by David Southwell
“In words as secret and as rare as the promises exchanged by lovers, he called into the darkness for the King of Tangled Ways. He called out: “I am brother to fox and badger. I am song of the night. I am the lost traveller. In the hours when our shadows wake and walk ahead of us, open the hidden paths for me.”
“In the distance that felt as long as seven stations down the line, he heard twigs snap, the rough scrape of leaves as the King of the Tangled Ways spoke. As an oracle as old as man’s first path through the forest it talked in riddles as these things always do. It spoke of green growth, weather peril and cold as killer.”
– C.L. Nolan, from his story Midnight Paths, first published in Rushmer’s Magazine for Gentleman, 1882
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.