Fantasy on TV and film
We liked Tidelands, a crime drama set in sunny Queensland, Australia. Reality blends near-seamlessly with Serbian myth and folklore.
Like Neil Gaiman's American Gods, it asks what happens if the gods too become migrants.
Look out too for a lavish prequel, Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance series on Netflix, set in a faraway world of wonder, with enchanting creatures from the mystical World of Froud.
A special shout-out to a romp of a film from Nigeria. We loved it and are more interested in Nigerian folklore as a result - The Lost Okoroshi. Check it out if you can.
Lore of the land
Halloween - All Hallows Eve - is widely believed to be an equivalent of Samhain, when the year turns towards winter and the veils between the worlds thin.
On Samhain night, the fairy folk or sidhe are said to ride out, in the Ballad of Tam Lin.
You can leave out some food for them at the nearest blackthorn (especially if you've already harvested the sloes) or hawthorn.
But there is little actual evidence for Samhain. Remains at the hill of Tlachtga in County Meath may only date back to Anglo-Norman times, long after the Celtic Iron Age.
Pilgrims might be better off visiting the ruins of Smyrna in Turkey.
Yet the tradition of a supernatural Halloween persists, and even grows - as in the legend of Sleepy Hollow.
A mounted ranger decapitated in the Battle of White Plains 1776 rises each Halloween, they say, as a headless horseman or dullahan, just like in the old Irish tales.
The festival does resemble, however, other traditions worldwide.
Eg: Bon festival (Japan), Hungry Ghost festival (China), Pitru Paksha (India), Awaru Odu (Nigeria), Pangangaluluwa (Philippines), Dziady (Poland) and Mexico's Day of the Dead.
Top Halloween tip from #FolkloreThursday?
A new Gramarye
A winter 2019 issue of Gramarye from the Chichester Centre for Fairy Tales, Fantasy and Speculative Fiction can be pre-ordered here.
A shadow at the door
This week, news that HBO's Game of Thrones writers may have had little comparable experience beforehand. Millions of fans were disappointed with how Benioff and Weiss wrapped up the plot.
Yet not everyone hated everything after Season 5. And how much should previous experience really count, especially in the arts?
London, UK: Halloween/Samhain
Rest of UK: 1-3 November
UK - Rest of November (!)
- Samhain Festival 1-3 Nov (adults only), Forest Row, East Sussex.
- Samhain Moot 1 Nov, Basildon, Essex
- Samhain Celebration, 1 Nov, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire
- Avebury Halloween Party by the Fay Brotherhood, 1 Nov, Red Lion, Avebury, Wiltshire
- Halloween Ghost Hunt 1 Nov, Galleries of Justice, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire
- Beneath the Dust: An Immersive Halloween Experience 1-2 Nov, 'Town Centre Somewhere Forgotten', Dumfries, DG1. Tickets also here
- Haunted History and Folklore Evening Tour 3 Nov, Blaenavon Ironworks, Blaenau Gwent, Wales
- Local Legends: Folklore, Culture and You 3 Nov, The Anatomy Rooms, Aberdeen, Scotland
- See also English Heritage for events at historic sites country-wide
- Lewes Bonfire Night 5 Nov, Lewes, Sussex
- Tar Barrel Rolling 5 Nov, Ottery St Mary, Devon
- Bonfire night (Guy Fawkes), 5 Nov, UK-wide. Find an event
- Legend of the Burning Bell: The Demoness of Dojoji 5 Nov, British Library, London NW1 2DB
- Mostly Ghostly Presents: Dark Tales of Old Sanquhar 6 Nov, Sanquhar Tolbooth Museum, Sanquhar, Dumfries DG4 6BN
- Crichton Crypt Tour 7 Nov, Easterbrook Hall, Dumfries DG1 4TA
- Myth in Greek Art Vase Painting 8 Nov, British Museum, London WC1B 3DG
- The Fire of Olympus, Or: Sticking it to the Man 9 Nov, an opera of Prometheus and Pandora, Todmorden Hippodrome, Yorkshire. Also 1 Nov in Beverley; 2 Nov in Skipton.
- Worthing Wormhole Comicon 9 Nov, The Assembly Rooms, Worthing, West Sussex
- Sixty Years of the Lore and Language of Schoolchildren 15 Nov, Oxford University Press, Great Clarendon Street, Oxford OX2 6DP
- Mahajanaka Dance Drama 16 Nov-17 Nov, British Library, London NW1 2DB
- Stepping On - A Conference on Stepping in Dance 16-17 Nov, Cecil Sharp House, London, NW1 7AY
- Folklore in Fiction, a talk at Chester Literature Festival 17 Nov, Cheshire
- Three Acres and a Cow: A History of Land Rights Protest in Folk Song and Story 19 Nov, Bethnal Green, London E2 9PL
- Witch Bottles and Worn Shoes: Home Protection Folklore Practices 20 Nov, Geffrye Museum of the Home, London E2 8EA
- Bloeuwedd - Untold 22 Nov, Garrett Theatre, Chester Literature Festival, Cheshire
- Gatekeeper Trust Conference 'Myth in the Landscape' 23-24 Nov, Bouverie Hall, Pewsey, Wiltshire SN9 5ES
- Skelling, Skeklers and Guising: Exploring Liminality 23-24 Nov, Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh
- Crick Crack Club: Rebel Children 25 Nov, British Library. London NW1 2DB
- Myths and Magic - storytellers 28 Nov, Cellar Arts Club. Worthing, West Sussex
- BCLA Postgraduate Conference ‘Radical Retellings: Fairy Tale, Myth, and Beyond’ 29 Nov, St. Edmund Hall, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 4AR
- Deadly - talk on women's sacred spaces 9 Nov, Hotel Esplanade, St Kilda, Victoria 3182
- A Midnight Visit - an Edgar Allan Poe experience Until 3 Nov, House of Usher, North Melbourne
- Grief and Vengeance: Otherworldly Tales - J-horror films at the Japanese Film Festival 25-26 Nov, Astor Theatre, St Kilda, Victoria
- Japan Supernatural - including pieces from Katsushika Hokusai and Takashi Murakami 2 Nov-8 Mar, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney
- False Gods - exhibition by Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran 26 Oct-16 Nov, Sullivan+Strumpf, Zetland, Sydney
- Dance Rites 23-24 Nov, Sydney Opera House, Sydney