Night truly fell

December 8, 2019

Spirits and gods were woven into the fabric of ancient life not because of a lack of scientific knowledge,  but because our ancestors lived in the larger world;  one not designed by humanity.  It was a bristling place, it was Nature entire, with all its merciless peril and untamed wonderment. The shelter that our ancestors forged from the living real was far thinner than the bubble within which modern humanity moves. What’s more, the ancients comprehended this far more readily than modern folk do. The fierce, unveiled wilderness was just outside the door of those houses of wattle and daub. Night truly fell in those fire-lit villages. Darkness meant something to our ancestors.

Today we have lost this connection because we are quite literally addicted to light. We have washed out all developed areas with constant artificial illumination. Darkness is now often little more than an ambient backdrop to our nocturnal activities.

Richard Gavin
The Moribund Portal: Spectral Resonance and the Numen of the Gallows

Haunted

November 2, 2019

My childhood home in rural Tennessee was built in the late 1800s and was, to put it mildly, rundown when my family moved in. It was the kind of place a real estate agent might describe as having “good bones.” And in its state of neglect, critters had moved in. There were mice in the cupboards, squirrels in the attic, and even once a rat snake draped casually across a doorframe. Many of the bumps in the night that frightened me were animal rather than spirit in nature. To be fair, I don’t remember the place looking like a house of horrors. I was too young, and by the time I really started forming memories, my parents had turned the place into a lovely albeit unique place to grow up. But odd, unexplainable phenomena never went away.

I remember voices one afternoon, high-pitched and staccato, coming from our downstairs hallway. Not words, more like giggles and shrieks. They suggested children playing some sort of game, hide-and-seek maybe or simply tag. I was in my bedroom, around nine or ten years old, and at first, I froze. I called out to them, but when I received no response, I crept toward the bannister and peered over. Empty. Completely empty. A few decades have passed, yet I can still remember the chill I felt as I realized that I was alone. Intrepid – or foolhardy – I went exploring, but no matter how many closets I opened or curtains I peeked behind, I couldn’t find the source of the noises, now fled. This mystery didn’t derail my day, though I did spend the rest of it pausing from time to time, straining to hear the laughter again. It didn’t derail my day because strange occurrences happened regularly, and I’d learned to live with ghosts.

Erica Wright
The Perks of Living in a Haunted House

(Erica Wright’s latest novel is Famous in Cedarville. Her poetry collections are All the Bayou Stories End with Drowned, and Instructions for Killing the Jackal. She is the poetry editor at Guernica Magazine.)

apprehensions of witchcraft

February 2, 2019

Our forefathers looked upon nature with more reverence and horror, before the world was enlightened by learning and philosophy, and loved to astonish themselves with the apprehensions of witchcraft, prodigies, charms, and enchantments. There was not a village in England that had not a ghost in it, the church-yards were all haunted, every large common had a circle of fairies belonging to it, and there was scarce a shepherd to be met with who had not seen a spirit.

Joseph Addison
The Spectator, Volume the Sixth, No. 419

cannibalistic advice

December 16, 2018

Throughout life I have endeavoured to follow Ann Sexton’s cannibalistic advice:

“We must all eat sacrifices.
We must all eat beautiful women.”

And this morning I wake with the taste of you in my mouth, the scent of you on my face, following my midnight feast. We dance, we two, with each other’s spirits in the nighttime. But my lips have blistered from the fire living inside you – so, it would seem, I am both victim and plunderer?

Oh, well. I must again follow Ann Sexton’s advice:

“Take me back to that red mouth…”

Oh, yes, please –

The spirit world

April 28, 2018

In ancient times the world of spirits was everywhere acknowledged because it was a matter of direct experience and open to all but the most insensitive. The world of spirits was as familiar to primitive man as is the dream world is to modern man. The spirit world became the later “spiritual” world after undue emphasis on mans’ mental development had obliterated the astral world in which he originally had moved with as much ease as in the mundane world.

