Cast Away Stones – The Genesis of a Folk Horror Tale

Like most of my stories, Cast Away Stones started as a seed about superstition and ancient practices.

Originally, when I set out to write a story based in folklore surrounding winter, I remembered some research I’d done on the Cailleach, an ancient winter goddess associated with the grain harvest in Scotland and Ireland.

There was much folklore attached to her, with rural agricultural communities relying upon her for their prosperity. Not only did they worship her and try to keep her happy, they also revered her, believing their very livelihoods, and their lives, depended on respecting and honoring the hag and her hold over the seasons.

Sometimes called The Veiled One, Ageless Lady of Dark Places or Ancient Crone of Wisdom, she has been described as having red teeth and white hair, often found crouching like a wild beast.

I knew she would be the perfect inspiration for my story, but I wanted to do more than simply have her as my main character.

About Cast Away Stones

As I sat down to write Cast Away Stones, I already had a rich backdrop to work from. The mythological crouching hag. The harshness of the landscape where survival is a daily struggle. The isolation of a remote village in the Highlands as winter starts to set in. It wasn’t difficult to conjure up a story surrounding the people who worshiped the winter goddess. But that doesn’t mean everything is bright & bountiful in Glen Cloch, the setting of my story.

I asked myself what the villagers would be like. Did everyone believe in the Cailleach? Did they all honor her? What would happen if any one villager lost his or her faith that worshipping the hag would help them prosper? What could cause one to lose his or her devotion to one who wields such power over their lives?

Choosing my main character, one with both strengths as well as flaws, helped give me the perfect environment in which my story took place and, for better or worse, the Cailleach would make her appearance.

Read Cast Away Stones

Wondering what brings the Cailleach to Glen Cloch? Or how the villagers will react to her powerful and sometimes terrifying presence?

Pick up a copy of Gothic Blue Book VI: A Krampus Carol for my story, Cast Away Stones.

And be sure to read the posts from Kathleen & Victoria with details on their stories.

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