Monday, 31 October 2016

FROM THE GREAT LIBRARY OF DREAMS 24 - All Souls by Edith Wharton


A special early episode serving up an eerie tale for especially for Halloween, and one that actually takes place on a snowy Halloween night...

DIRECT DOWNLOAD - All Souls by Edith Wharton

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   FROM THE GREAT LIBRARY OF DREAMS is hosted by GeekPlanetOnline and is part of the ROGUE TWO Podcasting network.

Friday, 28 October 2016

HYPNOGORIA 41 - The Origins of Halloween Part 4


In a bonus extra chapter this year, Mr Jim Moon uncovers the birth of the horror genre and discovers when Halloween first properly became scary! We take a look at early Halloween horrors in the pages of the pulps, and then discover how the macabre radio shows of the 1930s and 1940s would make Halloween night their own... 

DIRECT DOWNLOAD - HYPNOGORIA 41 - The Origins of Halloween Part 4

Find all the podcasts in the HYPNOBOBS family here -

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

HYPNOBOBS on iTunes

HYPNOBOBS on STITCHER

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HYPNOGORIA is hosted by GeekPlanetOnline and is part of the ROGUE TWO Podcasting network.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

FOLKLORE FLASHBACK #12 Species of Spectres: The story so far


Over the past few weeks on Folklore on Friday, we've been attempted to devise ways of categorising ghosts, spooks and spectres based upon how they manifest in folklore and old legends. So far we've uncovered distinctly different types of phantoms depending on when and where they appear... 

PART I
http://hypnogoria.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/folklore-on-friday-species-of-spectres.html

PART II
http://hypnogoria.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/folklore-on-friday-species-of-spectres_14.html

PART III
http://hypnogoria.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/folklore-on-friday-species-of-spectres_21.html



Sunday, 23 October 2016

HYPNOGORIA 40 - The Origins of Halloween Part 3


As Halloween approaches Mr Jim Moon delves once more into the history and the mysteries of this ancient holiday. In this chapter we take a trip back to the start of the 20th century to discover how Halloween parties evolved and see how the spookiest night of the year was portrayed in the brave new worlds of radio and film. 

DIRECT DOWNLOAD - HYPNOGORIA 40 - The Origins of Halloween Part 3

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

HYPNOBOBS on iTunes

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HYPNOGORIA is hosted by GeekPlanetOnline and is part of the ROGUE TWO Podcasting network.

Friday, 21 October 2016

FOLKLORE ON FRIDAY - Species of Spectres Part III


Welcome back to our little series on trying to define ghosts by examining the types of stories they appear in. Now then, last time we were looking at how different phantoms can be classified by looking at when old folk tales and legends say they appear, and we discovered a great many spooks in old stories being alleged to appear on certain nights of the year. However this particular set of spectres, which we dubbed Calendar Observers, may be defined further, for there is a possible subcategory here.

For example, take this haunting - in Bray, in County Wicklow in Ireland, every Midsummer night, the shade of a woman in white is said to appear on a rock called Lover's Leap. Legend tells that she was a lover who was unfaithful, and when her infidelity was discovered her handsome beau died from a broken heart. Overcome with guilt, the lady threw herself from the rock and now reappears every year on the same spot. Now here, while we have a phantom making an annual recurring appearance on a notable day in the calendar, at the same time the date in question has a personal significance to the spectre. And this is often the case in the folklore - a ghost will reappear every year, most commonly on the night of their death. And this particular legion of spooks we might call Anniversary Apparitions. 

These phantoms are that appear in the most archetypal all of folk tales about hauntings; all those stories that detail some tragedy or murder, and then draw to a close with the lines "...and every year on upon that night, their ghost appears..." And here we are stepping into another possible definition, For quite often it is said that on the night in question (for it is almost always night-time in such tales), aside from the ghost appearing to mark the anniversary, in many cases, onlookers brave enough to gather at the appointed place will see the tragic events played out once more in spectral form. A well-known example of this is said to occur a little later this very month on the 23rd of October, for at Edgehill in Warwick, it is claimed you can see and hear a ghostly rerun of the famous battle fought there during the Civil War in 1642.


However we should note that not all of these Reenacting Revenants are necessarily bound to doing their spectral action replays on a specific date. Many ghosts are said to be seen repeating the same actions time and time again by witnesses down the years. Now the fact that numerous ghostly tales allege that apparitions are seen doing the same things over and over again has led to two of the most famous theories about ghosts. The first is the idea that hauntings are actually psychic recordings embedded in the material of the places they appear, recordings that are somehow accidentally triggered into replaying over the years.

