Friday, 18 October 2019


A video reading of the classic ghost story Wailing Well by MR James. 

Thursday, 17 October 2019


A little ambient theme for my forthcoming reading of the classic ghost story Wailing Well by MR James. It was composed and and performed using an Arturia Microbrute, with a VCOS2 FLute soft synth played on an Arturia softsynth. Plus tons of Valhalla delay!

FOLKLORE ON FRIDAY - The Ghost by the Gretna Green

Some time ago I wrote a series of articles (which I later turned in to a podcast) on the assorted ghost stories associated with Aycliffe Village in County Durham where I spend a good portion of my childhood. One of these local ghosts was an example of a very common sort of spectre, the Phantom Hitcher. In the Aycliffe version, a young woman dressed in white is seen by the side of the road and hitches a ride, only to later vanish from the back of the vehicle. 

Now the interesting thing I uncovered was that while the version I heard in the mid 1970s usually placed the lady in white near the village church and travelling in the direction of Darlington, the story actually dated back to the days of coaches and horses. Back then the A167 which runs through the village was the old Great North Road, and in the days when the coaches ran, the ghostly lady would hitching a ride north and vanish before reaching the nearby village of Rushyford a few miles up the road.

The village is also home to another well-known phantom, the Grey Lady. And over the years, aside from the oft-repeated creepy tales told about both these local ghosts, sightings of a white female figure have been reported in the Aycliffe village area. And recently a reader got in touch to relate his sighting of this strange white figure. It was seen a little to the north of the village, near what was once the Gretna Green pub, and is now back in business as the Gretna Hotel. His account is as follows - 
I was with my friend Chris at the time, and both of us were about 9 year old. Both of us were living near to Neville Parade in Newton Aycliffe. Strangely we were out 'ghost hunting' and rode our bikes over to the Gretna pub which was derelict at the time. We spent a bit of time looking around before heading back over the road (A167). There is a path leading through a small field and then some woods back to the houses. Halfway up this path we stopped to look at a rag which was caught on some barbed wire on the fence that ran along the path (still in ghost hunting mode). After a few seconds I looked ahead into the field and saw a white figure kind of floating towards us. I shouted at Chris to look but he took this as an attempt to trick him or something and promptly rode off on his bike, so I don't think he saw it which was very frustrating at the time! I remember looking up again at this thing and it was a bit closer. I pretty much got straight on my bike and rode off as fast as I could.

So the thing is basically similar to what the other people have described. It was about 30 years ago so my memory is a bit blurry but I remember it being all white, wearing flowing, kind of raggy clothes but no distinctive marks. And the main thing was it had a white face with no facial features at all, which was really weird. Could a veil possibly explain this? It was kind of moving its arms slowly, and moving slowly towards me with very awkward movements from what I remember. Just really weird. It wasn't too far away either, maybe 30/40 feet away. Oddly, at the time I didn't think it was a ghost because it didn't strike me as what a ghost should look like. It didn't look very human, but rather humanoid - if that makes any sense - mainly due to having no distinctive features and the white face area. So I just told people I saw a kind of weird creature/alien/ghost thing.

Now people have obviously said I was 'ghost hunting' so my childish active imagination got the better of me. and I too have thought this could be what happened. That is, until recently listening to you podcast and reading the comments about other people's similar experiences in that specific area. So maybe I did really see something after all? I wonder now that maybe because I was ghost hunting I was more perceptive than I usually would have been. But maybe it was coincidence. I've had a lot of weird stuff happen to me over the years so maybe I'm just more tuned in to these things than some other people. Maybe this thing appeared to me because I was kind of asking for it and it somehow knew. And I just happened to be in a spot where something was hanging around and was able to pick up on that? Or maybe something there is causing people to hallucinate? Or maybe someone dressing up to scare people? Who knows! But at least now know I'm not the only one who's seen weird stuff there!
Very intriguing, I am sure you will agree. Now what struck me as particularly interesting is the detail that the figure lacked a face, for this would appear to be a common feature in most of the reports of the white ghost. Andrew Green in Ghosts of Today lists several encounters with a seemingly female figure dressed in a long garment and a hood but with no face visible within, and often described as moving oddly or even floating. It would seem a similar figure has been seen in the south end of the village near the church, in the surrounding fields, on the road heading north of the village, and even a good way up The Great North Road.

