Hallows Fell – A Folk Horror Graphic Novel

Hallows Fell –
by Thom Burgess & Izzy Stantic

At some point or other, we have all heard a version of the tale of the phantom hitchhiker. And while there are many variations, the basics of this well-known story always remain the same – a traveller picks up someone standing by the side of a lonely road, but at some point on the journey home they discover their passenger has mysteriously vanished. This classic chiller is said to have occurred all around the world, but one of the most famous examples of it is the haunting at Blue Bell Hill. In the heart of Kent, a road which connects Maidstone to Rochester runs over Blue Bell Hill, which the site of the remains of a Roman temple. As is usual for such ancient locations, the area has accumulated a certain amount of folklore and strange tales over the years, but the famous hauntings seem to have begun relatively recently with a terrible road crash. On the 19th of November 1965, a Ford Cortina was carrying four young ladies to the Running Horse pub in Maidstone. But along the way, by Blue Bell Hill, their vehicle a terrible accident occurred. No one is sure what caused the crash, but ultimately it took the lives of the three of the quartet, including one young lady who was to be meant to be getting married the following day.

By the mid 1970s, tales began to circulate in the local area and popular press of eerie figures encountered on the road, often a young woman in white, with some versions reporting she wore a bridal dress. However over the years other figures were reported too, children and old hags, and little by little the Blue Bell Hill area has gained a reputation for being something of hotspot for paranormal activity, with stories of weird cryptids, such as a gorilla-like creature and phantom black cats, being spotted in the area. It would seem that once an eerie story sprouts upon a landscape, it soon proliferates, and others soon come to join it.

Now there has always been a lot of cross-over between the world of folklore and weird fiction, with Bram Stoker drawing on many old legends to create the modern pop culture incarnation of the vampire, while MR James and many tellers of ghostly tales who followed him have often inspiration in local legends and historical curiosities. However once what were once called gothic, weird fiction or sensations novels had coalesced in the early 20th century into the modern horror genre, increasingly creators looked not to the strange stories told by the fireside or passed around the local area, but instead reworked, reanimated and revises tropes and concepts from early horror stories instead. However in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s the seeds were sown for a new sort of horror, or rather some old wild terrors reappeared in the field. And whichever way you wish to look it, these works which looked again to the lore of the countryside and the landscape of old stories, have blossomed into today’s folk horror revival.

Now one of most interesting new voices to emerge in the current folk horror revival is writer Thom Burgess who has been busy creating a series of deliciously eerie little graphic novels. In his first venture in collaboration with artist Joe Becci, we explored the lore of haunted houses in Malevolents – Click Click (2014). This accomplished chiller was followed by The Eyrie (2017) in which Burgess this time teamed with Barney Bodoano brought us a fascinating and extremely creepy tale that explored all those old stories of smugglers creating ghostly tales to distract unwelcome eyes from their midnight activities. However while The Eyrie delivers some fine chills playing with these folkloric ghost stories within ghost stories, Burgess’s latest offering Hallows Fell goes on step further.

This time partnering with artist Izzy Stanic, Hallows Fell has us ride shotgun with Simon, a businessman on his way home to his fiancee and a house-warming party. Now Simon is a city boy and this ill-fated trip into the countryside will see him very much out of his comfort zone and indeed rapidly become very out of his depth. For Simon’s route is to traverse Bluebell Hill after dark, and there we will discover that there is indeed a very dark truth to all the strange tales that have circulated about this area.

On one hand, the story taps into our own experiences and anxieties – after all, haven’t we all at some point of other had a journey that turns into a nightmare, and indeed many of us will have ended up horribly lost on country roads trying to find the location of some event we are now late for. Indeed while Simon is not exactly a world champion nice guy, as his journey takes increasingly dark and sinister turns, you can’t help but feel a little for his plight.

As with his previous excursions into horror comics, once again Burgess has teamed up with a highly individual artist, this time Izzy Stanic. And once again he has found a perfect partner for his script. While many comics are still following the time-honoured styles pioneered by House of Marvels or their Distinguished Competitors, Stanic’s art is delightfully unique, and has been very much tailored to the tale. Here we have clean lines married with thick shadows and dense pencil shading. She captures the look of rural England by night perfectly, from silhouetted woodlands and country pubs to lonely bus stops and deserted roads. in the middle of nowhere. It’s expressive and atmospheric, and when the script calls for it, truly haunting and horrific.

However what also gives Hallows Fell additional power is the nature of the nightmares waiting in the shadows by the roadside. For Burgess explicitly draws upon the curious tales and haunting legends that surround the Blue Bell Hill area. And this isn’t just a case of using a single legend from local lore and dressing it up as a horror tale. Much like his previous tale The Eyrie this is a story that is about stories, and is clearly a development and anb an expansion of that approach. Here there is a layering of several different stories, with Hallows Fell weaving an intricate web of legend and lore, one that ensnares Simon and draws him closer and closer the dark source from which they spring.

All in all, Hallows Fell is another crackingly creepy tale, offers a great deal of folkloric fear and fun for all you revivalist out there. Very much like the spooky folk tales that have inspired and informed it, it is dripping with eerie atmosphere, and like the benighted country lanes and roads it invokes, takes many dark twists and turns.

For further information and to purchase your copy visit (http://hallowsfell.bigcartel.com/)

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The Devil and the Universe (Live) – The Church of the Goat

The Devil and the Universe – The Church of the Goat

by Jim Peters

(this is an excerpt from an article that will feature in Harvest Hymns (Volume 2: Sweet Fruits)

It began with two cards selected from the 78-piece tarot card-set as utilised by the most famous occultist of the 20th century Aleister Crowley. ”The Devil” and “The Universe” were the cards pulled that would prophesize a name for a musical-magical-transcendental composition and transformation project…..

Ashley Dayour – (instruments and voice), David Pfister – (instruments and field recordings) and Stefan Elsbacher (percussion) set out to create music from magical systems. Their aim was to give up their musical creativity and allow the legitimacy of magic and religious mechanisms form musical rules. The process and its system dictated and created not just phonetic anarchy but also examples of sound perfection.

With this as their mission and the influence of Crowley’s tarot The Devil and the Universe were born. Using their transcendental music design and occult and religious iconography as inspiration they combined and reinterpreted these elements and influences to create a variety of musical offerings from Space Disco, Psychedelic Glam, Synth Pop, new wave and Black Metal. There is one musical style however that is very much The Devil and the Universe’s own and it is one they have christened `Goat-Wave’.

Watching The Devil and the Universe live is when all the various influences come into their own and combine to create a magical experience. I don’t mean that in a Disney way (there are no enchanted castles and princesses here!) but in a truly occult sense of the word.

The scene is set with images and film clips showing various robed figured in goat masks connecting with the landscape – communing and seeming taking inspiration from the sepia tinged rural landscape they roam across.

First to enter the Church of the Goat is Stefan (although you wouldn’t know it was him under his robe and mask) and he immediately starts pounding out a tribal rhythm as if to call the audience together – to get us all breathing, swaying and hearts beating in unison to one hypnotic beat.

Next David – once again fully robed and goated up – joins the swirling mist on stage and seems to merge with the visuals before joining in the rhythmic pulse. By now samples, field recordings and synth swathes envelop the audience entrancing them further as Ashley joins the others completing the Unholy Trinity. All three add to the growing sonic conjuration with the most unlikely of instruments – the wooden football rattle. Building the intensity until every person in the room – themselves included – is well and truly under the spell of The Church of the Goat.

There is no let up. Even when there is a change in pace or style or when new instruments are brought into the mix there is no pause between tracks – no chance to break the spell. The whole experience is built around that tribal primeval rhythm – it hypnotises, seduces, entrances and completely captivates the audience and when all three on stage become robed silhouettes pounding against the backdrop of creeping visuals the effect is magnificent. It is a shared experience – all those called to worship at the Church of the Goat do so as one.

The John Carpenter-esque synths, crunching guitars, perfectly chosen samples and field recordings – plus an array of percussive instruments – all play their part in the sonic alchemy but it is so much more than that. What makes The Devil and the Universe such an unmissable live experience is the sum of many parts – the music, the robes, the masks, the visuals, the lights, the audience and the rhythm….that never ending rhythm….the rhythm of the Universe…and The Devil.

(THE DEVIL & THE UNIVERSE)

The Wyrd Kalendar – The Spring Mix

Join the Kalendar Host in a haunting hike upon the Kalendar Heath this spring. Peppered with the sounds of spring, music on the theme of spring and extracts from three spring based tales from Wyrd Kalendar (available to buy here: http://www.lulu.com/shop/chris-lambert/wyrd-kalendar/paperback/product-23371751.html ). You will also be given the opportunity to pause in your trek as special guests from the Folk Horror Revival; Howard Ingham and Darren Charles, discuss a vital spring film and album for your edification and delight.

