Seelie or Unseelie?

By Andy Paciorek, author and illustrator of Strange Lands: A Field Guide to the Celtic Otherworld & Black Earth: A Field Guide to the Slavic Otherworld.


Foreword

The fairy doors within the Between Worlds exhibition were home to numerous types of fairies to discover: Banshees, Selkies, Hobglobins, and Brownies. However, these are not the only fairies in the North. In this post, author Andy Paciorek discusses – both through stories and his own illustrations – the darkest fairy folk of Northern Britain.

 Jade Westerman, Exhibitions Assistant at Palace Green Library


“We should naturally attribute a less malicious disposition, and a less frightful appearance, to the fays who glide by moonlight through the oaks of Windsor, than to those who haunt the solitary heaths and lofty mountains of the north.”

Sir Walter Scott

Should we? Is it the case that, when it comes to Otherworldly denizens, it is indeed grim (or Grimm) up North?

It is a matter of course when dealing with the Hidden People that care must be taken, for all are capricious; they may appear genteel and kindly, but like a golden coin made in payment by such folk, their manner could change as dramatically as the precious metal turns to a dry and dusty dead leaf. Their very nature is in question – what are they? Some theories suggest that the faeries are fallen Angels or alternatively the spirits of the deceased. If the latter, then any necromancer will tell you that you cannot trust the dead; if the former, well they are not even trusted by God. If they are neither of these but are indeed a curious species unto themselves, then in all circumstances their ways differ to those of most humans. Strange and dangerous encounters with the (not always so) Good Folk have been recorded across the British and Celtic isles. The more I dwell upon Scott’s comment, more malevolent entities of the North creep into my mind like insidious earwigs.

To the Scots, there was a clear distinction between the natures of the not so bad and the not at all good faeries. The benign belonged to the Seelie Court – the blessed, the joyful. The others – the malevolent, the blighted, the demonic ones – were the Unseelie Court. Also known, in hushed tones, in various places by myriad other names, such as the Host, the Spirit Multitude, the Sounds of Infinity – the Unseelie Court manifested first as an ominous, brooding, black cloud sweeping across the darkened, crepuscular northern skies.

lion fairy

© Andy Paciorek

As the sinister horde approached, writhing among their number were a multitude of the vilest Fay beings imaginable, hollering and snarling hexes and curses. Also, perhaps to be spotted amongst their number, were the lost souls of the deceased who had passed over from their wicked lives.

Soaring through the air, the vicious maelstrom of the Unseelie Court would damage crops and dwellings and inflict injury upon both man and beast with a flurry of elf-shot (people who found Neolithic flint arrowheads would in the past sometimes identify these as the weaponry of fairie forces). Other unfortunate folk could find themselves snatched into the air by the grasping fingers of the Multitude. They may become roughly compelled to join the Court in their unholy practises or simply dragged along for a nightmare ride before being unceremoniously dumped many miles away from where they had been abducted. Some victims would be found alive; others less so.

Holding on

© Andy Paciorek

To avoid such an experience, should one see the Faerie Host approaching through the air, then some of the following words might protect from injury or death – to exclaim “God Bless you” at the gathering storm. To hurl your left shoe at the Unseelie Court or to wear a sprig of Rowan. These tokens might protect, but we stress the word might.

However, not all of the malevolent fays and otherworldly entities of the North Country were gregarious. Others were solitary, but no less savage.

Briefly, I will outline merely some of these strange and sinister beings.

Armed with a wooden flail tipped with poison apples, the Fachan is a one-legged, one-eyed, one-armed fiend of the hills of Western Highlands and Argyllshire. Plumed at the neck with an array of blue feathers and clothed only in rough fur scraps, oddly the Fachan has been considered by some to be a folk-memory of the Celtic seers of olden times, who, with one arm outstretched, one eye closed and standing on one leg, would in such a manner commune with the Otherworld.

Along the English-Scottish borderlands, particularly in the locality of old forts and castles and their ruins, lurk the Red or Bloody Caps. Named after their headwear, which is dyed in the blood of their victims, these fiends, armed with halberds or pikestaffs, wear cumbersome iron boots, which is curious as most fairie breeds intensely fear iron. Red Caps may sometimes serve as familiar spirits to sorcerers and warlocks versed in the blackest of magical arts.

