Witch Cults T-Shirt Now Available to Preorder.

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The news that our rather wonderful new Folk Horror Revival – Witch Cults shirt is now available to order has been received with great delight here at FHR towers. The admins are frothing at the mouth over the beautiful new design created especially for the event by Andy Paciorek and Cobweb Mehers, in conjunction with Jonas at Tyrant Designs who has done a remarkable job with the manufacturing of these individual pieces.

If you are planning to join us on July 14th and would like to preorder your shirt, either contact Kt Mehers via PM on Facebook, or email us at folkhorrorrevival@gmail.com, please include a contact email address, a delivery address and your chosen size.

The shirts are available in size S, M, L, XL and XXL and are priced at £15. These can be collected at the event. Those who can’t make it can still order a shirt, postage and packaging is priced at £6, and please state in the message that you require the shirt to be posted out to you.

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Another announcement is due in the next few days so keep your eyes open, however if you want to get in early tickets are currently available from the eventbrite link below, priced at £27.54 for the full day event and £16.76 for just the evening.

Hope to see some of you there.

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

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Folk Horror Revival – Witch Cults Announcement.

After much anticipation we have arrived at our fouth announcement. We have two very exciting additions to our lineup for Witch Cults that will thrill and excite you all.

 

First up, I’m sure you will join us in providing a warm welcome to the lineup for one of the world’s most celebrated experts on witchcraft. A woman whose book The Witch in History is among the seminal works relating to the issue of gender in witchcraft.

Diane Purkiss

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Diane Purkiss is Professor of English literature at Oxford University and fellow of Keble College, and you can’t get much more Gothic than that. She has published widely on witchcraft, fairies, ghosts and other otherness. She also wrote a trilogy of fantasy novels with her son Michael Dowling which focus on Greek monsters and retell Greek mythology from the monsters’ point of view. The title of her talk for Witch Cults is Who’s scary now? Scottish witches in the realms of the dead.

 

Our second announcement for today is something a little different for the lineup. At our Winter Ghosts event in Whitby last December we brought the dramatic arts into a Folk Horror Revival event for the first time, this time we are taking things one step further.

 

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Witch…is she or isn’t she?

written by Tracey Norman

performed by Circle of Spears Productions

 

Is she….or isn’t she?

 

Set loosely in the late 1500s, WITCH follows the story of Margery Scrope, a destitute widow who has been arrested on suspicion of witchcraft, following an accusation from her neighbour Thomas Latimer. He believes that she has cursed his family, causing his daughter’s death and his son’s illness. Local landowner/magistrate Sir William Tyrell, intrigued, summons them both to examine the evidence in the case so he can decide how it should proceed. Is Margery really a witch, or is this nothing more than a neighbourly squabble?

Circle of Spears presents an original piece of theatre based entirely on the experiences of real people drawn from the historical record. It takes particular inspiration from surviving documents in the 1687 witchcraft trial of Lyme Regis housewife Deanes Grimmerton. The show was written in 2016 and has since been performed almost 60 times in a variety of venues across the country.  It gives a voice to the thousands of people who endured the same terrifying situation as Deanes, examining various themes and issues which arise from the characters’ discussion. As the action unfolds, secrets are revealed – but who has the most to hide?

The show was written as a discussion piece, so as you watch, consider… is Margery guilty, or is she simply the keeper of uncomfortable truths?

 

They join those already confirmed for what promises to be a packed day of talks, film, music and drama with a witchy theme. As if that weren’t enough we still have several announcements coming your way, so keep your eyes peeled for more great talks, music, short films and more.

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Tickets priced at £25 for the full day and £15 for the evening only are available from the eventbrite link below.

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

 

The Wyrd Kalendar – Spectral Fields – The First Mix

The Kalendar Host has been reading.

He has found himself lost in “A Year in the Country – Wandering Through Spectral Fields” by Stephen Prince. This incredible work has inspired a new journey out of the Kalendar Heath and across these Spectral Fields to discover music, ideas, stories, folk horror jaunts, hauntological treats and nostalgic terror.

