Month: October 2018

Haunted House Trail

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Halloween-themed haunted houses first emerged during the Great Depression as ways to distract young tricksters. Groups of families would deck out their basements with home made scary decorations. Then they would hold “house-to-house” parties, where the children would travel from basement to basement, experiencing different scary scenes.

Trails Of Terror

A 1937 party pamphlet is quoted in Lisa Morton’s book Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween” which describes how parents  designed “trails of terror” to spook the children.

An outside entrance leads to a rendezvous with ghosts and witches in the cellar or attic. Hang old fur, strips of raw liver on walls, where one feels his way to dark steps….Weird moans and howls come from dark corners, damp sponges and hair nets hung from the ceiling touch his face….Doorways are blockaded so that guests must crawl through a long dark tunnel….At the end he hears a plaintive ‘meow’ and sees a black cardboard cat outlined in luminous paint…”
Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween
Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween


Trick or Treat examines the origins and history of Halloween as well as exploring its current global popularity. The book takes readers on a journey from the spectacular to the macabre, making it a must for anyone who wants to peep behind the mask to see the real past and present of this ever more popular holiday.

Available from Amazon.


Scary history

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Not a big attraction in the UK (yet), there are over 1,200 professional haunted houses, 3,000 charity-run spookshows and 300 theme parks that operate horror-themed events in the United States.

Creating scares is not a recent phenomenon –

but in the past it was used for different purposes.

The ancient Egyptians used scares to keep body snatchers and tomb raiders away from the contents of their pyramids. They employed moving walls and self-opening doors, traps and mazes, as well as snakes and insects to provoke fear.

Mazes and labyrinths, often filled with monsters, can also be found in Greek and Roman folklore.

Theatrical scares were started in ancient Greek theatre, with productions including things such as trapdoors, ghostly images and fake blood. By the middles ages, travelling players performed mostly Biblical stories, including the scarier parts which were intended to frighten audiences into being good Christians.

The middle ages was also when the idea of Halloween, as we know it today, began. When the Europeans converted to  Christianity, they carried over the idea of an autumn holiday from their Celtic and pagan religions. This included bobbing for apples, carving pumpkins or turnips, dressing in costume and trick -or-treating.

Communicating with the dead……

As theatres developed, so did the development of special effects for the Ghosts, demons and monsters that often appeared in plays. But these spectral sightings were make believe.

By the 1800’s additional forms of ghostly entertainment were available, with Mediums, fortune tellers and spiritualists communicating with the dead.

Or did they?

Harry Houdini and others debunked several famous spiritualists as frauds.

Amusement park thrills and beyond……

In the early 20th century freakshows and dark rides became part of the travelling carnival’s attractions. Then permanent sites for amusement parks sprang up. These included haunted houses and mazes.

Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion did not open until 1969. It’s facade was based on the Winchester Mystery House. Inside the house visitors ride “doom buggies” through the haunted mansion.

Now haunted hoses are not restricted to amusement parks. Halloween enthusiasts known as “home haunters” create attractions at their homes. There are also haunted hayrides, mazes and scavenger hunts.

night building forest trees
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Last year the team attended Fright Night near Southampton.

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Science Gallery London

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Science Gallery London is a cultural destination designed to connect art, science and health in one space. This new “museum” is at the Guy’s campus of King’s College London at London Bridge and is free to enter. As well as the exhibitions, there is a shop and a cafe.

We stumbled across it as we were leaving London Bridge station so dropped in to see what it contained.

It is not a conventional museum, but rather a collection of exhibitions, events, performances, workshops, debates and festivals. The gallery does not have a permanent collection but offers themed seasons, focusing on issues of global significance. The first season tackles addiction and recovery.

The goal is to attract over 300,000 visitors a year, especially 15 to 25 year olds.

Professor Ed Byrne, President & Principal of King’s College London, is quoted as saying: “Science Gallery London will open new ways into King’s, inviting our local communities and visitors from around the world to come into the university to connect with, explore and contribute to the generation of new knowledge”.


Extract from the

The launch season HOOKED: WHEN WANT BECOMES NEED explores the complex world of addiction and recovery. From gambling to gaming and smartphones to social media, HOOKED will question what makes us vulnerable to addiction and examine underlying factors and routes to recovery. The exhibition invites visitors to explore the latest research and thinking on the subject as well as question their own ideas about the scientific and cultural aspects of this much-debated topic.

addiction bet betting casino
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Visiting The Globe Theatre

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All the World’s a Stage

The Globe stage - photo by Juliamaud
The Globe stage – photo by Juliamaud

Shakespeare’s Globe is a faithful reconstruction of the open-air playhouse designed in 1599 and a unique international resource dedicated to the exploration of Shakespeare’s work and the playhouse for which he wrote.”

