Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Strange Happenings Investigation Group

Between the ages of 8 and 12, my sister and I were members of a secret ghost-hunting society. The society was kept religiously secret from our parents and any children other than our next door neighbours, who were in on it too. We fearlessly investigated anything spooky within a 200 metre radius of our houses.

As there was never anything particularly spooky within a 200 metre radius of our houses, (just the woods, railway heath and semi-detached homes of a commuter town outside London), we had to conjure spookiness up from nothing, from the mundane world around us; and this created the eerie feeling that there were magical, invisible forces at play, dancing just behind the visible world, contradicting its boredom and normality.

Increasingly, we wove taller and taller tales, and we wrote them down and filed them away in secret. They formed a body of evidence that desperately strange things were afoot, and that we were fated to be at the very epicentre of them. Only we could read the signs, and the signs showed that our little town was an enchanted and savage place, no different from the Manchester of Elidor or the Buckinghamshire of the Dark is Rising, both of which we had read, but as coded messages, rather than works of fiction. Sort of like Buffy if every character was Willow, and with Arthurian legends rather than vampires.

In a spring clean last week I rediscovered some of our files, and I laughed til i could hardly breathe. We hadn't realised what comedians we were.

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