If you are reading this, read it, then throw it in the fire, as I assume you will be doing with the other notebooks. No-one wants to hear what I say when I’m alive, let alone when I’m long gone.
But I want to write it all down, to see if I can make sense of it all at least.
I started a blog in 2015, all about Wicca meetings that were going on in the fields behind my house. I was intrigued and totally sceptical. But I thought it might be fun to go and join them. Maybe host some meetings in my living room, rather than leave them all out in the cold in winter. So I did and it went well. They were friendly enough, all sorts, doctors, architects, farmers, students the lot. And they didn’t know I was writing about them in an online blog, there weren’t many followers and I changed all the names. I’ve since deleted the blog, burned all my notes (apart from this summary), deleted all computer files and securely destroyed the hard drive (that took some doing, they all suspected me of something grisly). I’ve checked on internet archive sites (WayBackMachine etc) and I think there is no record of my blog. Only hearsay occasionally in some forums.
We had a charismatic and powerful leader in the Wicca group. I say powerful now, but I didn’t spot that early on. He certainly was charismatic and managed to impregnate some of the female members. God, that sounds crazy now, but it seemed ok at the time. Let's call him Leonard. Leonard had this idea, this secret knowledge (bollocks!) that there was a Great Power, called Wibble (yeah, not going to utter the real name again). Wibble had chosen 2015 to re-enter the world and recreate heaven on earth one Wicca group (and others) at a time. We were to research all this and find out as much as we could in order to bring this about in our group. This was so Wibble could go on to the next one, and incrementally bring about an earthly paradise. We were not to research online, so we hit the libraries and hid ourselves in the folklore sections, to see what mention there may be for Wibble, or something like him, in the past.
I blogged gleefully about this, as I took the mickey a bit and threw in “research” I’d done that was completely made up. It didn’t seem to matter. And the blog started to get followers, and the comments were initially as gleeful as the writings.
I found that I enjoyed doing the research though, and the folklore of our area in Wales was quite fascinating, so I stopped making things up and presented real stories to the group and to the blog. I found some local experts in the field and went to see them, and gained a bit more understanding of what seemed to be going on. I noticed that my finances were a bit healthier than usual, some refunds here, a mistake by the bank, and a distant relative I didn’t know left me some cash. I kept a note of all the experts and interested people with addresses in a notebook (at the back) and felt I was beginning to become an expert myself. My new girlfriend seemed to think so too. I also visited villages, towns and cities that held interesting artefacts and stories and “feelings”. Yes, “feelings”. Now that much definitely isn’t bollocks. Some places, especially churches, “felt” different to me at the time, and quite possibly would still do if I could remember where they were, but I can’t. Oddly, a lot of the really interesting, and relevant, artefacts in churches were on display. Easily nickable I mean. I was drawn to one of them in a place I’m not going to name. Because I can’t remember, honestly. And I felt drawn to take it when the vicar came in and I realised what I was about to do.
The blog got serious by this time and the followers were serious and our Wicca meetings were beginning to get very exciting indeed. We sensed something amazing was going to happen, and happen very soon. This was in August 2015. We started to practise some incantations, did more research and the blog audience grew and grew, all now believing Wibble was about to change the world, and I invited members of our group to contribute, still under false names and our location was not mentioned. People did find us though, and our group split, eventually into seven subgroups. We met around the village, in a circle of groups, as this seemed to be the best way of bringing the New World Order into place more quickly. Leonard was still head of all groups and his decisions on anything were final. Proper dictatorship it was, but none of us, really none of us, questioned anything he decreed. We took to wearing elaborate robes. We researched incantations that would achieve a particular end, said the incantations from memory in the right places at the right time (usually midnight, usually on a local lay-line) and were not surprised that the incantations actually worked. The ring road around the village was abandoned for example (it’s there now, of course) and the church got enough money for a new roof. Which is odd - Wicca/CofE don’t usually mix.
Wibble was always on our minds, and we were looking forward. Then one night, Leonard announced that we were ready. We had an incantation to say, and on All Hollows Eve (31st October 2015) we were going to say it, dressed in our robes and on the intersection of no less than four lay-lines. This was in a farmer’s field, the farmer who would have absolutely nothing to do with us. We did an incantation. Suddenly we had permission to use his field for the big night. We were going to usher in a new world, a paradise on earth, a new beginning for mankind, at least in within the boundaries of our seven groups. Which was a start.
The blog now had more than a million followers. All around the world, groups were using our research and setting up their own groups. Very exciting stuff. Should have been terrifying.
And then it was upon us. All Hollows Eve, 2015. We’d all learnt the lengthy words to incant and we were on the lay-lines and the sky was clear, the moon shone brightly, and there was a sharpness in the air. We all stood in a circle around a large fire. We had a live feed for the blog.
Leonard started saying the words and we all, one by one, as instructed by our research, joined in, believer by believer, group by group. The bright white moon grew brighter and turned slowly red. The fire raged, yet we were safe.
There was an almighty boom from the heavens and a great red flash of light across the sky, lighting up the whole village.
And then nothing. Silence. The fire went out. The white moon hid behind a cloud. And it started raining. Which is really funny actually. Leonard and some of the others were shocked and started saying “artefact” over and over again until we were all saying it and not really knowing why.
Afterwards, I looked at the blog. We’d lost half a million subscribers and the ones that were left were posting the same thing: “artefact”, mostly in capital letters. Then the blog’s servers went down and no one could post anything. It had really started to rain heavily that night and some parts of the village were flooded out. The new church roof collapsed, luckily (ha!) no one was in the church at the time. The farmer whose field we were in literally came at us with a shotgun, firing one cartridge into the air and shouting at us to clear off his land.
I dared to look at my bank account. Yup, back to its near-overdraft state. My girlfriend got a job in Coventry and I never saw her again, nor did I see her on social media, she seemed to have just vanished.
I looked at my notes. I rang some of the numbers in the back, the experts and interested people - all were misdialed numbers apparently, according to BT. Even some of the places (apart from Glastonbury) didn’t actually exist on Google Maps. Even though I’d been to these places, I must have been somewhere but thought it was somewhere else, I don’t know. The blog’s servers never came up again, despite repeated attempts to get the IT people to fix it, they said the disks were corrupted, bloody unusual, but there we were. Good, yes, but I wanted a chance to delete everything myself, for all I know it may still be there in some form. Haunts me to this day.
Some of the social media accounts were alive with all this and wanted to find this artefact. Leonard and I had to do a lot of tamping it down, saying it was an elaborate hoax and how clever we were to engage millions of people in A Thing that was fake. We took to conspiracy theory websites and channels to stoke it up a bit - a hoax, ha ha.
It did all die down, and thankfully my identity, nor our location, nor Leonard was ever recognised. We stopped the meetings, obviously. Some wanted to carry on and find the artefact but gradually it all tapered off.
I reckon it was that thing in the church that I felt compelled to steal. Certain of it. But it was not in a church and it wasn’t in the UK and it wasn’t a vicar who stopped me. Really. Do you think I’d give even a hint of what it could be? An artefact that could bring earthly paradise? No.
I do believe now though, that all of the stuff we did - we did for real. It was the blog. Millions of people all around the world Believed. The blog was meant to document research and tell people what we were doing in our little groups and have a nice chat about these funny things.
But with each blog post, the Belief grew.
It wasn’t peace on earth that the artefact and the incantations would bring. It would have been the absolute opposite. And I believe that, even though we didn’t finish the deal, and it went out like a damp squib, something did happen that night. Because 2016. And 2020.