Thursday, 22 October 2020

October Tales

 It's that time again, pumpkins, falling leaves, roaring fires and of course Halloween or Samhain

 as it was traditionally called. We all know the lore behind Halloween but there are 

many tales from this season that have been forgotten.

And here are just a few...

October 21st is the Feast of St Ursula and her eleven thousand Virgins.

St Ursula ( Latin for little female bear) was a British Princess who was ordered by her father King Dionotus of Domnonia from south west England to set sail to meet her future husband the pagan Governor Conan Meriadoc of Amorica. It is said that Dionotus received a request to supply wives for the settlers of the newly founded region of Amorica  (Brittany) from Conan himself., so he sent his daughter to become his wife and thousands more women for the men.    But on the way there a strange and miraculous storm carried them all the way across the sea in a single day to a Gaulish port. Wishing to give thanks for this strange miracle Ursula declared that she would make a pilgrimage  and headed to Rome with her followers where she persuaded the then current Pope to join them. Nearing Cologne, which at the time was besieged by Huns, the Princess and her companions were caught. Refusing to bed the soldiers or to become their wives the virgins as punishment were beheaded and Ursula was shot and killed by an arrow, 21st October 383.

The Basilica  of St Ursula in Cologne holds the alleged relics of Ursula and her companions.

October 25th is St Crispin and Crispinian's Day; Agincourt Day

Born to a noble Roman family in the 3rd century AD they fled persecution for their faith ending up in Soissons in France. Here they preached Christianity to the Gauls while making shoes by night to support themselves. This irked the Governor Rictus Varus who had them tortured and thrown into the river with millstones a round their necks. Miraculously they survived only to be beheaded by the Emperor.

So they became the Patron Saints of shoemakers and their day is the Cobblers Feast or 'Snobs' Holiday.

'The twenty fifth of October

Cursed be the Cobbler

That goes to bed sober'

And of course it is the anniversary of the great English Victory at Agincourt in 1415.

'This day is called the Feast of Crispian

And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by

From this day to the ending of the world

But we in it shall be remembered.'

Shakespeare....of course.

October 28th St Simon and St Jude's Day

Saints Simon and Jude were among Christ's Twelve Apostles, believed to be the shepherds to whom the angles announced Jesus's birth.                                                                                                          Simon who is supposed to have been martyred by being sawn in half is the patron saint of woodcutters while Jude is the patron of lost causes although the reason behind this is not known. It is always said to rain heavily on this day.

During the day if wishful to gain knowledge of your future spouse, peel an apple in one long strip turn round three times with the peel in your right hand repeating...

'St Simon and Jude, on you I intrude

By this paring I hold to discover

Without any delay, to tell me this day

The first letter of my own true love' 

Drop the peel over your left shoulder and it will form the initial of your future spouse's surname, if it breaks into many pieces you will probably never marry.

Okay now I am going to be irreverent, sorry...all this talk of saints!

To ward off evil spirits during Halloween according to a text written in 1688 the use of a spayed bitch was considered to be very wholesome in a house. Homeowners of that era had a strong belief that it it kept away evil spirits from haunting a house. At a haunted house in Cranborne in Dorset 1686 occupants were driven away by the strange happenings within. It didn't stop until the next tenant arrived with a spayed bitch in tow; according to reports all haunting activity stopped while the dog was in the house.

It was also believed if the dog started growling and the owner could see nothing, it would be possible to see the ghost by looking through the dog's ears!

I was going to stop there but then I found a strange story of a bridge in Scotland where locals mutts go to commit suicide! A Victorian bridge built in  1895 spans the Overtoun Burn, it is here that reportedly hundreds of dogs have thrown themselves to their death. Locals, who say that the area has a strange atmosphere, believe that they driven to it by the ghost  'The White Lady of Overtoun'

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Kindle Countdown Deal for The Doll

 The Doll #4 in The Psychic Sisters series is now on a Kindle Countdown Deal.

The elderly sisters have their hands full this time with a mysterious doll, a centuries old curse and a vengeful witch, and all before they have their second cup of tea!

Each book is a stand alone story so don't worry if you haven't read any of Queenie and Sybil's previous hair raising adventures!