57. red-caps

© Andy Paciorek

Numerous rivers of the North are haunted by Groac’h or Water Witches. In the county of Durham and its neighbouring county where the River Tees flows, children playing on the water’s edge may fall foul of the green haired, sharp tooted water harridan Peg Powler. Seducing the children with brightly coloured trinkets placed on the bank side, she will grab them with her strong, sharp, spindly fingers and drag them beneath the surface to drown and sometimes to provide a feast of blood, bone and flesh to the hungry Water Witch. In the River Skerne, a tributary of the Tees in the Darlington area, dwells Nanny Powler, Peg’s equally nefarious sister.

 

86. groach

© Andy Paciorek

 

Many more weird and wondrous entities and creatures can be found within the pages of Strange Lands: A Field Guide to the Celtic Otherworld and Black Earth: A Field Guide to the Slavic Otherworld, both written and illustrated by Andy Paciorek. More information can be found here and on Goodreads.

Andy Paciorek is an artist and writer drawn mainly to the worlds of myth, folklore, symbolism, the supernatural, decadence, curiosa, forteana, anomaly, dark romanticism and otherworldly experience.

His solo books, Strange Lands: A Field Guide to the Celtic Otherworld and The Human Chimaera: Sideshow Prodigies and Other Exceptional People are to be followed by Black Earth: A Field Guide to the Slavic Otherworld.

He has produced art work for numerous projects, such as Harper Collins’ Element Encyclopedia and Art for Mindfulness series, Cumbrian Cthulhu and has worked on books by several notable writers including Dr Bob Curran, John and Caitlin Matthews, Chris Lambert and Dr Karl Shuker.

He is the creator of Folk Horror Revival multimedia project and Wyrd Harvest Press, and you can find their Facebook and Twitter here.

 

 

Although Between Worlds: Folklore and Fairytales from Northern Britain is now closed, you can still view and contribute to our collection of favourite sayings, customs and folklore in the comments section. Visit Palace Green Library’s website for more information on our future exhibition programme: https://www.dur.ac.uk/palace.green/.

The Fairy Folk of Northumberland

By Laura Coulson, fairy and folklore blogger


Foreword

Folklore and landscape are very much intertwined. There are numerous locations that bear witness to the acts of fairies, some even being the home of fairy folk. Like many places in Scotland, Wales, and Cornwall, Northumberland also has its own magical locations. If you fancy taking a trip, then why not take your pick from one of the suggestions fairy folklore enthusiast Laura Coulson has to offer.

Jade Westerman, Exhibitions Assistant at Palace Green Library


Northumberland is home to a wide variety of fairy folk, from the sweet and benign to the downright deadly. We have singing and dancing fairies at the Hurl Stane and Dancing Green Hill, a wish granting fairy at Wooler Well, pottage cooking fairies of Rothley Mill, and the infamous mine goblins Cutty Soams and  Shilbottle Bluecap. We have fairy royalty at Old Fawdon Hill where Queen Mab herself is said to dwell, and a fairy graveyard at Brinkburn. I’ve visited all of these Fairy Sites and more in my Fairy Folklorist Blog, and when I heard about the Between Worlds exhibition, I was understandably a little excited!

For this blog post, I’ve written about my top 5 favourite fairy sites of Northumberland. All of these sites are easy to visit and open to the public, but do so at your peril; the fairy folk do not always take kindly to visitors…

The Duergars of Simonside

In the shadows of the Simonside Hills dwell the Duergars, a race of dark dwarves who appear mostly at night, preying on lost travellers and tricking them into bogs or luring them to their death over the edge of a rocky precipice.

One traveller on the moors found a little hut containing the embers of a fire, two rough grey stones, and two old gate-posts. He sat down on one of the grey stones and was adding some brush wood to the fire when a small human-shaped figure, no higher than his knee, came waddling in through the door and sat down on the other grey stone. The traveller remained silent so not to anger the creature, but he began to feel the cold so snapped a piece of wood over his knee and laid the pieces upon the dying embers. The strange intruder seemed angered by this and picked up one of the gate posts, likewise breaking it over his knee, and added it to the fire. The traveller, not wishing to anger his host further, permitted the fire to die away and remained silent. It was not until the dawn of the following day, when the dwarf and his house had disappeared, that the traveller realised the true extent of the danger he had been in. He found himself still sat upon the grey stone, but on the edge of a deep rugged precipice, where he could have easily fallen to his death with a single movement.