Now the second theory, which partly overlaps with the first, is the idea that if ghosts are seen doing what they did in life, this explains why they famously can walk through walls. For they are merely following the layout of the buildings and locations as they were in their own lifetimes. This is exemplified by the famous story of ghostly Romans being seen tramping through the cellars of the Treasurer's House in Minster Yard in York. For if seeing a whole legion of Roman ghosts wasn't strange enough, the bizarre thing was that it was reported that the phantom regiment appeared to be sunk knee-deep in the floor, and seemed to be wading through it. However archaeological work suggest an interesting answer to this surreal spectral spectacle - for a few years later it was discovered that a few feet beneath the cellar floor was the remains on a Roman road...

from All About Ghosts (Usborne 1977)

Thursday, 20 October 2016

FOLKLORE FLASHBACK #11 - The Secrets of Halloween!


Well the end of October is approaching fast, and everyone's getting ready to celebrate the spookiest night of the year - Hallowe'en! And unsurprisingly in the past I've made several forays into the folklore of All Hallows Eve... 

So then, first of we have a round-up of assorted Halloween charms and rites - 

http://hypnogoria.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/folklore-on-friday-hallowed-by-thy.html

For a more in-depth look into the origins and history of Halloween, check out my epic length podcast, in which I untangle a great many myths about the holiday and discover the real roots of our modern customs and traditions -

The Origins of Halloween


Now this show was such a success, that the following year, I produced a sequel show, that explored how Halloween has evolved from folk customs to being part of modern day pop culture -

The Origins of Halloween Part II


And coming this week, I shall be presenting the 3rd part of what has turned into an annual exploration of the history of Halloween! Find it this weekend on this blog or go here to subscribe -

http://hypnobobs.geekplanetonline.com/


Sunday, 16 October 2016

MICROGORIA 37 - Familiar Spirits


In a the final part of our explorations of toad lore, Mr Jim Moon looks the role of familiars in witchcraft, and examines the trials of three witches in 16th century Essex, in which these demonic animal companions, including several in amphibious forms, featured heavily...


DIRECT DOWNLOAD - MICROGORIA 37 - Familiar Spirits

Find all the podcasts in the HYPNOBOBS family here -

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

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MICROGORIA is hosted by GeekPlanetOnline and is part of the ROGUE TWO Podcasting network.

Friday, 14 October 2016

FOLKLORE ON FRIDAY - Species of Spectres Part II


Welcome back the second part of our little exercise in classifying different types of spook and spectre! Now obviously the exact nature of all things ghostly is somewhat nebulous to say the least, and hence we are concentrating our efforts on examining the different types of ghost we find in folk tales and legends. There are many tales told of phantoms and apparitions, and when you look closely, clear patterns begin emerge; in the sort of stories that are recounted, and in the nature of ghosts that manifest in them. 

In the first part, we saw how ghosts in folklore may be defined by who they were in life, and where they are said to haunt. And in this second set of tentative categories for all things spectral, the next question we can use to define these visitants from the spirit world is when are they said to appear. Now if you ask many folks when ghosts will appear, the first answer you will receive is Halloween night. Certainly in ages past there were assorted superstitions about divination on Halloween night (see here for details). And in popular culture - largely thanks to a highly influential poem by Robert Burns - there has long been a tradition of telling spooky tales as part of the evening's entertainments. But surprisingly, genuine folk tales of ghosts appearing on Halloween are actually somewhat thinner on the ground than you'd expect. For as I have been detailing in my annual podcasts on the origins of Halloween (see Part I here and Part II here), this day has had many other associations over the centuries and it is only relatively recently that it has become firmly associated with all things scary and supernatural.


However there are a range of ghosts who are said only to appear at certain notable times of the year, a group of spectres we shall dub the Calendar Observers. Now these are phantoms that often only ever make an annual appearance, specifically on one special day (or night) of the year. Now noted dates in the calendar, such as dates of old festivals, solstices and old Saint's days, are particular favourites. For example, in ages past Midsummer's Eve was said to be a time when the veil between worlds were thin, and aside from many folk tales about faery powers being abroad, there are many spectres who make an annual haunting on this night. For example, there is the legend connected to  an old oak tree at Broadwater Green in Worthing, Surrey - it said that on Midsummer Night a skeletal spectre appears and dances a jig until the sun rises the next morn. Similarly, over at Long Barrow in Wiltshire, a pale hound is said to appear on this night and roam around the ancient stones. 