The Spring mix includes tunes by The Polyphonic Spree, Emil Richards, Donna Summer, St. Etienne, Aaron Copland, Children of Alice, Donovan, Massive Attack, Gao Liang, Ella Fitzgerald, Morcheeba, David Cain, Paul Weller, Pentangle, Scott Walker, The Producers, Jimmy LaValle, The Kinks, Two Door Cinema Club, The Hobbits, Sidney Torch and his Orchestra, Tom Waits, The Coffinshakers, The Lemon Drops, Igor Stravinsky, REM, Anne Ziegler & Webster Booth.

Spring Solstice: Book Sales Donation 2018

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Happy Spring Equinox !!

To mark the season, Folk Horror Revival / Wyrd Harvest Press are again donating profits from our book sales to a Wildlife Trusts project.

This time Wiltshire Wildlife Trusts Marvellous Meadows project has been voted the lucky recipient by members of our Facebook Group and receive  £501.32

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Our previous donations have been as follows –

total 15 to 17

Should you require further information of the donations email – folkhorrorrevival@gmail.com and / or contact The Wildlife Trusts

To make a donation directly to The Wildlife Trusts
http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/appeals

To buy our books – http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/andypaciorek

Thank You to all those who voted and especially to those who bought our books – Enjoy.

Return to the Fields …

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The Second Edition of Folk Horror Revival: Field Studies is now available from here

A new and revised edition of the seminal tome Folk Horror Revival: Field Studies. A collection of essays, interviews and artwork by a host of talents exploring the weird fields of folk horror, urban wyrd and other strange edges. Contributors include Robin Hardy, Ronald Hutton, Alan Lee, Philip Pullman, Thomas Ligotti, Kim Newman, Adam Scovell, Gary Lachman, Susan Cooper and a whole host of other intriguing and vastly talented souls. An indispensable companion for all explorers of the strange cinematic, televisual, literary and folkloric realms. This edition contains numerous extra interviews and essays as well as updating some information and presented with improved design. 100% of all sales profits of this book are charitably donated at quarterly intervals to The Wildlife Trusts.

Paperback – 550 pages – Normal retail price -£15.00 + Shipping

Special Launch Offer – 20% off normal price*
+
A further 10% Discount + Free Shipping **
Use Code BOOKSHIP18 at checkout

* Offer available on Field Studies only. No Code needed.  Offer ends 11.59pm – 19th March 2018. UK time
** Offer available on all Wyrd Harvest Press books. Use code BOOKSHOP18. Offer ends 11.59pm 19th March 2018 – local time

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Welcome to The Shivering Circle

Howard David Ingham

Tabletop role-playing games have been, much like folk horror, undergoing something of a renaissance in the last few years – Dungeons and Dragons, the grandfather of them all, sold more copies in 2017 than ever before – and that’s spilled over into all sorts of niche games, which address all sorts of genres. Games like Fiasco and Apocalypse World and its offshoots (which include Monsterhearts, and Dungeon World) have huge followings now, driven by vibrant online communities. But with this exciting growth in the scop of RPGs, I never really felt anyone had yet made a satisfactory folk horror game. I’ve been designing RPGs professionally for over a decade now and I’ve had work appear in about 50 RPG books for various published. A couple of years ago, I created Chariot, a complex and very personal game set in an occultist’s Atlantis, with a system driven by Tarot cards. I learnt a lot from that game, and with my folk horror obsession in full swing, I recently started to think hard about what a folk-horror RPG would look like.

So I wrote The Shivering Circle.

I wanted to create a game with a sort of home-made feeling to it, where you play ordinary people with ordinary desires and fears, but which also had a sense of grim inevitability (after all, like poor Neil Howie, or Jay the Hitman, it was you they wanted all along). In The Shivering Circle, named for a stone monument that has the peculiar effect of making you feel very cold if you’re standing in the middle of it, we briefly visit the Hoddesham Down and the nearby communities of Hoddesford and Hoddeston. Here, the (illegal) local hunt meet finds other animals to pursue, a shaggy, shadowy figure whispers terrible ideas to the downtrodden kids on the local estate, a craggy-faced rural austringer has lived in the same shed for 200 years, and you can visit the Charity Shop of the Damned. I wanted to sketch a place you could visit, that felt real, and to bring out the way in which folk horror juxtaposes the prosaic and the uncanny, and perhaps attempt to infuse it with the cynical humour of Nigel Kneale, Ben Wheatley and The League of Gentlemen. The Hoddesham Down has its share of ghosts, but then everywhere in Britain does – we live on an island where there are no untrodden places, only abandoned ones.These ghosts are as commonplace as the cup of tea on the table by the armchair where sits the corpse.