This is the first of four mixes dedicated to this new book. This mix explores chapters 1-13 through music, sound and key extracts, acting as an accompaniment or, if you will allow, an aural appendix.

Discover the delights of the Albion Country Band, John Martyn, David Bowie, The Sally-Angie, Trader Horne, Demdike Stare, Howlround, Belbury Poly, The Advisory Circle, Hoofus, Lubos Fiser, Frog, Broadcast and the Focus Group, Jugg, The Soulless Party, The Rowan Amber Mill and Emily Jones, Magnet, Broadcast, Pulp, Sneaker Pimps, The Owl Service, Ultravox, Strawberry Switchblade and Nik Kershaw. As well as this you will be able to experience soundtracks from War Games, The Owl Service, The Changes, Sky, Penda’s Fen and many many more…

Buy the book here…

http://ayearinthecountry.co.uk/the-a-year-in-the-country-wandering-through-spectral-fields-book-and-a-visual-accompaniment/

A-Year-In-The-Country-Wandering-Through-Spectral-Fields-book-front-and-back-cover-575x382.jpg The A Year In The Country: Wandering Through Spectral …
ayearinthecountry.co.uk
“This incredibly well-researched book, which is obviously written by a man with an enormous passion for this subject, is probably as comprehensive as it is possible to be.

Wyrd Harvest Press – Wildlife Trusts projects update

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Since its creation in 2015, Wyrd Harvest Press -the publishing arm of Folk Horror Revival has charitably donated all of the profits from sales of its creations on its online bookshop  www.lulu.com/spotlight/andypaciorek
to various projects undertaken by the The Wildlife Trusts.

They have just been in touch to update us on the progress of some of those projects.

 

Northumberland Wildlife Trust

  1. £771.92 for Living Seas Appeal.  The total amount raised on this appeal was £7,745.17 (between July 2014 and last donation on June 2016). The appeal has concluded, with an appeal for further funding for a new marine project possibly coming soon. This project has focussed primarily on education and awareness of how amazing our living seas in the north of England are and how people can discover more about them, and support them going forward.

 

  1. £771.92 for Red Squirrel conservation work. This is an ongoing project badged as RSNE (Red Squirrels Northern England). It, along with numerous other work by The Wildlife Trusts to preserve Red Squirrel populations, is a successful project with promising results in latter years regarding the actual number of reds. As well as the important conservation work carried out by the Trust and partners, it also encourages people to support the project by reporting Red Squirrel sightings in their local area.  In the financial year 2017/18, Northumberland Wildlife Trust received approximately £13,000 in donations towards the project.

 

Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust

We would like to send a thank you to Folk Horror Revival for their kind contribution to our Help the Hedgehog appeal last year.

 

A recent poll voted the hedgehog to be Britain’s most popular species with the public, but numbers of this once common animal have declined seriously in recent years due to the reduction of hedgerows, changes in agricultural practices and changes to suburban gardens and there are now thought to be less than a million left in the UK.

 

Our campaign was launched by renowned wildlife expert and hedgehog fan Hugh Warwick and successfully delivered several hedgehog-focused initiatives including some habitat work, restoring hedgerows and urban woodland; raising awareness among gardeners of the benefits they derive from hedgehogs and how to encourage them; installing hedgehog-friendly fencing at one of our nature reserves (with gaps underneath to allow hedgehogs in and out) and a citizen science project to spot and record hedgehogs.

 

Below a SRWT ecologist is setting a hedgehog tunnel to record the nocturnal wanderings of an urban hedgehog – basically a tunnel containing an ink pad and a sheet of paper. And on the right, what was found the following morning!

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Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust

Thank you for your support of our Pollinators Appeal in 2016. This appeal was successfully concluded and the funds raised were used to support a variety of work aimed at protecting the habitats needed by these essential insects. For example:

  • We have been working with a local landowner to convert arable land to a wildflower meadow to provide additional nectar sources for bees and other insects.
  • We are campaigning for an outright ban on harmful pesticides (particularly neonicotinoids) which have been shown to disorientate and confuse bees seeking food.
  • We now manage over 50 nature reserves, including meadows, heathland and downland, all part of the essential mix of habitats our landscape requires to support a wide range of insects and pollinators.
  • We hope to inspire others to support wildlife too. Simply planting bee-friendly flowers can support pollinators and can make a big difference even in a small space whether that’s a garden, allotment or window box.