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Locations featured in The Haunting of Stoke Water, # 3 in the Psychic Sisters series


A strange evil lurks within the old building; to some it appears an innocent  child 

but Queenie and Sybil see the truth, that it is pure evil.

They soon realise that it has a sinister motive in befriending the child: to steal her soul.

Using their occult knowledge they begin to uncover the truth  surrounding the old Victorian building

 and the significance of a murder that happened 150 years earlier.

In the book Queenie and Sybil visit the church at Stoke Abbott 

in an effort to track down the grave of the murdered girl.

This fresh water spring runs directly out of the hillside and can be drunk, hence the cup. Many years ago when I was just a nipper the water became polluted so was not safe to use. In times past the villagers would gather here at the lions head to collect their water for the day.

The yew in the churchyard where the ghosts of the children appear.
( Visited the graveyard just last week and the iron railings have been removed)

Gerrards Hill Stoke Abbott. The murderer runs from the scene of the crime up Anchor Lane, which we show on the video, ( link below) across Waddon Hill,  a Roman  hill fort, ( it has been more than half a century since I played as a child amongst the ramparts  and ditches on the hill)
and across to Gerrards Hill, down Wood Lane and back to Stoke Water House.

Wood lane, incredibly steep sided. Many years ago we kept cattle in the field on the right. The livestock was checked every day but on one occasion we had one cow go missing. It was found eventually; it had fallen off the edge and was suspended in one of the large trees growing from the side of the lane. Needless to say the animal was dead so that just shows how steep the sides were.

An Old photo of the workhouse; a grim place!
It is here that the hauntings take place.
See below for the link to the book on Amazon

And here...drum roll! is the link for our video!


Tuesday, 25 February 2020

The Three Spinsters Stone

The name drives from the local  legend of three spinsters living nearby, not spinsters 
as we know the term but 'spinsters' in the woollen sense...wool spinners. 

The tale goes that one morning the three women set out to take their baskets of spun 
wool to the local wool trader and stopped for a rest in the lane bordering 
the 'Three Stones' field. 
For some reason they decided to re-erect the three granite slabs then replace 
the huge capstone on top, hence the name Spinsters Rock!
Although in 1848 Samuel Rowe suggested the theory that the Three Spinsters is a link 
with the three Fatal Sisters, Urd, Verdani and Skuld of Norse Mythology  who lived 
at the base of Yggdrasil, The World Tree. 
They were said to weave the destiny of the world and would visit any newborn to 
determine its destiny.

The Spinsters Rock is a Neolithic chambered tomb, kown as a Dolmen or Cromlech, found on Dartmoor near Drewsteighton and  is the best surviving example in the county.
The word Dolmen is derived from the Celtic words daul, a table, and maen, a stone.
Originally covered by a mound of earth or stones. The capstone alone wighs 16 tons and is 3.65m long by 2.7 wide.

The tomb collapsed in 1862 after the surrounding field was ploughed during a very wet season prior to planting a crop of winter wheat, yes they had bad weather then as well! In fact the summer of 1860 and 1862 was recorded as being  the wettest and coldest across England since their records began.
There is divided opinion who was responsible for its restoration either local Vicar Rev W. Ponsford or a Mrs Bragg of Fulford.

We visited this site a few weeks ago , it quite an impressive Dolmen and the picture does not do it justice. It was being guarded by three malevolent sheep and later that night a fierce storm blew up, the wind howled and shrieked and I could hear 'fell voices on the wind' so I think we might have disturbed the three spinsters in some way!

Saturday, 15 February 2020

The Doll-Elizabeth Andrews- Review

The Doll is the fourth in the Psychic Sisters series - Queenie and Sybil, the tea guzzling sisters who also happen to be witches.

