Wyrd Daze Six: The Phoenix Guide to Strange England: Hookland

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Greenstone Tea Room, Damsel’s Cross

It is the nature of war to spawn secrets. While the many military bases found in the county would be the obvious breading grounds, evidence of wartime clandestine activities may also be glimpsed in some unlikely places. However, the small cottage tea room of Greenstone on the High Street of Damsel’s Cross, must rank as one of the most improbable locations to find details of a once classified Admiralty operation.

Under oak beams and amid embroidered tablecloths, fresh flowers and tables burdened with apple butter cream teas known in the county as Hookland Delight, are souvenirs of the strange life the establishment’s first owner, Mrs. Lucy Bowman. If you ask politely about the vintage Admiralty charts, photographs of First World War U-boats and Royal Navy ships carrying depth charges that hang incongruously on the walls, the waiting staff will likely call the current proprietor and Mrs. Bowman’s grandson, John Moore to your table. With a charm and energy that surprises in being unbroken despite the number of times the tale has been told, he draws patrons attention to various letters from the Admiralty and objects on the walls while unfolding the most surprising biography of his grandmother.

In January 1917, the recently widowed Lucy Bowman offered her services to her country as dowser. In an impassioned letter to Admiral A.L. Duff, who had known her father when they both served above the cruiser St. George nearly two decades before, she claimed that her skills as a ‘spiritual dowser’ would enable her to pinpoint the location of enemy U-boats if she were provided with accurate Admiralty charts. Duff, who had been appointed Director of the Anti-Submarine Division of the Royal Navy, responded with an invite to a meeting at an Ashcourt naval establishment.

It is not entirely clear why Duff took such an extraordinary measure. It may have been out of desperation to tackle the problem of the German’s unrestricted submarine warfare which was costing losses of up to 500,000 tonnes per month and greatly eroding public morale. It may have been due to the link with Bowman’s to father or an existing belief in the efficacy of dowsing. However, after meeting her, Duff granted Bowman access to Admiralty’s secret submarine tracking room where with the aid of an iron saddlery needle suspended by the tail hair of white horse, she attempted to track U-boat movements in the North Atlantic.

As various letters on wall suggest, she was successful enough in her endeavours, to be invited back to provide assistance to the navy on several occasions right up until the Armistice of 1918. Mrs. Bowman’s part in the war below waves was kept secret right up until her death in 1959, after which her daughter turned the tea room she inherited into an informal museum celebrating her mother’s clandestine contribution to the war. When pressed by the author of The Guide about the reaction this revelation caused at the time, John Moore admitted:

“Mother did have a visit from a commander in naval intelligence when she first put the letters up. He asked to take them down, but she gave him short-shift and they soon gave up making a fuss, in the end just asking for a picture of nanna’s needle for their own archives. I am only sorry I’ve no talent for dowsing as that thing only passes down the female side in my family.”

David Southwell is an author of several published books on true crime and conspiracies, which have been translated into a dozen languages.

However, these days, he mostly writes about place.

Creator of the
@HooklandGuide

@Cultauthor

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Wyrd Daze Five : The Phoenix Guide to Strange England: Hookland

Wyrd Daze Five is live!
Best experienced with the PDF zine
which you can access here.

Elmsley

Hookland has a surfeit of quiet villages, almost managing to achieve their ambition of sleeping through the twentieth century. Among that number is Elmsley. Stretching in its slumber along the old market road that travels from the north of the county towards Hook, it is an unhurried dream of stone and timber cottages that ends in a mediaeval church and a shaded green.

However, like most of rural England, Elmsley’s peace and attempt at atemporality has been troubled by the invention of the automobile.
Fitful visits by motoring pioneers soon gave way to steady passage of tourers and eventually became the current harassment by traffic. It is also the car that gives the village both strange haunting and a most unusual byelaw.

At just after noon on Saturday, August 17th 1957, the cream and red Austin Westminster of Mr. Harvey Caldwell came towards Elmsley at near its top speed of 85 mph. Caldwell did not slow down as he approached the stone bridge marking the northern entrance to the village. In the harsh trajectory of predictable tragedy, the vehicle punched through one of the bridge’s walls and into the River Abna.

The Jordan family who were picnicking on the riverbank close to the bridge saw the Westminster claimed by the water. In testimony to the Coroner’s court,
Mr. John Jordan said: “My daughters and wife were shrieking as I ran towards the river.
I took off my shoes and jacket and dived in. With the mud and sediment thrown up
by the crash it was difficult to see anything.
I came up, filled my lungs and went back down and located the car.

