Thursday, May 10, 2007

Me And The Devil

Postwick All Saints, originally uploaded by Colonel Blink.

The Parish Church of All Saints, Postwick. Postwick, as anyone in Norfolk will tell you, is pronounced POZZICK and interestingly enough the Domesday Book gives it a french spelling Possuic which suggests to me that the proper pronounciation was always thus. The spelling of the village name is probably the result of a fantasy of some early mapmaker.

This photograph is taken from the very spot upon which I was standing when at the age of nine my friend Alan Williams, told me that if I pointed my finger at a gravestone then my hand would turn black and rot away. I can still, after all these years, hear the shock in his voice as he warned me of my fate. Only washing it with holy water would save my arm he told me. Now Holy Water is not something readily available in Anglican Churchyards but after some thought we decided puddlewater from the graveyard would be just as good as it came from sacred ground. Due only to this use of muddy rainwater I am writing this entry with both my hands intact.

(Shamefacedly I must admit that even now I check myself if I should unthinkingly point my finger in a churchyard.)

Another related superstition from childhood that comes to mind was if a Bible fell on the ground three times then it was no longer holy and thus no use for swearing oaths, warding off vampires etc.. Indeed it could even be a malign influence and attract the very evil one hoped to avoid. The trouble was, I recall, that you could not tell a Holy Bible from an unholy one.

These and other tales made up a kind of secret annexe to the official religion we were taught at home and school and were only spoken of among ourselves and never never mentioned to adults.

No comments: