Folkmoor: Laying Ghosts
Oct16

Folkmoor: Laying Ghosts

As we are approaching All Hallows Eve, Samhain or Hallowe’en (depending on your viewpoint) we should all be on our guard for the possibility of increased hauntings! As a liminal boundary time, Hallowe’en (to use the modern generic term for the period for simplicity) is a time associated with things ghostly because the veil between the worlds is said to be thin, allowing those on the other side to more easily pass through … if that is...

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Folkmoor: Is Widecombe really the Otherworld?
Sep18

Folkmoor: Is Widecombe really the Otherworld?

Along with many other long-standing traditional events which take place on an annual basis (Ottery St Mary tar barrels being the latest to fall) Widecombe Fair is having to take an enforced hiatus this year. Twelve months ago in this column I wrote about the traditional song associated with the fair. At the end of that piece, I stated that there was a theory that placed the song about Tom Pearce and his old grey mare not at Widecombe...

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Histories and Mysteries: Beyond the Hound of the Baskervilles, Pt 2
Mar12

Histories and Mysteries: Beyond the Hound of the Baskervilles, Pt 2

In the last part of this serialised Histories and Mysteries investigation into the legends behind The Hound of the Baskervilles, we noted that people have recorded stories of phantom dogs for many hundreds of years. We also explored some of the history of the physical dog and saw that it has been domesticated since early prehistoric times. It is little wonder that the archetype of the actual dog is such a strong one, and also...

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BEYOND THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES, PART ONE

© PAUL ATLAS-SAUNDERS “I sprang to my feet, my inert hand grasping my pistol, my mind paralysed by the dreadful shape which had sprung out upon us from the shadows of the fog. A hound it was, an enormous coal-black hound, but not such a hound as mortal eyes have ever seen. ‘Fire burst from its open mouth, its eyes glowed with a smouldering glare, its muzzle and hackles and dewlap were outlined in flickering flame. Never in the...

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Folkmoor: Christmas Food Traditions
Dec18

Folkmoor: Christmas Food Traditions

There’s no doubt that food plays a big part in our Christmas celebrations. But have you ever stopped to wonder what the origins of some of our popular Christmas foods are? Casting the net wider than our usual local traditions, as a Yuletide treat here is a look at just a few of the items you may find on your table this year. In the run up to Christmas, many people (both the young and the not-so-young) will be enjoying opening the...

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