Simonside

Simonside Hills © Laura Coulson

The Fairy Music of Hen Hole

Hidden away in a deep chasm in the Cheviot Hills lives a group of Northumbrian fairies who play the sweetest music known to man. They run and dance through the valley, with all the grace that fairies do, but it is said these fairies have a sinister side too and once lured in a hunting party, who remain trapped there to this day.

“On the north-west side of Cheviot there is a deep chasm called the Hen Hole, in which there is frequently to be seen a snow egg at midsummer. There is a tradition, that a party of hunters, when chasing a roe upon cheviot, were wiled by the fairies into the Hen Hole, and could never again find their way out.”

Rambles in Northumberland, Chatto (1835).

Hen Hole

Hen Hole, Cheviot Hills © Laura Coulson

Brinkburn Fairy Graveyard

Brinkburn is said to be the burial place of the Northumberland Fairies. Little more is known about the fairies of Brinkburn and why they left this mortal realm, but I have a feeling perhaps the bells of the nearby priory were to blame!

“In the sweet precincts of the solitude of Brinkburn, the villagers point out a shady green spot as covering the graves of the tiny people, and truly a more suitable place could not have been devised as the scene of so purely poetic a belief.”

The Local Historian’s Table Book: Legendary Divison Volume 3, Richardson (1846).

Brinkburn

Brinkburn Fairy Graveyard © Laura Coulson

The Elf Hills of Cambo

In a little village called Cambo, curious signposts can be found pointing to the Elf Hills. It is said to be a popular haunt of the Northumbrian moorland Elves, who dressed in the brown and gold of the heather and bracken among which they made their home.

“The Elf-Hills near Cambo – that is, Cambo Hill, where Sir John de Cambo kept watch and ward – had, as permanent tenants, a gregarious band of “the little people” who did not in the least resent that their stronghold was often invaded and used again and again as a signal tower on which the wisp of tow mounted on a spear-point was set on fire when a raid was imminent.”

Northumberland painted by A .Heaten Cooper, described by Agnes Herbert (1923).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Elf Hills at Cambo © Laura Coulson

The Brown Man of the Muirs

On the wild moors surrounding the village of Elsdon lives the Brown Man, guardian of the moors and protector of the wild beasts who live there. Many years ago two young men from Newcastle were hunting on the high moors above Elsdon, and when the youngest lad went to fetch water he met the Brown Man of the Muirs:

“This extraordinary personage did not appear to be above half the stature of a common man; but was uncommonly stout and broad-built, having the appearance of vast strength; his dress was entirely brown, the colour of the brackens, and his head covered with frizzled red hair; his countenance was expressive of the most savage ferocity, and his eyes glared like a bull.”

The Lady of the Lake, Walter Scott (1812).

The Brown Man spoke to the lad and threatened him for trespassing on his land, and thinking him to be the lord of the moors the lad offered him the game he had killed. The brown man was deeply offended as he considered the wild creatures of the moors to be his subjects, but he invited the young lad to accompany him home to partake of his hospitality. The young lad was just about to accept and cross the brook to follow him, when his companion arrived, wondering what had delayed him so long. When the youngest lad looked across the brook again, the Brown Man had fled. A fortunate interruption, as if he had crossed the water the Brown Man would have torn him to pieces!

Brown Man

The Moors Surrounding the Village of Elsdon © Laura Coulson

For those who would like to see a Northumbrian fairy for themselves, carrying a four leaf clover is said to grant the wearer the power of seeing fairies. It certainly worked for a young milk maid in Netherwitton who accidentally carried one in the grass pad on which she carried the milk pail on her head, and saw a host of fairies gambolling in the fields.

Further Reading

  • The Denham Tracts, Michael Denham.
  • County Folk-Lore Vol IV Northumberland, M. C. Balfour.
  • Legends and Folklore of Northumbria, Margaret Tyndale.
  • Folk Tales of the North Country, F. Grice.
  • The Local Historian’s Table Book series, M. A. Richardson.
  • Folklore of Northumbria, Fran & Geoff Doel.

For further information and photos of the above Fairy sites and many more throughout England and Scotland, please take a look at The Fairy Folklorist Blog: http://faeryfolklorist.blogspot.co.uk.

 

Although Between Worlds: Folklore and Fairytales from Northern Britain is now closed, you can still view and contribute to our collection of favourite sayings, customs and folklore in the comments section. Visit Palace Green Library’s website for more information on our future exhibition programme: https://www.dur.ac.uk/palace.green/.

