When the spirits call……..

When the spirits call, we mere mortals, must answer!

This is how I felt just a few weeks after the move to Deva – and the spirits that called me, called me to a certain place, a place of death most horrible.

For a short, intense while, I became obsessed with the whereabouts of the Gallows Hill!

With thanks to a friend on FB, I bought a book called ‘Death in Chester’ written by a local chap called Roy Wilding. The book confirmed the location, which I had identified myself, using practical methods (Google Earth) to follow up ‘leads’ given to me, cryptically by those spirits. I was not surprised to find that women, accused of Witchcraft, were hanged here…

But the obsession drove me on to discover more about the history of the place, and before I was really ready, I set out on the first pilgrimage.

The day was not a pleasant one; the dark skies threatened rain; the strong wind sent the clouds scuttling along at great speed, and it was cold. Not a day to set out on foot to go looking for a place that screamed ‘you come!’ to me – yet I could not ignore it any longer – I had to go!

I dressed warmly, and put on a good waterproof coat – checked the map, but set it to one side, deciding to answer the Call; spirits would guide me… I knew the way roughly, I walked down the road, turned right and walked towards the city centre. After about a mile, crossed the canal bridge and a little further on I came across a cross roads and thought I knew it – turns out I’d walked in the direction of the Gallows Hill by accident the week before! Coming back from the city, I’d taken a wrong turn, and well, got lost. Seems the spirits wanted me to visit them then, only I’d turned back and found my way home the way I’d come… this told me, my obsession wasn’t just my imagination.

I pressed on, along the busy road; a dual carriageway – no place to cross; and so busy!

Then the hairs on the back of my neck stood up; without warning, there was no traffic – I could cross… and did so… coming to the public ‘park’ that is the site of the Gallows!

I paused… too easy – I’d found it far too easy.

Or it had found me…

I earthed myself; becoming aware of modernity around me; the traffic – the houses – the people – the wind – the sky – the ground beneath me. I stepped into the Now; all present and paying attention!

This was important, I knew from experiences past, to shut out, completely, anything trying to make contact with me – there would be time enough for that in the future, so I did what I do to be totally unconnected.

I cut off my psychic senses.

I cocooned myself; silence; unemotional; stillness filled my cocoon, and I descended the steps into the awful place, totally on my own and able to evaluate the place with out disturbance!

I went down the steps into what I can only say is a place were the council have tried… they’ve tried to make it a nice place… after all the views are spectacular! But there were no benches for anyone to sit and enjoy it. No wonder, I thought – in my well (or so I thought) protected cocoon, who would want to linger here?

So I stood for a while gazing out, watching boats row up and down the river, feeling safe, and allowing my mind to wander…

The view from the Gallows Hill, Deva.
The view from the Gallows Hill, Deva.

I even took photo’s…

The view across the fields f
The view across the fields.

I even mused that this view could have been (quite possibly) the last thing many people saw…

The view along the river towards Handbridge, where the Shrine of Minerva is.
The view along the river towards Handbridge, where the Shrine of Minerva is.

But what was that smell… it came on the wind, in waves, a sickly sweet smell, with a tinge of something behind it – could it be those spring bulbs? On such a windy day? Or the cherry blossom? Or… something else…

Unawares, caught up in a mixture of sight and smell, distracted and opened, a rush of a sensation over took me…

I galloped in thin air, twisting and turning, eye’s bulging, gasping for air but none came; I danced the hang-mans gig as my ears burst…

The smell filled my head – the smell of death masked by flowers.

Shaken, I left quickly – now aware of a mist over the place, at the top of the steps I quickly ‘opened’ my senses and set up a barrier betwix me and the place.

Fire – the mist, I sensed, was a code for fire – I’d seen it before many times; in burnt ruins; in a burnt out church, deep in Wales, in the roof of the rebuilt building; mist… meant there had been burning here too.

That’s when I saw the obelisk…


*Real Time Note: Now I know who this is dedicated to, but, in order to ‘get the facts right’ I’ve just gone along to Wiki for a link, incase you, Dear Reader, wish to case these facts up further… imagine my surprise when I read this… remembering this event is chronicled in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs… I quote: “George Marsh was executed on a windy day in April 1555….”

I was there on a windy day in April. 

I am STUNNED by this – so much so I have to go away and think about the implications – the message given and how I can apply it to my praxis – I was going to go on and write about poor George, the Christian Martyr, burnt at the stake by Bloody Mary (Mary I, catholic Queen of England, daughter of Henry VIII and Catharine of Aragon) for sticking to his guns, but I am absolutely bowled over by this…

There will have to be a part two!


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