Fresh for #FolkloreThursday, Greg Taylor has posted Maria J. Pérez Cuervo’s Spirits of Placeessay “The Palace Built Over a Hellmouth“, about El Escorial on the southern slopes of Mount Abantos, over on the Daily Grail website.
Only a king or a queen has the power to move the capital of their kingdom to their preferred location. For King Philip II of Spain (1527-1598), this place was at the very centre of the Iberian Peninsula, not far from the city of Madrid, in an area called El Escorial on the southern slopes of Mount Abantos. Here he vowed to build his life’s plan: a royal residence that would also be a pantheon, a monastery, a library, a museum and a centre of studies. To bring it to life, he hired a group of architects, experienced masons and theologists, who evaluated the terrain positively but, given the monarch’s interest in esotericism and alchemy, probably warned him of an ancient legend: that the Devil himself had lived in a cave at the foot of the mountain, after he was expelled from Heaven and before he opened up seven doors to enter his new abode in the Underworld. The location of one of these doors was El Escorial.
Stories are embedded in the world around us; in metal, in brick, in concrete, and in wood. In the very earth beneath our feet. Our history surrounds us and the tales we tell, true or otherwise, are always rooted in what has gone before. The spirits of place are the echoes of people, of events, of ideas which have become imprinted upon a location, for better or for worse. They are the genii loci of classical Roman religion, the disquieting atmosphere of a former battlefield, the comfort and familiarity of a childhood home.
Twelve authors take us on a journey; a tour of places where they themselves have encountered, and consulted with, these Spirits of Place.
It’s a book about place and our relationship to it; how ideas and stories and events become embedded into locations. And how people interact with those places; how they change the way we look at and think about ourselves and others.
Pye Parr has done us an amazing cover, which you can see a fraction of above. More of that, and the book’s actual title, will be revealed in the next fortnight or so when it goes on sale.
Keep an eye out here, and on dailygrail.com, and prepare to get very excited.
Fortcast: A Transmission of the Strange is a podcast which aims to examine, explain and, when necessary, debunk mysteries and unexplained phenomena from around the world.
In this pilot episode our Fortean supergroup – John Reppion (2000AD, The Fortean Times) , Maria J Pérez Cuervo (Folklore Thursday, The Fortean Times), Helen Grant (Urban Legends, Demons of Ghent) and Emma McNeil (Ethical Living, The Fortean Times) – explore mysterious vanishings whilst Si Spurrier (2000AD, X-Men) beams in from the ether with a creepy legend that will put you off your fish and chips…