Folklore Thursday: Samhain and the Celtic Vampires

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In Ireland, the Failte na Marbh (Festival of the Dead) was held annually on the 31st October. (also known as Samhain. All Souls and most commonly Halloween).  At this time, the dead would pay a short visit to their living relatives and, after a year in the grave, they were obviously thirsty and famished. It was then the duty of the living kin to provide them with food and drink. If sufficient victuals were not offered, the dead would then feed from the veins of the living. These creatures were known as Marbh Bheo – the Night-walking Dead. On the Scottish Isle of Skye pure vengeance was often thought to be the prime mover for the Biasd Bheulach. These Vampire-like creatures would not only spare their revenge for the specific individuals who had done them wrong in life, or had sent them to the grave, but would exact grim penance upon any living soul that fell within their grasp. In England the dead thought most likely to rise again were suicides & executed criminals, and Northumbria in particular was said to have suffered several Vampire plagues. Prevalent also in both Irish and Scottish lore were Vampires that had no discernible human heritage, and instead seemed to be of a malevolent Fay stock. Such a shadowy creature was the Irish Dearg-Due or Dearg-Diulai – the Red Bloodsucker. Frequently the Dearg-Diulai appeared as beautiful, pale females cloaked in a sanguine-red capes. Attracting warm-blooded males with their feminine charm, seduction soon turned to slaughter.

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The Baobhan Sith, or Spirit Women, are a strange breed of Scottish Vampiric entities. They most frequently manifest as small groups of beguiling women, dressed in flowing green cloaks that almost conceal the fact that their legs are of a form more befitting Deer. They may also at times take the forms of Hooded Crows. Highland tales relate how they may entrance men with their dancing before sinking their fangs into them. The Baobhan Sith display a fear of cold iron.

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The Glaistig are green-clad Fay women of fair beauty despite their lower bodies which are actually those of Goats. They are solitary creatures of converse character, for whilst they at times may greatly assist children, old people and cattle-farmers, should they chance upon lone male travellers or shepherds then their temperament changes entirely. They will first engage their victim in a seductive dance, before murdering and feasting upon them. In addition to fresh man’s blood the Glaistigs also have a taste for fresh cow’s milk.
Abridged text and amended images from Strange Lands: A Field Guide to the Celtic Otherworld – © Andy Paciorek


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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

#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

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.

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.

Book review: Magical Folk: British & Irish Fairies 500 AD to the Present

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Fairies have become a much maligned species in recent centuries. Mention the word to most people and the mental image that springs to mind will most frequently be a diminutive sparkling being reminiscent of Disney’s rendition of J.M. Barrie’s Tinkerbell from Peter Pan. The idea that Fairies are twee, little wish granters perhaps does them a great disservice. That is not to say that fairies do not look like that. They can, if a human mind is faced with something otherworldly, something they have never encountered before, regardless of whether it has a natural or supernatural quality, it will frequently seek a pattern in its memory and recognition facility. If they expect a fairy to look that way, then perhaps they will see it that way. In my own experience, art and contemplation I have a preference for the term Faerie, which although may donate a place or state of consciousness perhaps, rather than an individual race of spirit or being (the naming of which has always been a moot and sometimes dangerous issue, as explained within this book), divorces my mind at least from the sugar plum sentimentality of the subject. The mawkish is however probably as important as the mysterious, for in studying or commenting upon folklore, the cultural set and the individual mindset is very important in the mapping of human experience and interpretation of experience. Simon Young’s exploration of these issues, of which Magical folk is a part, is a very important and intriguing aspect of 21st Century studies of folklore both in a historical and contemporary setting . But now to the book.

Magical Folk edited by Simon Young & Ceri Houlbrook, which features numerous impressive essays by various writers, follows the path trodden by notable folklorist Katherine Briggs, in looking at what fairies reported at different times and different places have in common as well as traits and quirks that tie them to a particular location or moment. It is clear that many of the reported fairies do not have much in common at all with Tinkerbell. My own personal fascination and feeling of fairies leans towards the most odd; the capricious even the sinister.

Chapters are themed according to locality, for the most part different regions of the British Isles, but also there are intriguing accounts from North America. I was aware of the lore of some fay British and Irish entities reputedly flitting west with immigrants to the new worlds of Canada and America and also of the tales of the first nations about their own similar beings, but there is material in here new to me which is a pleasure to read.

Also featured several times in discussion is one of my personal favourite Faerie tales; that of the faerie midwife. If you don’t know it already, then I will leave it for you to read in the book. Needless to say, it is a tale that reveals the capriciousness of the faerie kind and also relates to the concept of Glamour – basically the premise that things may not initially be what they seem.

Joining Simon and Ceri on this enjoyable excursion beyond the mist gates are the current Queen of British folklorists, Jacqueline Simpson and a worthy entourage comprised of Pollyanna Jones, Mark Norman. Jo Hickey-Hall, Richard Sugg, Jeremy Harte, Jenny Butler, Laura Coulson, Richard Suggett, Francesca Bihet, Stephen Miller, Ronald M. James, Peter Muise and Chris Woodyard.