Now according to ancient medieval legends, ghosts and goblins were allegedly forbidden from walking abroad at Christmas time, as it was the holy anniversary of Christ's birth. However judging from the numerous folk tales of spectres appearing either on Christmas Eve or on Christmas Day, it would appear that there is not a shred of truth to that legend. For Yuletide is perhaps the most popular time of the year for ghosts, favoured by a great many of Calendar Observers. To mention just a few - on Christmas Eve, the shade of Anne Boleyn haunts Hever Castle, a ghostly coach complete with a headless horseman rides up to Roos Hall in Beccles, while at Kersal Cell in Salford a ghostly monk makes his annual appearance. Furthermore according to legend, all the ghosts in the British Isles meet for an annual gathering on the night of December 21st - which is also the Winter Solstice - at the Stiper Stones in Shropshire. Given that so many will be busy making their yearly appearances in the next few days, one wonders whether this is some kind of official meeting planning haunting and manifestations for the coming year... 

Thursday, 13 October 2016

FOLKLORE FLASHBACK #10 British Pyramids and Strange Burials



In this excursion to the subterranean archives of Folklore on Friday, we exhume some curious tales surrounding a most unusual grave in Liverpool, the pyramid tomb of William Mackenzie. We recount various legends and ghostly tales that have sprung up around this highly individual monument, discover a connection to the great writer of weird fiction MR James, and learn of other strange burials... 

PART I
http://hypnogoria.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/folklore-on-friday-great-pyramid-of.html



PART II
http://hypnogoria.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/folklore-on-friday-beneath-pyramids.html



PART III
http://hypnogoria.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/folklore-on-friday-strange-burials.html


Sunday, 9 October 2016

MICROGORIA 36 - The Devils Rain


In this episode, Mr Jim Moon has a viewing of the not so classic 1975 flick The Devil's Rain, and does not so much provide a commentary but more chats about and around this very odd movie. On paper it looked good - Ernest Borgnine, William Shatner, Ida Lupino and John Travolta in a '70s Satanic flick directed by cult favourite Robert Fuest... The reality was very different... 

DIRECT DOWNLOAD - MICROGORIA 36 - The Devils Rain

Find all the podcasts in the HYPNOBOBS family here -

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

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MICROGORIA is hosted by GeekPlanetOnline and is part of the ROGUE TWO Podcasting network.

Friday, 7 October 2016

FOLKLORE ON FRIDAY - Species of Spectres Part I


By their very nature, ghosts are somewhat nebulous beings. And their mysterious nature is undoubtedly partly why tales of hauntings have enthralled our imaginations down the ages. Different eras and cultures have offered different interpretations of ghosts, but even then, at any one time or place there are often several competing theories to that age-old question - what are ghosts? 

However stepping aside the tangle of philosophical, theological, psychological and scientific theories surrounding hauntings, if we look to the realm of folklore, and examine the nature of the tales told about spooks and spectres; looking at the nature of the ghost stories themselves,  we can begin to see patterns emerging. And hence we can start to sift assorted unquiet spirits and spectral visitants into some loose categories. Now the following list is not definitive, nor I suspect can ever be truly complete. For given the ethereal and enigmatic nature of ghosts, many spectres will be happily walking from one category to another as easily as they famously walk through walls. However it does provide us with some useful headings under which we can classify a good many haunters and horrors. 

Our first category I've called Celebrity Spirits and it is based upon asking one simple question first - do we know who's unquiet spirit this is? Now many tales of hauntings found in folklore are rooted in local history, and the ghost in question is often the shade of some significant individual - a former inhabitant of the dwelling, folks who perished a local tragedy, or a famous historical person. And often events in their lives give us the reason why their spirit still walks the earth, forming an important part of their particular ghost story. Typical examples include deceased owners still keeping a supernatural eye on their former homes, assorted royals and politicians seen in their palaces, or victims haunting the spot where they were brutally murdered.

