Saturday, March 28, 2015

Haunted Hellfire Club

In 1725, atop Montpelier hill near Dublin, a wealthy Irishman named William Connolly built a hunting lodge over a burial mound. In fact, legend has it that some of the stones from the cairn were incorporated into the building of the lodge.

It hadn't stood long before a fierce wind ripped the roof off. Locals weren't surprised, seeing the event as a sign of some sort of otherworldly vengeance. Connolly died less than four years later.

The lodge then moved into the hands of Richard Parsons, a man some believe helped bring the infamous Hellfire Club to Ireland. At Hellfire Club meetings, one chair was always left vacant for the devil, according to legends.

Local myth had it that a nearby farmer went poking around, peering into windows at the lodge to learn more about what was going on inside. He was found the next day, suddenly deaf and mute. Other legends speak of a large black cat with horns and 'eyes of the devil'.

The Hellfire Club members were well-off and learned men who chose to frolic in a more debauched atmosphere than most gentlemen's clubs of the time offered. Following a trend then of counter-culture blasphemy, the organization's head was the devil and they often considered themselves devils, but this seemed more of a joke, a way to shock genteel society. Still, legends of the rich and powerful--and their abuses--are endless, so it's no surprise that tales of mayhem and murder abound here. Many believe vengeful victims still stalk the property, demanding retribution from beyond the grave.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Déjà Vu or Past Life Experience?

An American, George Lawton, was in London on business in 1914 when he detoured to meet his old friend, Paul Bixby, in York. Lawton had never been, but was keen to see the city's famous cathedral.

As Bixby led Lawton through the winding streets, he noticed Lawton behaving aloof, distracted. "What's the matter," he asked.

Lawton couldn't quite say, beyond having a profound sense of déjà vu. Everything around him seemed so familiar, as if he had been in York before and knew it like the back of his hand. In fact, as he was explaining this to his friend, he admitted that he could probably lead way to the cathedral.

Bixby chuckled. He doubted that would be possible; the streets were too winding and confusing.

Lawton presssed on, leading the way. Bixby was at first amused but soon grew awestruck as his American friend, unfamiliar with York, was outpacing him with a surefooted stride until they reached the west entrance to the Cathedral.

Breathlessly, Bixby caught up and congratulated Lawton on his uncanny navigation of these unfamiliar streets. Lawton, however, wasn't quite listening. Again, he was distracted, peering past the cathedral to a vacant lot.

"What happened to the inn that used to be on that corner?"

"There never was one," Bixby replied. "Not that I can recall."

Later that day, in the local library, the pair poured over an old map of York. Locating the cathedral, the scanned over to the location of the vacant lot and were both astonished to discover a small notation in faded script: Site of the Golden Ox, a famous old inn destroyed in 1648.

Had George Lawton, indeed, been to York before? In another life time?

Saturday, March 14, 2015

It Follows

This indie flick, which has critics talking, looks to be one of the best horror films in a while. I hope it doesn't let us down. It's got a great 80s horror pastiche to decorate a chilling film that calls to mind those urban legends that haunt our childhoods.