Friday, 28 October 2016

HYPNOGORIA 41 - The Origins of Halloween Part 4

In a bonus extra chapter this year, Mr Jim Moon uncovers the birth of the horror genre and discovers when Halloween first properly became scary! We take a look at early Halloween horrors in the pages of the pulps, and then discover how the macabre radio shows of the 1930s and 1940s would make Halloween night their own... 

DIRECT DOWNLOAD - HYPNOGORIA 41 - The Origins of Halloween Part 4

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HYPNOBOBS HOME DOMAIN - Full archive, RSS feed and other useful links




HYPNOGORIA is hosted by GeekPlanetOnline and is part of the ROGUE TWO Podcasting network.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

FOLKLORE FLASHBACK #12 Species of Spectres: The story so far

Over the past few weeks on Folklore on Friday, we've been attempted to devise ways of categorising ghosts, spooks and spectres based upon how they manifest in folklore and old legends. So far we've uncovered distinctly different types of phantoms depending on when and where they appear... 




Sunday, 23 October 2016

HYPNOGORIA 40 - The Origins of Halloween Part 3

As Halloween approaches Mr Jim Moon delves once more into the history and the mysteries of this ancient holiday. In this chapter we take a trip back to the start of the 20th century to discover how Halloween parties evolved and see how the spookiest night of the year was portrayed in the brave new worlds of radio and film. 

DIRECT DOWNLOAD - HYPNOGORIA 40 - The Origins of Halloween Part 3

Find all the podcasts in the HYPNOBOBS family here -

HYPNOBOBS HOME DOMAIN - Full archive, RSS feed and other useful links




HYPNOGORIA is hosted by GeekPlanetOnline and is part of the ROGUE TWO Podcasting network.

Friday, 21 October 2016

FOLKLORE ON FRIDAY - Species of Spectres Part III

Welcome back to our little series on trying to define ghosts by examining the types of stories they appear in. Now then, last time we were looking at how different phantoms can be classified by looking at when old folk tales and legends say they appear, and we discovered a great many spooks in old stories being alleged to appear on certain nights of the year. However this particular set of spectres, which we dubbed Calendar Observers, may be defined further, for there is a possible subcategory here.

For example, take this haunting - in Bray, in County Wicklow in Ireland, every Midsummer night, the shade of a woman in white is said to appear on a rock called Lover's Leap. Legend tells that she was a lover who was unfaithful, and when her infidelity was discovered her handsome beau died from a broken heart. Overcome with guilt, the lady threw herself from the rock and now reappears every year on the same spot. Now here, while we have a phantom making an annual recurring appearance on a notable day in the calendar, at the same time the date in question has a personal significance to the spectre. And this is often the case in the folklore - a ghost will reappear every year, most commonly on the night of their death. And this particular legion of spooks we might call Anniversary Apparitions. 

These phantoms are that appear in the most archetypal all of folk tales about hauntings; all those stories that detail some tragedy or murder, and then draw to a close with the lines "...and every year on upon that night, their ghost appears..." And here we are stepping into another possible definition, For quite often it is said that on the night in question (for it is almost always night-time in such tales), aside from the ghost appearing to mark the anniversary, in many cases, onlookers brave enough to gather at the appointed place will see the tragic events played out once more in spectral form. A well-known example of this is said to occur a little later this very month on the 23rd of October, for at Edgehill in Warwick, it is claimed you can see and hear a ghostly rerun of the famous battle fought there during the Civil War in 1642.

However we should note that not all of these Reenacting Revenants are necessarily bound to doing their spectral action replays on a specific date. Many ghosts are said to be seen repeating the same actions time and time again by witnesses down the years. Now the fact that numerous ghostly tales allege that apparitions are seen doing the same things over and over again has led to two of the most famous theories about ghosts. The first is the idea that hauntings are actually psychic recordings embedded in the material of the places they appear, recordings that are somehow accidentally triggered into replaying over the years.

Now the second theory, which partly overlaps with the first, is the idea that if ghosts are seen doing what they did in life, this explains why they famously can walk through walls. For they are merely following the layout of the buildings and locations as they were in their own lifetimes. This is exemplified by the famous story of ghostly Romans being seen tramping through the cellars of the Treasurer's House in Minster Yard in York. For if seeing a whole legion of Roman ghosts wasn't strange enough, the bizarre thing was that it was reported that the phantom regiment appeared to be sunk knee-deep in the floor, and seemed to be wading through it. However archaeological work suggest an interesting answer to this surreal spectral spectacle - for a few years later it was discovered that a few feet beneath the cellar floor was the remains on a Roman road...

from All About Ghosts (Usborne 1977)

Thursday, 20 October 2016

FOLKLORE FLASHBACK #11 - The Secrets of Halloween!