Neighbourly Devils – Fairies, witches and demons

By Lisa Tallis, Assistant Librarian of the Special collections Archives, Arts and Social Studies Library, Cardiff University


Foreword

Whilst Palace Green Library’s Between Worlds exhibition looks to dispel modern misconceptions of fairy folk in Northern Britain, Special Collections and Archives at Cardiff University chose to delve right into the dark side of Welsh folklore.

Here, Lisa Tallis tells us about the special collection currently on display in the Arts and Social Studies Library at Cardiff University (on show until 31 March 2018). The exhibition studies the folklore, myths, and history surrounding spiteful fairies and demons in Wales, looking at first-hand accounts, poetry, and artwork from the fifteenth century up until modern times.

Jade Westerman, Exhibitions Assistant at Palace Green Library


NDlogodate_candle

To coincide with the Welsh Government’s Year of Legends, Special Collections and Archives decided to curate an exhibition based on the theme of myths and legends. As the Assistant Librarian, I was aware that our collections were incredibly rich in materials relating to these themes, especially works on folklore and Celtic myths. The fairies were an ideal subject since they touch upon so many aspects of these themes, from the supernatural to their almost human characteristics and conducts.

Appropriately, we launched the exhibition on Halloween with a fascinating talk by Professor Diane Purkiss entitled ‘Darkness Made Visible: What Are Fairies?’. A supernatural setting for our exhibition – Neighbourly Devils – was a welcome spin, for as the title suggests, one of the themes that I was especially keen to highlight was the darker side of these intriguing beings.

Known variously as Y Tylwyth Teg (The Fair Family) and Bendith eu Mamau (Their Mothers’ Blessing), so called because of their bestowing blessings on selected mortals whom they favoured, the fairies could also invoke fear as they reputedly stole new-born babies from their cradles and replaced them with their own ugly offspring known as changelings.

Goblins Dazzy Walters

‘Jennet Francis struggles with the fairies for her baby’, illustration by T. H. Thomas from Wirt Sikes, British Goblins (London, 1880).

Naming them by a harsh epithet was known to invoke their anger, and it was essential to show them kindness as they were known to punish those who failed to do so, quite severely in some instances. Fairies were considered secretive people who lived in caves, hollows, or ‘sepulchral mounds’ – a ‘Between Worlds’ existence certainly. They were believed to have supernatural powers that enabled them to hear what was spoken in the air and whisk people away on otherworldly adventures.

 

Hence we have on display an edition of Ellis Wynne’s Gweledigaethau y Bardd Cwsg (Visions of the Sleeping Bard). First published in 1703, this classic piece of Welsh religious prose describes how it was the ‘Tylwyth Teg’ who ‘lifted me on [to their] shoulders’ and took the bard on his otherworldly journey where he witnessed scenes of earthly vice, death, and hell.

This belief is also expressed in a small book of Welsh folktales named Ysten Sioned (Sioned’s Pitcher), based on the character of a beggar woman who would collect any charities offered, no matter what they were, in her pitcher. So too this book gathers together an eclectic mix of Welsh tales and traditions, one of which relates to Ellis Wynne and the popular belief that he was whisked away to the top of Moelfre mountain by the fairies who then took him with them through ‘the whole world’.

ysten-sioned

Extract from D. Silvan-Evans, Ysten Sioned (Wrexham, 1894), relaying the popular belief that the fairies have taken Ellis Wynne away from them.

It is interesting that Ellis Wynne initially mistook the fairies for a bunch of ‘witsiaid-melldigedig’ – accursed witches. This brought to mind the story of the ‘old woman of the mountain’ recorded by the author and Independent minister, Edmund Jones (1702-1793) in his Relation of Apparitions of Spirits in Wales (1790), which we also have on display. This apparition, believed to be the ghost of a witch named Juan White, would haunt Llanhyddel mountain in Monmouthshire, leading travellers astray.

Goblins Old Woman

‘The Old Woman of the Mountain’ by T. H. Thomas. Frontispiece from Wirt Sikes, British Goblins (London, 1880), where various versions of the tale are recorded.

Again, what’s interesting is this connection between fairies, witches, and ghosts because they do share certain characteristics. Like fairies, witches were known to punish those who had caused them offence and were also believed to be able to transport people on supernatural journeys, while fairies were thought to be spirits of the dead who would converse with witches or cunning folk. However, the one figure that does bind them all is of course the Devil!

