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Haunted Bones: Screaming Skulls

February 15, 2021
 
Haunted human remains are a trope popular in modern horror, from the twisted ivory puppet in the House on Haunted Hill to the skeletal corpses, floating in the swimming pool of Poltergeist, human bones have long held a place of fear, worship and power throughout history and cultures, eventually manifesting within the horror genre of the 20th Century. At the time of the English Civil War, the whisperings of an emergent folk tradition seeded its place in the popular imagination, when stories of skulls with seemingly supernatural powers began to seep from the large, rural manor houses throughout Britain. Screaming Skulls, as they became known, were kept in farm houses, rectories and family estates both for protection and through fear of what might happen if they were mistreated, a situation which sent stories spinning through the local vicinity.
 
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SOURCES
 
Hutchinson, John (1809) Hutchinsons Tour Through The High Peak of Derbyshire. J. Wilson, Macclesfield, UK.
 
Laycock, Samuel (1863) An Address to Dickie. The Ashton Weekly Reporter and Stalybridge and Dukinfield Chronicle, Saturday 18 July, 1863, p.4.
 
Ingram, John H. (1897) The Haunted Homes and Family Traditions of Great Britain. Gibbing & Co. LTD, London, UK.
 
Collinson, John. (1791) HIstory and Antiquities of the County of Somerset, Vol II. R. Crutwell, Bath, UK
 
Udal, John S. (1910) Concerning the legend of the skull of Bettiscombe manor. Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society Volume 31, 1910. UK
 
Chilton Cantelo and Ashington Parish Website. 2021. Home - Chilton Cantelo and Ashington Parish Website. [online] Available at: <http://www.chiltoncanteloandashingtonparish.co.uk/> [Accessed 2 February 2021].
 
Clarke, David (1999) The head cult: tradition and folklore surrounding the symbol of the severed human head in the British Isles. University of Sheffield, UK.
 
Underwood, Peter (1988) Ghosts of Dorset. Bossiney Books, UK
 
Bord, Janet (2009) Screaming Skulls: Haunting Headbones or Ghostly Guardians? Paranormal Magazine, Issue 37, July 2009.
 

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The Dark Histories Butterfly was drawn by Courtney, who you can find on Instagram @bewildereye

Music was recorded by me © Ben Cutmore 2017

Other Outro music was Paul Whiteman & his orchestra with Mildred Bailey - All of me (1931). It's out of copyright now, but if you're interested, that was that.