Britain’s Pagan Twilight

I have been writing about the long-standing British fascination with the idea of a continuing rural paganism, ideas that in the 1960s grew into the genre of Folk Horror. But why did the ideas of witch-cult theorist Margaret Murray attract such a wide and credulous following? Looking at the writings of such mainstream figures as [Read More…]

Witches in the Village

In 1945, English villager Charles Walton was gruesomely murdered in what sensationalist media decided was a sinister “witch murder,” even a human sacrifice, in the community of Lower Quinton. That story, as described by detective Robert Fabian, became the foundation of a whole genre of fantastic fiction, Folk Horror, and this spilled over into the [Read More…]

Dark Majesty and Folk Horror

This coming Monday, August 1, marks the medieval feast of Lammas, Loaf-mass, the year’s first harvest festival, and that coincides with one of the great feasts of the ancient Irish calendar, Lughnasa. This also brings me to a curious anniversary, which tells us a little bit about medieval history, and a great deal about the [Read More…]

King Jesus

A classic book can change your life. Oddly, on occasion, a much lesser and truly flawed work can have a similar effect. Over forty years ago, I read Robert Graves’s daring 1946 novel King Jesus, which a later publisher’s blurb characterized as “one of the most controversial historical novels of all time.” Not once was [Read More…]

The Slain God

I have been enjoying the latest book by Timothy Larsen, The Slain God: Anthropologists and the Christian Faith (Oxford University Press, 2014). At first sight, such a study of the rise of an academic discipline might seem like an odd topic for a scholar who has established such a splendid reputation writing on specifically religious [Read More…]

THE MOCKING OF CARABBAS

There is a passage in the Alexandrian writer Philo that casts a curious light on Christian origins, and I wish I understood it better. Let me put it out there for discussion. Philo reports on the violent and confrontational politics of the Egypt of his day, particularly the 30s AD. Alexandria was sharply divided between [Read More…]