Magical Folk is a pleasure in its own right, but also needs to be seen in the wider context of Simon Young’s work. As well as being the Faerie Correspondent of Fortean Times; he is the resurrection man behind the reprise of the Fairy Investigation Society. In bringing the work of Quentin C.A. Craufurd, bernard Sleigh and especially Marjorie Johnson of the original Fairy Investigation Society to present day attention, he has set the foundations for present and future investigation of the phenomenon – whatever its rhyme or reason. This is an important step, for as the results of Simon’s Fairy Census show, fairy encounters are not a mere thing of nursery tales nor, as the closet minded faction of sceptical thinkers may have it, simply a thing of new age rainbows and glitter self-help books, but a fascinating and important aspect of anthropology, cultural study and investigation into both liminal states and potentials of quantum reality consideration.

But again, Magical Folk is simply a pleasure to read in its own right. 

Magical Folk: British & Irish Fairies 500 AD to the Present

edited by Simon Young & Ceri Houlbrook

Gibson Square, £16.99

Available from
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Magical-Folk-British-Fairies-Present/dp/1783341017 and other online and actual bookshops.

 

Winter Ghosts: What is This? What is Coming? 3

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On the weekend of 15th and 16th December 2017, a strange mist will fall upon the coastal town of Whitby. From the sea fret will come haunting sounds and tales and more besides. Here over the coming days we shall in turn usher in the ghosts of winter …

To see full line-up and buy tickets visit here

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We are happy to announce that speaking at the Met on Saturday 17th December, will be George Cromack delivering a wave of Coastal Terrors.

George Cromack is a writer, tutor/lecturer in H.E and Adult Education whose core subject areas are creative fiction, specifically Scriptwriting for film & T.V, and Film Studies. In 2013 George devised and scripted Cold Calling a ghost story turned chiller for Calavera Cafe Productions which premiered at Whitby’s own Bram Stoker International Film Festival. For almost ten years George taught on a number of programmes at the University of Hull’s Scarborough Campus – including modules on their Creative Writing Degree. It was during this time he developed his interest in what has become widely known as the Folk Horror genre, the subject of his film based PhD thesis. A keen writer of fiction, George’s work has appeared in several small short story anthologies.

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Also speaking at Winter Ghosts is Dr Elaine Edmunds who has been a major force in bringing Folk Horror Revival to Whitby.

After a long career as a senior practitioner in NHS mental health Elaine relocated to Whitby at the end of 2010 to focus on developing arts practice.

Her interest in themes relating to Folk Horror started in early life with a happy childhood experience of Hammer House of Horror, Pan and Fontana books, and Tales of Mystery and Imagination.

Her enlightened parents also allowed her to read Man Myth and Magic as a comic. As a social psychiatrist she has always been interested in social anthropology and comparative folklore.

Decadent Drawing was started by Elaine and  husband Laurence Mitchell in 2013. This started suitably at La Rosa as a loose community arts group exploring themes outside the mainstream, challenging boundaries and allowing for art mischief. Many of our sessions have specifically referred to Folk Horror, The Tell Tale Art was the title of their Poe exploration with vignettes from his stories being staged for people to draw or interpret any way they wished. They have also featured Dadd, The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, the Dybbuk, Victorian Spiritualism. The court of King Rudolph II with Alchemy and of course Krampus.

More recently they put on art events including Dark Arts Exhibition at the Bram Stoker International Film Festival and various fundraisers. They have recently successfully launched the 3rd Whitby Krampus Run.

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Visit us at Winter Ghosts

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Andy Paciorek books Discount Code

 

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Perfect Halloween presents for all boos and ghouls.

To claim 25% Discount add code TBFAM25 at checkout at –
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Offer valid through October 16, 2017 (11:59 p.m. local time).

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Awakening the Fields …

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FOLK HORROR REVIVAL Proudly Presents
֍ AWAKENING THE FIELDS ֍
An afternoon of talks and live music featuring ~
SHARRON KRAUS
THE CONSUMPTIVES featuring THE MOTHER OF CROWS

CHRISTOPHER JOSIFFE + CHRIS HILL ~ Gef the Talking Mongoose
ANDY ROBERTS ~ Alan Garner’s Thursbitch
JUSTIN HOPPER ~ the Old Weird Albion
HANNAH GILBERT ~ Old Gods’ Own Country
DARREN CHARLES + ANDY PACIOREK ~ An Introduction to Folk Horror

Compere – BOB FISCHER

All for the princely sum of 5 English pounds 🙂
Hepworth Gallery, Wakefield.
Saturday October 28th 2017 12 -4.30pm

Tickets availble now from –

http://www.hepworthwakefield.org/whatson/folk-horror-revival-awakening-the-fields/

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Black Earth: A Field Guide to the Slavic Otherworld

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Following on in the footsteps of Strange Lands: A Field Guide to the Celtic Otherworld, Black Earth guides the curious on a fully illustrated journey into the strange Otherworld of the Slavic nations. Ever wondered whose eyes are glaring at you in the bathhouse or who is lurking in the deep dark birch woods and following you through the golden grain fields? What lies beneath the damp black earth? Wonder no more, let Andrew L. Paciorek guide you into the worlds beyond.
Safe return not guaranteed ….

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Fully illustrated throughout – 206 pages

3 cover formats –
Paperback / softcover – £10
($12.15 USD)
Hardback Dust sleeve £20
($27.39 USD)
Hardback Image Wrap – £20
($27.64 USD)

UK P+P – £5.99

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For US shipping and other overseas prices and shipping costs please set the flag on the top right of website linked below to your country / currency.

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