True Bits in the book
'Bloodmonth' is the name given to the Anglo Saxon lunar
month which has a full moon falling within November.
Appletreewick exists and is as described.
Storm Barney hit England and Wales 17 November 2015.
The information about names imparted by Morgan is true.
On Friday 13 November 2015, terrorist attacks took place
in Paris. 130 people died and 413 were injured.
Horrible Histories is a UK series of illustrated
history books aimed at children.
In the UK, 'canteen culture' refers to a set of
conservative and discriminatory attitudes said to exist within the police
The Devonshire Arms exists.
The allusions in the Howling:
chain-breaking son of trickster-sire = Fenrus the wolf,
son of Loki.
the dashing pair that stars devour = Skoll and Hati, the
wolves that pursue the sun and the moon
the greedy ones at Grimnir's side = Freki and Geri, Odin's
the snake-reined steeds, that troll-wives' ride = the
wolves of Ironwood (see the Prose Edda Gylfaginning 12)
Halls or Hel = the eternal dwellings of the gods or the
realm ruled by Hel, the daughter of Loki.
C'est merveilleux (French) = that's wonderful!
Mais oui (French) = but yes. An emphatic
Mash (Yorkshire dialect) = make tea.
The information about the meanings of names given by
Morgan is true.
What is said about The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is
Tata (French) = auntie.
Apotropaic objects are designed to avert malefic magic.
A hamsa is an apotropaic symbol in the shape of an open
hand. Also known as the Hand of Fatima it is popular throughout the Middle East
and North Africa.
With the exception of Dracula and vampires, the other
monsters in the ride are from Greek mythology.
What Howard says about showman culture is true.
Nowt (Yorkshire dialect) = nothing
Owt (Yorkshire dialect) = anything
Fairgrounds rides have a good safety record in the UK.
D'accord (French) = OK
Bettys of Harrogate exists and is as described. It is
spelt that way.
The gods mentioned as subjects for the godposts are all
from Heathen mythology.
The wadjet eye is an ancient Egyptian symbol of
protection, royal power, and good health. It's also called the Eye of Horus
'Weregold' is my rendition of wergild, an early English
fine. Wergild (Anglo Saxon) = man payment.
Versipellis (Latin) = pelt changer. The plural is
The ancient Romans considered even numbers unlucky.
The geography around Caistor is accurate.
The brands Klipfresh and Lock and Lock exist.
Lakeland is a popular homeware chain in the UK.
Crazy Frog was originally known as The Annoying Thing. It
was created in 2003 by actor and playwright Erik Wernquist and released as a
Izzy is referring to the proverb 'he who pays the piper
calls the tune'.
Canis Maior (Latin) = great dog
n'est-ce pas? (French, relies on context) = shall we not?
The World card is from the major arcana in tarot.
Désolé (French) – sorry
What Declan says about the number of sephiroth and their
numbering is true.
The Kabbalah was originally Jewish mysticism. A second
form was created by the Western Mystical Tradition as early as the 15th
century. It used Jewish esotericism. Although Ari's system was created by me,
the attributes and meaning for each sephirah are authentic to the Occult Kabbalah.
Le Fou (French) – the fool
What Morgan says about the origin or central mystery of
the Kabbalah comes from Jewish esotericism.
Très bien (French) = very good!
Declan is misquoting part of the description of Mary
Millward in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte.
The alicorn is the name for a unicorn's horn. During the
Renaissance small amounts were fantastically expensive. The trade largely
collapsed in the 17th century when 'unicorn horns' were found to be
The tale of unicorns being attracted by the purity of
maidens began with the Physiologus, written between the 2nd
to 4th century CE. The popularity of the idea in medieval times
coincided with the trade in unicorn horns.
The unicorn throne of the Danish kings, the sceptre and
imperial crown of the Austrian Empire and the scabbard and the hilt of the
sword of Charles the Bold were said to be made from unicorn horn.
The 12th century abbess Hildegard of Bingen used unicorn
liver for leprosy. Other parts of a unicorn, including the hide and the
alicorn, were supposed to cure other ailments. The alicorn was regarded as an
aphrodisiac and being able to survive facing a unicorn was a test of virginity.
It is the Icelandic road sign for a ford.
The tale of Njordh and Skadhi comes from Heathen
mythology, the Prose Edda Gylfaginning 23.
The ancient city of Troy was in what is now Turkey.
The story of the Trojan Horse is related in Homer's Iliad.
It is a central text in Greek mythology.
The descriptions of Discordians and Chaos Magicians
(Chaotes) is reasonable. Both exist in modern Western magic.
BRG = British racing green. Although the name comes from
the international motor racing colour of the United Kingdom, the popular shade
was developed by commercial marques.
What Sam says about the property prices in Harrogate is true to the place and time.
The allusion is to the dog in Hans Christian Anderson's The
Shu (Kemetic) = he who rises up. Shu is an Egyptian god
represented as wearing up to four feathers. He is the air and clouds. Coffin Text 80 refers to him as 'Life'.