Queenie has her peaceful Sunday afternoon interrupted by the arrival of the 
local Vicar, Paul Goodfellow. 
He has recently come into possession of a strange doll, the previous owner, a young women committed suicide in a most horrific way and her mother is convinced that the
 doll was in some part responsible. 
She begs the Vicar to perform an exorcism on the doll before leaving it with him. 
Paul, although he is very sceptical, agrees to take the doll. But the doll begins to 
affect his three young daughters and following the advice of one of his parishioners 
he decides to consult the local witch...Queenie.
What she finds worries her enormously; it is no ordinary doll, it has a killing 
curse attached to it. 
One that was never completed.
When the original owner of the doll, a powerful witch forces her way into 
Queenie's house in search of the doll so that she can complete the curse and wreak 
vengeance of the intended victim, Queenie realises that she is facing the 
most formidable adversary that she has ever met.
Although she has the help of her sister, Sybil and Paul to thwart the witch, her coven 
and the Hell Hounds that she sets against them Queenie has to dig deep and
 summon up all her knowledge of the occult to defeat this evil women.

Friday, 14 February 2020

Seventh Son. Joseph Delaney: Review

Just thought I would do a quick review of this book. I found a copy in the WHSmith discount store and thought I would give it a go as I had enjoyed the movie.

"This volume includes Book 1, Revenge of the Witch, and Book 2, Curse of the Bane, of the Last Apprentice series. Only the Spook has the knowledge and skill to face ghosts, bind witches, and bargain with boggarts. Now he needs an apprentice--Tom Ward, who is the seventh son of a seventh son. Other apprentices have come before. All have failed, or fled, or died. Will Tom learn what they could not? Can he trust anyone, even his one true love? He will find out--and soon, for the dark is getting powerful, and the Spook's time has come. Will Tom survive to carry on his master's battle? Will he be the Last Apprentice?"

It is very different from the film, the characters are the same but the story line has been changed drastically. I don't know they would have basically rewritten the book for the film as the novel is fact the plot is better than in the film.
The characters are more rounded, you learn more about the history of the Spook, Alice and especially Tom Ward's mother as it explains where her powers come from and why she married Tom's father.
I'm just wondering if they will be keeping Alice around in the future  books as she seems to know a lot about magic, black or otherwise and I think they could use her help!
Just about to order the next in the series, so hopefully this will keep me going for a few weeks.
Apparently it is a book for young adults but hey who cares I'm young at heart!

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Queenies Beresford's
Book of 
very useful 

Queenie is about to write her own useful spell book, nagged by her sister Sybil 
who thinks she should do it before Queenie gets too old. 
This will include spells to defeat dark souls, different recipes for tea ..of course, and 
anything  else Queenie thinks might be interesting and useful for witches  and mortals.
Hopefully she will be able to concentrate long enough to get it finished sometime soon...other adventures permitting!

Friday, 24 January 2020

Hi, as you can see from previous posts my new novel 'The Doll' the fourth in the Psychic Sisters Series is out for pre order. If you are interested in trying the series the first 'The Lavender Witch' is now available on Amazon Kindle for FREE until the 27th Jan. Hope you enjoy it!

Thursday, 23 January 2020

The Doll, the fourth in the Psychic Sisters Series

Available for pre order on Amazon. Publication date 31st March.

A mysterious doll, a centuries old curse and a vengeful witch.

What have the tea guzzling OAP’s Queenie and Sybil got involved in now!

Queenie’s peaceful Sunday afternoon reading the papers is interrupted by the arrival of the local Vicar, Paul Goodfellow.
He has recently come into possession of a strange doll; worried because it is having such a strange effect on his three young daughters he reluctantly consults the local witch, Queenie.
Hearing that the previous owner, a young woman, committed suicide in the most horrific way Queenie becomes increasingly disturbed as she realises that the doll has an evil curse attached to it. It becomes evident how dangerous the situation is  when the owner of the doll, an evil witch, forces her way into Queenie’s  home in search of it.
The witch is the most formidable adversary Queenie has ever faced and it is only with the help of  her sister Sybil and Paul the Vicar that they manage to overcome her, her coven and the Hell Hounds that she sets against them. 

To  stop her wreaking vengeance on the inhabitants of Queenie’s home of Dorchester and laying waste to the town Queenie must dig deep and use every bit of cunning and occult knowledge that she has.

“Muscle and sinew flexed beneath their black hides as they bounded 
Panting in the cold air, yellowing fangs protruding from their gaping  mouths, they 
salivated as they bore down on their intended victims.

The largest Hell Hound slunk forward baring its teeth.

‘Bad dog!’ Queenie scolded, wagging her finger.”