Friday, June 02, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.152: A Path Through the Woods

The collapsed remnant of a Black Bower blocks a path through Horsingdon Woods which leads to the crest of Horsingdon Hill, passing various sites of significance in the history of the Horsingdon Coven as it winds its way to the hilltop. Locals rarely tread such paths, and warn those they consider to be 'outsiders' of making use of them - especially after dusk.

As it's curious folklore has filtered out into a wider world of cosmopolitan modernity, Horsingdon Hill and its surrounding woodland have become something of a weekend attraction for a particular kind of Londoner - one seeking an experience of some kind of 'authentic' (but entirely imagined) folksy ruralism (but without needing to travel outside the M25): usual middle-class professionals who work in the city, only ever eating locally-sourced organic food, and whose flirtation with New Age ideals is passed off as a profound committment to an 'alternative' spiritual path (and never, of course, as the base consumption of yet another form of commodified cultural capital that it really is).

Needless to say, the gleefully-upbeat perspectives of these casual mystical sightseers rarely survive an unwanted rendezvous with those guardians of the Black Bowers who are sometimes encountered in the vicinity of Horsingdon Hill: ragged wanderers whose fearful committment to Those Who Wait havs enlightened them to the actual, spiritually-desolate nature of reality - an enlightenment they forcefully dispense upon others, whether it has been solicited or not. Thus, in the nearby Witch Elm Public House, one will sometimes hear a whispered tale of hapless tourists who, ignoring the warnings proferred, have followed these forbidden paths through the woods to an unusual - and often grotesque (but justly-deserved) - doom.

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