True Bits in the book
The timing of the qualifying races for the Rio Olympics
for Rikki’s age group is authentic.
In Heathen mythology, Bifrost is the rainbow bridge
between Asgard and Midearth. It will break at Ragnarok.
The accents of the Protestant and Catholic communities in
Northern Ireland is often different.
Melter (Northern Irish idiom) = an annoying person
who gets on your nerves.
Gloucester was badly affected by the Severn flood in
2007. Great Britain as a whole experienced widespread flooding for much of 2012
and early 2013.
PTSD – post-traumatic stress disorder.
In Heathen mythology, Heimdall signals the start of
Ragnarok by blowing his horn, Gjallarhorn.
Sigils are a type of magic that uses symbols to achieve
their aim. They have been used in Western magic since at least the 17th
century. Modern practice derives largely from the 20th century
occultist, Austin Osman Spare. Within modern practice, sigils can be set to use
Izzy’s description of Michael’s lesson is a standard
method of producing a sigil. Sex can be used to charge one.
Paragraph 13 of the theft Act 1968 states “Abstracting of
electricity: A person who dishonestly uses without due authority, or
dishonestly causes to be wasted or diverted, any electricity shall on
conviction on indictment be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding
five years.” I invented paragraph 13A.
The rain began in the UK in April 2012. There were
numerous floods through the year and the winter of 2012/13 was one of the
stormiest on record.
Wyrd is a Heathen concept related to fate.
Sound (Northern Irish idiom) = good, trustworthy.
‘Wee’ is a common adjective in Northern Ireland and
Scotland. It means ‘small’. It’s applied to everything and anything,
irrespective of size.
In Heathen mythology, Hermoðr was sent to petition Hel for
the release of Baldr. His epic journey is described in the prose Edda Gylfaginning
Train Spotting is a 1996 film based on a book by Irvine
cheeky wee get (Northern Irish idiom) = impudent
and unpleasant person
Florianopolis has some of the best surfing beaches in the
world. Prainha Beach is in Rio.
Doug Eaton is a locally renowned artist who paints the
landscape of the Forest of Dean.
Bien (French) = good.
Kuzu (Turkish) = lamb
The Welsh Marches are the English counties that border
Wales. In medieval times, it covered a large section of Wales, as well as
England. It is first called the March in the Domesday Book of 1086.
Star Wars is a 1977 film created by George Lucas. The hero
Luke Skywalker destroys the Death Star.
What is said about Banksy, Robert Del Naja and Blek le
Rat is all true.
The magician is standard to most tarot packs. The image
for that and Scarlett’s ‘Loki’ card come from Heathen mythology. Lemminkäinen's
mother is from the Kalevala, the Finnish national poem.
Youse (Northern Irish idiom) = you (3rd person
Rag societies are student charitable organisations. They
are widespread in the United Kingdom. They usually have a week of crazy
fundraising activities each year.
The position, history and regional administration of the
Holm islands and Denny Island is true.
Lynette White was murdered in 1988 in Cardiff, Wales.
South Wales Police charged five black and mixed-race men with White's murder,
although no crime scene evidence could be linked to them. In November 1990,
three of the men were found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment. In
December 1992, the convictions were quashed by the Court of Appeal after it was
decided that the police investigating the murder had acted improperly. What
Izzy says about the trial of the police is true.
Someone tried to lay claim to Denny island in the early
2000s and prevent it being registered as common land.
Tom Sharpe wrote a popular satirical novel in the late 20th
century. Three were made into equally popular TV series.
Downton Abbey is a British historical period drama
television aired between 2010 and 2015.
Jenny Greenteeth is a figure in English folklore. A river
hag, similar to Peg Powler or a grindylow.
From December 2013 onwards the Somerset Levels suffered
Kelpie is the Scots name given to a shape-shifting water
spirit that takes the shape of a horse to drag its victims underwater. Aughiskies
are the more vicious version, which eats everything except the liver. All the
water spirits named are attested in the folklore of various countries.
SAS officers are known as Ruperts.
In Heathen mythology, ulfhednar were similar to berserkers
except they shifted into wolf shape rather than bear.
Neck or nixie is the Germanic name for an undine.
Ah, bon (French) = really? (sarcasm).
The information about John Dee, Edward Kelley and the Enochian
and Theban scripts, is true.
Lysistrata is a play by Aristophanes, originally
performed in classical Athens in 411 BC. It is a comic account of a woman's
mission to end the war between Greek city-states by denying all men in Greece
The game with the chicken-on-the-head is Munchkin,
a card game by Steve Jackson and illustrated by John Kovalic.
