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.97: 'When You Hear The Singing, You Will Know It Is Time To Leave'

St. Ignatius' Church lies on the boundary between Northwich and Harlowe, and as is often the case with sacred sites which occupy a liminal territory, it marks a point of transition not only between boroughs but between worlds. But it is worth remembering that thresholds mark borders - and such lines of division are often warded and protected.

There is an odd piece of lore associated with the church: that on certain nights, singing of a particularly numinous quality can be heard emanating from within the building - as if produced by a choir of the most supernal of beings.

The locals will warn you, however, that on hearing the singing one should vacate the area with all due haste - lest the sound attain a siren-hold upon the listener, coaxing them to further investigation. There may be good reason for this: on no less than three occasions over the past two decades, bodies have been found slumped within the narthex of St. Ignatius', with blood pouring from their ruptured, dead ears, and eyes torn from the sockets by their own hands.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.96: Of Faceless Ghosts and Non-Places

This refurbished and partially-rebuilt gameskeeper's lodge on the edge of Horsingdon Woods still retains vestiges of its charming original roof, but remains untenanted despite its renovation; this may  be on account of it being the last recorded dwelling place of Judith Boreham - James and Miriam Boreham's daughter.

There appears to be no record of Judith's death, although it is generally believed that she passed away at some point during the early 1950s. Since then, the lodge and surrounding woods have acquired a reputation for being haunted by a particularly horrible apparition of faceless demeanor; according to local legend, this spectral being would 'steal the faces' of those unwary interlopers into its uncanny domain - presumably to make up for its own lack of visage. Indeed, rumour holds that the last owner of the lodge was not only found dead within the confines of that squat building, but was also discovered to have been rendered featureless in a spectacularly horrible fashion. In relation to these tales of the phantasmal erasure of identity, it is perhaps significant that the interior of the lodge possesses a curiously unnerving atmosphere of absolute absence: as if whoever - or whatever - once dwelt within had somehow effected a total, metaphyicial effacement of the very existential tissue of the place, producing instead something approaching a pure state of Non-Being.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.95: Horsingdon Subterranea

Near the top of Horsingdon Hill sits what apppears to be a covered shaft or vent going into the depths of the rise. Horsingdon Borough archives - at least the few that are available to the public regarding this matter - suggest that this may have been part of a subterrenean reservoir which was intended to be built into the side of the Hill in 1950 - but which remained unfinished; other, less reputable sources claim that this was a Ministry-sponsored enterprise concerned with excavating the Hill in search of something which much older (and less accessible) records had indicated might lay buried at the heart of the tumulus - something the Ministry felt was vital to ensuring the country's security in the then-burdgeoning Cold War.

What this something may have been - and whether it was indeed found - remain, like so many of the mysteries surrounding the region, matters of pure speculation. Roland Franklyn, however, notes that one of his occult contacts in the area informed him that it was less that something was found rather than disturbed...

Indeed, during his visit to the area in the 1960s, Franklyn and his contact visited the hilltop in the vicinity of the vent at night. The following morning, Franklyn was discovered on the doorstep of his lodgings in Hallowmere Road, with very little memory of the night before; his companion was found later that day by some casual walkers, still on the hilltop, but in a virtually catatonic state. Franklyn later records that, on visiting the psychiatric ward at which his companion was to spend the rest of his life, this unfortunate individual would only mumble about 'the vast shape from below', and about the secrets which it had whispered to him through the vent - secrets meant, apparently, for no sane ears.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.94: Witches Hollow

During the latter half of the 17th Century, the clearing in Horsingdon Woods known as Witches Hollow was where - as the local witchlore has it - a coven of witches would convene to enact dark rites dedicated to Those Who Wait. Whilst many members of the Horsingdon coven were eventually hunted down and given to the pyre or the rope, others escaped the region or simply disappeared; in the latter instance, it is rumoured that a few remaining coven members returned to Witches Hollow to work a last, dark conjuration - a terminal ceremony from which none of them returned.

To this day the Hollow - as well as Horsingdon Woods more widely - remains largely unsullied by the grinding gears of industrialsed modernity; indeed, for those who seek to entreat with the strange worlds and abysmal realms with which such locales intersect, the discovery is made all too late that the Horsingdon landscape deals in a very different kind currency to that of the bustling, commodified temporalities of the world of enterprise and capital; so whilst the neophyte interloper desiring entry into those praeternatural spheres may find themselves on the cusp of attaining mastery over the infinite, who can tell what aweful and inconceivable payment Those Who Wait might demand in exchange?

