Tuesday 12 March 2019

Here Comes a Candle: Summoning of London Ghosts

Blackheath is an eerie, haunted place. Ruth Bayer's photo, shown above, illustrates one of its ghostly tales, which was related by Caroline Wise at last night's Nova Stellar Meetup in London.

The talk was an illustrated presentation by Ruth and Caroline's about their latest psychogeographical book project and was called Here Comes the Candle, a Photographic Summoning of London Ghosts. Ruth photographed haunted locations and used models to represent ghosts seen there. Her images are beautiful blends of reality and imagined spectral forces.

Caroline wrote the text and in her talk last night explained that she and Ruth wanted to capture the mood and atmosphere of each location rather than just focus on the ghosts themselves. She explained that Blackheath gained its name because the soil is very dark. The place is associated with rebels, including Wat Tyler's Peasants' Revolt of 1381, Jack Cade's Kentish rebellion in 1450 and the Cornish rebellion of 1497. These ended in failure and death.

A sense of despair still seems to linger at the open heathland, Caroline said, even though the area is now a surrounded by expensive properties and boutique shops. The ghost depicted is that of a woman who has been seeing wandering the common looking mournful. Some say she killed herself after being jilted, but no one really knows for sure.

Ruth and Caroline's book is due to be published in the next few months. Nova Stellar usually meets at The Castle, 34-35 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6DB, on the second Monday of the month. You can find more details here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1472510443017948/

The photo is copyright Ruth Bayer


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