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Read 'The Crow War' online. Old festivals, older rituals.

In bed with some mutant variant of flu derived from the flu jab, but my fevered brain keeps wanting to spill words. So here's a little blog post about the Tales From The Lake project by Crystal Lake Publishing. Now on Volume 3, edited by Monique Synman, this series has featured stories of horror by Ramsey Campbell, Raven Dane, Jack Ketchum, Lily Childs, Joe Mynhardt and Graham Masterson. For Volume 3, Joe and Monique have added an accompanying online list of Honourable Mentions. And this list of four stories includes my own contribution, 'The Crow War', available to read here.

'The Crow War' is part of a much larger project I've been working on over the last few years; an exploration of what folk horror means in an Irish context. There's been an outstanding revival of folk horror in Britain, drawing upon a rich heritage of films from the late 1960's and 1970's including Witchfinder General, The Blood On Satan's Claw, and the greatest of them all, The Wicker Man. Black Shuck Publishing have released a wonderful collection (Green and Pleasant Land) where writers like V.H. Leslie and James Everington examine the enduring legacy of folk horror in Britain. But I'm more interested in the authentic living legacy of folk horror in Ireland, enshrined in traditions, curses, legends, and in stories still told today. This is coming together in the form of a collection of short stories, New Music For Old Rituals.(2018, Black Shuck Books)

'The Crow War' is influenced by childhood memories of driving from the east coast to the west coast on holiday, and finding small and peculiar festivals dotting our route along the way. These festivals were often tiny (a string of bunting, an abandoned stage on a lorry trailer) but each one meant something in its place or origin, related to the genius loci, and referring back to older traditions and memories.

And as 'The Crow War' illustrates, not all of these rituals are benign...

Read it here.

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