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Tony Grist

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In Which I Come Over All Elitist [Oct. 31st, 2007|10:23 am]
Tony Grist
This years Most Haunted Halloween Special is a five-nighter, with five different locations. Yesterday we were at  Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire and- really- why didn't someone tell me about this place before?

It's a 17th century pleasure palace, filled with erotic paintings and sculpture- a party house, a forerunner of the Playboy Mansion only in much better taste. The atmosphere got to poor David Wells and turned him queasy. "Not evil," he said, "But outside my comfort zone."  The Most Haunted team can be crass- most notably Karl and Stuart- and somehow their crassness last night felt crasser than usual. 

The  couple who created this extraordinary place were the first Duke of Newcastle and his Duchess. He was one of Charles I's generals, a minor poet and playwright, the author of a classic work on horsemanship and a thinking libertine. She was a feminist before the word was coined, brazenly eccentric (known to her contemporaries as Mad Madge) a crossdresser,  philosopher and prolific author- a sort of 17th century George Sand. They were exceptional people and a famously loving couple (in spite of the orgies and black masses) - and stomping round their old home, shouting out to the Duke as "William" and asking him to whistle was maybe not the the best way of approaching them. It made me cross and no doubt made the Duke even crosser- so I'm not at all surprised he tried to push Karl down stairs.

There's a room with a curse on it, called the Pagan room. (Oh wow, I've got to go there). You lie on the floor and say "Sleep no more" and you die. Of course Carl and Stewart wanted to try it. To his credit, David Wells, who sometimes seems uncomfortable in this company, tried to stop them and was in tears when they went ahead. Stupid, bloody oiks. 

There are worse things than mocking one's ancestors- and sometimes, indeed, the ancestors deserve to be mocked- but beauty and distinction are rare enough qualities without the apes being let in to piss over what little of them there is.

Image:Margaret Cavendish.jpg

Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle

 
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: craftyailz
2007-10-31 12:45 pm (UTC)
Okay, Okay I'll take you - provided you promise not to do the sleep no more thing!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-10-31 02:23 pm (UTC)
I'm not even tempted (I am really)
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[User Picture]From: aellia
2007-10-31 12:58 pm (UTC)
I'm reminde of Edgar Allen Poe and his
"Sleep.small slices of death. How I loathe thee"
Wasn't she beautiful,the Duchess
x
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-10-31 02:25 pm (UTC)
Beautiful and very, very smart- an irresistible combination
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[User Picture]From: shullie
2007-10-31 01:25 pm (UTC)
i so wanted to watch this episode... but after a glass of vino I fell asleep. i havent been over to Bosser castle for years... maybe it's time I went back.

I did feel for David... and I want to wring that bloody historian's neck sometimes....
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-10-31 02:28 pm (UTC)
The level of ignorance can be appalling. I mean, they introduced Chesterfield church as a cathedral. Doesn't anyone on that show know how to Google?
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From: fickleasever
2007-10-31 04:16 pm (UTC)
Maybe the room's not haunted. Maybe there's a Genie in it.
D'you suppose if one were to say 'lack of chocolate no more' it would produce a chocolate mountain, by any chance....??? Just thinking, you know...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-10-31 04:59 pm (UTC)
My grandmother told me about a set of haunted stairs by the river Medway in Maidstone. If you ran up and down them 13 times you got a bucket of blood thrown over you.
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From: fickleasever
2007-10-31 06:28 pm (UTC)
Who was holding the bucket?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-10-31 06:36 pm (UTC)
Nobody knows.

Which is what makes it so spooky.

That story kept me awake at night, I'm telling you....
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From: athenais
2007-10-31 04:56 pm (UTC)
I have always wanted to go there! I'm very fond of the Duke and Duchess of Newcastle and their wild ways, having run across them twenty years back doing some research for something or other. I think that sounds shocking, treating them like that. Now I really want to see that episode. I shall find it on bitTorrent.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-10-31 05:02 pm (UTC)
Bolsover castle must be about 20 miles from here. I've seen the signposts to it when we've been driving through the Peak. I've got it marked down as the next place to visit.
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From: pop_o_pie
2007-11-01 09:07 am (UTC)

Play? Screenplay?

Has anyone ever made a production out of this story? It sounds like a good vehicle for Brad and Angelina.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-11-01 02:27 pm (UTC)

Re: Play? Screenplay?

I don't think there's ever been a dramatic version of the story- more's the pity.

I believe- I could be misremembering- that the D of N cropped up in the movie Cromwell- where he was played- as a fat fool- by Robert Morley.
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From: pop_o_pie
2007-11-01 04:13 pm (UTC)

Re: Cromwell

It appears that Robert Morley played The Earl of Manchester:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0065593/

I haven't seen this film, but I'm putting it in my queue for rental on dvd.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-11-01 04:42 pm (UTC)

Re: Cromwell

Ah, thank you. I knew he was the Duke of some city or other.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-11-01 04:44 pm (UTC)

Re: Cromwell

Or the Earl....

I saw the movie when it first came out. The best reason for watching it is Alec Guinness' performance as Charles I.
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