Month: January 2006

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Over the years at Blather, we have described many of the items we have covered as 'weird news'. Certainly we mean 'weird' in both its strict sense (uncanny, supernatural: like schools closing because of ghosts) and in its colloquial sense (strange, incomprehensible: like a corpse propped in front of a TV for two years without anyone noticing). But did you know that 'weird' originally meant something entirely different? The original word was a noun, whereas we use the word as an adjective (e.g. 'Barry is weird') or an adverb (e.g. 'Barry is acting weird')... AND it was originally spelt wyrd... To understand the concept of wyrd we need to look at history. Britain in the late Roman Empire was Christian, but from around 449 AD pagan Germanic tribes (Angles, Saxons and Jutes) invaded and settled. They brought pagan beliefs, as described in Old English literature and Tacitus' Germania. The Germanic...

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In our continuing exploration of the world of the Dead, Blather.net went in search of the Southwark Mysteries - the untold history of London. So, on a cold and gloomy 23rd of December 2005 we met with 'John Crow': a local poet and mystic who talks to the outcast dead... Christmas for the dead It's 7 pm. It's bitterly cold and windy on Redcross Way, but so far there seems to be little threat of rain. Twelve of us look through the iron gates, into Crossbones Graveyard: some pause to read the strips of cloth tied the gate's railings that contain the names of the dead. I can't help but notice that Irish surnames seem to be frequent. People light candles, move around quietly and then, on John's lead, the singing starts: "Silent night", a Christmas song for the ghosts within - the ghosts of the unwanted, the forgotten and...