The driver, a man I now know to be Harvey Caldwell, was slumped over the wheel, but the women – one in the passenger seat, one in the back – were pounding on the glass, trying to get out. I tried the doors repeatedly. They just would not open.

“I came up for air and went back down to try and smash the glass two more times, but gave up when the beating against the windows stopped. When I surfaced for the last time, all I could hear was a the sound of screaming. My wife, the girls, were
hysterical and had not gone for help.”

When the rescue services eventually retrieved the car from the river, it contained two bodies which the with police identified as Mr. and Mrs. Caldwell. There was no trace of the third occupant that John Jordan claimed to have seen. Despite intensive investigation, it was never established whether Jordan was mistaken and there was no other
passenger or whether the mysterious woman had managed to escape the drowning doom of the married couple she shared the car with.
Although the deaths were ruled as misadventure, no satisfactory
answer to why Caldwell was driving so fast has ever emerged. 

In the usual evolution of tragic event to ghost story, the tale would see the spot of accident haunted by the spirits of the Caldwells.
Yet, in the years that followed what has been reported is the sound of the still-living
Mrs. Jordan and her two daughters
screaming from the riverbank as temporal echo. The trauma cycle of witness refusing to be broken by the teeth of time.

The hearing of screaming became such a concern locally that the Parish Council, convinced it was the work of practical jokers, voted in a new byelaw. It prohibited: ‘Shrieking, screaming, screeching or crying in a way that suggests distress within sight of the riverbank or bridge at all times.’ Unfortunately, this unusual measure failed to prevent continued reports of the upsetting sound.  Even as recently as 1978, two German foreign-exchange students staying in the village who had no prior knowledge of the story. told their hosts that they had heard ‘hysterisch schreiend’ coming from an invisible source while walking along the Abna.

Although all of the Jordan family were reluctant to speak to the press or to investigators into psychic phenomena for many years, they temporally broke their silence after the Daily Mirror ran a tenth anniversary piece on odd accidents. The article had featured a recent picture of the bridge and riverside where the calamity had occurred. When reading it, Mr. Jordan, spotted a woman on the bridge looking towards the camera. He then contacted paper trying to find any details of who she was, claiming: “It was the woman in the back of the car. That face has haunted my fevers, my nightmares for a decade.
I know it was her.”

Mrs. Jordan also spoke publicly for the first time since the inquest into the deaths of the Caldwells, telling the Daily Mirror:
“I am thoroughly sick of people talking about my daughters and I as if we were some triad of banshees. I don’t believe any of this ghostly nonsense about a ‘scream spot’. I place the blame squarely on my husband for claiming we were hysterical. After 24 years of marriage I can tell you that he has always proven inadequate in dealing with emotion in others – whether it comes from shock of seeing a terrible accident unfold or his own daughters upset at their pet cat Arthur dying of old age.”

David Southwell is an author of several published books on true crime and
conspiracies, which have been translated into a dozen languages.

However, these days,
he mostly writes about place.

Creator of the @HooklandGuide

@Cultauthor

Radio Free Hookland: Mojo’s Graveyard Shift – broadcast 23rd November 1972

Hookland liner notes pic

Hookland photography by David Southwell

These liner notes for Radio Free Hookland: Mojo’s Graveyard Shift 23rd November 1972 are best experienced in their PDF version, which you can access here.

The Hookland Guide on Twitter, by David Southwell

    *   *   *

In June 1966, Reginald Calvert, manager of The Fortunes, Pinkerton’s Assorted Colours, Screaming Lord Sutch, and owner of pirate radio station Radio City, agreed to go into partnership with another pirate station, Radio Free Hookland. When Oliver Smedley, owner of Radio Atlanta, telephoned Calvert to tell him of some interest in a partnership deal, Calvert explained he was entering into a partnership with Radio Free Hookland instead. Smedley shouted abuse down the telephone and decided to take over Radio City with a boarding party in the middle of the night, on the pretext that Calvert owed him £10,000 for an old, useless and broken transmitter from Texas. Smedley’s hired a group of riggers, who boarded Radio City on 20th June and put the station’s working transmitter out of action. News from Radio City was that the boarders were armed and would destroy all the equipment if Calvert or anyone else tried to evict them. Calvert went to the police to ask for their support, but they refused as it was “outside their legal jurisdiction”. They suggested he should sort it out with Smedley. Calvert tried repeatedly to do so but Smedley was never available. After some advice from Radio Free Hookland DJ Morris “Mojo” Johnson, Calvert decided to “let it go,” and before long Smedley ran out of money to keep the riggers on and they left, leaving Radio City largely intact.