Bien sûr (French) = of course!
Black-eyed children are an urban legend of paranormal
creatures that resemble children between the ages of six and sixteen, with pale
skin and black eyes.
Farsi is the Persian language. What Declan says about
Arabic is true.
Orlog is a concept from Heathen mythology related to
wyrd. It is primordial law.
Puss in Boots is a European literary fairy tale probably
best known from the 17th century version written by Charles
Perrault. He appears as a character in the 2004 film Shrek 2. Donkey
appears in the Shrek films as the ogre’s sidekick.
‘A gift for a gift’ is a modern Heathen maxim.
The Harmattan is a season in the West African
subcontinent characterized by a dry trade wind, of the same name.
The Wagon was the Viking name for the constellation we
call the Plough. I made up Urdh’s belt.
The ram-horned snake is from Celtic mythology. It was
often associated with Cernunnos.
A ba and an akh are parts of the soul from ancient
Egyptian (Kemetic) mythology. The Halls of Ma’at and the perils of Duat are
described in the Book of the Dead. The ancient Egyptians believed that
some stars were akhu.
The Snow White reference is to the 1937 Walt Disney film.
Red magic – in ancient Egypt, the colour red signified
the ‘Outland’ and things from it.
‘Hoist with his own petard’ is a phrase from William
Shakespeare's play Hamlet. It means a bomb-maker who has been blown up
by his own device.
The general information about Houses of Life is true.
The end of the 19th Dynasty in ancient Egypt
plunged the country into civil war. Setnakht (Strength or Victory of Set) was
the first pharaoh of the 20th Dynasty (the last dynasty of the New
Kingdom). His reign was extremely short. He was the father of Rameses III.
Ma’at is an ancient Egyptian goddess. She represents
balance, which was a central concept of Kemetic culture.
The Magic Book of Princess Ahura was written around
1100BCE. It is one of a cycle of tales about Setne Khaemweset. Setne was a real
person: the fourth son of Ramesses II, he lived around 1270 to 1224 BCE. The
later tales about him cast him in the role of a searcher for magical knowledge.
In the first cycle, he seeks and finds a book of powerful magical spells: the Book
The Egyptologist mentioned by Teazle was Margaret Murray,
better known for her later work The God of the Witches, which was a
significant early influence on Wicca. She was the unofficial assistant to the
famous Egyptologist Sir William Flinders Petrie and helped excavate the sacred
city of Abydos. The temple of Seti I at Abydos contains inscriptions dubbed the
‘Helicopter hieroglyphs’ as they supposedly depict a helicopter and a tank.
During the 19th and 20th dynasties,
Sepermeru was a centre for the 19th Nome. It was one of the chief cult centres
of Set, whose temple there was excavated and identified in the 1980s.
The information from Teazle, Sam and Raphael about the
Setne documents, the Fayum/Fayyum, the canal, Sepermeru, nomes and Oxyrhynchus
The information about the Oxyrhynchus documents is true.
What is said about the resolutions of much CCTV used for
child protection in 2013 is true.
Versipelles (Latin) = pelt-changers. Usually
werewolves in Roman mythology.
Kitsune are magical foxes in Japanese mythology. They are
Declan’s comment about shares is a quote from common
C'est un crétin! (French) = He’s a moron!
What Declan says about the origin of ‘keep your friends
close but your enemies closer’ is true.
Je m’appelle Isolde Ambrose (French) = my name is
Merci beaucoup (French) = many thanks
The linoleum quote is from Buffy the Vampire Slayer,
a popular TV series written by Joss Wheldon. It was spoken by the character Xander.
‘I’m Spartacus’ comes from the 1960 film Spartacus,
directed by Stanley Kubrick. The phrase is used by other Roman slaves to
protect the main character.
Veles is a god from Slavic mythology. Otso appears in The
n’est-ce pas (French) = a tag question inviting agreement.
Enemy of the State is a 1998 American
action-thriller film directed by Tony Scott. Its theme is the ability to obtain
information about an individual.
The information about ANPR is true.
The author referred to is Tony Geraghty. The book was The
I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched were
popular American TV shows in the 1960s. One was about a jinniyah and the other
about a witch.
What is said about the jinn and mirrors is true.
The legality problems of Fox and Niall are true. The
Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 lowered the age of consent for gay
sexual relationships from 21 to 18 in the UK in 1994. Equality of age of
consent was finally achieved in 2001. The Civil Partnership Act 2004 permitted
single-sex couples to register their relationships legally. Same-sex marriage
was finally enabled in England and Wales from March 2014 and Scotland from
December 2014. At the time of publication of this book (Nov 2015), same-sex
marriage was not permitted in Northern Ireland.