In The Shivering Circle, you’ll find a filmography, with many of the usual suspects on it, and a section of the text – the meat of the rules text – licensed under a Creative Common Attribution Licence, meaning that anyone who wants to publish their own, compatible game using the same rules, they’re welcome to. I did that because I’d love to see other writers in the community produce games set in other folk horror settings – perhaps in American or Australian, or European, or Asian settings.

The Shivering Circle is available in digital format (and soon in print) at drivethrurpg.com/product/237130/The-Shivering-Circle

Howard Ingham blogs regularly at Room207Press.com


Swansongs

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John Pilgrim and Folk Horror Revival proudly present ‘Swansongs’, an evening of haunting music at the Black Swan Inn, York featuring Sharron Krauss, Hawthonn and Sarah Dean.

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Sharron Kraus is a singer of folk songs, a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist whose solo work and collaborations offer a dark and subversive take on traditional music. As well as drawing on the folk traditions of England and Appalachia, her music is influenced by gothic literature, surrealism, myth and magick. Her songs tell intricate tales of rootless souls, dark secrets and earthly joys, the lyrics plucked as sonorously as her acoustic guitar.

She has released six solo albums, the first of which, ‘Beautiful Twisted’, was named by Rolling Stone in their Critics’ Top Albums of 2002. As well as her solo work, Sharron has recorded an album of traditional songs – ‘Leaves From Off The Tree’ – with Meg Baird and Helena Espvall of Espers, written an album of songs to celebrate the seasons of the year – ‘Right Wantonly A-Mumming’ – which was recorded with some of England’s finest traditional folk singers including Jon Boden, Fay Hield and Ian Giles – as well as recording and performing as a duo – Rusalnaia – with Ex Reverie’s Gillian Chadwick, with Tara Burke (Fursaxa) as Tau Emerald and with Irish free-folk collective United Bible Studies.

 

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Hawthonn  are Mugwort-smoking suburban witches. Sinister wailing from abandoned cooling towers. New observatories for atomic occultism. Synth-haloed chanting from the caverns of the blood moon. Gnostic pentagrams and underground spectralism.

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Sarah Dean aka The Incredible String Blonde, has been writing her own music and ‘noodling’ for years on various instruments, but only since 2007 has Sarah finally pulled all the years of performance as a singer and hours of practice together, to go solo and write and perform her own songs. 
It is the Celtic Harp that allows Sarah to create rich textures and atmospheres to the words and meaning of a song, taking listeners to another place with its magical and mesmeric soundscapes.   Peppered amongst her own self-penned songs are some surprising contemporary covers (the bluesy Man In The Long Black Coat, Pink Floyds’ atmospheric Grantchester Meadows, Walking On The Moon by The Police etc) and beautifully arranged traditional folk songs.  20 years of performing have given Sarah a relaxed and easy stage presence and audiences are treated to amusing anecdotes.

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Dating from the 15th century, The Black Swan Inn is a half-timbered pub with rooms is a block from the River Foss, a 10 minute walk from York Castle and a 5-10 minute walk from Jorvik Viking Centre.

Its traditional rooms all include en suite bathrooms and antique, 4-poster beds with rich draperies. Parking and breakfast are complimentary.

They boast a wood panelled restaurant with coffered ceilings and an open fireplace where we serve food daily, and two beer gardens where you can relax with a drink when the sun comes out.

Within this early 15th century merchant’s mansion various ghostly sightings have occurred.

There is a ghost of the gentleman in a bowler hat who appears to be impatiently waiting for someone at the bar – eventually his apparition slowly fades away.

Another ghost can be seen sitting staring into the fire in the bar. It is the ghost of a particularly beautiful young woman thought to be a jilted bride. It is said that should a man stare into her face he will die in ecstasy.

There are several other ghosts who appear regularly. A small boy, known affectionately to the staff as Matthew, is frequently seen in the bar and passageway. He is dressed in Victorian style clothes and is reportedly a pickpocket, which might explain the disappearance of various items kept behind the bar.

A rumoured highwayman, who we know as Jack, appears regularly in the kitchen, dressed in riding boots and a long black cloak. Interestingly, the kitchen was built over the original stable yard. He can also be heard singing along to Irish folk songs in the corner of the bar late at night.

A less frequent ghostly visitor is a large black cat wandering around the pub. This ghost causes confusion among staff and frequent customers alike as it bears a strong resemblance to Salem, the pubs resident feline.

The chair by the fire is reputedly cursed and it is said that should anyone sit in it a curse will fall upon them. We recommend standing.