Radio City and Radio Free Hookland continued to thrive up to and beyond the BBC’s legalisation of independent radio in 1973, finally falling foul to Margaret Thatcher in 1979 (which was but the tip of the Titanic for Hookland).

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Hookland photography by David Southwell

Hookland hook

For David, with much love and appreciation from the people of Hookland.

Radio Free Hookland:

Mojo’s Graveyard Shift – broadcast Thursday 23rd November 1972

Listen

Download

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Hookland photography by David Southwell

Original Content Tracklist

1.  Mojo The Ephemeral Man

2.  10:04 – 13:18   Sister ChristinaJulianne Regan

3.  14:08 – 14:40   Lost Soul Inn (advert) – Chris Wood

4.  14:41 – 14:43   You’re Listening to Hookland Free Radio identDale Whinham

5.  24:59 – 25:59   Hail to the Queen of OwlsMaria Strutz + The Ephemeral Man

6.  28:25 – 38:30   Pavel Mikoyan – Luke Bradshaw and the Pavel Mikoyan Survivors Group

7.  39:45 – 42:18   The Consecration of the Boy BishopGordon Stranger

8.  50:42 – 52:15   Spitstone Bakery: Mysterious Eats (advert) – Gill Finlayson + Amy Shaw

9.  52:16 – 52:22   Radio Free Hookland identAmy Shaw + Dale Whinham

10.  52:27 – 56:44   WiddershinsHawthonn

11.  1:00:03 – 1:02:34   The NewsChris Wood (words) Amy Shaw (music)

12.  1:02:47 – 1:02:59   Mojo’s Graveyard Shift identAmy Shaw + Dale Whinham

13.  1:09:49 – 1:17:27   “Seen anything strange lately?” with Cunning Sid Rosehip Ian “Cat” Vincent + The Ephemeral Man

14.  1:20:22 – 1:21:11   Hookland Building and Renovations (advert) Chris Wood

15.  1:21:12 – 1:22:59   Spitstone Bakery: Gift Vouchers (advert) – Gill Finlayson + Amy Shaw

16.  1:23:06 – 1:33:17   There’s AngelsKay Orchison

17.  1:38:56 – 1:39:28   Hookland County Police, Wiretapping Records, Starfall Common 15th December 1980Marco Visconti

18.  1:39:29 – 1:42:48   Hookland Children’s Radio RJ Barker + The Ephemeral Man

19.  1:42:49 – 1:42:54   Hookland Free Radio ident Amy Shaw + Dale Whinham

20.  1:45:14 – 1:45:17   Oh Mojo ident Amy Shaw + Dale Whinham

21.  1:48:15 – 1:50:37   Spitstone Bakery: Purple Haze (advert) Gill Finlayson + Amy Shaw

22.  1:56:18 – 2:00:23   Country Song (for David)William Wright

23.  2:00:24 – 2:01:45   Radio Fade – Sardonicus + The Ephemeral Man

Conceived and concocted by The Ephemeral Man

Sister Christina  by  Julianne Regan

The piece, ‘Sister Christina’, was composed and authored in the cold, small hours of December 16th 2018, as a tribute to Hookland’s David Southwell. My hope is that it embodies something of the spirit of the place, and naturally, that Mr Southwell might take some pleasure in this. It is best listened to on headphones, for that new-fangled stereo effect that is, apparently, ‘all the rage’.

Sister Christina edit

Sister Christina image by Julianne Regan

Sister Christina

Let me tell you of a place
Where Edwardian souls take solace in uncertainty
Let me guide you, clammy-handed, to the 24-hour library
A late night meander under mist-dimmed moon and humming streetlights 

Then through the carless car-park
Where the three headless horses of Hookland
Stand staring at nothing, most certainly something
Manes lifted and teased by zephyrous breezes 

Now enter the brutalist porch
Go from hall to chamber to gallery
While the scent of antiquity, subtle and slow,
Seeps from the heavy velvet of sun-faded curtains  

Let the dust on the jackets of ancient books
Inspire asthmatic episodes lungs will worship
Let’s find papery moth wings flat between yellowing pages
Alongside bus ticket bookmarks
The number 3 to Gallowscroft, the 5 across to Corvid Green
The last journeys taken by Sister Christina. 