The Occult Kabbalah (or Hermetic Qabalah) assigns
correspondences for each sephirah. These can be a planet, colour and Kemetic
god among others. I have altered the correspondences for Ari's system. The
Jewish names of the sephiroth have been retained, along with some of the
The description of the unicorn matches medieval images.
The story of Nuadha is from Irish mythology. The tale of
Sif and Loki comes from Heathen mythology.
Bon (French) = good.
Min was a god in ancient Egyptian mythology. However, the
tale alluded to was probably from Classical or later times.
'moutons' is a reference to a French idiom humorously
translated as 'let us return to our sheep' meaning to return to a topic or
Hilary is the spring term at Oxford University.
The origin of the saying 'The enemy of my enemy is my
friend' is true.
pas? (French) = will I not?
By the pricking of my thumb, something wicked this way
comes. The quote is from Shakespeare Macbeth Act 4 scene 1.
Scarlett is playing on the title of the 1990 film Dances
with Wolves produced by Kevin Costner.
Et voilà! (French) = there you go! (said when
Jafar is a villain in the 1992 Disney film Aladdin.
The River Thames is known as the Isis in Oxford.
In Oxford colleges, Senior Common Room is an association
of tutors. It is usually a physical room.
In Heathen mythology, Freya acquires her necklace
Brisingamen by sleeping with four dwarves. The story is from Sörla þáttr
in the Flateyjarbók.
What Ari says about Arabian horses is true, including the
The Hamlet quote is What's Hecuba to him or he to
Hecuba/ That he should weep for her?
There are several legends about the Teufelstritt (Devil's
Footstep) in the Munich Frauenkirche.
What Izzy says about the Mokshda system is true.
In Heathen mythology, an Irminsul was a sacred pillar.
The words of the incense purification at Richmond are taken
from the Opening of the Mouth ceremony from A E Wallis Budge's book Egyptian
Magic. The prayer to Geb is from the ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts.
Heka (Kemetic) = magic
The congratulatory first at Oxford exists.
Chasar is Hebrew and Ahmaq Arabic for a fool or foolish.
Kinder, Küche, Kirche (German) = children, kitchen,
church. It reflects a particular model of a woman's place in society.
What Declan says about the Bolton Abbey Estate is true.
Katharine Briggs and Jacob Grimm are famous folklorists
who collected fairy stories.
Thomas the Rhymer (Sir Thomas de Ercildoun) lived in the
13th century. The first account of him dates to a hundred years
later, and the ballad is much later.
Gullveig is a figure from Heathen mythology. She is
thought to be Freya. She was killed by fire by the gods three times and walked
free each time. The tale is in the Poetic Edda Voluspa 21-22.
The labyrinth used with the map is a modified Classical.
The usual form is used for the section title The Labyrinth. It traces
back to at least the Bronze Age.
Hillsborough is the greatest disaster in British sporting
history. Liverpool was one of the teams playing on 15 April 1989. 96 Liverpool
supporters died and 766 were injured.
Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa (1486-1535) wrote Renaissance
esoterica. He created a catalogue of magic.
Rare-earth magnets are the strongest type of permanent
magnets made. They were developed in the 1970s and 1980s.
The classical style of Roman names was praenomen
(familiar name) nomen (clan name) cognomen (nickname).
In Japanese mythology, kitsune are magical foxes.
What Marcus says about oaths was true in ancient Rome. I
made up the wording of the sacramentum used by the VS.
In Classical mythology, the Styx was the river dividing
this world from the Underworld. Souls were ferried across by Charon.
Excursions and Alarms
The New Forest has free-ranging ponies and the Forest of
Dean has wild boar. The area of England in and around the New Forest tends to
What Morgan says about Skyrack is true. It was an administrative
area in the Danelaw, centred on Headingley.
A Class Act
Et voilà! Comme je l'avais prédit!(French) = There you go! Just as I predicted!
What is said about PIR and the detection of CCTV is true.
The birds mentioned take part in the dawn chorus in the
UK. The wren is named as 'king' in the folklore of many western European
Peace for our time was a declaration made by Prime
Minister Neville Chamberlain 30 September 1938 concerning the Munich Agreement.
Running the Maze
What is said about the public right of way is true.
schnitzer (German) = carver or blunder
There was a dentist in west London by the name of Dr
Idhunna is a goddess from Heathen mythology. She keeps
the apples of youth.
In Heathen mythology, the Disir (singular dis) are female
ancestors and guardians.
Tacitus Germania 10 mentions the Germanic peoples
using sticks for divination.
In the book, the various objects used by Ari to represent
a god or goddess are authentic.
The history of Woolman in the Forest of Dean is true.
The Meaning of Life
In ancient Egyptian mythology, the god Ra travelled the
sky each day in a sun boat.
Netjeru (Kemetic) = gods. Netjer = god.