There have been regular sightings of a pair of legs disappearing up the stairs leading to the landlord’s flat. We believe the landlord may have to be legless himself to dare to sleep there!

In the main bar area there is a clay pipe mounted on the wall. This pipe was found during restoration work. It is said that the workmen threw it out and at that very moment a chill descended upon them. There was a moment of frozen fear until one of them went to retrieve the pipe, after which the chill lifted. The pipe will always remain in the pub for fear of high electricity bills.

The Black Swan Inn – 23 Peasholme Green, York YO1 7PR

Tickets for Swansongs are available now £10 + small booking fee from –
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/swansongs-tickets-44059576379
Event is likely to sell out so please book soon to avoid disappointment.

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Extra Sensory Productions

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ESP is a creative channel via YouTube & Twitch that takes concepts of the unknown, the paranormal, and Forteana and translates them into the solid realm of artistic renderings.

Created by a team of artists forged from the need to express the paranormal into art. ESP is a project that unites artists from various platforms to discuss the unknown and to create art along the way

ESP is brought to you by John Chadwick and Melissa Martell.

Come on our show. Discuss your topic of expertise (degree or not!) and we will parlay your thoughts into creative drawings as we will discuss and present counter ideas while you inform us of your knowledge.  We also encourage, no, WE LOVE, poets, musicians, seamstresses, esoteric studies, film artists and more to participate with us in our live show!

John Chadwick is an illustrator, animation filmmaker, writer and educator. His art ranges from the written and spoken word to book covers and model making. His work has been exhibited, printed and performed in various forms since his 1995 film “Spiritual Love” was nominated for Young Narrative Filmmaker of The Year at the 1996 British Short Film Festival. In 2010 he was awarded the Writer/Illustrators bursary from the Feiweles Trust at The Yorkshire Sculpture Park. In 2014 his animated short film, The Brain, was selected by Serge Bromberg to appear in a showcase of animation inspired by Charlie Chaplin at HAFF (Holland Animated Film Festival).  John is currently an administrator of, the popular Facebook group, Folk Horror Revival where he facilitates the Young Artist of The Month Award.

Melissa Martell is a graphic designer, artist, and writer from Vancouver Island, Canada.  She has her degree in Advanced Media & Interactive Design, with a particular passion for typography, identity branding, and layout design.  She has featured her graphic design works in several art exhibits, including the NIC Art Exhibit in 2013 and 2014.  Her interactive digital sculpture piece, In Orbit, was featured in the exhibit

Curiosity + Process = Discovery at The Comox Valley Art Gallery in 2015.  Melissa also enjoys painting with oils and is excited to get the time to focus on art on the ESP live channel. She works as a freelance graphic designer and you can view her portfolio, not only on this website but on her two linked sites below.

In 2016 Melissa co-founded the podcast The Folklore Podcast with folklorist and actor Mark Norman of Circle Of Spears Production.  She served as art director, graphic designer, social media marketer and web designer until 2018, when she left to embark and grow creatively on this current production of ESP.   In 2015/2016 she also helped co-found The Curious Fortean FB group and online blog and wrote regularly on Fortean, paranormal and esoteric subjects (you can find some of those writings on her own personal blog at https://www.scarlettart.rocks/scarlett-blog ).

For more information visit – https://www.espirit.tv/about-esp

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The show launched on Monday, March 5th. There are some fantastic guests lined up  and  fascinating topics which ESP are excited to share with everyone! Next Saturday (March 7th 2018) they plan to start live streaming some shows, so keep an eye on the Facebook page  and website for more news.

The goal is to have a new show each week, with fascinating topics.

Remember to subscribe to our YouTube and Twitch channels and share our content as it’s released to help us grow and get our guests noticed as well!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5WVPm76CADJf_nyGbVWMgQ…

https://www.twitch.tv/extrasensoryproduction

For more info visit –
https://www.espirit.tv/ 

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John Chadwick is an illustrator, animation filmmaker, writer and educator. His art ranges from the written and spoken word to book covers and model making. His work has been exhibited, printed and performed in various forms since his 1995 film “Spiritual Love” was nominated for Young Narrative Filmmaker of The Year at the 1996 British Short Film Festival. In 2010 he was awarded the Writer/Illustrators bursary from the Feiweles Trust at The Yorkshire Sculpture Park. In 2014 his animated short film, The Brain, was selected by Serge Bromberg to appear in a showcase of animation inspired by Charlie Chaplin at HAFF (Holland Animated Film Festival).  John is currently an administrator of, the popular Facebook group, Folk Horror Revival where he facilitates the Young Artist of The Month Award.