Month: February 2006

Hellfire Club, West Wycombe
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In yet another episode in a never-ending series, blather.net returns to the lair of the English Hellfire Club - Sir Francis Dashwood's party-house at Medmenham Abbey, and the fantastically kitsch tunnels in West Wycombe. Back in 1998, blather.net visited the Hellfire Club tunnels, in West Wycombe, Buckinghamshire - which, in case you don't know, is about 50km out of London. Back then, I knew very little about photography - I pointed and I shot, and was pleased enough. Now, I know a little more, and hope I've presented some better images of one very, very odd place. I've already written extensively on blather.net about the Hellfire Clubs, both the Irish Hellfire Club and their English counterparts. So, rather than getting into an explanation of 18th century rakes and satanists, I'm going to stick with talking about our recent visit. In November 2005, a crack blather.net & Strange Attractor team descended...

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Seven foot six and eight foot four. One coffin, two coffins, three. Concrete slippers, the smell of kippers and a funeral at sea. Ladies and Gentlemen, Blather.net and the stupendous Mr. Panting present the amazing, the fantastic, the spectacular tale of the Irish giants, Messrs. Charles O'Brien and Patrick Cotter. High-Kings? Or Just high? The remains of Charles O'Brien, the celebrated Irish giant, who died in 1783 from alcohol-induced illness, have long held a macabre place of honour in the collection of the Royal College of Surgeons, London. He was one of two Irish giants living in England at the end of the eighteenth century who were household names. The second was Patrick Cotter. Curiously, both men were said to claim to be direct lineal descendants of Brian Boru, the eleventh century High King of Ireland. Confusion seems to abound about O'Brien. There's the spelling of his name and even...