She was found in the fiction section
Her blood-smeared left hand clutching Kafka
In spirit, she resides in this place, a diurnal presence.
She blooms in the early evening, and fades at dawn

The seance revealed that she feeds ghost breadcrumbs to the library’s tail-less mice – those reminders of nuclear folly that hasten over parquet floors, in blind chemiluminescence. 

© Julianne Regan, 2018

Mikoyan

Screaming cosmonaut found & photographed by Chris Wood

Pavel Mikoyan

Luke Bradshaw and the Pavel Mikoyan Survivors Group

According to the Hookland Zodiac, 2019 is the year of the Moon. Traditionally this signals a year-long heightening of the psychic senses throughout the County, which brings about physical or psychological transformation. This heightening of the psychic senses usually manifests its self in a number of ways, but it’s generally seen as a period of reflection on the past, of communicating with the ancestors, which gives foresight and a clearer vision of how to approach the future.

It may be thought of as a coincidence that the first children to succumb to the “Pavel Mikoyan is screaming on the Moon” outbreak of May 1969 were all 10 year olds who were born in the previous Year of the Moon in 1959, but this is Hookland. There are no coincidences.

The children affected across the county have a special bond with the Moon, they have all been susceptible to visions or dreams of the lunar surface and have at times been taken over by its emanations. Even as adults they continue to live under the mental shadow of a distressed Russian they believe to be its only ever permanent resident. They still gather frequently to compare notes on any strange dreams or visions they might have had, with some groups working to reconnect with the psychic lunar form of the ‘lost’ Russian Cosmonaut Pavel Mikoyan.

With the oncoming year of the Moon also the 50th anniversary of the Pavel Mikoyan outbreak, there is expected to be a larger than normal focus on the events of 1969, with events and commemorations planned by the survivor groups to raise awareness of the outbreak to try to finally get some answers.

Luke Bradshaw

(Year 6, St Ellen of the Ways Primary, Great Tarling, 1969)

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Hookland photography by David Southwell

The Consecration of the Boy BishopGordon Stranger

While the boundaries between the establishment and the counter culture were somewhat blurred in Hookland around the time of Null’s modest popularity, it was no little surprise when Gordon Stranger was appointed composer laureate to the bishopric of Weychester. His lack of productivity meant his time in the post was short, and much of the material he did produce is characteristically lost, but this piece was discovered on a cassette amongst the Stranger family Christmas decorations and we are grateful to Gordons son, Gary, for sharing it.

WiddershinsHawthonn

Produced & performed by Layla & Phil Legard – Spectral hurdy-gurdy by Rory Scammell Mastered by Gregg Janman (Hermetech Mastering)

“Everything is a time machine.”

We’ve wanted to record something based on the story ‘Widdershins’ by our friend Julie Travis for some time. The tale, criss-crossing temporal and metaphysical realms, begins with the observation of a girl – the elderly narrator’s younger self – walking widdershins around a rural church, and opening the way for the Bosch-like hurdy-gurdy-playing demon Madame Gargoyle, who is described as “proof of the wrongness of the area where the church stood”. The Hooklandish resonances in Julie’s tale are many, and so we took

ourselves to our own ancient church, walking widdershins around it, and recording our own plaintive time-machine dirge. One route to the church takes walkers along the path of the old corpse road, which scythes through a field now owned by property developers and hemmed in by mesh security fences on each side, keeping unruly spirits – both living and dead – to the path. The sound of these fences being rattled and agitated in protest as part of an impromptu ritual conducted while walking the corpse road concludes each of the three sections of the music.

Hookland County Police, Wiretapping Records,Starfall Common 15th December 1980 Marco Visconti

Here is a rare record of a police wiretapping at Starfall Common, 15 December 1980. Only a short fragment survived, and the quality is, as you can imagine from the time period, quite abysmal. It does give however a little glimpse on what the Pylon People (in this case, two very young recruits of the cult in fact) thought about the Hum. A certain “Dee-Dee” is mentioned, likely the cult leader.

Sidney Aaron Rosehip (1930 – 2016)
– Ian “Cat” Vincent

Regarded by some as the last deep woods cunning-man of the ancient Rosehip line, Sid was a sardonic and irascible figure, often seen on the roads and in the pubs around Marshwood and Hook, occasionally but briefly on Ashcourt docks in the company of his ne’er-do-well brother Alfred (a dockhand, enthusiastic participant of the Free Trade and father of ‘Cunning Jack’ Rosehip, current member of the Walking Nine).

