Vital to the modern moment…are the novels of Alan Garner and Susan Cooper; especially Garner’s The Weirdstone of Brisingamen (1960) and The Owl Service (1967), and Cooper’s dazzling The Dark Is Rising sequence, published between 1965 and 1977. Once read, these novels are hard to forget. They lodge and loom in the memory. Garner turned eighty last autumn, and a volume of essays exploring his legacy, called First Light, is being compiled at present, with contributions from Philip Pullman, Ali Smith and Neil Gaiman among others. I regard the second book of Cooper’s sequence as among the eeriest texts I know; Helen Macdonald is another for whom Cooper’s novels have been imaginatively vital.

It would be easy to dismiss all this as an excess of hokey woo-woo; a surge of something-in-the-woodshed rustic gothic. But engaging with the eerie emphatically doesn’t mean believing in ghosts. Few of the practitioners named here would endorse earth mysteries or ectoplasm. What is under way, across a broad spectrum of culture, is an attempt to account for the turbulence of England in the era of late capitalism. The supernatural and paranormal have always been means of figuring powers that cannot otherwise find visible expression. Contemporary anxieties and dissents are here being reassembled and re-presented as spectres, shadows or monsters: our noun monster, indeed, shares an etymology with our verb to demonstrate, meaning to show or reveal (with a largely lost sense of omen or portent).

Robert Macfarlane
The eeriness of the English countryside

Did you know –

October 31, 2019

monsters

October 24, 2019

It is probably safe to say that, at some point in all of our childhoods, our parents or some other adult assured us that there is no such thing as monsters. They meant well when they told us this. It was an attempt to calm our fears about the monsters we saw in movies, on TV, or read about in books. And for the most part, that assurance served its purpose. As we grew older, we came to realize that those monsters were, in fact, imaginary. There are no such things as dragons, ogres, werewolves, vampires, kaiju, or ugly old hags with magical powers.

Once we leave childhood, though, we come to realize how hollow that assurance was. Sooner or later, we come to an unpleasant realization: No monsters? Are you serious? Just look around!

Ray Garton
“There’s No Such Thing as Monsters,” Our Parents Lied…

Broken people

May 28, 2019

Broken people don’t hide from their monsters. Broken people let themselves be eaten.

Francesca Zappia
Eliza and Her Monsters

Monsters

May 14, 2019

There were two kinds of monsters, the kind that hunted the streets and the kind that lived in your head. She could fight the first, but the second was more dangerous. It was always, always, always a step ahead.

Victoria Schwab
Our Dark Duet

Halloween

October 31, 2018

Is that the doorbell I hear – go see who’s there.

An Urgent Warning

October 29, 2017

You have been warned!!

Get away while you can…

They have done with this family, these creatures made by human hands. They have fed – gorged themselves on blood until the hosts became their playthings. They leave the crusts behind – paper-thin of skin and void of organs – and beat a strange retreat into the woods behind the house.

Lilly Childs
Smiling Cyrus

Play safe Sunday

September 3, 2017

“Bats !” I tried to tell myself, but a cold numbness ran down my arm — and no bat gives one
a punch like a prize-fighter.

“B-b-bats! ” I screamed in a frenzy.

No sooner was the word out, than there came from behind me a deep rumbling. The great door crashed thunderously into place with a violent bang.

I dared not turn round. Some awful magnetism kept me rooted as I stood, with my eyes
glued to the far wall.

I could see nothing ; but I could feel a Thing like a loathsome octopus-tentacle round my
neck holding me there, forcing me to gaze on what I had no wish to see.

I felt it coming : a flabby mass of warm, stinking flesh, covered with wet hairs, slithered
across my face.

By a supreme effort of will, I managed to move one foot. I knew that if I did not, I should
die. And as I moved it there came a sickening squelch beneath it, with a mad, gibbering,
teetering sound like some half-human creature being trodden upon. A fetid odour wrapped
round my mouth.

M P Dare
A Nun’s Tragedy