“Satanic Plot”?

December 20, 2008 at 12:17 pm (devil, Medway, occult, Rochester, torture, witches)

I have been interested to hear that in the last week a pigs head – breathlessly described as a ‘severed head’ – was deposited into the small green space next to St John Fisher’s Catholic church in Rochester. This was described to me by a churchgoer as part of a ‘satanic plot’ that has also included the tortured remains of a kitten being tied or nailed to a tree in the same place. I’d not heard the kitten story before, but was the recipient of some very excited and graphic descriptions of the pigs head

Animal cruelty has often been attributed to the slaves of Satan acting out their apocalyptic visions… it seems however that it not always so easy to actually provide any evidence for this.

I’ve not noticed anything in the local press about this – and sadly wasn’t around with a camera on the day it appeared. I only hope this doesn’t make it more difficult to get a pigs head from the butcher – I had read a recipe for cooking one recently and thought it might be a nice one to try.

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Coldrum Long Barrow

March 2, 2008 at 12:05 pm (Magick, Medway, occult, pagan, witchcraft, witches)

Coldrum Long Barrow

A recent walk further afield took me to the Coldrum Long Barrow (viewed above looking North East), the remains of a 4,000 to 5,000 year old Neolithic Long Barrow. It is a powerful and beautiful site, set in a striking Kent landscape. The lack of ease in reaching the site makes it all the more rewarding when it is finally achieved.

Here one can see tree dressing, ribons and votive offerings – possible left by members of the Kent Gorsedd who meet here at solstice and equinox and who work alongside the National Trust to preserve and value this extraordinary site.

tree offerings

Tree Offering 1Tree Offering 2Tree Offering 3

One of the stones appears to be a Neolithic acoustic mirror – which isn’t as unlikely as it first sounds.

a-527.jpg

Dog Skull Rising

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June 20, 2007 at 11:04 pm (Rochester Cathedral, Sweeps Festival, witchcraft, witches)

A photograph from May’s Sweeps Festival in Rochester – a hat from a member of The Hunters Moon Morris side outside Rochester Cathedral – I notice from their website they are keen supporters of The Museum of Witchcraft at Boscastle – which was without doubt my favourite museum in the land, although I haven’t been back to visit since the disastrous flooding which all but destroyed the place.

The tree in the background looking suitably Lovecraftian (although I have little time for repressed white supremacists).

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Maidstone Witches

June 17, 2007 at 12:34 am (love, maidstone, shotgun, William Burroughs, witches)

I was in Maidstone on the 16th after a disatrous lunch at the reputedly haunted Ringlestone Inn – formerly run by a mother and daughter, Florence and Dora Gasking, who greeted casual drinkers with a shotgun (locals were admitted after a series of coded knocks). This noble and defiant heritage now reduced to an unenjoyable meal and a sign inside the door asking visitors if they had seen the pub featured in Eastenders on Easter Monday. Give me a stroppy, unhinged woman with a shotgun over that any day.

Then I went to Maidstone for this Reframing Maidstone event. I was sidetracked by something interesting about Penenden Heath and the execution of seven witches at that place in 1652. Which I shall reproduce below:

From Saxon times down to 1830 condemned malefactors were executed on Penenden Heath, a common situated about a mile north-east of Maidstone, now a public recreation ground.

Last month I met with John Rogers, an East London-based Deep Topographer, in the centre of Maidstone and we made to walk to Peneden Heath – certainly on my part as an act of remembrance of the state murders of suspected witches. The last confirmed witchcraft executions in England took place on 25th August 1682. (The Bideford Witches, Temperance Lloyd, Susanna Edwards & Mary Trembles were hanged for witchcraft at Heavitree gallows, Exeter.)

At Maidstone in 1652 ‘Anne Ashby, alias Cobler, Anne Martyn, Mary Browne, Anne Wilson, and Mildred Wright of Cranbrook, and Mary Read, of Lenham, being legally convicted, were according to the Laws of this Nation, adjudged to be hanged, at the common place of Execution. Some there were that wished rather, they might be burnt to Ashes; alledging that it was a received opinion among many, that the body of a witch being burnt, her bloud is prevented thereby from becomming hereditary to her Progeny in the same evill.’

Our walk started in heavy rain, and with the perverse logic of the Deep Topographer, John, the designated map-holder (my glasses making rain vision impossible) set us off on the exact opposite direction to that we should be taking. A half-hour spirited trudge in the direction of Hastings braced us for what was to come. In fact as soon as we re-oriented, the foul weather abated and we were on our way. Back through town for drab and sullen sandwiches and the spectre of a pint of Goacher’s Gold Star (I failed to seize the moment) and we were back on track to visit the hanging grounds of shame.

The Heath, on approach, is a bare and forsaken looking stretch of municipal unoriginality. The dullness of the aspect is leavened only by vintage signage prohibiting locomotives, heavy tractors and motor cars with seating for more than 15 people. We entered the car park and I read the names of those hanged in what I had hoped to be a sonorous and profound manner – but more likely sounded slightly camp and irritating. The seven sticks of incense I had thought to pack with me were pulled from my bag – at which point I realised that since neither John or I are smokers – so we couldn’t light them. So we commemorated the executions with some footage from The Witchfinder General on John’s phone.

Wright, Mildred f Hanged

Wilson, Anne f Hanged

Reade, Mary f Hanged

Ashby, Anne f Hanged

Martyn, Anne f Hanged

Browne, Mary f Hanged

Hynes, Elizabeth f Hanged

The prisoners were arraigned before Sir Peter Warburton at the Lower Court, Maidstone on the 30th July. A pamphlet printed sat Smithfield in the same year states that two of them confessed to the judge that they had been in communication with the devil, whereupon Anne Ashby, one of the accused, “fell into an extasie before the bench, and swell’d into a monstrous and vast bigness, screeching and crying out very dolefully; and being recovered, and demanded if the devil at that time had possessed her, she replyed that she knew not that, but she said that the Spirit Rug came out of her mouth like a mouse.” A piece of flesh, which Ashby confessed to have been given by an evil spirit was shown to the public at the Swan Inn.

It was interesting to note that the hawthorn was in full bloom – the hawthorn or may, Crataegus oxyacantha, is traditionally used as a protection against witchcraft, often being built into the foundations of houses to prevent witches gaining access to the home. This ancient lore seems to have been taken to heart by the good burghers of Maidstone either suffused with guilt or terrified of witchy vengeance.

John’s dash to the bushes for a leak was watched with interest by a fat man in jogging bottoms looking for all the world like someone cruising for a quick al-fresco blow job – the jaded look on his Jack Russell’s face said it all. This tawdry search for physical comfort appeared to be the only form of recreation currently taking place on the blasted heath.

As we left I noticed the gallows like angle of the welded rsj’s forming the car park barrier – a chilling reminder of the death by hanging that took place here. A closer look and I saw a single word of graffiti. LOVE. A final healing.

There is no final enough of wisdom, experience- any fucking thing. No Holy Grail, No Final Satori, no solution. Just conflict. Only thing that can resolve conflict is love… Love? What is it? Most natural painkiller what there is. LOVE.” The last word of William S. Burroughs

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