Unlock The Secrets of Epping Forest With Penny Griffiths-Morgan's New Book
In her new book 'The Elements Of Epping Forest,' Penny Griffiths-Morgan delves into the intriguing complexities of Epping Forest from both paranormal and historical perspectives.
'The Elements Of Epping Forest', which is available now from Amazon, is the latest publication from the British paranormal historian, offering an engaging look at the famous woodland. Drawing on her personal connection to Essex, Penny is perfectly placed to convince the reader that Epping Forest is more than just a collection of trees, it's a keeper of secrets waiting to be unveiled.
Catering to both paranormal enthusiasts and skeptical readers, Penny presents the forest as a complex entity, rich with tales that stretch from royal escapades to criminal undertakings and unexplained phenomena. While the forest can be explored on a pleasant weekend stroll, Penny invites readers to delve deeper and unearth the secrets it has accumulated over the centuries.
The book's roots can be traced back to Penny's involvement in the television programme 'Help! My House Is Haunted,' in which she featured as a local historian. This inspired her to dig deeper into the history, myths and paranormal tales of the area. Penny organised her research around the four classical elements: air, fire, earth and water, linking them to the forest's historical and mysterious aspects.
'The Elements Of Epping Forest' starts by delving into a broad historical view of Epping Forest's significance in England's socio-political evolution, going back to Queen Boudica's era and advancing through the medieval period. Penny offers readers a greater understanding of the importance of the forest and how it has affected the livelihoods of the locals for generations, before getting stuck into the forest's myths, legends and paranormal tales.
Penny remains skeptical but does entertain the notion that elements like Boudica's intense energy could still lurk in the forest. The narrative here is well balanced to keep both paranormal enthusiasts and skeptics engaged, inviting each to wonder what else remains hidden amongst the trees.
The main takeaway from 'The Elements Of Epping Forest' is how well researched it is, but also how much history one woodland can hold. Penny tells us about the forest's significance during the two World Wars, particularly focusing on North Weald airfield and RAF Chigwell. Seamlessly fusing military history and the paranormal, Penny shares her own personal experience of a Ouija board session, where she believes she may have made a connection to a Norwegian fighter pilot.
Later we learn about the forest's surprising hidden history of incarceration facilities, including the German prisoners who worked in agriculture during World War I, as well as Hill Hall, a post-WWII experimental women's prison.
Photo: © Chmee2
The book continues to deepen with a chapter on the grim aspects of crime and punishment that not only explores the forest's sinister past but also speculates on its unexplained phenomena. Examining practices like gibbeting, used for displaying executed criminals as a deterrent, Penny weaves in haunting real-life cases and unsolved mysteries, such as the 1946 murder of Kenneth Dolden, adding a layer of ominous fascination.
We also learn that Epping Forest isn't short of tragedies. From the harrowing tale of Mary Jane Heathcote, who drowned her daughters due to societal pressures, to workplace dangers at the Royal Gunpowder Mills, Penny emphasises the link between these tragedies and alleged paranormal activities.
Where Penny's book differs from other history books is when she uses her experience as a paranormal investigator to attempt to gain a unique insight. Along with the Paracom group, she investigates various hotspots of paranormal activity in High Beech, which lies within the bounds of the forest. They experience activity like electronic voice phenomena (EVP) and other unexplained events.
She also takes her family on an exploration of an area of the forest near Oaklands School, which doubles up as a low-key paranormal investigation. Together they navigate the forest armed with an array of paranormal gadgets and experience multiple interactions with seemingly responsive entities.
Penny displays a great deal of respect for the energies or entities they're interacting with. She remains balanced in her interpretation of this activity, never confirming or dismissing the possibility of the paranormal outright. Penny constantly reminds us that while these experiences are fascinating, they are not definitive proof of the paranormal.
The book concludes with an overview of the forest's representation in literature, showing how various authors have transformed this real location into varying roles in storytelling. Penny analyses how authors, such as James Herbert in 'Lair' and Adam Foulds in 'The Quickening Maze,' have used the forest's ominous atmosphere as a key ingredient in storytelling.
All this makes Penny's latest book a must-read for anyone fascinated by the overlapping worlds of history and the paranormal. She has a unique way of blending history and the supernatural without diluting the integrity of either narrative. Whether you’re a skeptic or a believer in the paranormal, this book is bound to leave you intrigued and, most importantly, thoughtful.
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