‘On Halloween Strange Sights Are Seen’ – About a Short film by Tea & Morphine

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On 31st October, this Halloween, ‘Tea & Morphine’ will take us on an unusually eerie walk through a small Hertfordshire allotment. In this seven minute video short the viewer is taken on a surreal journey that transforms an everyday allotment into a world of mystery and intrigue as we are introduced to the many weird and wonderfully handcrafted characters who reside among the plots there.

Along the way we encounter sinister sunflowers, pumpkin laden tables and a whole host of quirky scarecrows and oddly imagined effigies, set to the atmospherically whimsical music of The Parlour Trick, the film takes the traditionally English pastime and spins a darkly twisted tale of the unseen going’s on when the inhabitants are left alone to their own devices. With no rigid plot or narrative it is left to the viewer to imagine the storyline as the procession moves dreamily through this surreal landscape.

‘Tricksters and Threats’. Also known as: Scarecrows, Wurzels, Tatter-Men, Mommets, Bugbears ~ Tatty-Bogles cannot help but frighten, as they shamble down country roads with their arms outstretched as if crucified – yet inspiring terror may not be their prime motive, as they simply want to stretch their legs after a long day of solitude standing. The fear generated in human observers may be either amusing or regrettable to them, or it may even go unregistered. It is by their very name and nature to frighten, for they are the Scarecrows erected in fields by farmers to try and protect their crops from the hungry beaks of birds.

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The reasons for their nocturnal animation is somewhat of a mystery, for perhaps not all will rise and leave their plot, but some seem more inclined to come to life at night. Perhaps this is of their own volition or maybe there is some external enchantment at work. It could be that the magic of Witches or perhaps Fay beings animate these rag-bag effigies in order to cause mischief or perform other tasks. Otherwise a Scarecrow could provide an ideal host for a wandering spirit or Demon that possesses no true form of its own. Such strange and shapeless souls are the Brollochan. These uncanny wanderers may visibly consist of at best a mouth and pair of eyes but they can grant mobility to any inanimate object they enter. Should a Tatty-Bogle be thus possessed by a Brollochan, this would be revealed as “Thyself” and “Myself” are said to be the only words it can utter.

Extract on the folklore of scarecrows from – ‘Strange Lands ~ Supernatural Creatures of the Celtic Otherworld’ by Andrew L. Paciorek.

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http://theparlourtrick.com
Music is by The Parlour Trick; a song chosen from ‘A Blessed Unrest’ known “The Halloween album of the year” ~ Douglas Wolk (Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, TIME) Meredith Yayanos; Voice, strings, theremin, percussion & Dan Cantrell; Accordion, bass accordion, pump organ, celeste, glockenspiel, percussion.
https://theparlourtrick.bandcamp.com

‘On Halloween Strange Sights Are Seen’ is being shown Wednesday 31st October 2018 on the Tea & Morphine Facebook Page

https://www.facebook.com/teaandmorphine/
Images © 2018 Tea & Morphine

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Folklore Thursday ~ Night Hags and Demon Lovers

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Night Hags: Also known as: Night-Mares, Mara, Mera, Mares, Crushers, Drudes, Mare-Demons, Hagges, Haints, Entities, Mallt y Nos, Night-Fiends, Cauchemar, Night-Elves.
Sometimes people who suffered from wasting diseases such as Tuberculosis Consumption were said to look ‘Haggard’ or ‘Hag-Ridden’. This refers to the belief that, as they slept, a Night-Hag had entered their bedchambers and either sat upon their chests crushing them (but not to the point of fatality) and perhaps sucked away at their breath, or their vitality, or alternatively had actually ridden their victims entirely into the air and sometimes over distance. Either way, their human victims were left exhausted and often diseased. The alternative name of Mara and its similar derivatives is said to have meant Crusher in Old-English, and it is from this word that the term Night-Mare originated – initially meaning not a bad dream but an actual external terror. The term Hag-Riding has also been applied when horses who had been left resting have been found to be exhausted and covered in sweat in the morning. Again it was considered that the Night-Hags had been riding the horses around in circles to the point of collapse during the hours of darkness. In some locations it was thought that these fiends on horseback delivered bad dreams to households, thus giving an additional meaning to Night-Mare. An alternatively used term to Hag-Riding is to be Owl-Blasted, which refers to the belief that Night-hags would sometimes take the form of these nocturnal birds.

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Demon Lovers: An Incubus is a male spirit that seeks to indulge a mortal woman in carnal activity, whilst a Succubus is a female spirit that likewise preys on the passions of mortal men. However it has been suggested that both spirits are one and the same, and that the Incubi / Succubi adopts only a specific gender in relationship to its particular victim. The nature of these nocturnal paramours preyed heavily upon the minds of the Medieval Church, possibly because many of the alleged victims were members of their own ministry who had prescribed to a life of chastity. (Merlin, the great sage of Arthurian legend was thought to be the offspring of an Incubus and a Nun). The Church scholars deliberated on whether the phenomenon was mere hallucination borne out of celibate frustration, or sinful fantasies made flesh, but this held their own people to blame almost as much as the other considered option that such claims were in fact a cover-up for actual corporeal liaisons with human partners. Frequently, though, those who claimed an encounter with an Incubus / Succubus seemed not to have been pleasured by such a visit but to have been genuinely shocked and frightened. Therefore further attention was concentrated on seeking out an external, supernatural culprit. They questioned whether these night-visitors were perhaps a salacious breed of Faerie, or maybe vengeful Ghosts, but as all were considered agents of the Devil anyway then it was simple enough to label them Demon-Lovers.

Images and Text © Andy Paciorek
Adapted from the book Strange Lands: A Field Guide to the Celtic Otherworld

21st Century Ghost Stories

FC Low ResThis astonishing anthology gathers award-winning work by contemporary short-fiction writers from around the English-speaking world, all of whom drew their inspiration from the supernatural. Each of these fine authors, whether from the U.K., the U.S., Ireland, Canada, Australia, or elsewhere, puts his or her own thought-provoking, 21st century spin on some aspect of the paranormal—there are ghosts, of course, but you’ll also find tales revolving around demons, zombies, spirits in the Voudou pantheon, out-of-body episodes, doppelgangers, shape-shifters, hallucinations, dreams, imaginary people, mythical beings, and Things You Just Can’t Explain. These 29 stories are chilling, or funny, or a bit of both, and they all will continue to turn in your imagination long after you’ve finished reading them.
Available now from ~ http://www.lulu.com/shop/paul-guernsey/21st-century-ghost-stories/paperback/product-23734410.html

Launch offer – 25% off

15% will be directly deducted from cover price – to save a further 10% Use the Code –

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at checkout at – http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/andypaciorek

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100% of profits from FHR / Wyrd Harvest Press books sold in this store will be charitably donated at intervals to different environmental, wildlife and community projects undertaken by the Wildlife Trusts.

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Corner of the eye … something is coming …

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What is this? … what is coming? …

Coming very soon from Wyrd Harvest Press … 21st Century Ghost Stories

An impressive anthology of new haunted fiction from a variety of award winning and upcoming writers. Edited by author Paul Guernsey and illustrated throughout by Andy Paciorek.

Available from 7th August 2018 …

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#FolkloreThursday ~ The Banshee, Bean-Nighe & the Gwrach-y-Rhibyn

Presenting for Folklore Thursday a collection of strange entities from the Paciorek bestiary …
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The Banshee

Also known as: Beansidhe, Bean-Si, Benshee, Fairy Woman, Woman of the Hills, Bachuntas, Badbh-Chaointes, Cointeach, Wailers, The Keener, The One Who Keens, Mna-Sige, Mna-Sidhe, Cyhiraeth, Cyraeth, Cyoerrath, Cyhyraeth, The White Lady of Sorrows, The Weeper, The Skree, Caoineag, Caointeach, Fear-Sidh, Seinn-Bais, Death Music, Tolaeth, Ghost Sounds, Bocanachs, Bowa.