Well the end of October is approaching fast, and everyone's getting ready to celebrate the spookiest night of the year - Hallowe'en! And unsurprisingly in the past I've made several forays into the folklore of All Hallows Eve... 

So then, first of we have a round-up of assorted Halloween charms and rites -

For a more in-depth look into the origins and history of Halloween, check out my epic length podcast, in which I untangle a great many myths about the holiday and discover the real roots of our modern customs and traditions -

The Origins of Halloween

Now this show was such a success, that the following year, I produced a sequel show, that explored how Halloween has evolved from folk customs to being part of modern day pop culture -

The Origins of Halloween Part II

And coming this week, I shall be presenting the 3rd part of what has turned into an annual exploration of the history of Halloween! Find it this weekend on this blog or go here to subscribe -

Sunday, 16 October 2016

MICROGORIA 37 - Familiar Spirits

In a the final part of our explorations of toad lore, Mr Jim Moon looks the role of familiars in witchcraft, and examines the trials of three witches in 16th century Essex, in which these demonic animal companions, including several in amphibious forms, featured heavily...


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HYPNOBOBS HOME DOMAIN - Full archive, RSS feed and other useful links





MICROGORIA is hosted by GeekPlanetOnline and is part of the ROGUE TWO Podcasting network.

Friday, 14 October 2016

FOLKLORE ON FRIDAY - Species of Spectres Part II

Welcome back the second part of our little exercise in classifying different types of spook and spectre! Now obviously the exact nature of all things ghostly is somewhat nebulous to say the least, and hence we are concentrating our efforts on examining the different types of ghost we find in folk tales and legends. There are many tales told of phantoms and apparitions, and when you look closely, clear patterns begin emerge; in the sort of stories that are recounted, and in the nature of ghosts that manifest in them. 

In the first part, we saw how ghosts in folklore may be defined by who they were in life, and where they are said to haunt. And in this second set of tentative categories for all things spectral, the next question we can use to define these visitants from the spirit world is when are they said to appear. Now if you ask many folks when ghosts will appear, the first answer you will receive is Halloween night. Certainly in ages past there were assorted superstitions about divination on Halloween night (see here for details). And in popular culture - largely thanks to a highly influential poem by Robert Burns - there has long been a tradition of telling spooky tales as part of the evening's entertainments. But surprisingly, genuine folk tales of ghosts appearing on Halloween are actually somewhat thinner on the ground than you'd expect. For as I have been detailing in my annual podcasts on the origins of Halloween (see Part I here and Part II here), this day has had many other associations over the centuries and it is only relatively recently that it has become firmly associated with all things scary and supernatural.

However there are a range of ghosts who are said only to appear at certain notable times of the year, a group of spectres we shall dub the Calendar Observers. Now these are phantoms that often only ever make an annual appearance, specifically on one special day (or night) of the year. Now noted dates in the calendar, such as dates of old festivals, solstices and old Saint's days, are particular favourites. For example, in ages past Midsummer's Eve was said to be a time when the veil between worlds were thin, and aside from many folk tales about faery powers being abroad, there are many spectres who make an annual haunting on this night. For example, there is the legend connected to  an old oak tree at Broadwater Green in Worthing, Surrey - it said that on Midsummer Night a skeletal spectre appears and dances a jig until the sun rises the next morn. Similarly, over at Long Barrow in Wiltshire, a pale hound is said to appear on this night and roam around the ancient stones. 

Now according to ancient medieval legends, ghosts and goblins were allegedly forbidden from walking abroad at Christmas time, as it was the holy anniversary of Christ's birth. However judging from the numerous folk tales of spectres appearing either on Christmas Eve or on Christmas Day, it would appear that there is not a shred of truth to that legend. For Yuletide is perhaps the most popular time of the year for ghosts, favoured by a great many of Calendar Observers. To mention just a few - on Christmas Eve, the shade of Anne Boleyn haunts Hever Castle, a ghostly coach complete with a headless horseman rides up to Roos Hall in Beccles, while at Kersal Cell in Salford a ghostly monk makes his annual appearance. Furthermore according to legend, all the ghosts in the British Isles meet for an annual gathering on the night of December 21st - which is also the Winter Solstice - at the Stiper Stones in Shropshire. Given that so many will be busy making their yearly appearances in the next few days, one wonders whether this is some kind of official meeting planning haunting and manifestations for the coming year...