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Tuesday, 18 October 2022

The Crow Witch is Here - and She's Brought a Few Friends


Each story sucked me in immediately and I just couldn’t stop reading until the end. So be careful if you’re prone to telling yourself you’ll read just one more page…” – Erica Robyn Reads

"This collection is perfect for an evening as you await the witching hour or a banging on your door. Full of tricks but in itself a treat of good supernatural horror. Highly recommended for the season of the witch!" - Runalongwomble

If you love to relax on a cold and dark winter evening with a good spooky story, The Crow Witch and Other Conjurings by Catherine Cavendish has seven that will send shivers down your spine." - What's Good To Read

"The Crow Witch and Other Conjurings is a feast for fans of dark tales and adult-aimed fairy tales." - Daniel Robichaud, Considering Stories

“The gothic style of Catherine Cavendish takes you deep into an atmospheric read… Snuggle down in your cozy chair and spend some time with this author as she unfolds the spooky stories within.” – Book Nook Retreat

I've never had an entire fiction collection before, but now - thanks to the wonderful folk at Weird House Press - I do. What's more, it's just in time for Halloween!

As is the way with fiction collections, there may be some titles you recognize - one in particular - but this is a chance to meet some new... Well, maybe friends is stretching it a little. Some of these characters are evil. I mean evil on a scale where you wouldn't wish them on your worst enemy. Or then again, perhaps you would.

Collectively, they are called:

The Crow Witch and Other Conjurings

Come and meet them:

 
Marzana's Hut

A derelict cabin in the wood and a mysterious portrait that is far more deadly than oil paint and canvas

Sour Grapes

When the seeds of revenge are sown, beware the harvest

The Oubliette of Elie Loyd

A woman who seems to step out of an old Hollywood movie, and a castle with a murderous past

Euphemia Christie

It began with a gravestone...but where would it end?

The Lost Prophecy of Ursula Sontheil

The world would know her as Mother Shipton - a seer? A witch? Her predictions were many, but there is one more. One she hid away for a future generation...

Daft Old Bat

Some called her crazy, others feared her. Only the foolish would ridicule her, for this old woman knew the secrets of the land and how to harness its power

The Malan Witch

"Naught remained of their bodies to be buried, for the crows took back what was theirs."

Robyn learns the legend of a malevolent sisterhood—two witches burned for their evil centuries earlier. Once, both their vile spirits were trapped. Now, one has been released. One who is determined to find her sister. Only Robyn stands in her way.

The Crow Witch and Other Conjurings

As the nights draw in and the temperature plummets, beware the witch's curse. And stay out of the shadows, for far more lurks there than you could ever imagine...

Available here:

Weird House Press

(A limited number of signed editions are available from the publisher but hurry - there are not many left and when they're gone, they're gone!)


Images:
Shutterstock
Weird House Press




Monday, 10 October 2022

The Secrets of Wewelsburg Castle

  

My new novel, Dark Observation, centres on the occult and contains references to some sinister beliefs that found favour with the Nazis during some of the darkest days of the twentieth century. Indeed it could be said to be cursed with the horrors its walls have witnessed.

The unique and imposing triangular Wewelsburg Castle built in Renaissance style between 1603 and 1609 was intended originally as a residence for the Prince Bishops of Paderborn in Germany. It stands high on a rock with views over the Alme Valley and can be found in the village of B├╝ren.

Following its initial purpose, the castle changed hands a number of times until, in 1933, Hitler’s right-hand man, Heinrich Himmler, signed a 100-year lease for it at a nominal rent of one mark per year. He saw, despite its much decayed state, potential as a training ground for the soon to be infamous Schutzstaffel (SS), of which he was the commander.

Himmler, in common with a number of leading Nazis, including Hitler himself, was obsessed with old Germanic and Norse myth and legend as well as occult rituals with their roots firmly planted in the sort of Dark Arts that had so bewitched Aleister Crowley among others. In Himmler’s eyes, Wewelsburg was the perfect place to indoctrinate SS soldiers with these heinous beliefs. 

To Himmler, Wewelsburg was the Grail Castle. He believed that once the Nazis had conquered the world, establishing the Aryan reign that would last a thousand years, artifacts accumulated in the castle as well as the building itself would radiate magical powers.