The wail of the Banshee (known as the Keening) is said to be heard either by the person whose death is imminent, or by someone closely associated to them. People with a strong Celtic bloodline are considered more likely to encounter a Banshee, and some old families may hold a peculiarly strong bond with one of these creatures. This is sometimes thought to indicate a distant Fay strain within their genes but others have suggested an earthier, more sinister reasons for the connection. The finger points at certain reputedly Banshee-ridden families with the accusation that one of their ancestors murdered a young lady, possibly a pregnant mistress or other similar unfortunate, and so it is believed that their descendants must carry a reminder of this shame for evermore. The shadow of this sin falls at the approach of their darkest hours and may be specifically regarded as being a Hateful Banshee. To those who have not heard the Banshee’s cries (and count themselves lucky for this), it is often imagined that this must be a loud, dreadful noise and sometimes it has been reported as such (usually in the cases of Hateful Banshees), but not always. Sometimes her Keening was described as being oddly melodic and strangely comforting, especially if heard by someone who was old and failing , had endured a long, discomforting illness or was of a family favoured by the Faeries.

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The Bean-Nighe

Also known as: Night Women, Washer Women, Caoineag, Ban Nighechain, Nigheag-Na-H’ath, Washing Women, Little Washers by the Ford, Washers by the Banks, Washers of the Shroud, Washers of the Night, Night Washers, Cannerd Noz, Konnerez Noz.

The Bean-Nighe are generally encountered either sitting beside, or sometimes paddling in, remote streams and the shallows of rivers. Here they attend to their laundry, yet they are not conventional mortal women tending bucolic washing chores. A single glance at their hideous visage and the grim cloth they wring betwixt their fingers is more than enough to determine their anomalous character. The clothing that the Bean-Nighe is seen to wash is either the blood-drenched clothing of the observer, or the burial shroud that will consequently wrap their lifeless body. These creatures are said to be the souls of women who died whilst giving birth, doomed to remain on this earth either until Judgement Day or, as it is more frequently thought, until the day that they would otherwise have died. As a grim consequence of their fate, they are also aware of all the other people that will soon be visited by death and are sometimes reported as crooning a mournful dirge to themselves that recounts the names of all the ill fated.

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The Gwrach-y-Rhibyn

Also known as the Hag of the Dribble, Hag of the Mist and also sometimes as y Cyhiraeth.

This Welsh portent of death may suddenly leap out of a water channel, but otherwise she will invisibly stalk her victims until they pass a crossroads or stream. Here she will become all too visible and audible, for in both instances her cries, like those of the Banshees and Cyraeths, are harrowing. If the person thus doomed to die (either the observer or someone they know) is a man the Gwrach-y-Rhibyn will holler “Fy ngwr! Fy ngwr!” (“My Husband! My Husband!”) but if a youth is to succumb, then she will cry “Fy mlentyn! Fy mlentyn bach!” (“My child! My little child!”) She is a hideous sight to behold, with her crooked back, hooked nose, long filthy hair and manic eyes. She is pinched and scrawny, yet her superficial mass likely betrays her true strength and vigour. The most frightfully inhuman of all her features, however, are her long thin arms, for not only do they end in dreadful talon-like hands, but black scaly wings also hang from these extremities. These bat-like appendages are thought capable of flight. Her negligible clothing is black and ragged.

All Text and Imagery © Andy Paciorek
For more on these subjects and many many others see the book
Strange Lands: A Field Guide to the Celtic Otherworld

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Available to purchase from – http://www.blurb.co.uk/user/andypaciorek

Free Shipping + 10% Discount on Folk Horror Revival books

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Free Shipping + 10% Discount off cover price on All Folk Horror Revival / Wyrd Harvest Press Books *

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100% of profits from FHR / Wyrd Harvest Press books sold in this store will be charitably donated at intervals to different environmental, wildlife and community projects undertaken by the Wildlife Trusts.

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Our Final Witch Cults Announcement!

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After several weeks of build up we have arrived at our completed lineup and damn good it looks if you ask me. Joining those already announced we have even more amazing musical performances, and some of the finest independent short films you could shake a very big stick at. Anyway without further ado, here they are.

Nathalie Stern

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Nathalie Stern is a Swedish singer-songwriter based in the north-east of England. She draws inspiration for her music from her surroundings, the north-east’s rich cultural history and it’s breathtaking landscape are both influential in the creation of her own unique brand of  what she calls “experimental, electro, glitch folk”.

For Witch Cults Nathalie will be performing a very special set based on the stories of H.P. Lovecraft, one of the true greats of American wyrd fiction. We are overjoyed that Nathalie is able to join us for Witch Cults. I can guarantee you will be mesmerised and captivated by her dark electronic drones and vocal loops.