However not all ghosts are the products of local history, and there are a great many hauntings where we do not actually know who the ghost is. In some cases this is because the haunting is particularly nebulous - merely the sound of footsteps or just an indistinct shape appearing. However in many instances, the phantom is quite recognisable as what they were in life - a maid, a monk or a solider for example - and from their dress we can even tell roughly tell what period in time they originate from. Sometimes local folklore can give us a variety of possible origin stories for the spook in question, while paranormal researchers occasionally uncover likely identities when the researching the hsitory of the place. But in general, who these Anonymous Apparitions were in life remains a mystery. And consequently the tales about them relate more to events that have occurring during their hauntings down in the years, whereas in sharp contrast the stories of Celebrity Spirits tend to be yarns from local history with an added ghostly coda.


So then, having asked our notional ghost who they are, the next question is - where do they appear?Now here we might devise a large number of categories - castle ghosts, prison spectres, suburban phantoms, abbey apparitions, hamlet hauntings... Indeed we could devise as many headings as there are types of places where folks live, but in the long run this does not help us define our ghost very much at all. Generally speaking, most ghosts are attached to some form of dwelling area, whether in a building or nearby one outside.  However there are plenty of tales of dread spectres that haunt woods and moors, rivers and mountains, and hence I think we need only distinguish whether a particular spook is an Urban Horror or a Country Terror. The former would of course embrace the usual haunted houses of all varieties, but also phantoms that walk abroad in towns and cities after dark, such as the top hatted terror that roams Rodney Street in Liverpool. Whereas the latter would included the apparitions that haunt lonely places, only rarely encountered by  passing travellers, such as the Grey Man of Ben Macdhui

However while on a geographical tip, we should add a third section, the Highway Haunters. Now at first it might seem that this section handily bridges our other two geographical categories, as roads are the murky middle ground that link the town to the country. However the phantoms that lurk by the side of highways and byways deserve a section of their own, for these road ghosts exhibit certain key features all of their own. As we discovered a short while ago when discussing the Lady in White that haunts an old section of the Great North Road in Aycliffe Village, road ghosts tend to have a similar pattern of stories. The most well-known road ghost story is what most folks know as the urban legend of the Phantom Hitchhiker, however there is a similar and equally widespread second variant of the road ghost - sometimes called the Phantom Jaywalker. In these cases, a driver along a particular stretch of road will see a figure step out in front of their vehicle, causing them to swerve to avoid an accident. However on stopping, there is never any trace of the mystery person who stepped out onto the road. Much like tales of the Phantom Hitchhiker, local folklore often records that this stretch of road marks a scene of a fatal accident in the past. And for more on the lore of these particular phantoms, do visit Sean Tudor's excellent site www.roadghosts.com

Of course here we are moving from a purely geographical defining factor, to looking at how different ghosts behave in different stories. And the haunters of the highways are very much getting their own category, not on the basis of their location but due to the fact that they have their distinct type of ghost story closely associated with them .

Now in the second part of this tentative attempt to separate species of spectres (try saying that three times fast) we'll explore how asking the question of when a ghost appears can help to define them further... 


Thursday, 6 October 2016

FOLKLORE FLASHBACK #9 Strange Denizens of the Dark


In this selection from previous Folklore on Friday articles, we are once more rounding up assorted strange creatures and denizens of the dark. We encounter a highly bizarre hominid, the Man-Monkey that haunts the Union Canal, trace the history of the Cauld Lad of Hylton, and finally plunge into the weedy depths to unravel the truth about Jenny Greenteeth... 

THE MAN-MONKEY
http://hypnogoria.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/folklore-on-friday-monkey-business-on.html


THE CAULD LAD OF HYLTON
http://hypnogoria.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/folklore-on-friday-cauld-lad-of-hylton.html


JENNY GREENTEETH
http://hypnogoria.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/the-truth-about-jenny-greenteeth.html

This is also available in podcast form here -

http://hypnogoria.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/microgoria-10-truth-about-jenny.html


Sunday, 2 October 2016

HYPNOGORIA 39 - Village of Horrors


This week in the Great Library of Dreams, Mr Jim Moon takes a stroll down a particularly spooky stretch of Memory Lane, and explores various eerie and horrific tales he heard as child growing up in a small village. There were tales of monsters, horrors from urban legends, weird folklore, and stories of the numerous ghosts that haunted the village...

DIRECT DOWNLOAD - HYPNOGORIA 39 - Village of Horrors

Find all the podcasts in the HYPNOBOBS family here -

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

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HYPNOGORIA is hosted by GeekPlanetOnline and is part of the ROGUE TWO Podcasting network.