by David Southwell
Your latest article on us was full of clichés and easy lies AS usual. The image of WITCH as crone is as incomplete as Goya’s depiction of her as Beauty. She is all in one. I’ve no need to ‘whitewash the black arts’. There are no black arts. There’s no need to give colours to something as beyond label as the rituals of mystery. The witch simply works with her landscape, whether it holds poison plants or healing herbs. I will call neither dark nor light. At least you accusing me of blighting church fete with storm was accurate. I can hide the sky with rain using only my faith, horse bone and ritual, while you need a whole Met Office to fail to predict the weather.”
Caller of Barrow Wisdom Coven
LETTER TO MARSHWOOD GUARDIAN, 1974
About Hookland: Hookland is in part a response to the weird, the paranormal content in culture when I was growing up in 1970s. In many ways I look at Hookland as an act of re-enchantment, a putting back all the weirdness edited out by the modern world. I grew up caught between space-age dreams and the last gasp of hippy culture where the main BBC news moved from reports of IRA bombs to reports of UFOs or poltergeists. Where documentaries about ancient aliens or witchcraft were shown on prime-time without sneering. The 70s were a high-water mark for weirdness. A strange, febrile time to be a child exposed to the psychic chaff of the mass media.
Hookland is also creating a haunted space that anyone could play in. As authors, we often create spaces where we want others to feel they have lived, but then deny them permission to stay. Permission to build and explore in their own way. It is an open, shared universe to explore those connections between place and our sometimes forgotten myth-circuits.
Ghostwoods Books plans to publish at least one of the Hookland books currently in the works.
About the author:
David Southwell is an Essex boy, word spiv and landscape punk. He works as photographer, folklorist and curator for the Hookland Museum of Curiosities. A reformed author of bad books, he now follows the advice given to him by J.G. Ballard to: ‘Concentrate on place, nothing without a sense of it is ever any good.’ You can often find him talking about Albionic ghost soil at literary festivals and art galleries.