 

Our current appeal has turned our attention to the protection of the marine environment. We are raising match funding for a Heritage Lottery Funded project called Secrets of the Solent. We want to vastly improve local awareness and appreciation for our seas and are looking to tackle and improve issues like plastic pollution and habitat damage. We will do this by working with local people and businesses in a variety of different ways. You can find out more here: http://www.hiwwt.org.uk/SecretsoftheSolent

Devon Wildlife Trust

The River Otter Beaver Trial crowdfunding appeal has concluded and raised just over £30,000 from more than 600 donors, which we feel is a fantastic result for the project. We are extremely grateful to Folk Horror Revival for their generous donation that formed part of this fundraising effort. Those donations helped to boost our other fundraising from individuals, corporate supporters, and charitable trusts – all of which have made a massive difference to the work with beavers, local landowners and communities. An overview of the project’s current status is given below, and please also see the photos attached.

 

  • The River Otter Beaver Trial (ROBT) is now about two-thirds through its five year duration, and is indicating that the return of beavers to the English landscape can be carried out successfully and with generally positive impacts on the communities and wildlife that occupy the valley.
  • The beaver population is in a healthy state and growing steadily, with approximately 26 beavers living in eight family groups. The number of territories suggests that the larger family groups have dispersed and separated, and young pairs are forming new territories. They are still causing relatively few conflicts, with those that occur being mitigated successfully using techniques widely used elsewhere. Landowners are constructive and open-minded in almost all cases, which enables techniques to be trialled and refined, and experience gained.
  • Public interest in the project and beaver ecology remains high. This is now a major element of the trial, which we believe helps to prepare the way for other projects in the future, locally and nationally. In total, since the start of the Trial we have given 170 presentations to approximately 10,700 people, an additional 40 guided walks along the River Otter to about 1,000 people, and a further 52 walks around the Enclosed Beaver Project in West Devon to around 500 people.
  • For more details, please see our website at www.devonwildlifetrust.org/river-otter-beavers.

 

Devon Wildlife Trust are also currently operating two other appeals:

  • The Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat project is making good progress with its aim of reversing the decline of this nationally threatened species, working with landowners and communities to create more bat-friendly habitat and raise awareness of the public can help Greater Horseshoes. See http://devonbatproject.org/ for more details.
  • The Freshwater Pearl Mussel project is a partnership project helping to conserve this rare and endangered species that is easily-overlooked, but vital species for our rivers’ health. The work involves a captive breeding programme that is showing promising results so far, as well as river restoration and engagement of local communities. See www.devonwildlifetrust.org/freshwater-pearl-mussel-project for more details.

On behalf of all my colleagues at these various Wildlife Trusts, thank you again for your wonderful support of these projects. There is such an incredible variety of critical work within this list that simply wouldn’t be possible without support such as yours.

Best wishes,Sam

 Sam Gee

Individual Giving Support Officer – The Wildlife Trusts
Thank You very much to all the Revivalists who have bought our books. Other great titles are in production / planning. Again we will continue to support the Wildlife Trusts through their sale.

To donate directly to the Trusts please visit here.
To buy our books please visit here.

Toll Booths and Black lakes – The birth of a new Folk Horror film maker

Last year I was very privileged to be invited to the Fear in the Fens Festival as a guest speaker to present ` Otherworldly – an introduction to Folk Horror.’ As a part of that event there was screening of several amateur short films with a Folk Horror thread running through their themes and atmospheres. The best of this crop was the outstanding, spooky and tense `Toll Booth’. On my way home from this event due to railway works there was a bumpy bus ride along dark unfamiliar Norfolk roads and lanes during which I had the pleasure of chatting to the director of Toll Booth – Martin Stocks.

