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.