Welcome to Part Two of Six Stories with Matt Wesolowski – today he’s talking about The Beast of Belkeld, one of the creepier elements of the novel (random shiver) – Details on the really quite wonderful book follow and look out for Part 3 coming VERY soon. And right at the end I’ll review it – but if you can’t wait I can promise that this is an incredible book and will definitely be one of my top reads of the year. And yes it is only February…
The Beast of Belkeld
By Matt Wesolowski
…the coven would dance, sometimes in their own shape, sometimes becoming animals such as hares or dogs. Anne was asked to join in the dancing, which, along with reciting the Lord’s Prayer backwards, was to please a ‘’long black man’’ who granted the witches wishes.
I was on holiday up on the Scottish coast one summer; my sister and I were visiting a dainty little folk museum. The curator, a sweet old lady, apropos of nothing sidled up to me and said.
“There used to be a witch coven up near here, you know.”
My interest in the place was sealed.
The mythology and folklore of the British Isles is never far when you visit its wild places. You can feel it in the black lands of Northumberland, emanating from the iron mountains of Wales and the rugged coats of Cornwall.
In Six Stories, I wanted to capture at least an element of this feeling. I take a great deal of influence from writers such as Algernon Blackwood and HP Lovecraft, expert purveyors of unknown rural menace. Stories such as ‘The Willows’ and ‘The Dunwich Horror’ resounded somewhere deep inside and setting a murder mystery in the Northumberland fells, I was powerless to resist the pull of the tenebrous, the eldritch…
The idea that there was something else out there on Scarclaw Fell evolved as I wrote; a shadowy figure peering out at me from between the lines. Gradually, this other became a significant force in the book.
We have a great many cautionary tales, myths and ancient lore, we also have the capacity to create a Tulpa, a being carved from a collective imagination. Cross-culturally we have similar beings, from the Hidden Folk of Iceland to the shadowy Taqriaqsuit of Inuit lore.
It’s rare you’re out alone in the wilds, but if you are, listen to the sounds on the edge of the breeze, see the darkness of the forests staring right back at you.
About the book:
1997. Scarclaw Fell. The body of teenager Tom Jeffries is found at an outward bound centre. Verdict? Misadventure. But not everyone is convinced. And the truth of what happened in the beautiful but eerie fell is locked in the memories of the tight-knit group of friends who embarked on that fateful trip, and the flimsy testimony of those living nearby.
2017. Enter elusive investigative journalist Scott King, whose podcast examinations of complicated cases have rivalled the success of Serial, with his concealed identity making him a cult internet figure. In a series of six interviews, King attempts to work out how the dynamics of a group of idle teenagers conspired with the sinister legends surrounding the fell to result in Jeffries’ mysterious death. And who’s to blame…
As every interview unveils a new revelation, you’ll be forced to work out for yourself how Tom Jeffries died, and who is telling the truth. A chilling, unpredictable and startling thriller, Six Stories is also a classic murder mystery with a modern twist, and a devastating ending.
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Watch out for more from Matt coming soon….