What got me into fantasy and horror as a genre?
My family history is really to blame for me loving fantasy and horror, because my family history is pretty unusual in fact, absolutely overrun with weirdness.
It mostly stems from my maternal line all this weird stuff, my grandmother is half Romany and my grandmother once told me that there are witches within the family; I never really truly believed her though I liked the thought that we had such a weird and diverse family history – but in 2017 I found out the truth when I did my own genetic research.
It turns out that my family had cousins who were victims of the Salem witch trials not only on my grandmother’s side of the family, but also my grandfather’s side of the family as well – her husband.
My family names which were involved with these trials are Howe, Bishop and Crawley – though Crawley managed to escape from her persecution by running away in the night to a different town, here in the UK, around one hundred years after Salem, because our family fled back to the UK after their cousins were lost to the Salem trials.
My grandmother was rather good at telling me about family traditions and taught me a lot of things, which my mother thought was a load of old tosh and old wives tales; but I followed my grandmothers advice on more than one occasion and things always worked out for me whenever I got stuck in life – so it is something I have learned to live by these days.
Witchcraft and gypsy magick seems to run in my blood and there is a lot of weird things I’ve been taught over the years about what it is to be a true witch, with real witch heritage!
My grandmother held off teaching me anything before I was seven years of age, because a true witch understands that before the age of seven spirits can over take a child and make them act like changelings – non-humans and they will never get back their former child if they allow them to mess around with magick sooner than this!
You can tell if a child is meant to be a witch for several reasons within the family – the most significant thing is having green eyes, which is probably why green eyes are rare, it was common knowledge back in the witch burning days. The next significant thing is being able to remember their dreams and being a sickly child; because the magick messes up our bodies and because we’re young we’re not strong enough to control it.
Some people believe that green eyes is a sign we are descendants of the goddess Hera and some say it’s where the word heretic comes from, but I can’t vouch for the truth of this, because I don’t know!
But what I do know is, there is a section of my mother’s family who believe we are descendants from Dionysus, but again, I can’t vouch for the truth of this either! I know the Italian side of my family believe we are mixed with Greek and Jewish too, but that’s one of the four lines in the past five generations where I have Italian blood.
But that’s another conversation.
The family name Crawley is linked to the family name Crowley too, as the Crowley’s changed their name to become more distinctive and I’ve yet to find a link to the man himself – you know who I am talking about! My grandmother is sure however he is a second or third cousin to her as she met him at a family reunion around 12yrs of age – she was born in 1932. Again, I don’t know whether this is true or not, because I haven’t found a link in my research to him.
Why would this influence my love for fantasy and horror? Because it was part of my bonding process with my grandmother or nan as I called her! She taught me that in order to be safe going out you need certain trinkets, her particular favorite is the Cornish pixie, if you have that on you and people cause mischief with you, the pixie will ensure they get into mischief too!
I wasn’t inclined to believe about the pixies too much. But something strange happened when I was twenty five and I went out to a local woodland with a boyfriend (of whom I was having doubts about) – he was being his general obnoxious self and then there was a big rustle up in the trees above us – acorns fell on his head hurting him, when he complained about it there was cheeky maniacal laughter coming up from the tree and the acorn pellets got worse and worse until he grabbed me by the hands and ran out of the woodlands with me! I laughed and warned him of my heritage once again and how he shouldn’t be so bloody cheeky with me! We broke up four months later.
She got me into the habit of leaving an offering out to the spirits of the house; because if they are not fed often enough they’ll make the house fall into disrepair! They will also protect the house from burglary and other things. I believe this, because I am paranoid about forgetting to do the offerings and I have had two near burglary’s happen, one occasion a burglar tried to break in and the garden gate fell on them as they ran away – the burglar was someone we knew, because they couldn’t help saying that there are weird freaky things in the window and when he decided to leave – the gate fell on him! But we noticed the back door of the house looked meddled with and we had to change the locks because of issues with it.
This person also claimed that the joker soft toy in the bedroom window waves at him from time to time, but that’s not a mechanical toy, so it must be the Nisse (my gran never called it Nisse, she always called it the hearth folk) playing about!
There are lots of things like this that happen over and over again in my life and many things I won’t talk about here, because if a witch reveals too much about their actual family spells it makes the spells null and void for all future generations. This is how you can really tell a true witch from someone who just likes to play about. It is also the reason why certain famous spell books don’t work for some people, but some people they do, because the spirits can sense the bloodlines, but some spells still don’t work or work as effectively as they did for those who originated them, because they get weaker with corruption outside of true magick circles.
Earlier on in the life of the internet you could tell real magick from fake, because magic, magick and magyck – had different significant meanings, which no longer stand in today’s society, once again, thanks to corruption… usually corruption of the wannabes rather than religious intervention!
No spirit will hurt a true witch, but they do hurt those who are not pure in heart with their spells or who are not part of spiritual bond that blood gives; they will particularly hurt those who intend to do spells based on selfish reasons and revenge. Because a true witch has no reason to make revenge spells, because their protective spirits and the spirits of their ancestors would already be enacting a vengeance plan for them, if they feel that the witch truly suffered innocently.
Also witches never charge for their skills in spell making or fortune telling, because the spirits will work against them as their skills are a gift and should not be abused for financial gain – however, a true witch and true fortune teller will ask for a donation, this is better than to outright charge. A donation is acceptable to the spirits, charging for your ability is not!
