Grimm Fabrications- Photo Credit- Of' Storms Creative Studios

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Who put Bella in the Wych Elm?

Recently, I've been rather inspired by strange stories. Mysteries and histories. One in particular is the story of "Who put Bella in the Witch Elm". It's a story of murder in the 1940s. The graffito was written on the side of a 200 year old obelisk in mid 1999. 50-odd years earlier, four boys were poaching in an area near Wychbury Hill (England), when they found some curious things tucked inside a hollowed out tree. Particularly, a human skull. As they weren't technically supposed to be there (trespassing on land), they left. One of the boys felt uneasy, and told his parents. Later, when the tree was investigated, police found an almost complete human skeleton, a gold wedding ring, a shoe, and bits of clothing. A bit of cloth stuffed in the mouth showed that she died of asphyxiation. A severed hand was found buried near the tree.

To this day, no one really knows who this person is, or why she was murdered. There are many theories. Some involving spy rings during World War II. Others involve black magic executions. 

Then, there's the graffito on the obelisk, several decades later. Questions arose as to whether the mysterious graffiti artist knew something about the murder, or if the words written were simply cryptic condolences. Others around the area continue to write the words on surfaces, usually in white chalk. 

The story, and the graffito, have inspired many books, songs, and operas. Now it's inspiring me. I've always had a soft spot for the victims of unsolved murders. It's tragic. Almost more so than other murders. All deaths are tragic, but when your murderer is never caught... and you are left alone without a name or identity... There is always a question of why, and who, and... well, all of the usual questions, really. Just, more so, because the stories tend to get lost in time. At least, the opportunity to uncover the truth fades away. It's probably extremely morbid of me, that I get inspired by stories like this. I think it has to do with my curiosity, and the fascination of the phrases and stories that arise from these events. I mean... 'Who put Bella in the Wych Elm?'. The sound of it, and the sincerity of it. 

One thing that I will be doing for collections that have imagery and text based off of heavier and stranger things (like this), is I will be attaching tags offering the information, research, and history of what it means, and where it comes from. I want to make sure that people can fully understand something, make an educated decision of whether or not they want to buy it, and be able to explain it if people ask while they are wearing it. Knowledge is power, and nothing annoys me more than someone wearing something, but not understanding the gravity of its meaning.

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