 Included among these trophies was to be the Spear of Destiny, prized by Hitler as having shown him his future when he saw it on display at the Hofburg museum in Vienna. Himmler slept with a replica of it in his bedroom and was obsessed with acquiring as many of the actual holy relics as possible.

pictured: Himmler (left) Heydrich (centre)

Work began on restoring the Castle and moulding it into a centre of the universe for all Aryans. This included constructing a magnificent marble altar with the letters ‘SS’ engraved on it. A former cistern was turned into a crypt for ritual purposes where it was intended that the ashes of the most senior SS leaders would be buried and venerated, with an eternal flame burning to act as a focal point. 

Baptismal activities took place here – the children involved being products of the Lebensborn breeding programme designed to perpetuate the pure Aryan race. Himmler also intended to replace Christmas with a winter solstice festival based on ancient pagan ritual to supplement the main midsummer solstice which he also sought to establish. Elsewhere, a round table with twelve chairs, reminiscent of the mythical King Arthur and his knights, was also built.

Edward Bulwer Lytton

All in all, ‘Dark Camelot,’ as many in the Nazi Party came to refer to Wewelsburg, was to become a cathedral where senior ‘priests’ met to engage in worship of the dark and mythological world in which Edward Bulwer Lytton’s fictional work, The Coming Race, with its depiction of an alien super race dwelling deep within the earth, was accepted as fact. Those who worshipped at Wewelsburg were true believers in the most evil of fantasies and millions of innocent men, women and children would pay the price.

SS soldiers were carefully picked. They had to look a certain way and be malleable enough to be persuaded to believe what their leaders wanted them to believe. Not only that, they would be desensitized to such a degree that they could not only bear incredible suffering themselves, but also be totally oblivious to the suffering they inflicted on others. It was brainwashing with no room for conscience or compassion. Much of this happened at Wewelsburg, secluded enough to prevent prying eyes or unwanted leaks of information.

Himmler’s plans never reached completion although the renovation continued for twelve years under SS control. His ideas grew ever more grandiose including plans to create a circular fortification around the hill on which the castle stood which would have resulted in the eviction of the entire surrounding town, as well as flooding the whole valley around Wewelsburg.

SS Generals' Hall, Wewelsburg
Needless to say, with such vast schemes, he required a workforce of sufficient numbers to realize them. Accordingly, Himmler created his own private concentration camp comprising some 4,000 people, only around half of whom survived. The conditions were appalling and abuse by the SS was rife. Once it became obvious that Germany was not going to win the war, Himmler ordered the destruction of the castle. A fire was set which destroyed much of the interior but the sturdy stone walls - particularly of the North Tower - remained. It was in this tower that Himmler had concentrated much of his effort. Hardly surprising then that, seeing it still standing proud, among so much that had been destroyed, people began to wonder at how much of the occult had insinuated itself into its masonry.

These days, Wewelsburg is restored and open as a museum. But what secrets do its ancient walls retain? Relics and artifacts from Himmler’s time there are on show, amongst much else from the castle’s long history. It has been said that Wewelsburg shows more clearly than probably anywhere, how steeped in the occult the Nazi leadership became, and how dependent upon it they were in the realization of their vile dreams.

“A dark, disturbing thrill ride” – Publishers’ Weekly

"An engaging, multigenerational tale of dark magic and occult" - Booklist

“A wonderful eerie piece of historical horror” - Runalongwomble

“Drawing on magical realism and giving it a more nefarious angle, and then taking it one step further” – Cheryl M-M’s Blogspot


Eligos is waiting…fulfil your destiny

1941. In the dark days of war-torn London, Violet works in Churchill's subterranean top secret Cabinet War Rooms, where key decisions that will dictate Britain’s conduct of the war are made. Above, the people of London go about their daily business as best they can, unaware of the life that teems beneath their feet.

Night after night the bombs rain down, yet Violet has far more to fear than air raids. A mysterious man, a room only she can see, memories she can no longer trust, and a best friend who denies their shared past... Something or someone - is targeting her.

Click on the link below to see/hear an excerpt:

Dark Observation is available here:

Flame Tree Press

Simon and Schuster

Amazon


Barnes and Noble

Waterstones

Bookshop.org (where you can support your favourite local bookshop)

and at good bookshops everywhere (on the shelf or to order)


Images:

Shutterstock

Nik Keevil and Flame Tree Studio

Author's own