Tuesday 28 August 2012

Caravan Palace: Diss-used

More location scouting for the horror film that exists only in my head. I couldn't tell if this caravan was genuinely derelict and abandoned, or in use by squatters and the homeless - there were a couple of bicycles outside, so I didn't go wandering inside. The broken windows, flapping sheets, and suspicious-looking old suitcase looked appealing, but not that appealing.

A sort of piece of scrubland just on the edge of Diss, Norfolk.

Monday 27 August 2012


"Meaning is not in things but inbetween them. You unfortunately don't have a free will."

Graffiti on the Lady Julian Bridge over the River Wensum, Norwich, named after Norwich's famed fourteenth century mystic.

Wednesday 22 August 2012

Containment: Abandoned Places

A couple of disused freight containers on a stretch of overgrown wasteland.

Monday 20 August 2012

The Raunchy Rector, The Prostitute's Padre: The Grave of Harold Davidson, the Vicar of Stiffkey

In the quiet churchyard of St John the Baptist, Stiffkey, up on the North Norfolk coast, lies the grave of a figure who scandalised early 1930s Britain. Harold Davidson was the Rector of Stiffkey from 1906 to 1932, when he was defrocked following the sensational revelations of the less respectable company he kept. It emerged that he would regularly travel to London and wander the streets of Soho, approaching prostitutes and claiming to attempt to help save them from vice by helping them find employment within the theatre industry.

The scandal was reported nationally. Even at the time, opinion was divided over whether his intentions (and, perhaps more importantly, behaviour) were honourable: however, he was thrown out of the church in 1932 and, today, amongst those who are aware of the story, is often the source of a wry smile or two. His appearance (short, middle-aged, toothy) certainly feeds well into the tradition of the utterly-unsexy British sex comedy. (Indeed, a raunchy British comedy in the early 1980s, 'The Missionary,' may have been loosely based on the case).

He his also notable for the bizarre nature of his death. In 1937, he began working at an amusement park in Skegness, where he would stand, with tame lions, in a lion cage (a reference to Daniel in the lions' den, apparently) and talk to the audience of the injustice he had recently experienced. (The fact that this was seen as a draw highlights Davidson's continuing celebrity). During one performance, he accidentally stepped on the tail of one of the placcid lions, and was promptly mauled to death.

The quotation on his grave is from Robert Louis Stevenson.

Haunted Bottle

I found this half-buried in the dirt whilst tramping round the old Harford Farm site. I'm assuming this is an old medicine bottle. As well as being the area of a former farm and Anglo-Saxon burial ground (covered in previous posts), it is also next to an old (now capped) landfill site. I've spoken to a chap who said his brother used to go exploring there as a kid and collect any medicine bottles that had been buried there.

However, as I'm still on a big M R James trip, I'm convinced it is in fact some cursed artifact of Lovecraftian evil. A witch bottle, at least. Unlikely, but still.

Friday 3 August 2012

A Slice of (Haunted) Birthday Cake

Late by a few days - I should really have posted this on the 1st - but hey. Happy 150th birthday, MR James. I have mentioned James elsewhere in this blog, so shall try not to repeat myself, but James is one of the most celebrated writers of the traditional ghost story. As many of his works (including two of his most famous stories: 'Oh Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad, and 'A Warning to the Curious') are set in bleak and lonely stretches of East Anglia, his writings have a particular power over me. Whether successful or not, most of the pictures on this blog do attempt something inherently Jamesian: to hint at the ghosts and forgotten fragments beneath the region's surface.