Month: September 2005

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Premature burial. Body-snatching. The Resurrection men and the Sack-'em-ups. Jack O' Lanterns and Willo the Wisps. As bizarre as these terms may sound to us now, there was a time when such phantoms haunted the nightmares of all men... Welcome to Waking the Dead, a series of articles relating to all aspects of the netherworld and our never-ending fascination with what Shakespeare called 'The Undiscovered Country'. Animal rights? Human rights? Recently, most right-thinking people were horrified when most major British media reported that a group (Animal Rights Militia) who were protesting against the notorious company Huntingdon Life-Sciences had dug up the remains of an 82 year old woman, Gladys Hammond. They exhumed her coffin and body in October 2004 from the graveyard at St Peter's Church, Yoxall, Staffordshire in protest at the work of her son-in-law Chris Hall. He worked at Darley Oaks Farm which bred guinea pigs for use...

Loughcrew
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I'd visited most of the major megalithic sites in Ireland, but somehow had never made it to Loughcrew, or as its also known Sliabh na Caillí - The Hill of the Witch. There's dozens of tombs scattered across two hills - Carnbane East and West, looking down upon the County Meath village of Oldcastle. Although not as visually impressive as the remodelled behemoth that is Newgrange, Loughcrew as a significance of its own. While the main chamber is illuminated at sunrise on the Winter solstice, Cairn T at Lough crew does the same at sunrise on the autumn Equinox - with light coming into the chamber onto the megalithic art inside. As the light moves along the solar symbols carved into the rock, the sunlight is formed into a beam by the entrance stones. All of these are from Carnbane East which includes Cairn T. Purchase high quality, high resolution...

St Brigit's Well, Liscannor
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Some time ago, I posted pictures from our visit to St. Brigit's Well in the west of Ireland. Tucked away on the road between the Cliffs of Moher and Liscannor, St Brigit's Well never fails to amaze me. It's less of a Catholic site than a Chritian veneer on older beliefs - Brigit was never a saint, she was Brid, an ancient fire goddess, apparently. While ostensibly a site of Christian - and by extension, Catholic practice, St. Brigit's Well manages to convey a sense of ancient custom - a place of sacrifice and votive offering. All kinds of memorabilisa and keepsakes form the stacks of mouldering deitrious that line the entrance cavern. Toys, photographs, statues, masscards... and objects that defy any logic, like ATM cards. I try and visit every year, as the collection constantly changes. I'm simultaneously horrified, amused and saddened by the things I find there. Bizarre...