The Book of Thoth is a fable. In ancient Egyptian
mythology, the god Djehuty (Thoth) is a great magician and the inventor of
Flex-foot blades are used by runners. Carbon fibre blades
are superior. The normal route for children to obtain sports-quality blades is
true. LimbPower exists.
The Severn Bore exists. The information about it is true.
Minsterworth near Gloucester is one of the best viewing points. The Qiantang
River in China has the largest bore in the world.
The story of King Canute is a 12th century
fable. Canute’s action was designed to shame his courtiers who told him he had
the power to do whatever he wanted.
Undergraduates excluded, what Declan says about
Discordianism is true. The ingredients for a Discordian spell are an adaptation
of the Paper Clip Sacrifice from Erisian Ritual Magic II.
The Severn Estuary has the third largest tidal range in
Izzy’s thoughts about keeping a fire going are attested
in folklore in many cultures. The tools she uses were the common ones prior to
matches. Fireplaces replaced hearths that were usually in the centre of the
house. Fire dogs (andirons) are devices made of metal which support the
The Angel of the North is a sculpture designed by Antony
Gormley. It stands 20 metres tall, with wings measuring 54 metres across.
Cluedo (Clue in the US) is a popular board game about
solving a murder.
The TARDIS is the transport of Doctor Who, the
protagonist of a BBC TV series that has been running for 50 years. It is stuck
in the shape of a British police box.
TOR conceals a user's location and computer usage from
anyone conducting network surveillance or traffic analysis. Hushmail can convey
authenticated, encrypted email.
The finfolk are from the folklore of the Orkney Islands,
situated in northeast Scotland. What is said is authentic.
Although Sweet Angel Ponies don’t exist, bronies do. They
are the male fan base of My Little Pony, a toy franchise owned by the US
The information about CBIR engines is true.
The Lisa Simpson interpretation of the 2012 Olympics logo
happened. I have not used the authentic logo as it is subject to copyright.
The logo was created by the brand consultancy firm Wolff
Olins. It was unveiled in 2007.
In Heathen mythology, the fetch (Old Norse fylgja) is
part of a person.
Dr John Dee (court magician to Elizabeth I) used a round
scrying mirror made of obsidian.
Gullveig is a mysterious witch in Heathen mythology who
was burnt to death three times by the Aesir family of gods. The event may have
led to a war between the gods. Gullveig may be Freya. The only mention of the
story is in the Poetic Edda Voluspa 21-22.
In Heathen mythology, Vanadis is one of Freya’s titles.
It means something like ‘protective female spirit of the Vanir’. Laufeyjarson
is Loki’s matronymic (surname).
The name ‘Budweiser’ is used in the USA by ABInBev and in
Europe by the Czech companies Budweiser Budvar and Budweiser Bier Bürgerbräu.
Mr Tumnus and the lamppost come from The Lion, the
Witch and the Wardrobe by C S Lewis.
Emrys is one of the names given to Merlin. Ellwood is an
Anglo Saxon surname deriving from a place in the Forest of Dean. It means ‘old
wood’ or ‘elder wood’.
In Heathen mythology, fetches, the Idesa (Old Norse:
disir) and hamingjar (the word I have rendered as ‘luckwives’) are female
The information about norns is true. It can be found in
the Prose Edda Gylfaginning 15.
Beating the bounds is a ritual that seems to have its
roots in Heathen practices of land taking in England and Scandinavia. Wassailing
apple orchards on Twelfth Night is an old custom in southern England.
A Dalek is a creature from BBC’s Doctor Who TV
series. A Zorg ZF-1 is from the 1997 film The Fifth Element. Wolverine
is a character in Marvel Comics.
A form of toga dyed solid purple was used to clothe
images of the gods in the Roman religion.
Domine Mars (Latin) = O Lord Mars
Parcae (Latin) = the Fates. Morta chose the manner and
time of a person's death.
Roman citizens could appeal to a tribune about the
decisions of a magistrate. The tribune was obliged to determine the legality of
the action before a magistrate could proceed.
There are various versions of Merlin being imprisoned by
The original version of Gone with the Wind was
released in the UK in 1940.
In Heathen mythology, the three Norns tend damage done to
the world tree, Yggdrasil.
The flooding in Somerset continued during January and
February 2014. Two councils declared a major incident. The army was called in
The information about the effects of the storms in early
2014 is true.
The information about the Fastnet race is true.
In December 2014, Moonrise was about an hour before