Since then I have kept an eye out for Martin and his work and it came as no surprise

when I saw Toll Booth picking up award after award at multiple film festivals. So far it had won 6 awards including the Gold Award for Best Thriller at LA Shorts Award; and Best Screenplay at Canada International Film Festival as well as being nominated for the Yorkshire Film Award at Leeds International Film Festival – making it eligible for the BAFTAS and Oscars!

The film is focused on Terry on his first night as the keeper of an isolated toll booth which is seemingly haunted by the fact that his predecessor disappeared from his post in mysterious circumstances.

Boredom – it is by no means a busy booth – starts to play on Terry’s mind and eventually he steps out into the mist to investigate and explore his new surroundings. However isolated as he is in this remote eerie landscape Terry oHostarts to get the feeling that there’s something out there lurking in the surrounding fog…something sinister and possibly otherworldly. The paranoid loneliness of the toll booth seems preferable however to the unnerving uncertainty of what is outside the protection of its flimsy clapboard walls.

Each customer who comes to pay their toll seem poised to be a terrifying new twist and each one adds to the nerve wracking tension…….until…


Black Lake

Somehow, whilst touring Toll Booth to film festivals around the globe, Martin has found time to start work on a very adventurous and ambitious project indeed – an animated short thriller called Black Lake.

….A man wakes in a dark, foggy, beautiful, yet hostile world after causing a fatal car crash. He navigates this place, initially spellbound by its stunning ethereal nature, and its pitch black lake with small floating stars. Dread quickly sets in as he realises the malevolent dangers lurking beneath the surface of this half-dead world. He is forced to confront his darkest fears and face the ultimate sacrifice to escape…..

Over to Martin –

“For this dark and compelling story, we are creating a starkly beautiful yet hostile world that our protagonist is thrown into. This project explores the concept of purgatory in a different and surprising way. It is also a taut narrative that will grab viewers by the throat and not let up until the end credits. We aim to produce a visually stunning thriller which will leave you breathless.
There is a multi-talented animation team on board to achieve my ambitious vision. This film will act as a proof of concept for a feature version that we are developing. as I think the script is one of the best things I’ve written. It explores complex themes like guilt, isolation and redemption – and creates a beautiful visual world. With the animation team we have in place I’m really excited to see them realise this stunning world. This film is also a big stepping stone for me as a director looking to move into feature films. Producing this with a proper budget will help me create a beautiful, compelling and touching film…… The success of Toll Booth has shown that I can produce films that engage with audiences and gain critical recognition. I want this film to be so good that it cannot be ignored by the industry and it helps my team get the exposure, recognition and opportunities they deserve.”

All of this vision needs support so if you want to help Martin and the team see their vision come to life there are options and rewards for those wishing to donate and be a part of an exciting project….

You can watch a trailer and read more about the project by following this link.

About the team:

This is the follow-up to Martin Stocks’ (writer/director) short thriller Toll Booth. This has won 6 awards including, Best Thriller at LA Shorts Awards and Best Screenplay at Canada International Film Festival. It was nominated for The Yorkshire Film Award at BAFTA and Oscar-qualifying Leeds International Film Festival. A feature version is in development.

James Wren is producing, having made several feature films. The Man You’re Not features Reece Sheersmith and Joanna Lumley, and recently premiered at East London Film Festival. He also produced short horror/comedy The Monster with Film London, which screened at over 50 festivals and won numerous awards.

Gabhriela Swan Gabhriela is a London-based Illustrator, Designer and Concept Artist whose creative practice takes many forms. From environment visualisation and character design for film to animation and fashion. Easily-identifiable by their trademark ethereal aesthetic, her illustrations have been recognised by major industry brands from both fashion and film including The Mill, Digital Arts Magazine, Ted Baker and Paul Smith. Her sensitivity to project narratives and ability to communicate stories by new and innovative means has generated commissions given her mysterious, often supernatural imagery, evident across all projects, media and disciplines.