Crossing the Abyss
"I want to be alone" was spoken by Greta Garbo in Grand
Qoph is the nineteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The
word means monkey or ape in modern Hebrew.
In ancient Egyptian mythology, Djehuty (Thoth) is a god.
He is often represented as a baboon. One of his titles is 'Thrice Great'. He is
associated with the moon, which has a synodical cycle of nineteen years. The akh
is a soul that has been judged and passed into the afterlife. The soul is
weighed against the feather of Ma'at.
In Kemetic mythology, True of Voice = moral purity.
According to the Bible, Isaiah was a prophet among the
ancient Hebrews. 'The King' is the Jewish Messiah.
Ein Sof is the name given to the creator (God) of the Kabbalah.
In Judaism, El Shaddai is one of the names of God.
Ari quotes from Psalm 139: 13-16 (Jewish version JPS
Tanakh 1917). The Mikra is the Tanakh = the Hebrew Bible.
The titles Ari uses for Djehuty all come from ancient
A Coptic painting of a unicorn was found in the tomb
Urarna II at Sheik Said.
Ari (Hebrew) = lion.
In ancient Egypt, Sirius appeared at the time of the annual
flooding of the Nile.
Yinepu is the Kemetic name for Anubis.
What Cyn says of the politics of the 1960s and 70s is
true, allowing for her own political prejudices. The Cuban Missile Crisis
(1962) could have led to nuclear war between the US and Russia. The Profumo
Affair (1963) was a sex and spy scandal. Harold Wilson was accused of using the
Profumo Affair. The Labour Party won the election in October 1964 and Wilson
became Prime Minister.
The Troubles was the UK name for the conflict in Northern
Ireland during the late 20th century. Cyn's story begins around 1969.
The Conservatives formed the British government 1970–1974.
Edward Heath was the Prime Minister. The Three-Day Week took place in the first
two months of 1974 in response to industrial action by coal miners.
The IRA began bombing in England during 1973. The coach
party attack took place in early 1974. The general election was called in
February 1974. A second one was called later in 1974.
I didn't make up the plot to overthrow the UK government
in 1974-5, although it is disputed. The details I outline are in the public
Margaret Thatcher became the leader of the Conservative
Party in 1975 and Prime Minister in 1979.
The Annunciation is one of a series of 15th
century frescoes by Fra Angelico in the San Marco Convent.
'Appen (Yorkshire dialect) = possibly or maybe.
Dominus (Latin) = Lord.
WAGs is an acronym used to refer to wives and girlfriends
of high-profile sportspersons.
Pas de problème. Nous te parlerons en
français (French) = No problem. We will speak
to you in French.
In Oxford University, Trinity term begins on the fourth
Sunday in April.
Food poisoning can cause miscarriage.
In ancient Egyptian mythology, Ra's sun boat went into
the underworld at night to fight the force of chaos.
Tamworth was the capital of the Anglo Saxon kingdom of
Mercia. Its flag was a gold cross on a blue background.
The Fly is a science-fiction horror film, made in
1958 and again in 1986.
In Heathen mythology, Sessrumnir is Freya's hall in
Asgard. See the Prose Edda Gylfaginning 24.
In the ancient Roman religion, the devotio was an extreme
form of votum in which a Roman general vowed to sacrifice his own life in
battle along with the enemy to chthonic gods in exchange for a victory. The
story about Publius Decius Mus is true.
Clemens' devotio follows the form of that of Decius Mus. Many
of the gods and spirits he calls on have a connection with the underworld, such
as Mercury, Dis Pater, Orcus, di Manes and di Inferi.
Any Roman rite or religious act required the invocation
of Janus first, with a corresponding invocation to Vesta at the end.
What Clemens says about the technical aspects of pyre building
The tests Izzy undergoes are standard for cardiac cases.
At the time this book was written, the top cardiac
hospital in the US was in Cleveland Ohio. It ranked in the top three for pulmonology
Heart transplant patients have to take anti-rejection
drugs for the lifetime of the transplanted heart.
The ba is one of the parts of the soul in ancient
Egyptian mythology. It is the part that is judged and is usually represented as
a bird with a human head.
El Ashmunein is the modern name for ancient Egyptian Khemenu
(Hermopolis). It was the main cult centre for Djehuty.
A shabti was a small figure placed in an ancient Egyptian
tomb. They were intended to act as servants or minions for the deceased in the
The College (or Society) of Antiquaries met from around
1586 to around 1607. Cotton was a member. He is famous for his collection of historical
documents. John Greaves (1602–1652) made a survey of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
What is said about Napoleon Bonaparte and the Description
de l'Égypte is true.
Izzy and Michael's suggestions exist. Gavrinis, Barnenez
and Locmariaquer are megalithic monuments in Brittany. The Ness of Brodgar is
in Orkney, Scotland.
Di inferi (Latin) = the gods below. A collective
of ancient Roman deities associated with death and the underworld.
Turpis (Latin) = filthy, ugly, deformed.