Monday, 12 November 2018

Ludlow Castle and the ghost of Marion de la Bruyere.

Ludlow Castle is a stunning and imposing ruin that sits high on a perfect vantage point overlooking the River Teme. It is thought to have been founded by Walter de Lacy after the Norman Conquest and is one of the most impressive Medieval castles in England as well as being one of the first stone castles built here.

It is a very popular tourist destination being open for most of the year, it plays host to several events in the town including Ludlow's famous food festivals and it's Medieval Fayre each November. However for those of us with an interest in the darker side of things, Ludlow Castle also has it's fair share of haunting stories, the most famous being that of Marion de la Bruyere - a favourite tale to school children in the area who were all taught included as it is my home town.

She dates right back to the 12th century when she was resident in the castle, at the time there were some soldiers imprisoned there from the enemy's side, one of these was Arnold de Lys with whom she fell in love. Following his exit from the castle they continued their affair in secret as he was on the side of the enemy, she would lower a rope from the battlements for him to climb and their visits continued. However one night he purposefully left the rope hanging down so it was available to his comrades who entered the castle and murdered many of it's inhabitants.

Marion was so distraught by his betrayal she grabbed his sword and killed him with it, then overcome by grief and guilt she threw herself from the top of Pendover Tower and fell to her death.

There have been since - right up to the present day - reports of her ghost at dusk. Some say it is seen reenacting her fall to death, screams have been heard and others recount that they have seen the ghost wandering at the base of the tower, whichever way, she still seems to be present in the ruins after all this time.

Ludlow Castle at dusk.

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Haunting of Hill House

Wow...we finished watching it a couple of days ago and my goodness it was good. A gripping, believable horror that completely enchanted us. I'm not a fan of the blood and guts type horror films, I don't want to see people suspended on hooks or having their fingernails pulled out, I like to exercise my mind, and this programme certainly did that! Each episode left me wanting more...hence the almost binge-watching that followed.

Everything from the writing that transformed a classic novel into a modern day setting, together with the scene settings, atmosphere, sound and lighting made this an absolute winner...I may need to watch it again if only to spot all the ghosts I missed (which add to the almost subliminal 'did I just see that' feeling) first time round.

Watch it, I recommend it!

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Lammas / Lughnasadh

Beginning at sunset on July 31st and ending at sunset on August 2nd is the sabbat or festival of Lughnasadh, commonly known as Lammas, it is the first harvest festival in the pagan calendar, the other two being at the autumn equinox (Mabon) in September and Samhain (Halloween) at the end of October.  

The first grain harvest is signalled by Lammas and much celebration is associated with it, it is told that the Sun god transfers his remaining light and warmth to the goddess Nass to ensure the continuing growth of crops; he will also protect the land and die defending it. Traditionally, soldiers and men who were working away from home would return just to help with the harvest and make sure all the grain was stored safe and dry before the autumn rains came so that the store would last until harvest the next year.  

There is a lot of tradition related to Lughnasadh, certain things are eaten, made and done for the festivities. Bread is very significant to the sabbat, to make bread on Lammas eve and stir it with family and friends whilst making a wish for the harvest you desire should ensure a good crop, to give some of the bread to the birds and then eat the rest of the loaf at breakfast on Lammas day will seal the ritual. Other foods that are important are nuts and fruit especially from local sources, homemade pies, elderberry wine and ale. Herbs associated with Lughnasadh are incorporated into decorations and meals, some of these are cornstalks, oak leaves, wheat, heather and acacia flowers.  

Decoration is an important and lovely way to personalise any festival and the most traditional decoration and symbol for Lammas are corn dollies or corn animals, in some rituals they are burnt as a sacrifice to the gods but most often they are placed on an altar or Lammas table display sometimes where the main meal will be eaten, or maybe on a mantelpiece. Together with candles in the colours of the land, golden yellows, oranges and greens, and dried grasses tied with ribbons, thanks are given to the gods and wishes for a continued spell of good weather for the harvest has more intensity. 

The Lughnasadh sabbat is said to be a perfect time for handfasting ceremonies, the ‘wedding’ of a couple in nature is very symbolic in pagan culture and there ceremonies are beautiful occasions. The marriage vows may be taken for a year and a day, a lifetime or for all of eternity. It is a joyous event with merriment and laughter way into the night! At the warmest time of year, with family and friends of the couple home for the harvest, together with the long summer evenings, the perfect handfasting scene is made. 

(This post is also on the blog at my site )

Monday, 30 July 2018

Newspaper snippet

I just came across a little snippet I cut out of a UK newspaper last year (I think) about people's top 10 favourite spooky phenomena, thinking about writing about them all in due course although a couple of them - the origins of Stonehenge especially - are so vast a topic that I wouldn't know where to start, so many opinions, conflicting arguments etc, but fascinating nonetheless. They run as follows:

10 - Hampton Court ghosts, Surrey
9 - Highgate vampire, north London
8 - Devil's footprints, Devon
7 - Rendlesham Forest UFO, Suffolk
6 - Agatha Christie's 'missing 11 days', Harrogate, Yorkshire
5 - Suicidal Dogs at Overtoun Bridge, West Dunbartonshire
4 - Enfield Haunting, north London
3 - Beast of Bodmin Moor, Cornwall
2 - Origins of Stonehenge, Wiltshire
1 - Loch Ness Monster, Scottish Highlands

Is your favourite there? 

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Book find...'Fifty Most Amazing Crimes of the Last 100 Years'

Sometimes these books just find you don't they, and this one...THIS one is fantastic. It dates from 1936 and as the title suggests it chronicles 50 of the most 'amazing' crimes of the 100 years previous to that date. There is no author name, but it was edited by J.M Parrish and John R. Crossland, Published by Odhams Press Ltd.

From the first case - Landru: A Real Life Bluebeard by H Russell Wakefield which is described as "Dark, bearded, sinister, urbane, greatest 'lady-killer' - in the most terrible sense - of all time" to the final one - Fritz Harman: Terror of Hanover by F.A Beaumont, this book drips intrigue, I can't wait to delve into it and see what it brings. I will keep you updated as I go!

Now on Tumblr...

Being already on Twitter and Instagram (not a fan of Facebook) we are now venturing onto Tumblr - so many of the folks we follow on Twitter are there and it looks like a great platform to dismiss boredom - although I feel I may get sucked in and will lose hours of my life....hey ho!

Do follow us there @darklegendsmoonlitmyths - we are on Istagram and Twitter also as @moonlitmyths :)

Thursday, 1 March 2018

"When snow falls dry, it means to lie".

As I write, storm Emma is making her presence known! Outside the wind is gusting and the snow is swirling around...and it is COLD.  This made me think about the folklore relating to snow, and this one seemed more than relevant.

'When snow falls dry, it means to lie'...and that is exactly what we have here, tiny, hard pellets of snow mixed in with softer ones, the slightest breeze is making it start to drift and it stings your face if you venture out into it. Dry snow at this time of year is said to predict a dry summer, whereas softer snow tells of a wet spring and summer. It is also said that if a snow storm starts with small, dry, hard flakes it is more likely to last a long time and stick, whereas wetter, softer flakes at the beginning of a storm results in a shorter fall.

Well, by the looks of it, we are in for a doozy, it certainly makes me doubt the well-known saying 'its too cold to snow'. Kettle on again I think, stay warm out there folks.