 

Sharron Kraus – The Pilgrim Interview

After John Pilgrim’s most insightful interview with Phil and Layla from Hawthonn, he has been in touch with Folk Horror Revival favourite Sharron Kraus to chat about her inspirational new album, her enchanting novella Hares in the Moonlight and Folk Horror’s  revival, as well as talking about the upcoming Swansongs event at the Black Swan in York on May 12th. Anyway, I shall leave the floor clear for Sharron and John to guide us through the mist.

 

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John Pilgrim: You are a good friend of Folk Horror Revival, having appeared on stage at the 2016 event at the British Museum and at the Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield last year. What do you make of the revival of interest in folk horror which is taking place more generally? What do you think accounts for this and do you have thoughts on how this might continue to develop?

 

Sharron Kraus: The question of why there’s now an upsurge of interest in folk horror is an interesting one but I’m probably not best qualified to answer it, as to me the real question is what’s taken everyone else so long?! If I were to speculate wildly about why folk horror is gaining in popularity now, though, I’d guess that it’s something to do with the fact that the world has recently become a darker, more chaotic place.

 

John Pilgrim: A deep spiritual connection with the landscape permeates much of your work.  What were the formative experiences for you in connecting to the landscape and how has your connection and awareness changed over the years?

 

Sharron Kraus: I loved insects and trees as a child and forests have always been special places for me. I spent a year in Aberystwyth as a student and the landscape of Mid Wales cast a spell on me. For years after leaving there the kind of landscapes I’d found there appeared in my dreams. The first time I took LSD I was in a copse just outside Oxford with a couple of friends. We spent hours in what felt like an enchanted land and afterwards, though the vividness of the trip wore off, the things I’d discovered never left me. It feels like there are new layers to my experience of landscape being added all the time.

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John Pilgrim: Your album Pilgrim Chants and Pastoral Trails has been described as inhabiting “an an eerie and wonderful world, somewhere between eisteddfod and witches’ sabbat” . and as being “suffused with a lovingly melancholic sense of place”. How did this album come about?

 

Sharron Kraus: I visited Mid Wales, after years of not having been back there and my heart swelled with love for the place. I drove up through the Elan Valley, stopping and walking here and there, and wherever I stopped I had a tantalising sense of there being music just out of earshot. I stayed with friends and told them how I was feeling and they diagnosed a case of ‘hiraeth’, which is a Welsh word meaning something like homesickness or deep longing for somewhere. I decided to move to Mid Wales and try to listen to the land and draw out its music. At the time I thought that what I was doing was only possible because of the ‘magic’ of the place, but the way of working that I developed – that kind of listening and opening up to the place – became something I could then apply to other things, working on different projects. Two collaborations I’ve worked on since then – one with poet Helen Tookey and one with writer Justin Hopper – have involved the same kind of ‘listening’ to the text and responding musically to it.

 

John Pilgrim: One of your songs is ‘Blodeuwedd’ which I am sure must derive from the Mabinogi – the earliest prose stories in Britain. Can you tell us more about your interest in this mythology?

 

Sharron Kraus: I read the Mabinogi whilst I was living in Wales and loved the fact that some of the settings in the stories were actual places around me – that made obvious the magic in the land I was living in. I found the stories confusing at first – they’re very condensed and seem to require unlocking – and my way in was through writing songs about the stories or characters I wanted to gain some understanding of. As well as Blodeuwedd, the woman conjured out of flowers, I wrote about Branwen, the Welsh princess who’s married to Matholwch, King of Ireland, and who trains a starling to take a message to her brother Bran in Wales,   Efnisien, the troublemaker who starts a war between the Welsh and Irish, kills his own nephew by throwing him in the fire, then redeems himself somewhat by sacrificing his life to save his countrymen. I was writing about the characters in the stories, but also about my own experiences living in Wales, and about eternal themes found in the stories – like the plight of the migrant forced to seek work in a foreign land.

 

John Pilgrim: You have recently published ‘Hares in the Moonlight’, a tale of magic and adventure for readers aged 8 to 12, in the tradition of Alan Garner and Susan Cooper. What prompted you to follow this tradition in writing for this particular age group?

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Sharron Kraus: I wrote ‘Hares’ for children of good friends of mine and wrote a story I thought they would enjoy. I didn’t exactly decide to write in a tradition, but was influenced by the writers and stories I’d enjoyed as a child, including Garner and Cooper. I was keen to write about magic in a way that conveyed something true, which is what I think the best magical children’s writing does. I think this is something children’s fiction shares with folk horror: both of these things try to convey something of the mysteriousness, weirdness or magic of the world we live in.
John Pilgrim: You spoke on ‘Art as Alchemy’ at the ‘Psychoanalysis, Art and the Occult’ conference in London in 2016. Recognising that this is complex subject, can you say something about how you see art as a form of alchemy. How does this thinking apply to your artistic practice and day-to-day life?

 

Sharron Kraus: The basic idea is that through art we can take suffering, pain and darkness and transmute them into something golden. The way the crucible of creativity does this is one of the things I think of as true magic – not supernatural magic, but just our ability to take chaos and form something from it – the way we make something out of nothing. That’s a very short answer; for a fuller one, there’s a podcast of the talk I gave at that conference here: https://soundcloud.com/highbrowlowlife/sharron-kraus-ru-podcast.

 

John Pilgrim: Joy’s Reflection is Sorrow, your new album, will be released on Sunstone Records in June. What themes have you been exploring in this recording and what are the points of continuity and discontinuity with your previous work?

 

Sharron Kraus: Most of the songs on the new album were written in the year my Dad died, and the wider world started to edge its way towards darkness, so death and darkness are pretty central. The chorus of one song asks the question “What can we do when darkness falls; what can we do when evil calls?” and I think the album is my attempt to answer that question. I guess it’s a question that’s been there implicitly in my work for a long time but that came up to the surface on this one. Sonically this is probably the most poppy album I’ve recorded – kind of baroque-folk-pop. I think that’s partly due to my decision to try to write in standard tuning and using verse-chorus song structures more than I’d normally do. Maybe it’s also partly because the world got darker and I wanted to add some light.

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John Pilgrim: You will be playing at the Swansongs event at the Black Swan – a haunted medieval public house in York – on 12 May. What might people expect and do you think the venue might influence your performance?

 

Sharron Kraus: Playing in an atmospheric venue always adds something and the darker and spookier the better! I’ll be playing a mix of songs and semi-improvised instrumental pieces with Guy Whittaker joining me on drums and percussion. We may have a special guest with us and whip up some Rusalnaia magic too!

www.sharronkraus.com

Sharron will playing at our Swansongs event at the Black Swan in York on May 12th alongside Hawthonn and Sarah Dean. To buy tickets for this intimate evening visit the link below, but remember tickets are very limited and we would advise pre-booking to ensure admission.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/swansongs-tickets-44059576379

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The Wyrd Kalendar – The Swansongs Mix

To celebrate the Folk Horror Revival Swansongs event at the Black Swan in York on May 12th the Kalendar Host has produced a special walk upon the heath that explores the work of the artists at that concert – Sharron Kraus, Sarah Dean and Hawthonn. As well as this you will hear extracts of swan related poetry and tales and music from Passengers, Thom Yorke, The Ken Moule Assembly, REM and Saint Saens.

For tickets to this extra special event visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/swansongs-tickets-44059576379

https%3A%2F%2Fcdn.evbuc.com%2Fimages%2F42031057%2F212934394505%2F1%2Foriginal.jpg?w=1000&auto=compress&rect=0%2C140%2C676%2C338&s=18e758c22057ba139aed08bf5bad8c0d Swansongs Tickets, Sat, 12 May 2018 at 19:00 | Eventbrite
http://www.eventbrite.co.uk
Eventbrite – Folk Horror Revival presents Swansongs – Saturday, 12 May 2018 at The Black Swan Inn, York, England. Find event and ticket information.

You can find out more about the event here: https://folkhorrorrevival.com/2018/03/11/swansongs/

5c8d825fc07681d14ee23549dbb27db1-woodcut-art-memento-mori.jpg Swansongs | Folk Horror Revival
folkhorrorrevival.com
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.

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/)

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)