Something of an athlete in his youth (a champion Hodger – the almost-lost Hookland fighting-stick martial art – at several May Fair tourneys), Sid went to the woods in the early Fifties, but could, as all cunning can, be found just when you needed him the most. It was via reporter Jerry Bishop’s friendship with the family of Sid’s sister-in-law, Diana Stranger Rosehip, that the recording herein was arranged.

Rumours of Sid’s long standing but discreet love affair with a Hook fisherman, tragically taken by the King-Under-The-Sea a decade following the ’72 broadcast, were widely known but never mentioned to his face. It is known that he was rarely seen in public from then on.

Sid’s death in 2016 was mourned by few; however, the rumoured desecration of his grave and the alleged disappearance of his bones – followed by whispers of a terrible battle between Cunning Jack and an unnamed member of the Chumbley clan over Sid’s remains, of which Jack was the sole survivor – have become another chapter in the ongoing history of the Rosehip cunning clan.

Roll Call (in order of appearance)

The Ephemeral Man :  Twitter  Mixcloud  Bandcamp

Julianne Regan : Twitter  Website

Chris Wood : Twitter

Dale Whinham : Twitter

Maria Strutz : Twitter  Website

Luke Bradshaw and the Pavel Mikoyan Survivors Group  :  Twitter

Gordon Stranger :  Twitter  Bandcamp

Gill Finlayson  :  Twitter

Amy Shaw  :  Twitter  Soundcloud

Hawthonn :  Twitter  Bandcamp

Ian “Cat” Vincent :  Twitter  Newsletter

Kay Orchison :  Twitter

Marco Visconti :  Twitter  Website

RJ Barker :  Twitter  Website

William Wright :  Twitter  Website 

Sardonicus  :  Twitter  Website

If any of the contributors would like anything added to these liner notes,

please contact Leigh at wyrd.daze@gmail.com

Wyrd Daze One

Wyrd Daze One cover art

Greetings Wyrdians, and welcome to a new era of Wyrd Daze!

Click the link below for free access to this issue. (a PDF and an mp3)

 

WYRD DAZE ONE

 

The cover art for this issue was provided by The Implicit Order – there are more haunting images like the one below to be found inside…

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Hookland Guide cover

The Phoenix Guide to Strange England: Hookland by David Southwell returns, and there’s also a Hookland wordsearch, a “Where’s C. L. Nolan” game, and some classic quotes and writing extracts from C. L. Nolan as well.

 

Revenant Winds

I am delighted to present an interview with Aurealis Award-winning fantasy and sci-fi author Mitchell Hogan. His Sorcery Ascendant Sequence is one of my favourite fantasy series, and he took the time to answer my questions in depth. There are some great lesser-known reading recommendations too!

 

Zenith's Edge

An introduction to the Zenith’s Edge multiverse can be found in this issue, including three lost tales that have been cut from the first novel…

 

23a

23 is an special mix by The Ephemeral Man for Wyrd Daze. Harnessing the mighty power of ordered chaos, the number 23 was integral to the mix. Whereas usually all audio clips and tracks are meticulously placed to ensure their optimum position, this mix was enigmatically optimised by placing each track using the number 23. For example: the second track comes in at 2:23 of the first (and the second track, by Coil, is 23:03 minutes long), and the third track come in at 6:23 mark of the second track.

The result is a mix that is as well crafted as any The Ephemeral Man has done, much to his amazement. Hail Eris!

Also worthy of note is spiralling synchronicity with The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu – I use an extract from a recording of A La Fu Live at Burn the Shard 23-11-17 in this mix. There is much to be discovered for those who want to explore the connections. Fnord!

You can download an mp3 of the mix from within Wyrd Daze One or stream below.

WYRD DAZE ONE

Wyrd Daze is free!

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Wyrd Daze Patreon.

Wyrd Daze believes that artists should be paid for their published works.
We would like to create a community of support and enthusiasm for independent artists. The more people support, the more art can be made and appreciated.

Art makes us think more deeply, strive more intently, and feel joy more profoundly. Creativity in all it’s forms brings further meaning to our lives, allows us to explore existence and communicate our explorations to the world.

 

Thank you for your time – I hope you enjoy Wyrd Daze: One, and I wish you the wyrdest of dreams…

 

ZENITH’S EDGE : an auditory experience

An addition to the Wyrd Daze: One – a music mix / audio drama / audio collage hybrid based on the Zenith’s Edge multiverse. Crafted by The Ephemeral Man.

You can download a copy with the rest of Wyrd Daze: One or stream below…