Some people in Wales believed that fairies were the souls of Druids who, not being Christians, could not enter heaven but were too good to be cast into hell and therefore condemned to exist in limbo. For many others, however, their origins were far more ominous. Several sources portray fairies as spiritual beings of demonic origin. In 1677, the Puritan Charles Edwards describes them as neighbourly, or friendly devils (cythreuliaid cymdeithgar), a phrase that lent itself very well as an exhibition title as it captures their mischievous and demonic nature.  Edwards explained how these ‘vermin of darkness’ used to appear as a visible ‘swarm’ to drag people away to their merriments. Edmund Jones was also in ‘no doubt’ that fairies were ‘evil Spirits belonging to the Kingdom of darkness’, while an anonymous author of an early eighteenth-century tract against witchcraft and conjuration claimed they were spirits that were conjured by cunning-folk, and argued that it was forbidden to seek help from those who converse with ‘the dead’ (y meirw). The author was under no doubt that that such spirits were, in fact, devils.

Popular Antiquities

The Fairies by Peter Roberts. Illustration appears in his Cambrian popular antiquities: or, An account of some traditions, customs, and superstitions, of Wales; with observations as to their origin, &c. (London, 1815).

These demonic understandings of the fairies might surprise those of us who are more familiar with the delicate, winged depictions that became popular with the increase in fairy tale publications and the development of Victorian fairy illustration. This is yet another key theme that the exhibition explores as many of the works included featured beautiful illustrations by some of Wales’s most talented artists. Most of these follow the Victorian tradition of romanticising the appearance of fairies, such as Margaret Lindsay Williams’ paintings of the Llyn y Fan Fach Legend, or the lady of the lake.

Llyn y Fan 1 WG30(1917)

He saw a girl sitting on the lake’s smooth surface illustration by Margaret Lindsay Williams, from William Rees, Chwedl Llyn y Fan (The Legend of Llyn y Fan) (Liverpool, 1917).

However, some artists appreciated the darker side of the Tylwyth Teg and created haunting images that reflected this, one of which provided the initial inspiration for the exhibition. So, I will leave you to ponder the following from the proofs of Shirley Jones’ book Chwedlau (Legends) and her description of creating this particular print, and what happened next…

Llen y Werin, Chwedlau Proofs, Artists Books

Shirley Jones, ‘Llên Werin’: Chwedlau: page proofs (Brecon, 2005).

‘Llen Werin, or Folklore, was the final chapter in my artist book, Chwedlau, an exploration into fifteen centuries of Welsh myths, legends and folklore. I thought a fitting image would be of a candle, by which so many of these tales were told. I drew our own candle in its holder, and burnished out this image on a mezzotint copperplate. I left the finished plate overnight, in my studio, protected by a sheet of paper, having decided it needed nothing more added to it. I locked my studio door, as usual, intending to take a print from it next day. But this was when I had a shock: there was now smoke coming from the candle on my mezzotint plate! I hadn’t burnished it out, and no one else could have. And I have never known how it came to be there.’

 

Special Collections and Archives’ exhibition Neighbourly Devils/Cythreuliaid Cymdogol is open until 31 March, 2018, and is available online at neighbourlydevils.weebly.com.

Find out more at www.cardiff.ac.uk/special-collections. Follow Cardiff University’s Special Collections Archives on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @CUSpecialColls.

 

Entry to Between Worlds: Folklore and Fairytales from Northern Britain is free; opening hours are 10am – 5pm 7 days a week until February 25 2018. For further information about your visit, please visit the Palace Green Library website at: https://www.dur.ac.uk/palace.green/whatson/details/?id=36250

How One Writer Learned to Love Folklore and Chase Magic

By Icy Sedgwick, blogger and author of Harbingers: Dark Tales of Speculative Fiction.


Foreword

Folklore is a part of our everyday lives, still influencing our actions, acting as entertainment in the 21st century, and weaving its way through the history we recount today. In this post, folklorist and author Icy Sedgwick discusses her life-long passion for folklore and how it has shaped her life.

Jade Westerman, Exhibitions Assistant at Palace Green Library


Did you hear the story about the travelling salesman who picked up a stranger in a Las Vegas bar? He woke up the next morning in a bathtub full of ice. The hotel room telephone sat beside the bath, a note taped to it telling him to call 911. It turned out his kidneys were gone, stolen to be sold on the black market.

That, my friends, is an urban legend. You could say they’re the modern descendants of folklore. Warnings and information become encoded in story format, passed along through word of mouth, then in print, and now on the internet. In the above example, the warning counsels against the advances of strangers, wrapped in the guise of ‘a friend of a friend told me…’.

