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New Media: Digital, New Media on Canvas, Wood.
In a private archival collection of autochromes is depicted the members, rituals, dances and celebrations of the largest and most notorious witch cult in all of Europe. Once located in the now abandoned and lost village of Wormwood, in the Forge Valley near Scarborough, North Yorkshire, were gathered 13 families who for generations had practised their pagan cult away from the eyes of church and state. The village, surrounded by dense woodland, had no connecting roads and was accessible only on foot along a trail from the Derwent River somewhere between East Ayton and Hackness.
The cult’s longevity and notoriety came to light when a pedlar woman called Mother Blizzard was accused of the murder of John Barwick by witchcraft in 1919. Locals revealed that she resided in the Forge Valley and upon investigation by magistrates and police the village of Wormwood was discovered on October 27th of that year.
The village was preparing for a dark and bloody festival and much food was gathered and many animals hung and slaughtered. A huge bonfire had been erected and an alter laid out before it, upon which much esoteric and occult items were gathered. In the many hovels were discovered naked men and women conjoined with animals and hellish beasts, all in a state of ritualistic fervour and copulation. Young girls and boys danced naked through the woods and phantom shapes were seen drifting like smoke between the ramshackle huts and store rooms. Attached to all the major trees in the vicinity were the corpses of presumed ancestors recently dug up and tied there ready for the infernal celebration. The investigating officials were so alarmed that they fled in terror, secretly vowing to return with armed soldiers recently returned from the battlefields of Europe.
It is believed that some of the local soldiers enlisted to aid in the arrests and investigation of the Wormwood cult were in fact from that cursed village. On October 31st all members of the cult, the corpses of some 400 bodies, several enlisted soldiers and Mother Blizzard - previously arrested and held in Scarborough Castle - all mysteriously disappeared.
Many autochromes, dating from the war years, were discovered apparently depicting village life and the secret horrors born out of arcane rituals and practises. Most alarming of all was one picture depicting a parade of witches through East Ayton, implicating many in that village of colluding, protecting and possibly practising the illegal cult of witchcraft.
Rumours suggest that the cult re-surfaced under the guise of a travelling carnival in the United States of America calling themselves the “Carnivale du Freake”.
For further information see ‘The History Of Witchcraft’ by Montague Summers, 1926.
Reference material provided by my generous friends William Harrison and Harry Ainsworth, the British Library and Library of Congress.
Each doodle was created digitally using Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Elements, Corel Paintshop Pro, DeepDream Generator and Filterforge.
There are only five (5) of each canvas Worrmwood prints available for sale worldwide. Once sold the prints will never again be available for sale. Each print is being made for sale exclusively through Saatchi Art.
Each print is signed in pencil by the artist on the back. Each print includes a Certificate of Authenticity inside the package to be sent to the collector who has purchased the work. Each print is 16”x24” landscape or 24”x16” portrait and printed with Epson inks upon a Novajet canvas stretched across a wooden frame.
Artist featured by Saatchi Art in a collection