This is why you will know a true witch, if she asks you to pay for your own spell ingredients so that she can use them to help you, and then you know she is genuine!
Spells from a true witch work faster than those who are merely wannabes!
Also a true witch knows that if a witch curses another witch, that within twelve years they will feel the nasty effects of what they have done, because witches have a code of protecting each other which must never be broken! Also a true witch can feel the spells as soon as it is cast on them, though they won’t always know where it came from! It is rumoured in my family that we were the originators of the idea of witch bottles and four thieves vinegar, but again, whether that’s true or not I don’t know!
My nan told me that a witch is a witch not because they worship devils, that’s just carnival games to excite the masses for some – they are witches because they are descendants from supernatural beings such as pagan gods, faeries and even dragons – because in the far east they believe dragons can live lives like a human and that they have special magical abilities.
My nan also told me that I had Chinese in my ancestry, she was wrong, I found the link she meant, they were actually Vietnamese. My grandmother is not very clever or academic, she never read books outside of supernatural or occult memoirs – but she knew a lot of Vietnamese traditions purely by word of mouth through the family.
My grandmother on my father’s side of the family also had some fantastical stories about our family history too – though she is not from witch or gypsy lines. She is from quite a pronounced aristocratic line, a contrast to my mother’s family entirely! Though her father was Irish and once spoke of tales of how the family is rumoured to be descended from the Tuath Dé Danann. At the time I had no idea what that was, but I learned it was fairy folk of Ireland!
My grandmother from this side of the family also spoke of a family banshee, but I was terrified of those stories and I wouldn’t acknowledge them as true, until my first ever death in that side of the family – when I did, indeed hear a distressed long cry and screech outside all night, the night before I learned that Great auntie Edith died!
I learned over the years that you can talk to the banshee and even comfort her, something I never found in myth as possible – she now only softly whimpers, whenever a death occurs and she gives a longer warning of three days before now.
I love weeping willows, but it is not wise for me to be under them for more than a minute, because of their reaction to me. I always find myself tangled up in their branches and leaves, like the tree is trying to embrace me – I laughed about it when I went on a picnic with my gran, she panicked and because she was disabled and couldn’t walk over to me, she screeched at my cousins to get me away from the tree quickly! When I settled back down with her, I told her I was fine, the tree didn’t hurt me. But she said, no, if I hadn’t of got them to get you out of there, we would have lost you!
I called her silly, but she looked at me with the most serious and stern look I’ve ever seen in her eyes and she said – never go under a weeping willow if you can help it, not all of them, but some have a spirit in them that can sense where your blood is from and the tree will hold you tight until you go back to that world!
Back to what world?
I laughed at her, but she hit me with her walking stick and told me not to be foolish about it, because if I had got trapped in fairyland a minute is a century if I were to come back and what will happen to me then?
Amongst my skills of being a writer, musician, gardener and poet, are also skills in clairvoyance, clairsentience, healing and fortune telling! I don’t like to touch people unless I know them well, because if they are sick and I touch them for more than five minutes at a time, I can sense their illness and take it within myself for a few moments, whilst they get relieved of symptoms. But I have learned how to alleviate that for me in the past few years.
I remember once when training at work – a method of bonding with our colleagues I was made to hold hands with two people and hold their hands for ten minutes straight as part of the exercise and I fainted within three minutes; it was not apparent until fifteen minutes after I collapsed when I asked the two women I held hands with, if they have any serious health problems? When they asked why? I said because if I touch someone over a certain period of time I take on their health problems, she was terrified because she had a heart problem and she couldn’t apologise enough, I calmed her down and told her, she wasn’t to know this sort of thing could happen, it’s highly irregular!
Weirdly enough my dad is the seventh born and my mum had several pregnancies in which she is sure I’d be her seventh child too, so it’s no wonder my powers are more significant than other members of the family who chose to stay true to our heritage! I know according to the other practising witches in the family they believe I am the strongest of the lot – whether it’s to do with the significance of my birth as a seventh child of a seventh child we’re unsure, but I was also born on a full moon! 3rd October 1982 if you want to check!
With all this in my heritage, all these strange tales and occurrences, how else was I to spend my life but wanting to learn more about the supernatural and absorbing myself into it all?
I have to admit a lot of my family stories and experiences will be found in my novels, but I won’t share too much about the magick, because of those reasons I’ve already explained above.
But as I have said in previous posts, my life has been very spiritually enriched and blessed and I am happy to have such a life, no matter how lonely it makes me!
What bought this post on?
I was scared of my witchy roots for a few years because there have been one or two discriminating people in my village, so I swept it under the carpet. But like always the spirits have a way in keeping their own safe; so those discriminating people left the village to go to retirement dream spots away from here and they were replaced by likeminded folk. It’s a funny old world isn’t it?
If I hadn’t been an absorbed writer, I probably would have followed my cousin and nans encouragement in trying to be a fortune teller, healer and clairvoyant of donation only and struggled on through life trying to make ends meet that way – outside of my normal day job – a history of my former occupations will be another post.
I have restarted my crystal and tarot card collections again recently, you know it’s a myth that you can’t use your own tarot if you buy it, don’t you? A myth to deter Christian children from partaking in witchy pursuits!
Thanks for reading!