Here is a little taster of Nathalie’s work.

https://nathaliesternmusic.bandcamp.com/track/7-flowers

 

Georgia Seddon

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Georgia Seddon is a classically trained musician, who performs her own songs as a solo artist. She trained at the City of Edinburgh Music School and Newcastle University, and now lives in Glasgow where she works as a musician and music transcriber. She is a member of the Mike Heron (Incredible String Band founder) Band, and more recently Alex Rex (Alex Neilson, Trembling Bells founder); and among others, she has performed with Alessi’s Ark, Green Gartside, the Trembling Bells, Robyn Hitchcock, The Album Leaf, and Scott Fagan. Georgia and her father (Mike Heron) have taken part in two high profile Incredible String Band tribute shows (Barbican Centre, London, 2009; and the Edinburgh Playhouse, 2017), and in 2008, they performed at the Hollywood Bowl with The Album Leaf, and alongside Devendra Banhart and Gilberto Gil. In recent years, Georgia has toured the UK and Europe with Mike Heron and the Trembling Bells, Scott Fagan, and Ed Askew.

Georgia’s EP – available via Bandcamp – was recorded by Green Gartside (Scritti Politti) in his home studio in London.

https://georgiaseddon.bandcamp.com/album/georgia-seddon-2

 

Marcus H

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Bristol born Marcus H is an experimental musician from the North East Coast of England near to Saltburn.

His studio project ‘Soiled’ commenced in 2002. Combining elements of beats, noise, guitar phrases and drones. The Quietus described it as ‘a rather unique, loose, expressionistic collage style yet manages to keenly infer a peculiarly English style of strange fiction’.

His music has featured on / in BBC 3 Late Junction, BBC 6 Freakzone, WFMU New Jersey & KALX Berkeley, Mojo Magazine, Electronic Sound Magazine & Wire Magazine.

We are very proud to  have Marcus making a very rare solo appearance for us at Folk Horror Revival – Witch Cults.

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Short Films

We also have four wonderful short films that have been handpicked by us for the purpose of screening at this event. As well as screening classics like Simon, King of the Witches and the Italian print of Witchcraft ’70 we want to celebrate the emerging talent that is regularly brought to our attention within the Folk Horror Revival cabal. These four films represent some of the very best talent around at the moment.

Bella in the Wych Elm

Director Tom Lee Rutter, was born and raised in the black country, and now lives in nearby Worcestershire where he crafts films of a horror fantastical and sometimes bizarre nature. Tom has a decidedly DIY approach to film making and aims to create fantastical worlds that belie their tiny budgets.

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Bella in the Wych Elm is a film made to celebrate a most fascinating local murder mystery via the spooky films and TV shows of yesteryear. It is also a salute to the elder Black Country generations of whose superstitious natures turned him onto a love for the unknown to begin with.

In 1943 a group of boys wandering the woodland of Hagley Hall discovered the remains of an unknown woman stuffed inside a hollowed Wych Elm tree. To this day her identity is still unknown. In 1944 however, mysterious graffiti began to adorn the walls of the neighboring towns; WHO PUT BELLA IN THE WYCH ELM. Somebody knew but who? This curious folk phantasmagoria feverishly displays the known possibilities which take us from the mystical realms of witchcraft, restless ghosts to sinister WW2 espionage. Bella In The Wych Elm will intrigue, and frighten in all it’s quaint yet claustrophobic glory.

If you’d like a taste of what to expect you can view the trailer here: https://vimeo.com/210934584

Thelema and Conjuration

Two films from Folk Horror Revival’s very own Gary Parsons.

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Gary Parsons is an MA film graduate from Goldsmiths College London who specialises in short films. Utilizing both, elements of the surrealist genre and images of the occult, these films are both beautiful and at times disturbing. They also tap into the verisimilitude of the erotic and the unconventional.

Gary has been influenced by film-makers such as Jan Svankmajer, Kenneth Anger, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Luis Bunuel, Hans Richter, Man Ray and Jean Rollin. All these elements meet within a melting pot to find visual references within the work.

The films can be viewed in many different ways, as straight forward narrative pieces but also as ritual film as demonstrated by similar film-makers such as Maya Derren or even as music promo video. The films stand as an ongoing obsession of their maker as an overall understanding of the human psyche within certain specific landscapes.

