June 17, 2014

Timeslip in Thingwall: a guest post by Catherine Cavendish, author of "Saving Grace Devine"

Catherine Cavendish stopped by the blog a couple months back with a guest post promoting her gothic novella, Linden Manor, and now she has a full-length novel called Saving Grace Devine, which will be published by Samhain in July. To give a little glimpse into the subject matter, here's a brand new guest post from Catherine. Enjoy.

Timeslip in Thingwall
by Catherine Cavendish

In my new novel, Saving Grace Devine, my main character – Alex Fletcher – finds herself cast back to 1912. Clearly my story is a work of fiction, but I have long been fascinated by the concept and reports of timeslips. I have previously written about some famous, allegedly true, occurrences on Bold Street in Liverpool on one of the most visited pages on my blog.
This account is also from the North West of England and took place in an area known as Wirral – across the River Mersey from Liverpool – in a place with the ancient Viking name of Thingwall.

It is said that a lady – referred to only as Mrs S (or, in some accounts, Mrs P) – had recently relocated to Thingwall and decided to take her small daughter out for a walk in her pushchair. The child wasn’t feeling very well and her mother thought the fresh air might do her some good, as well as giving them both an introduction to their new home.

She walked up Mill Lane, opposite the primary school, and soon found she had left the tarmacked road behind and was walking on old cobbles. She passed an elderly man, wearing a collarless shirt, leaning on the gate of his cottage and smoking a pipe. She nodded to him and he nodded back.

She carried on, past whitewashed cottages, bedecked with floral hanging baskets. On one side of the lane was a circular flowerbed, and a heap of sandstone rubble, behind which was another row of cottages and a stable block, with an archway. She saw a woman dressed in an old fashioned long black skirt, high necked blouse and shawl, who didn’t appear to see her as she hurried into her cottage. As the woman opened her door, Mrs S briefly felt the warmth of a blazing fire.

As they came to the end of the lane, Mrs S spotted a young girl sitting on a five bar gate at the entrance to a meadow. She was somewhat surprised to see that the child was dressed in similar fashion to Laura Ingalls on Little House on The Prairie, which was popular on TV at that time. A dress and pinafore was accompanied by high button boots. Certainly not the apparel of modern children! The child looked at her a little askance, jumped off the gate and dashed into her cottage, evidently as unnerved as the woman herself was.

At this point, Mrs S decided to take her child back home and retraced her steps, past the man with the pipe who again acknowledged her.

Back home, Mrs S told her mother how pretty and quaint this old part of Thingwall had been. Some months later she had the opportunity to take her to see for herself.

Only – this time there were no cobbles, just tarmac and paving stones. The old man’s cottage was boarded up and derelict. The other row of cottages was gone – replaced by semi-detached houses. And the five bar gate where the child had sat, the sandstone rubble, the meadow, flower bed and stable block had also vanished. A development of bungalows replaced them. Even the fastest of builders couldn’t have achieved this transformation in the intervening time.

The incident remained a mystery for a further eight years until Mrs S was involved in a dispute over a footpath. On legal advice, the lady consulted the 1830 tithe map of the area to check the precise original boundaries of the footpath.

To her astonishment, she discovered that the buildings she remembered from her original walk were all to be found precisely where she remembered them, even down to the pile of rubble which had, at that time, been Thingwall Mill, later destroyed in a hurricane.

Hallucination? Daydream? Or some kind of crossing of the timeline. Many scientists dispute the concept of time as a linear dimension – including the most famous of them all. Albert Einstein. As for this lady’s particular experience, I leave the decision to you.

Here’s a flavour of Saving Grace Devine:

Can the living help the dead...and at what cost?           

When Alex Fletcher finds a painting of a drowned girl, she’s unnerved. When the girl in the painting opens her eyes, she is terrified. And when the girl appears to her as an apparition and begs her for help, Alex can’t refuse.

But as she digs further into Grace’s past, she is embroiled in supernatural forces she cannot control, and a timeslip back to 1912 brings her face to face with the man who killed Grace and the demonic spirit of his long-dead mother. With such nightmarish forces stacked against her, Alex’s options are few. Somehow she must save Grace, but to do so, she must pay an unimaginable price.

You can find Saving Grace Devine here:


About the author: Catherine Cavendish is joint winner of the Samhain Gothic Horror Anthology competition 2013. Her winning novella – Linden Manor – is now available in all digital formats and the print anthology will be published in October. She is the author of a number of paranormal horror and Gothic horror novellas and short stories. Her novel, Saving Grace Devine, is published by Samhain Publishing on July 1st.

She lives with a longsuffering husband in North Wales. Her home is in a building dating back to the mid-18th century which is haunted by a friendly ghost, who announces her presence by footsteps, switching lights on and strange phenomena involving the washing machine and the TV.

When not slaving over a hot computer, Cat enjoys wandering around Neolithic stone circles and visiting old haunted houses.

You can connect with Cat here:

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