What do you think of when someone says the word ‘witch’? For most, it’s the common image of a hook-nosed old hag in a pointy hat, cackling loudly while riding around on a broomstick – which believe it or not, is largely due to Durer’s paintings in the 15th century, which depicted old, hideous women with (you guessed it), enormously large noses.
It was Stephen King’s 70th birthday yesterday. I’m aware he’s a writer that divides opinion (and I’ve had fierce debates about him with several friends over the years). However, love him or hate him, you can’t deny he’s had huge influence over thousands of writers who have come after him… including myself.
Have you ever been really afraid? I’m not talking nervy or panicked – I’m talking full-blown, heart-racing, chest tightening frightened. Most people have experienced this, which is why most find it difficult to believe that fear could ever be funny.
One afternoon, a few years back, my mother and I were discussing bones. Not randomly, I should add – we were actually chatting about some mysterious bones she’d found in her under-stairs cupboard; mostly small bones that looked as though they belonged to birds or rodents.
I thought I’d head further up the country for today’s ghostly exploration – to Dorchester, in Dorset. I’ve got big fondness for Dorchester; not least because my youngest son was born there, and we lived in the town for two years. By day, it’s a pretty market town, surrounded by lush, rolling fields and beautiful coastlines. By night, however… it’s a different story.