amwriting, folklore

SpookyMonth Showcase ~ FOLKLORE OF PAGHAM-ON-SEA (The Punch and Judy Man)

Are you looking for a spooky read? Let’s see what I’ve got… I’ll be showcasing my work through the month of October! Buy links are at the bottom of the post! This one is an anthology of fictional folklore and urban legends from Pagham-on-Sea, East Sussex, and I’ll be doing a couple of posts about this as we go.

The Meteor Strike ~ introduced in a previous post!
Jenny, Jennet and Pinnie-Pen ~ introduced in a previous post!
The Greenlad, or, The Girl Who Saw Herself ~ introduced in a previous post!
Farisee Stones ~ introduced in a previous post!
The Neo-Eleusinians ~ introduced in a previous post!
The Punch and Judy Man of Hangman’s Walk

Some of these can be read on my blog already, in their original forms. It’s only 99p so if you’d like to own them all as an eBook, all the creepy stories in one handy place, you can grab it from a variety of stores or directly from my Ko-Fi shop. If you get it from my Ko-Fi, I get all 99p rather than 20-30p royalties so I’d selfishly encourage you to do that if you can!

The Punch and Judy Man of Hangman’s Walk

I never really minded Punch and Judy shows. I liked puppets as a kid and I wanted to learn how to play with marionettes and glove puppets properly. Sadly I was never dextrous enough… but I do appreciate how creepy puppets are, and since Mr Punch is a staple of the British seaside, I thought that this collection wouldn’t be complete without a related tale.

This one is a prose poem inspired by Dylan Thomas’s UNDER MILK WOOD and the CHILD’S PLAY franchise, but I wanted to twist this into an urban legend for some ‘modern’ folklore that the town has.

I’ve prefaced it myself – in the ‘Folklore’ world, C. M. Rosens is a character affiliated with the History Society, as opposed to being my pen-name:

THIS FREE VERSE POEM seems to have been the origins of a modern folktale or urban legend about the Punch and Judy shop in Hangman’s Walk, with several distinct variants attested to by 2010. Nothing can be found before this was printed, and since it was anonymously published it is not possible to ask the author if they based this on something they themselves had been told, or if this was an entirely original piece of creative writing.

The core of the story in each version is the same: the protagonist enters the shop and is by the end turned into a puppet. In one version this is done by the puppets themselves, wishing to replicate; in another version, the puppets are cursed people who need to be replaced by another person-puppet to gain their release from their curse. In a third, the attack is carried out by the ‘Old Man’ figure, and this is the ‘slasher’ version of the tale which generally becomes competitively gruesome when told at Halloween parties and other gatherings. Some versions keep the spirit of the original poem, however, claiming the transformation is due to the mesmerising effect of the Punch and Judy show itself.

~ Folklore of Pagham-on-Sea, by C. M. Rosens
Here’s me reading the story out loud, as it was meant to be read, for Romancing the Gothic’s Author Showcase event.

Folklore of Pagham-on-Sea – 99p

A lovely, hyperlocal, folkloric mini-collection to lead into the author’s novel, The Crows. 

5 star Goodreads Review & Verified Amazon Purchase

I enjoyed reading this book. This was the first time that I’ve read Gothic fiction and I enjoyed it. The prose is great and so are each of the folk stories within the book. There are some great twists within it and I was engaged throughout as I read. The format of the stories (poetry, diary entries, etc) was great too and so was how Rosens wrote from the POV of the characters of the stories (sometimes first person, sometimes third person, but always done well).
Rosens did a great job!

5 star Verified Amazon Purchase

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s