For those who may wish to investigate further, we should note that the area described in the above account has now been built on, and where there was once a field where a young boy saw a strange figure in white are streets of houses. One wonders if any of these residences have reports of unwelcome guests in white...

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

COMMENTARY CLUB - Minisode 005 - Top of the Pops 1988

To get us in the mood for a craptastic slice of 1980s horror in the dubious shape of Ken Russell's Lair of the White Worm, we dig up a slice of pop telly from the week of its release! 

DIRECT DOWNLOAD - Minisode 005 - Top of the Pops 1988

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A longer version of the closing theme from my Ghost Hunt video.  The photos are of a Victorian cemetery not far from where I live. The music was created with an Arturia Microbrute and Keystep. 

Sunday, 13 October 2019

GREAT LIBRARY OF DREAMS 62 - The Story of Baelbrow

This week we crack open the casebook of famed occult detective, Mr Flaxman Low. In this tale we learn of a remote country house cursed with a most violent haunting...  

DIRECT DOWNLOAD - The Story of Baelbrow

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



Wednesday, 9 October 2019

CHASM by Stephen Laws

When I was a kid, I always remember the standard grown-up response to moaning about the weather was to point out that yes, it might be drizzling again, but on the other hand the UK didn't get hurricanes, tornados or earthquakes, so a bit of rain isn't so bad. And as well meaning as this line of reasoning was, it did have a somewhat difference effect - namely to make me terrified of the aforementioned hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes. Such is the impish nature of childhood imagination - if you're told "don't worry, that doesn't happen here", it instantly starts whispering "ah yes, but what if it did...".

And I wonder if Stephen Laws had a similar experience, for in Chasm, his tenth novel, he takes us to  Edmonville, a typical sleepy little English town, and then promptly hits it with the earthquake of your nightmares. Entire buildings are leveled, the ground literally splits apart, swallowing up whole streets, and so much dust is thrown up, the sun is blotted out. Out of this wreckage a handful of survivors band together and attempt to survive while they wait for the outside world to send aid to the stricken town.

Now for many writers, this opening scenario would be enough to plot out the entire novel. And indeed, tales of ordinary folk surviving after some society-ending cataclysm have been a staple of British fantastic fiction since John Wyndham's Day of the Triffids. And indeed, in the early stages of the novel, as we meet the motley crew of characters who will band together to survive this epic disaster, it appears that is exactly the kind of tale Chasm is going to deliver. And indeed in the hands of other authors, this scenario would be enough for a novel in itself. However the wiley Mr Laws has some other tricks up his sleeve, and soon you will discover that the mega-quake that has leveled Edmonville is the stuff of nightmares in more ways than one.

Stephen Laws burst onto the horror scene back in 1985 with his debut novel Ghost Train, and followed it up with a string of well-received books that were hits with readers and critics alike. He proved time and time again to have a real flair for spinning out suspenseful yarns centred on original horror concepts, spurning the standard-issue malevolent ghosts, psychopathic killers and jaded vampires, and creating instead monstrous and macabre menaces that were both original and imaginative. And in Chasm Laws brought us perhaps his biggest and baddest creation yet - for this is no mere disaster tale, this is a conjuration of a truly epic evil. And the further you get in to this novel, the more you appreciate its scope and vision. Indeed when it was originally published back in 1998, Chasm was nominated for a British Fantasy award for Best Novel.

What's more, Chasm feels like a genuine progression too. While even in his first books, Laws always delivered interesting characters and intriguing scenarios, going through his novels you can clearly see a writer who is becoming more and more confident - not just telling bigger stories, but addressing deeper themes too. And Chasm sees him at the top of his game, effortless balancing all  the action of you want from a widescreen supernatural horror tale with small-scale, carefully crafted character developments. For a supernatural terror to be effective, we need solid characters with motivations and believable emotional lives to bring the horror home. And this is something Laws has always understood well, and hence in Chasm he never lets the scale of the horrors overshadow the more intimate moments and details of the varied cast of characters.

Laws also knows well that no matter how imaginative your monsters are, they have to operate at a human level too. When it's just people versus monsters, it's easy for storytellers to fall into goodies and baddies tropes operating in simplistic  black and white moral framework. However Laws has always been interested in the nature of evil, and how it is expressed through human actions and motivations, and itis something he has explored in many of his novels. Chasm is no exception, and hence while we do have an amazingly imaginative threat for our band of survivors to contend with, there's also more human menaces to deal with. And we are not just talking some folks going over to the Dark Side as it were, for Laws understands very well contrary to most fiction, the worst things happening don't necessarily bring out the best in us. And in Chasm human failings will prove be as big a threat as the cataclysm that befalls Edmonville.