Monday, April 03, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.93: Witches Barrow

This little-used (and ancient) bridleway through Horsingon Woods has as its terminus a location known as Witches Hollow. As the it aproaches the Hollow, the nearby trees and shrubbery have enclosed the path, forming a rather claustrophic tunnel of foliage referred to by the locals as Witches Barrow.

This is an area avoided by Horsingdon residents, on account of the rasping whispers which have somtimes been heard by ramblers whilst passing through. Other less wary travellers - either ignorant of Horsingdon's rich and terrifying store of witchlore (or doubtful of its veracity) - on approaching the area at twilight have reported seeing a lone and crooked figure, cloaked in black, standing at the other end of the Barrow near Witches Hollow itself. These unwitting sightseers of the uncanny have also recounted the menacing and ungainly manner in which the figure beckoned them to approach the Hollow. None who have witnessed this strange phantasm have, thus far, felt compelled to heed the sinister presence's injunction; or at least, if they have, no one has noticed their passing.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.92: Stokes

Devon Mansions - on the boundary of Northwich and Harlowe - was another of James Boreham's holdings. The building has since been redeveloped and turned into apartments. At the foot of the stairwell which forms tne entrance to Devon Mansions stands an iron door, which - with the exception detailed below- has remained locked and bolted for as long as anyone can remember. The door itself marks the entrance to what used to be a basement apartment which, at one time, was the dwelling lace of an individual known in local records only as 'Stokes'.

Stokes was apparently employed to act as a caretaker and handyman, tasked to keep Devon Mansions in good repair during Boreham's absence. Despite his lowly position, it seems that Stokes was deep in Boreham's confidence, and even party to some of his employer's best-kept occult secrets. Indeed, rumour has it that Stokes was not beyond making use of this knowledge for his own ends, ultimately experimenting with certain esoteric formulae which supposedly had the power to grante their user effective immortality - experiments which, by all account culminated in Stokes' sudden and mysterious disappearance. Curiously, after this incident, James Boreham sealed off the basement apartment which had, for the best part of a decade, been Stoke's habitation.

Nothing else is heard of Devon Mansions in the annals of Northwich until 1979 when, on New Years Day of that year, the bodies of a young couple were discovered in the stairwell. Homeless on the night of one of the worst blizzards to hit the UK since the 1960s, it seems that the couple had sought to gain access to the basement flat for shelter. They were, however, only partially successful at breaking open the door.

Whilst the cause of the couple's deaths were recorded as being due to exposure, I have it on good authority that no official cause of death could be determined; in addition to which, both corpses were found to have a strange symbol carved into the flesh of their foreheads.

Since then, it seems that disturbing experiences - often of a distinctly praeternatural character -  have been a recurrent feature of the daily life of Devon Mansions' residents. Thus we have the report of one occupant who observered a swollen face with shifting features protuding from out one of the walls of his apartment; then there is the suicide of another leaseholder, whose diary records her nocturnal encounters with a 'doughy, indistinct and eyeless face which appeared on the pillow beside me, whispering the most outrageous and horrible secrets, throughout each and every sleepless night'.
There have also been regular accounts of a quasi-anthropomorphic mass of gray flesh with a head but no face - and dressed in a set of workman's overalls - stalking the hallways of the building.

Whilst we may never discover exactly what happened to the mysterious Stokes, it may be that he did indeed attain - at horrible cost to his humanity - some form of immortality afterall.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.91: Sonic Teratoma

A selection of transmitter arrays which haunt the skyline of Northwich and Horsingdon. These are not far from the Church of St. John the Divine - whose recent history of aural horror has been documented in a previous post.

Many of the buildings from which these antennae extrude appear to have a long association with the Ministry. The significance of this remains unclear; however, it is no secret that, since the 1950s, a substrate of uncanny audio frequencies has subliminally underlain Horsingdon's airwaves - a hidden acoustic topography populated by strange (and untraceable) sonic teratoma, whose intrusions into the phonic oneiroscapes of the local population have been a source of torment, madness, and horrible enlightenment.