Within folklore, such warnings keep us away from poisonous plants, entering unfamiliar places uninvited, or taking items that don’t belong to us. Folklore also teaches us other valuable lessons, if we have the wit to listen. Gawain shows respect and honour to an ugly witch, only to learn she’s actually a beautiful woman who rewards him for his gallant behaviour. Such an example seems almost too apt for these troubled times.

monks-hood

Monkshood, also known as Wolf’s Bane © Icy Sedgwick

It’s the story side of folklore that fascinates me.

These ancient tales, in their technicolour variations, populated by memorable characters, tell us so much about earlier times. They also come with a side helping of magic and wonder. Perhaps fairies really do cavort in the moonlight, gossamer wings fluttering in a gentle breeze. Or perhaps they steal babies and trick humans into doing their bidding.

The stories are filled with heroes and villains, captivating in their bravery or devilry. Look at King Arthur, forever sleeping beneath a mountain, ready to defend Britain when called. Or the murderous redcaps of the Borders, ready to strike humans down and dip their caps in fresh blood.

It was ghost stories that first snared me. Whenever I’d visit a new castle or stately home with my family, I’d paw through the books in the gift shop. If they had a collection of Northumberland ghost stories or folklore, I had to have it. I grew up with tales of the Cauld Lad o’ Hylton and the ghosts of Newcastle’s Keep. I learned about the Grey Man of Bellister and the phantoms of Chillingham Castle. Naturally, I went in search of them, and I’m yet to track down such a spirit… though I haven’t given up trying.

chillingham-castle

Chillingham Castle © Icy Sedgwick

Those stories also inadvertently taught me the history of my city and its neighbouring counties. I learned about the Border Reivers, largely neglected by so-called British history with all its pomp and circumstance. The Battle of Flodden Field rubbed shoulders with the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

Over the years I’ve developed my own areas of interest.

The folklore of plants is a particular favourite, from the exotic belladonna to the English yew. I suppose it’s one of the reasons why I love J.K. Rowling’s scenes of Herbology lessons with Professor Sprout. Whenever I visit the Alnwick Garden, I always tour the Poison Garden. Although I try to avoid the henbane when it’s in bloom, for its scent is less than pleasant.

Witchcraft and magic captivate the imagination, from hedge witchery to High Ceremonial magick, throbbing with the beat of Egyptiana. But then there are the quieter, perhaps more important, tales of witches and persecuted women. Take Bessie Dunlop, punished for claiming the same fairyland experience as Thomas the Rhymer. The stories of countless women cry with injustice down the centuries.

I think magic is perhaps my favourite. Haven’t we all sat in traffic, whispering an urgent spell to change the light from red to green? Or fervently begged the universe for one last parking space? Tugging on the strings of the universe might sound fanciful, but maybe it’s the birthright of all humans. It’s hardly surprising my dark fantasy stories feature mages, necromancers, and other wild magic.

Witchcraft and magic: a man conducting magic rites, devils and a ghost appearing, and a hunter cowering in terror. Colour engraving. From Wellcome Images (CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons)

 

And let’s not forget the ghosts. Whether they exist or not, there’s something exciting about the creak on the stair when you’re home alone. I’ll never forget finding an inexplicable cold spot in the corridor at the old refectory at Brinkburn Priory, tucked away from draughts and other mundane explanations.

Quite frankly, folklore celebrates the weird and the bizarre.

Whether they’re warnings or lessons, the myths and legends of every culture toss a dazzling throw over normality. They tidy away reason and logic, packing them into boxes to be reopened when the magical moment passes.

We need such oddities in our lives, if only as a reminder that the world doesn’t always make sense. And that’s okay.

Icy Sedgwick writes weird and whimsical fiction in the Gothic horror and dark fantasy genres. Based in Newcastle, she also blogs about folklore and the supernatural when she’s not knitting, writing, or exploring old buildings. You can get a copy of her short story collection, Harbingers: Dark Tales of Speculative Fiction, here, or connect on Twitter @IcySedgwick.

icysedgwick-bio-image

 

Entry to Between Worlds: Folklore and Fairytales from Northern Britain is free; opening hours are 10am – 5pm 7 days a week until February 25 2018. For further information about your visit, please visit the Palace Green Library website at: https://www.dur.ac.uk/palace.green/whatson/details/?id=36250.