Monday, September 11, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.254: Witchwalk Bridge

Witchwalk Bridge, which crosses Horsingdon Brook at the base of Horsingdon Hill, has long been a focal point of paranormal activity in the area: specifically, there have been regular reports of spectral presences - such as the strange, hooded figure in the above photograph - encountered on and around the bridge. Whilst the current edifice dates from the mid-19th Century, records of a wooden bridge crossing the brook at the same location date back to the late 17th Century. Those records also note the presence of a small hovel near the bridge, inhabited by one Jemimah Mason - an elderly woman suspected of being a member of the Horsingdon Coven and who, according to the region's folklore, was often seen to be accompanied in her wanderings by a familiar which took the form of a particularly large and noisome black rat, going by the name of 'Black Owen'.

Unsurprisingly, widespread suspicions concerning Jemimah Mason's probable involvement in witchcraft drew the eye of Deliverance Fowler - one of Horsingdon's itinerant witch hunters. However, before Fowler was able to bring Mason to trial to bring her to trial, she was seen - cloaked and hooded - crossing the bridge over Horsingdon Brook, with Black Owen scuttling at her heels. Apparently Mason was muttering something under her breath and tracing curious signs in the air before suddenly disappearing - with her familiar in tow- as she reached the mid-point of the bridge.

Since that time, there have been regular reports of a spectral, hooded figure - often accompanied by a much smaller, glowing orb (not unlike the one which appears towards the middle, left-hand edge of the photograph above). Whilst some have claimed that these are the ghosts of Jemimah Mason and Black Owen returning to haunt the present for their unfair persecution in the past, there are no records of her (or her familiar, for that matter) being brought to trial for practising witchcraft. Indeed, as per the above account, it appears to be the case that both Jemimah Mason and her accompanying rodent disappeared suddenly, and under highly mysterious circumstances.

If one compares accounts of the spectral phenomena which have appeared on the bridge over the decades, it seems that in recent years there has been a notably tendency amongst witnesses to describe their experiences in much greater detail - almost as if whatever does lurk about the bridge is on the cusp of returning itself to a more concrete - perhaps material - form. This has led to some of the region's more knowledeable students of occult matters to speculate that perhaps Mason and Black Owen's disappearance was due to their transitioning to another realm of being entirely - perhaps uncoupling themselves from time and space via the application of the same 'strange witcheries' mentioned in yesterday's post. And if Jemimah Fowler and Black Owen are on the cusp of returning to our world, one cannot help but wonder as to what kind of monstrous transformations might have afflicted them during their sojourn within the vast and unnammeable Outside...

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