Chasm is a massively entertaining book. There's more than enough action to keep you turning the pages, but the real joy of this novel is that Laws very adeptly throws in a new twist every time you get to a point where you think you know where the plot is going. There are some brilliantly imaginative developments that shift this novel far away from the usual post-apocalypse yarn you might be expecting, while Laws masterfully keeps the story grounded at a personal level, giving us characters we can relate to and a stake in  their shattered world. And while there is a lot of truly cinematic set pieces in the novel, in the end it is also a book about human weaknesses and has much to say on the real nature of evil.

Now sad to say, currently horror is somewhat out of favour in British publishing, and one of the casualties of this has been that Mr Laws' marvelous novels have been allowed to go out of print. But thank the dark gods for PS Publishing who are still carrying the torch of UK horror! And they have just published a new revised edition of Chasm, coming as a gorgeous signed limited hardback or a trade paperback. And if you're looking for some classic British horror, pick up a copy today!

Chasm is available as a limited edition hardback here

Or as a trade paperback here

Tuesday, 8 October 2019


It's cult time time again, and we hit to road to look at the early Steven Spielberg classic Duel starring Dennis Weaver and the bloody big truck!


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Monday, 7 October 2019

AZATHOTH by HP Lovecraft

Very honoured to have contributed vocals to this brilliant little Lovecraftian film from The Lone Animator - bringing the sonnet Azathoth from HP Lovecraft's Fungi From Yuggoth to glorious eldritch life!

Sunday, 6 October 2019

MICROGORIA 71 - The Ghoster Project

Taking a look at the latest ghostly graphic novel from Thom Burgess - Ghoster! Supernatural action and spectral mayhem abound in this new comic that is free to download!

Get a copy here! 


You can watch the wonderful short films of Toby Meakins here

And you can get Thom's previous ghostly graphic novels here 

Find all the podcasts in the HYPNOGORIA family here -

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



Saturday, 5 October 2019


A video version of a little audio drama I did for Halloween a couple of years ago, now with new music and some slo-mation! Based on the classic chiller by HR Wakefield.

Thursday, 3 October 2019

COMMENTARY CLUB - Minisode 004 - Totally British Rock n Roll

As we are travelling back to the 1970s for our Duel episode next week, we thought we stop off and sample some vintage 1970s rock!

DIRECT DOWNLOADMinisode 004 - Totally British Rock n Roll

To subscribe to Commentary Club go here -

If you enjoyed the show, we have a little campaign to raise money for Alzheimer's Disease research! Any donations gratefully received!

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

BRED TO HUNT THE DEAD - Introducing The World of Ghoster

Well dear friends, autumn is well and truly here once more, at last October begins. The leaves fall, the days grow short, and the nights grow long. The perfect season for all things ghostly. And as long-time visitors to the Great Library of Dreams will know, around this time of the year, I do like to draw your attention to various new books and comics that bring what the great MR James would call a pleasing terror to your evenings, and indeed perhaps make a good gift for the lover of the weird and wonderful in your life.

Now you may recall that last year I did a little show on a trio of ghostly graphic novels created by the great Thom Burgess. In Microgoria 64 - Man-o-ghosts, we took a look at Malevolents Click Click his first foray into ghostly graphic novels, a tale inspired by the legendary haunting of 50 Berkeley Square, illustrated by Joe Becci and first appearing back in 2014 but reissued in a new edition last year. He followed this up in 2017 with an eerie tale inspired by the some of the darker corners of Kentist history in The Eyrie, this time illustrated by Barney Bodano, while last year he teamed up with Izzy Stanic to produce Hallows Fell a dark tale inspired by the modern ghost lore surrounding the Bluebell Hill area.

All of which are still available from his site and indeed you can get the lot plus some ghoulish extra goodies as Bag O’ Horror for £20 of your earth pounds. And that does even include a rather handy bag too!

Now then when I was doing my research for the Man-o-ghosts episode, I did discover some old interviews to alluded to the fact that this trio of ghostly graphic novels were actually the first steps in a larger project. Now it all sounded fantastic, but as I said, these were interviews from several years ago, and I’m sure many of you will be familiar with the curse of vapourware - those mooted projects that never actually materialise. But in this case, I’m delighted to be able to tell you that in that this particular project has not only come to fruition, but it will be materialising on your plane of reality on today, October 1st 2019. 