Thelema is a short film that was based upon several of Aleister Crowley’s writings and how other writers including Kenneth Grant interpreted them. The film has an almost documentary feel to it, in fact a certain amount of the footage was shot at the Abbey of Thelema in Sicily, Crowley’s home, temple and spiritual centre during the early 1920s.

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Conjuration is Gary’s most recent film and is based around an Alexandrian ritual. It deals with modern day magick, but also correlates it with magick’s heritage through Gary’s impeccable choice of shooting locations. Several powerful ancient sites, notably Avebury, Glastonbury, Pompeii and Oslo were chosen for this purpose.

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American Witch (documentary)

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Welcome to a voyage from novice to initiate. The chthonic path is the common thread that weaves together the various underground religions in America from Wicca to Voodoo and Stregheria to Santeria, and everything in between. Along our pilgrimage, we will unfold the historical background in places where witchcraft came into its own distinctive form such as Salem, New Orleans, New York City, and Los Angeles. American Witch will also explore the stories of practitioners and how it’s changed their lives.

Scarlett Amaris has co-written scripts for the seminal horror anthology THE THEATRE
BIZARRE (2011), the award-winning, supernatural documentary THE OTHERWORLD
(L’AUTRE MONDE) (2013), featuring years of her research into the mysteries of the South of France, in which she appears as a resident expert, and the horror film REPLACE (2017). She’s co-written the dark fantasy trilogy SAURIMONDE I, II & III, and her first contemporary fiction novel DESIRED PYROTECHNICS will debut in 2019. A well-regarded authority on alternative history, her research has been featured in numerous books and anthologies. She also teaches comparative mythology and witchcraft at The Crooked Path Occult Apothecary in Los Angeles, and is a founding member of the Tridents of Hekate coven.

Melissa St. Hilaire wrote film and music reviews for The Heights Inc. Her poetry has appeared in the periodicals Shards, The Outer Fringe, and The Laughing Medusa. She co-authored several scripts for Tone-East Productions. She has written articles for Feminine Power Circle, Savvy Authors, SF Signal, and The Qwillery, among others. She has also appeared in the anthology books Folk Horror Revival: Field Studies and Folk Horror Revival: Corpse Roads. Her debut book was a memoir titled In The Now. She co-wrote the dark fantasy series, Saurimonde, with Scarlett Amaris, and is currently finishing a sci-fi novel called X’odus. She is also a founding member of the Tridents of Hekate coven.

 

Andy Paciorek

Our compére for the day is Folk Horror Revival creator Andy Paciorek. Andy also runs the publishing arm of FHR, Wyrd Harvest Press, which donates all profits from sales to The Wildlife Trusts. Andy is also a writer in his own right, having written books on the Celtic Otherworld (Strange Lands) and the Slavic Otherworld (Black Earth). His main role is as an in demand illustrator and he has worked on a variety of projects with the likes of Chris Lambert, and Dr Bob Curran. He is currently working on a book project with Darren Charles and Gary Parsons. As well as compéring the event Andy will be giving readings from Wyrd Harvest Press’s latest title The Wytch Hunter’s Manual written by Dr Bob Curran and illustrated by Andy himself.

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So there we have it, our lineup is complete. There is a suggestion that we may have one or two very special guests on the day, but you’ll just have to wait and see if they come off.

 

The full lineup is as follows:

Compére

Andy Paciorek

Speakers

Diane Purkiss, Gail-Nina Anderson, Darren Charles, Bob Beagrie, and The Witch play written by Tracey Norman and performed by Circle of Spear Productions

Music

Black Mountain Transmitter, Georgia Seddon, Nathalie Stern, Heartwood Institute, Peg Powler, Hokano & Marcus H

Films

Simon, King of the Witches, Angeli Bianchi…. Angeli Neri (Witchcraft 70), Thelema, Conjuration, Bella in the Wych Elm & American Witch

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Tickets are available from the eventbrite link below. There is a two tier price structure, the first option is an all day ticket covering the full event from 12 noon until 1am priced at £27.54. The second option is a partial ticket, just covering the evening event from 7pm to 1am and costing £16.76. We will get a timetable of events up as soon as possible.