Kenneth Grant
Nightside of Eden

Tied to other realms

March 4, 2018

river crossing

For as long as I can remember, I have been tied to what I call other realms. My childhood is filled with amazing yet what many would call unexplainable experiences…hearing voices of those who are not physically present, feeling a presence not physically there and even seeing someone who is but a reflection in appearance. I have even seen those who look so much like a physical person I mistook them for one.

I have had numerous encounters with things beyond this plain of existence yet I still find it difficult to name these experiences. I am extremely reluctant to label myself or to try to define those things that might not have a definition. I have shied away from using the word gifts yet for those of us who are sensitive to these encounters I guess gifts are a good name to use.

I am fascinated by all the experiences I am so fortunate to have. I remember feeling both nervous and excited by the footsteps of those I could not see in my grandmother’s attic. I would eventually leave the comfort and sanctuary of my grandmother’s bed to investigate. As I approached the attic door I did my best to be quiet, to be cautious and not alarm those whose footsteps I could hear. Slowly I reached out my hand and as soon as my fingers touched the delicate doorknob all was silent. Imagine me thinking I could sneak up on ghosts, spirits or magical creatures. It seems humorous to me now however I took it quite seriously then.

Xntric Raven
The Lady on the Stairs

the practice of sorcery

November 5, 2017

Seidr [is] a sexual defined metaphor for the practice of sorcery itself…conceptualized as feminine in a society that equates the act of sexual penetration with masculinity and the function of receptivity with femininity. Because the shaman and the sorcerer are considered to be possessed and so penetrated by the spirits, their role is thought to be like that of a woman in a sexual encounter.

M. Clunies Ross
Prolonged Echoes: Old Norse Myths in medieval Northern society vol 1

spirit lights

It was difficult to settle down in England. My mother missed the warmth of the Irish people, the rough country scenes, and the soft Irish rain. She became ill, and one day just before my seventh birthday, Sarah (the young woman’s governess) took us all into the room to say goodbye. Although it was a winter evening, the room was strangely light. A soft radiance flooded my mother’s face and enveloped the tiny face , which was all we could see, of the baby lying in the crook of her arm. We (the six children) waited in silence beside Sarah. My mother beckoned, and Sarah went forward and lifted the baby from her arms. She murmured, ‘Goodbye,’ then held out her hands to my father, who clasped them in his own until my mother’s smile faded and she was at rest. At that moment, fifty or more fairy people, holding a shimmering blue cover, came instantly forward and drew the wonderful gauze over the bed and the still figure. The light faded and the room felt cold. Then from the corner came the clear notes of my mother’s harp.

Marjorie T. Johnson
Seeing Fairies: From the lost archives of the Fairy Investigation Society, authentic reports of Fairies in modern times

The spirits fly about in great clouds, up and down the face of the world like the starlings, and come back to the scenes of their earthly transgressions. No soul of them is without the clouds of earth, dimming the brightness of the works of earth. In bad nights, the Sluagh shelter themselves behind little russet docken stems and little yellow ragwort stalks. They fight battles in the air as men do on the earth.

A Carmichael
Carmina Gadelica (1928)

after the fall of night

October 6, 2017

Faery

…Generally, the fairies are to be seen after or about sunset, and walk on the ground as we do, whereas the hosts travel in the air above places inhabited by people. The hosts used to go after the fall of night, and more particularly about midnight. You’d hear them going in fine. weather against a wind like a covey of birds. And they were in the habit of lifting men in South Uist, for the hosts need men to help in shooting their javelins from their bows against women in the action of milking cows, or against any person working at night in a house over which they pass. And I have heard of good sensible men whom the hosts took, shooting a horse or cow in place of the person ordered to be shot…

…My father and grandfather knew a man who was carried by the hosts from South Uist here to Barra. I understand when the hosts take away earthly men they require another man to help them. But the hosts must be spirits, My opinion is that they are both spirits of the dead and other spirits not the dead.

Statement of Marian MacLean (nee MacNeil) of Barra
Walter Evans-Wentz
The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries