One night on this stretch of road, I saw a woman in black standing in the shadows. She was stock-still, staring into the distance. I’ve never seen her again, but I think about her every time I drive past.
The Broken Oak, Damsel’s Cross
Some taverns tell their tales in the free public library of swinging signs. Some like The Broken Oak will only give up their strange stories if you venture inside. While its name and sign is simple memorial to a lightning-tortured tree that once stood on the village green, once inside, the establishment offers a unique look at old method of dealing with troublesome spirits. For the price of a pint, you can take a look at its perpetually locked ‘ghost room’.
In the late 18th century, The Broken Oak was so troubled by an unruly spirit that scratched and scarred both the landlord’s wife, her young maid and several of its patrons, that a ghost-layer was called. When the sanctions of the Church of England were unable to end the spiritual terror, the services of the cunning folk were…
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Not far from my old neighborhood is a burial ground, the site of a mass grave for settlers who did not survive the first part of the journey inland. Some succumbed to cholera, some to a poisoned well, some to the harsh conditions at Carlschafen, on the bay.
Sometimes I would walk here at night, well aware that my ancestors’ journey could have ended in this place. The ones who remain don’t even have a plaque to mark their names. They are all but forgotten.
The sense of any presence is vague and thin, as if the place is determined to forget its own history too. But who can say? Perhaps this cat sees more than I do.
Lynch’s films are often thought of as being dreamlike but he seems to have a very particular way of presenting such dream scenarios in his work. Here, I’m thinking about the LA trilogy, Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive and Inland Empire. In the first two in particular there seems to be a dichotomy between the dream world and the real, diurnal world. But it is important to note that there is no ‘real’ in a film – it is all fiction – and Lynch is very aware of this. In fact, he will play with the audience by exploiting the way in which we invest in the apparent ‘reality’ that is presented in a film. One way in which he does this is by using certain noir elements to hoodwink the viewer into buying in to a narrative structure. In Mulholland Drive, the quest to discover ‘Rita’s’ past…
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Hello… my name is Bob Fischer, and my 1970s childhood was imbued with an odd sense of melancholy and a vague, unsettling disquiet. Hoorah! These were feelings that I vainly attempted to describe, evoke and recapture for decades, until I realised that a generation of musicians, artists and writers were already – rather conveniently – doing the job for me. If you’re reading this, then it’s likely you’re familiar with the world of “hauntology” – of Ghost Box Records and Scarfolk Council and Boards of Canada – but if not, then that’s fine. I’d be delighted for this blog to act as a gentle introduction.
In 2017, after years of blissful immersion in the whole movement, I wrote a heartfelt feature about my experiences for the Fortean Times magazine, an article simply entitled “The Haunted Generation”. It had a lovely reception, and I was delighted when the magazine’s editor, David…
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Trimming trees one windy afternoon. In a dress, because…well, why not.
It’s a cold and blowy evening outside. Layers of cloud in luminous grey, the color drained from the landscape.
All day the wind howled or roared. Occasionally, there was a high-pitched whistle from the sky. It made me shiver.
Sometimes I think November is a world of its own.
An attempt to illustrate a dream I had long ago, described in full here.
I hadn’t drawn anything in a long time but suddenly felt the urge. The mistakes nag at me, but perfectionism is something I need to put aside and anyway I don’t have the energy to do it over.
There was a time when Boo the Cat would climb to the highest point of the roof, king of all he surveyed. He was, we were sure, keeping an eye out for anyone who might bring him food.