It’s entitled Ghoster, and is a 45 page and full colour graphic novel! And it is free, yes, I did say FREE, to download now from Ghoster World!

And as I was lucky enough to see a preview copy, allow me to tell you all about it. Now Ghoster has been a long time in the making. As Thom recalls it was on snow-bound train journeys to That London back in his early twenties that he began to imagine - and I quote -  “a dark supernatural figure slowly making his way through the blizzard”.  He also remembered being a child and hearing tales of ghoulish ghosts and sinister spectres. And recalled at the time wondering - and again I quote -
 “If ghosts are such an issue why isn’t someone dealing with them? In much the same way as a Victorian rat-catcher (or ‘ratter’) would with vermin. From there the whole concept just unfolded."
And so, a story began to form, one that would grow and grow. Indeed the Ghoster graphic novel that is coming out, is just the opening tale in a longer saga. 

However Thom is not alone on this epic journey, for he has some partners in crime. First up the Ghoster project was co-created with director Toby Meakins, a man who is no stranger to spectres and the supernatural. Over the past few years, Toby has been been making some truly excellent little short movies, kicking off with Message Storm back in 2003. Since then he has made The Fairytale of Forgotten Things and The Magic Mile both in 2005, The Condition and The Fable of Forgotten Things in 2008, The Secrets of Angels in 2010, Lot254 in 2012, and Breathe in 2013. Since then he has made another eerie short Floor 9.5 which became an episode on the Fox Digital series Bite Sized Horror in 2017.

And you can watch all of these shorts on his Vimeo channel and I would strongly recommend you do, and on your big telly if you can too! Floor 9.5 is a wonderfully creepy two minute horror tale, while Lot254 is a real little slice of terror involving a collector who discovers something terrible in an old camera. And while these movies are very short, they are beautifully filmed and Meakins has a real knack for creating cinematic stories that are very imaginative and have more complexity and depth in them than you’d expect is possible from a handful of minutes. Seriously go to his vimeo page and watch Breathe - a little tale of ghost you can only see when you hold your breath. And then I confidently predict you’ll do what I did - watch everything else there too! But do wait until dark… Go on, make an evening of it!

Anyhow also on Vimeo is the short trailer he and Thom created several years ago for Ghoster, and very bloody marvellous it is too. It’s not only a brilliant taster for the graphic novella but a rather fun little micro story all on its own.

Now for the Ghoster graphic novel, returning to art duties is Joe Becci (his site is here) who Thom previously collaborated with for Malevolents Click Click. As you may remember I was hugely impressed with art for that little tale, which Joe rendered beautifully - all in menacing monochrome and full of  stalking shadows and unsettling atmosphere. Needless to say, Joe has knocked it out of the park again for Ghoster, however this time he’s bringing us glorious full colour to bring the fantastic and phantasmagorical world of Ghoster to life. And what a world it is, one of secret folk and shadowy houses, of strange things like quantum suits and shadow silver, plus of course, lots and lots of ghosts! It's gorgeous visual storytelling - he conjures up a dripping, autumnal London, where furtive meetings occur in shadowed sidestreets, dingy rooms where ancient rites are conducted under bare light bulbs, and even takes us into the washed up realms of the unquiet dead that overlaps with ours. 

As for the storyline itself, I don't really want to say too much, for I think it's more fun to go in blind and slowly learn the secrets of the world of Ghoster, panel by panel, and page by page. Indeed this is a tale whose purpose is to gradually draw you into its world. All you really need to know is that there such things as ghosts, and yes, they are as terrible as your nightmares tell you. But there are others, who for centuries have stood between us and these Malevolents...

Whereas Thom's preceding trio of ghostly graphic novels were stand-alone tales, Ghoster is most definitely the first installment of what I hope to be an epic saga. There is a whole history of who the Ghosters are and how they came to be, not mention recounting their struggles with some of the most notorious spectres of all time. Indeed in this opening chapter we pay a visit to a very famous haunting, and readers of Thom's previous tales will have fun spotting links between them and Ghoster. which some of you may well be familiar with. In short, Ghoster is 45 pages of sheer delight, packed with spectral thrills and supernatural action set in an intriguing world you will be dying to learn more about. 

You can watch the wonderful short films of Toby Meakins here

And you can get Thom's previous ghostly graphic novels here