The centre of the theatre, and standing space in front of the stage, is open to the sky. The auditorium also has seats arranged across three levels around the side. These are covered with a thatched roof. This is the only thatched roof in London.

Whilst thatched roofs remain popular in English villages, they have been seen as dangerous in cities following the Great Fire of London. ‘The ordinance of 1212 (London’s  first building regulation) banned the use of thatch to stop any further incidents of rapid fire spread from one building to another.

The Globe is London's only open air theatre with  a thatched roof - photo by Juliamaud
The Globe is London’s only open air theatre with a thatched roof – photo by Juliamaud

Tours of the Globe Theatre

The Globe Theatre tours run every day, except 24 & 25 December. For the Globe Theatre performance season (mid-April to mid-October) the tours finish at midday to allow for the matinee performances.

Tours include the inside and outside of the building.

the Globe Theatre photo by Juliamaud

A visit to the Globe Exhibition

There is an accompanying exhibition with details about London’s history, displays of costume and props used for plays, and demonstrations of printing.

You can listen to recording of Shakespeare read by famous actors from the past and even have a go at recording a brief snippet yourself.

Globe Theatre banner - photo by Juliamaud
Globe Theatre banner – photo by Juliamaud



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Eyam by Matt Hartley

Matt Hartley’s new play Eyamdirected by Adele Thomas, opened in The Globe from  Saturday 15 September to 13th October 2018.

It tells the story of what happened when the plague arrived in the Derbyshire village of Eyam in 1665. The community faced a moral dilemma. They had to decide whether to flee and risk spreading the deadly disease, or stay in the village and protect others from the risk, but face the potential of their own slow and painful death. Could they put neighbourhood feuds aside and pull together as a community?

The full cast includes: Annette Badland, Zora Bishop, Adrian Bower, Priyanga Burford, John Paul Connolly, Sam Crane, Becci Gemmell, Will Keen, Norah Lopez-Holden, Luke MacGregor, Jordan Metcalfe, Oliver Ryan, Sirine Saba, Howard Ward and Rose Wardlaw.


Display in Eyam Museum
Display in Eyam Museum

A true story

In 1665, the plague infiltrated a small Derbyshire village via a tailor’s cloth brought back from London. The citizens had to decide if they should flee and save themselves or  quarantine the village to stop the Black Death spreading. The villagers decided to stay and three quarters of them died. The church in Eyam has a record of 273 individuals who were victims of the plague.

A real village

Eyam plague cottage - photo by Juliamaud
Eyam plague cottage – photo by Juliamaud

The idea of wanting to visit a plague village might seem a morbid one.

And, to be fair, we had not set out to visit it but stumbled upon the place during a drive through the peak district. Sign posted as an area of historical interest, Eyam is a beautiful little village in the English countryside.

It is now a tourist attraction with a charming little museum, delightful tea rooms and a treasure trail of plaques running through it. The plaques help you to trace the steps of the villagers back in the time of the notorious bubonic plague outbreak that devastated so many of the local families.

Eyam Hall is also located in the village. It is Jacobean-style manor house and is a grade II listed building. Formerly managed by The National Trust, Eyam Hall and Craft Centre are owned and managed by the Wright family. The Hall is open to the public on selected days and available for private functions such as weddings.

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Want to discover the history of the potato and fries?


Then you need to visit the Frietmuseum in Bruges!


This museum is devoted to the history of potatoes and the production of Belgian fries. It describes itself as “the first and only museum dedicated to potato fries”. 

Potatoes at the Frietmuseum -photo by Juliamaud
Potatoes at the Frietmuseum -photo by Juliamaud

Potatoes originated in Peru more than 10,000 years ago. The ground floor of the museum leads you  through the history of the potato.  Then it’s up to the first floor, to discover the history of the fries. End your tour with a trip to the basement where the medieval cellars house a cafe serving chips.

Yes, there are Chocolate Museums and Beer Museums, but this is something unusual to do while in Bruges.

And if you still want chocolate after you’ve enjoyed your chips, there is even a chocolate shop next door that serves delicious hot chocolate made with real chocolate……


Frietmuseum and Choco-Jungle - photo by Juliamaud
Frietmuseum and Choco-Jungle – photo by Juliamaud


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