Sunday, 17 May 2015

In the Mind’s Eye

The excellent John Coulthart posted this video earlier in the week. It's a sceptical looks at ghost phenomena broadcast in 1977.

The documentary concerns the 'Phantom Vicar of Ratcliffe Wharf'. It transpires this spectre is not all he was reputed to be, and the (occasionally hokey) journey the viewer is taken on delves into an analysis of how folklore is constructed and perpetuated.

The examination is rather cursory, but the show is endearing for being wonderful window into 70s London. Central to the human story is writer Frank Smyth - a bearded writer whose very serious brow looms earnestly over his pint glass. He would fit right into an East End hipster coffee-house in 2015. However, it's the shots of London's then-undeveloped docklands which excite me. The glittering glass and steel monuments to commerce which now occupy the region are nowhere to be seen, and it's easy to imagine how the dank, weed-strewn streets captured nearly forty years ago would be fertile territory for stories of murder and greed to breed.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

The Nine Ladies

Not to be confused with the West Country's Nine Maidens, the Nine Ladies is a smaller formation not far from Dol Tor and the Andle Stone. Much like Dol Tor, the stones are diminutive, with barely a foot or two protruding from the soil out of the flat-ish plain of Stanton Moor. They form a fiarly organised ring, but a tenth stone, discovered in the 1970s, now adds to their number. A King Stone lies outside the circle.

The winds which had buffeted the landscape had subsided by the time we arrived at the Ladies, the last stop on our Megalighic trip. The woods that surround the stones stand at a respsectful distance and give them shelter. The sun had come out by this time, and the clearing was warm and peaceful. The King Stone watches over his ladies as they, in turn, watch whoever stands in their midst. I can't help thinking that, as so many menhirs were erected on high ground, watching was an important part of their duties.

But who watches the watchmen?