 

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/folk-horror-revival-presents-witch-cults-tickets-45698031041

 

 

 

 

Art of The Beautiful~Grotesque

Andy Paciorek

NOW AVAILABLE from Andy Paciorek (Founder of the Folk Horror Revival project)
(With a Hung, Drawn and Quarter off cover price for one day only – hurry hurry to make a great saving 🙂 )

~ Art of the Beautiful~Grotesque ~
Over 300 Andy Paciorek drawings from various projects. Some old favourites and some previously unpublished.

Peripheral Visions – a collection of sketches from my rough books will follow in near future. 🙂

Buy today and save 25% off cover price* – use code BKSTRMADNESS at checkout at http://www.blurb.co.uk/…/8751446-the-art-of-the-beautiful-g…

More books by Andy Paciorek ( which can also be added to Discount offer)  can be found here ~ http://www.blurb.co.uk/user/andypaciorek

*Offer valid through May 30, 2018 (11:59 p.m. local time). A 25% discount is applied toward your product total with no minimum or maximum order amount. This offer is good for five uses, and cannot be used for digital purchases or combined with volume discounts, custom orders, other promotional codes, gift cards or used for adjustments on previous orders.

Lookee yonder ~ Wyrd Harvest Press 2018

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2018 is already again a busy year for both Folk Horror Revival and Wyrd Harvest Press.
Lined up are talks at others’ events or media presences and again a fruitful focus of books.

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Our first venture into publishing back in the winter of 2015, Folk Horror Revival: Field Studies was very much a cutting of teeth. Using multi-contributors from many a field close and far for inclusion in a charity book and testing out unfamiliar Print on Demand demands led it is safe to say a headache or ten … But we were left in our hands, somehow put together by a new and relatively unexperienced quantity a tome that featured amongst its pages , contributions by the likes of Philip Pullman, Robin Hardy, Alan Lee and also a cornucopia of interviews with or essays by a surge of new talent. Field Studies, I think it is fair to say, opened more eyes to the genre of folk horror and its revival. Furthermore, though its creators have not made a penny from it; conservation and biodiversity projects conducted by The Wildlife Trusts have benefited well from its presence.
It was not a perfect book however, as some reviewers fairly pointed out, there were some formatting issues which gave an uneven appearance. A minor complaint, but one we took note of …..sooooooo …. this year sees a Second Edition of Field Studies, which not only sees the design improved but also features numerous new interviews and essays featuring the talents for instance of Susan Cooper, Pat Mills and Ronald Hutton and themes such as cults in cinema, communications with the dead and the wolf in the rye, amongst others.
The original Field Studies is no longer available to buy from our book-store but a new, bigger and better version is coming soon.

It will be followed by Harvest Hymns (a 2 volume extravaganza released simultaneously). Pieced together by the mysterious music-magician Melmoth the Wanderer, prepare to be treated to the sumptious tastes of the twisted roots and sweetest fruits of Folk Horror music. Delving first via essays and interviews, into a paganistic past of folk music, experimental electronics and witchy metal we are brought into the present of dark folk, drone and many other strange and wondrous aural delights.
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Also this year, we will bring to you a collection of contemporary ghost stories gathered by the author Paul Guernsey from a pool of talented haunted souls, whose nightmares have been illustrated by Andy Paciorek.
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Andy Paciorek has also been in cahoots again with professor and traditional storyteller Dr. Bob Curran to unearth the grisly tome that is The Wytch Hunters’ Manual.

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Also on the agenda and in progress for this year or beyond are Goddess – a volume brought to you by a female powerhouse delving into a wide variety of topics, The Choir Invisible, a book that deals with death in its varying shades of morbidity and beauty; and Urban Wyrd – a study into what happens when the harvest of folk horror and other strange fields, spills beyond the lines of town and country, both in place and mind.

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Peruse our existing titles at – http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/andypaciorek

100% of profits from FHR / Wyrd Harvest Press books sold in this store will be charitably donated at intervals to different environmental, wildlife and community projects undertaken by the Wildlife Trusts.

Seen in Half Dreams: The Fairy Investigation Society Interview Andy Paciorek

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Andy, thanks so much for agreeing to talk. First of all, can you just tell us something about your background and how you became so interested in fairy art?

Hi, thanks for asking me to talk. I have had an interest in strange and mysterious subjects and have also compulsively drawn since I was a child, so it was probably inevitable that I would someday end up drawing fairies. As a very young child I think I saw stuff, that I never really thought anything of at the time – faces in the trees and one time I remember playing on the fields at the back of my house with an unfamiliar child who was very pale with white hair and I think white clothing. Nobody else seems to have seen him or knew who he was, which was odd as it was a small village where most people knew each other. I think he said his name was Samuel. I never thought he was a ghost, angel, faerie (though some theories identify faeries as either being ghosts or fallen angels) – just a kid. He wasn’t an imaginary playmate either as I only ever saw him the once. As I got older I became more and more interested in supernatural subjects but paid little attention to faeries as still then I had the Tinkerbell impression of them.

So what changed things?

Well, in my reading I came across Passport to Magonia by Jacques Vallee and then the books of Hilary Evans and that brought me around to a new way of thinking about faeries, which inherently felt righter to me. On the art side as well as Froud and Lee’s
seminal Faeries, via the Pre Raphaelites and Aesthetic artists I became aware of the Victorian genre of Fairy painting and I became enamored especially with the works of Richard Dadd and John Anster Fitzgerald. There was a dark, mysterious underbelly to their work which really resonated with me.

Jeremy Harte has a very nice comment somewhere: he says that Brian Froud basically took Katharine Briggs’ Fairy Dictionary and drew it.
How does folklore writing inform what you draw, Andy? It is very influential and inspiring. How I came to write and illustrate my own folklore books, however, is a bit of a strange journey. At one point in my life an opportunity arose for me to work on a travelling carnival, so I literally ran away with the show folk for a few years, starting off in Wales and then travelling to the Far and Middle East. There was a girl who worked on the fair with us in the Philippines, who had a sort of a Goth look and one night I heard some Filipinos refer to her as a WokWok. And I asked them what that meant and they said Witch of the Night. I broached the subject with other locals and they informed me that the WokWok was a type of Aswang, a breed of differing vampiric or sinister entities and that piqued my curiosity. Then in Oman on one of the carnival games, the prizes were big Tasmanian Devils – Taz cartoon character stuffed toys and a local pointed at the toys and told me that people like that lived in the interior of the country, so I grew more and more interested in creatures and beings from different world folklore and mythology. Upon leaving the carnival life and returning to Britain I worked for a brief stint temping at Bizarre magazine in London. Whilst there a small filler feature was needed so I wrote a short ‘Ten alternatives to the Bogeyman’ which featured I think WokWok as well as Black Annis, possibly Tonton Macoute (Uncle Hears Me) and I cannot remember who else now but I went on to write about and illustrate far more than ten. I decided to illustrate a series of portraits of strange creatures from British and Celtic folklore. For research I had a massive pile of books scattered around me – Reverend Robert Kirk, W.Y Evans-Wentz, Katherine Briggs, Wirt Sikes, W.B. Yeats and many more and I thought it would be handy to have all this reference in a single book. So not finding one at a time, my proposed series of portraits became that book – Strange Lands: A Field Guide to the Celtic Otherworld containing over 170 illustrations and further descriptions of all manner of mystical beast and beings, many from the Faerie domain. Whilst I was still working on it John And Caitlin Matthew’s Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures came out, which is a bumper reference book. I would have possibly pulled my hair out in despair at the work I’d done, had Harper Collins not contacted and commissioned me to provide interior illustrations in the Encyclopedia. In the end the books have a different feel to them but actually complement each other pretty well.
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And your latest published work?
Well, last year I published Black Earth: A Field Guide to the Slavic Otherworld, a book I had finished writing years ago but which span over time getting the illustrations done amongst other work I had on. Again, there are a number of Faerie type entities to be found. Slavic folklore is one of the most under-represented in English language or translated books, which is a shame as there is some rich interesting material to be found in those lands. I am pleased I tackled that as a subject and hopefully there will be further material published by other authors relating to that lore. I am tempted to do further Otherworld Field Guides; have a series of them – Japanese, Native American, Oceanic … etc. There is a wealth of possibilities but it is also a lot of work involved.

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As to your drawings I just want to start, if I may, with the phooka, a favourite Irish supernatural creature. How do you go about drawing that?

With Strange Lands, there was a lot of almost automatic-style drawing involved. After reading a text I would just draw with the being vaguely in mind. What was on the page quite often was initially little more than a scribble, but from that I would trace over and the pictures which were in the book. Whilst numerous entities virtually drew themselves, others had a little bit more conscious input from me. I knew I wanted a goat in the book and the Welsh Gwyllion could have also offered that opportunity but of all the shape-shifting forms the Phooka takes, the goat seemed to push itself forward. Brambles feature within the illustration in reference to the superstition that it is unwise to eat over-ripe blackberries as either the Phooka or the Devil himself had either spat or urinated on them. I am pleased I went with the goat aspect of the Phooka as a film of recent years I enjoyed was the Witch with its unlikely superstar of Black Philip the goat. I also prefer the sinister entities and illustrating them so shapeshifting bogies appeal to me.

There are so many fairy artists out there now and you’ve already mentioned a few. But who do you rate as being among the best? Who are your living inspirations? Who should we go and look for?
Alan Lee, Brian Froud, Charles Vess, all deservedly earned their position of being the successors of a tradition that followed Arthur Rackham, Dorothy Lathrop, Edmund Dulac and the other Golden Age illustrators and before them the great Victorian illustrators and fairie painters, but it is great to see that this tradition is continuing. Amongst those who regularly or frequently illustrate themes associated to Faerie, it is the darker earthier works that appeal to me as they maintain that capricious undercurrent and strange nature of the subjects, so apologies to those I have surely forgot but among the contemporary Faerie artists I admire are Karen Hild, Virginia Lee, Marc Potts, Cobweb Mehers of Eolith Designs, and especially Julia Jeffrey. Julia’s most recent body of work relating to the confessed Scottish Witch Isobel Gowdie is my favourite of her work, very sinister and evocative.
I’ve recently finished editing the Fairy Census 2014-2017. When people are describing fairy sightings frequently – I’d guess five or six times – people say, ‘it looked like a Brian Froud drawing’. What is happening here is modern artwork influencing sightings or is modern artwork taking from reality?

In talking with people about fairy artists, we think those who are ‘seers’ are very apparent. Among those whom I mentioned in the previous question are some whom I know or would expect to be Seers. There is an authentic feel to their work; it is not necessarily from literally seeing with the eyes but frequently just sensing and allowing those sensations to take form. With those who do that, sometimes it is as if the entities are rendering themselves through the conduit of the artist. The reasons for them being seers can vary. With Richard Dadd it could be his madness – he would simply smear paint on a canvas to begin and then paint the faces he saw peering out at him in the
pigment. For John Anster Fitzgerald there is a suggestion that his visions may have come from laudanum or opium half dreams. Some may simply be more sensitive to such things.
Location could also be a factor, Froud lives on Dartmoor which is notoriously ‘thin’, but the reasons why people may report Froud-like creatures is because they are seeing the types of creature Froud also sees. His earthier creatures are completely like those half-seen peering faces that can be found amongst foliage, tangled roots, tree bark and burrs, dry stone walls and such places. There is a stylistic difference amongst individual artists, but it may be that Brian’s work most closely captures the forms that numerous other people have seen. There is also the consideration of archetypes. If a collective unconscious exists, then art and reality will constantly influence each other I think

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Let’s finish with a boring but fundamental question. If anyone is interested in commissioning you for art work or just buying one of your books, how do we get in touch?

My solo books are available mail-order only from

http://www.blurb.co.uk/user/andypaciorek

but books I have illustrated for Harper Collins and other publishers are generally possible to buy from bookshops, Amazon etc. I can be contacted at andypaciorek@yahoo.co.uk
Andy, thanks so much!

This Interview first appeared in Fairy Investigation Society; Newsletter 7. New Series. January 2018

Founded in Britain in 1927. The Fairy Investigation Society has members from many different walks of life with different views about fairies and fairy existence: what ties us together, in mutual respect, is an interest in fairy-lore and folklore.

Read the Fairy Census 2014 -2017 here –  fairy census 2014 -2017

Alongside Darren Charles, Andy Paciorek will be discussing witches, faeries and folk horror at the The Pagan Federation Scottish Conference on Saturday April 21st 2018