A Ghost Story For Halloween

I maybe saw a ghost in the late 1990’s. Marshall and I were exploring a then abandoned church on Balls Pond Road in Islington. I found a small anteroom on the side of the building, and was peering through a crack in the boards which covered its windows, trying to see what might be stored…

Tired out? Bake a Mabon Bread Demon

This period between the festivals of Lammas and Samhain is known to be an unchancy one, with high levels of supernatural activity. It’s wise to avoid most magical behaviour for now, as while you are likely to get heightened responses, it’s also extremely possible that the results may not turn out as you anticipated. So…

Dancing Lions & Lucky Lettuce

This is the time of the year the terrible Nian comes out of the dark to feed, and roams the neighbourhood looking for vulnerable people it can snap up and crunch down. The Nian was originally indigenous to rural China and was close to extinction in the 1800’s, but over the years has interbred with…

Vanquish a Love Rival via Voodoo

Sometimes you need to get somebody out of the way. I’m well aware that it would be v. bad ju-ju to destroy an enemy or rival by use of the dark arts… but…. Let me make it clear now that we will not be using poppets, D.U.M.E oils, hexing, cursing, left-handed grimoires nor will we…

Ride the Pooka or An Ideal Martini

A pooka is a shapeshifter which prefers the shape of a black horse, although it may also appear as a rabbit, wolf, raven, fox or cat. You should always be on your guard when meeting an unknown creature with a black coat, especially if its eyes are green or red. Especially at parties. Remember those…

Halloween – the poet, the witch and the eel

Halloween is a night when witches, devils, and other mischief-making beings are all abroad on their baneful midnight errands. This year was no exception, at our dark shrouded hovel. But why am I talking about it, when I should be poeming about it? Up in old East London Things roam on claw’d feet We dare…

Killing the Corn-Spirit or Hello, Dolly!

In the village of Siddington in Cheshire in the shadow of the monolithic radio telescopes of Jodrell Bank, lives a gentleman with an unusual hobby. Raymond Rush makes corn dollies, and at Harvest Festival time decorates the local church with over 1,000 of these sinister pagan relics. In his workshop next to an old hand…

Today the Gates of Hell open for Hungry Ghosts

The Hungry Ghost festival is held during the seventh month of the Chinese calendar, on the first night of the full Corn Moon. This is when the gates of Hell open and Hungry Ghosts are freed from the lower realms to roam the earth, where they seek food and amusement. These Ghosts are believed to…

Bunny Chow & Pinch Punch

Saying “Pinch punch” and spitefully poking somebody or just saying “White rabbits!” before midday on every 1st of the month is a popular folk tradition whose origins have become hazy with the passing of time. Almost nobody remembers now that the “pinch punch” was a symbolic blow to cast out evil spirits from people around…

Blood & Chocolate – The Ancient Sacrificial Drink of the Aztecs

Back, way back, way back in time, the ancient Aztecs used cacao seeds for spiritual and ceremonial purposes, as when sacrificial victims were given cacao drinks mixed with human blood in order to prepare them to have their heart cut out and held up, still beating, to the Sun.  For thousands of years cacao was…