Friday, 26 September 2014

FOLKLORE ON FRIDAY - The Legend of the Kelpie

The Kelpie by Herbert James Draper

Many countries have legends of the waterhorse, such as the Germanic Neck, the Bäckahästen in Scandanavia, but the most famous is the Kelpie which infests lakes and rivers in Scotland. Indeed many Scottish bodies of water have their own attached Kelpie legends and stories.

Most often the Kelpie manifests as a riderless horse at the edge of the waters - a beautiful ownerless steed, often complete with bridle and saddle. Most often they appear as a black horse, although some are white, and some have tell-tale signs of their otherworldly nature, such as water weed or serpents in their mane.

The mystery horse appears to friendly and docile, however if some one should decide to mount the creature they will find themselves stuck firmly to the water horse and the beast will gallop off, plunging back into the waters to drown its prey. According to legend some escaped their doom only by slicing off their stuck fingers or hands.... But most... well, all that was ever found of them was only their bloody entrails surfacing later after the kelpie had finished its feast....

However kelpies could also shapeshift, taking on human form - often appearing as handsome young men or occasionally maidens - usually to lure the prey but sometime to seek a mate....

Kelpies could be driven away with holy symbols or extreme violence - or a combination of both - one legend tells of a brave lad escaping the Kelpie by hitting it with a Bible!. They could also be killed by silver or heated iron and were said to dissolve into a starchy jelly when slain.

However if you could get our hands on the Kelpie's bridle then you could have power of the beast. But beware, the creature would extract a terrible vengeance for being bound so.... Best leave any strange horses by the waterside well alone...

Gutt på hvit hest by Theodor Kittelsen

Friday, 19 September 2014

MICROGORIA 03: In Search of a Ghost

Dipping once again into his battered copy of The House of the Nightmare and Other Eerie Tales, Mr Jim Moon unearths a ghostly tale that first aired on Radio 4. Exactly what did Mr Eric Roberts encounter in the dead of night in a lonely Cornish cottage? Find out in this bite-sized serving of audio spookery which tells of how he went in search of a ghost!

DIRECT DOWNLOAD - Microgoria 03: In Search of a Ghost

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FOLKLORE ON FRIDAY - The Screaming Skull of Agnes Burton Hall

Burton Agnes Hall is a beautiful Elizabethan manor house near Driffield in the East Riding of Yorkshire. It was built between the years 1601 and 1610 by Sir Henry Griffith, as a grand replacement for the previous family home there, a manor house built in Norman times.

However according to legend whilst the house was been constructed, a terrible tragedy befell the Griffith family. Sir Henry had three daughters, and while they were walking in the park, they were waylaid by cut-throats. The youngest daughter, Anne, was gravely wounded in the attack. She did survived the assault, but unfortunately she fell into a fever. Fearing that she would never recover, Anne made her sisters promise that should she die, they would take her head to the new hall once it was completed. Anne did indeed die, however her wishes were not honoured....

Soon after the family moved into the new manor house, strange noises and eerie groans echoed around the place. This was just the beginning of a violent and noisy haunting. And eventually they could stand it no longer, and at last they decided to exhume Anne. When they opened the grave, they discovered her head was already separated from her body and the skull stripped of all flesh. And so they brought Anne's skull to the hall, and the strange sounds and disturbances ceased.

But whenever anyone attempted to remove the skull, 'Owd Nance' as Anne's restless spirit was known, would grow angry and the troubles would begin again. Peace would only be restored when her skull was returned to the hall. In the end to prevent any further troubles, Owd Nance's skull was bricked up into the walls of the hall so no one could disturb her rest again. And there it has remained to this very day. Although no one is entirely sure where in the house Anne's skull now resides...

Friday, 12 September 2014

HYPNOGORIA 002 - Horror Double Bills Part II

In the second part of our investigations of horror double bills, Mr Jim Moon details the second wave of the Universal Monsters, the chillers from RKO conjured up by Val Lewton, charts the building of the Hammer house of horrors, takes a spin through the history of the drive-in, and examines the double trouble that was AIP and Roger Corman!

DIRECT DOWNLOAD - HYPNOGORIA 002 - Horror Double Bills Part 2

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FOLKLORE ON FRIDAY - Soul of the Fields

At harvest time across northern Europe as the grain and wheat was reaped, it was traditional to make corn dollies from the stalks, with many regions having their own traditional patterns for these curious pieces of folk art.

However the corn dolly was more than just a seasonal craft pastime - it dates back to pagan times, when it was believed that the spirit of the fields needed an idol or avatar to reside in for the winter, hence the farmers made these dollies which where taken into their home to shelter the Spirit of the fields over the winter, and come spring the it was returned to the earth by ploughing the dolly into the first furrow...

The dollies in this photo are (from left to right) a Cambridgeshire Handbell, an Essex Ring Terret and a Yorkshire Spiral

Sunday, 7 September 2014

MICROGORIA 02 - The Wish-Hounds

In this episode, Mr Jim Moon reminisces about a favourite old anthology of ghost stories The House of the Nightmare and Other Eerie Tales edited by Kathleen Lines (Puffin 1970) and explores a real life haunting found in its pages - a frightening encounter with the legendary Wish-hounds of Dartmoor.

DIRECT DOWNLOAD - Microgoria 02: The Wish-Hounds

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Friday, 5 September 2014

FOLKLORE ON FRIDAY - Going Down To The Crossroads

In old British folklore, crossroads were more than just important landmarks for travelers - those who died and were expected not lie quiet in their graves - criminals, witches and suicides - were traditionally buried at crossroads.

The idea was that the restless spirit then would not be able to find its way home again. However if you think that possibly this might seem an ineffective method to deal with the unquiet dead - particularly if they had a good grasp of the local geography - fear not, for our ancestors thought of that too, frequently staking the corpses down to prevent them rising again!