Welcome to Weston: A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Quicksand and Curses

Weston-super-Mare is located on the South West coast of England, twenty-two miles from Bristol. Once a glorious Victorian seaside resort, more recently host to Banksy’s Dismaland, it has unique ways and customs found nowhere else in the West Country region, regardless of how dark and deep into it one is willing to go. (Weston—as it is more commonly abbreviated to—indicated by the red marker below)

Beyond those paid to work in the tourist information building on the seafront, one would be hard pushed to find a local prepared to say anything nice about the place.

Their fondness for calling it a ‘shit hole’ can come as quite a surprise given the idyllic images below:

‘Weston’ is Anglo-Saxon for settlement and ‘super Mare’ Latin for above sea.

Image above taken from wheel seen in first image of beach.

Below images taken from further along beach (behind above image):

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Weston’s tidal range is the one of the largest in the world, second only to the Bay of Fundi in Canada (source Telegraph).

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The fast high tide isn’t cause of the consternation, though.

On the contrary.

Parts of the beach are designated for car parking.

Something providing locals with yearly entertainment in the form of visiting tourists who either take it as in invitation to drive out on the mud as far as they can; or don’t take the ‘please have your car off the beach by this time’ signs seriously.

A selection of images returned from searching ‘Weston-super-Mare cars in the sea’:

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Perhaps it’s something to do with the curse?

During my first visit to Weston-super-Mare, while sat at small round table in a full and merry pub, a stranger came from out of nowhere to tell me I was victim of it.

It being a returning curse placed, with ironic intent, on the town by a wizard who’d been run out of it by the locals of the time:

Anyone visiting Weston-super-Mare becomes destined to return.

It’s a story I’ve heard told by locals many times since; for not only did I return, I ended up living there.

True, there might be the odd difference in the story here and there: some claiming it was none other than infamous occultist Aleister Crowley (pictured circa 1912), even though there’s little to no evidence he ever went to Weston, never mind got chased out of the place. Besides, the story just rings as something happening way before Mr Crowley was even around.

Instead of focusing on who, other add-ons take the form of naming the dark arts practiced. These have included: favoured cows being made to give soured milk; fishermen suddenly being unable to catch a thing; making a deceased man impregnate his widowed wife from the other side of the grave; causing three black cats named Milton, Ashcombe and Worlebury to each give birth to six black kittens on the same day, that day being a 6th of June and also a Saturday; the horrific discovery that one night someone had entered the market square and turned the town’s talisman dolphin to into a regular run-of-the-mill old cod.

Elsewhere specifics are given to the town’s response: dread-filled locals descending on the giant hall of their leader known as the ‘Sovereign’s Centre’ to demand ‘king’ Bourne Vylle do something; he in response assigning leadership of the mob to two local heroes—treasured woodsman, Old ‘kiss-my-axe’ Mixon, plus a shepherd called Hutton the Moor—and the route taken by the mob when running the wizard out of town being the same as that used by the Weston carnival today.

The truth of these additions is hard to ascertain; for while many local places—as maps below show—bear the names of those featured, numerous important records and documents stored at its end for safe keeping were lost in the Great Pier Fire of 2008.

But the fundamentals are the same:

The Wizard was run out of town in the direction of Uphill, and when reaching the top of its steep incline, he turned and issued the Returning Curse on Weston-super-Mare.

Below, three images:

The church of St Nicholas on Uphill (also in above pic; left background of photo, right end of grassy outcrop); the view from Uphill across Weston-super-Mare (pier just visible); the view from Uphill on a misty day.

Maps of Weston featuring legends relating to The Medusa Protocol

(contains spoilers)

The wizard icon stands atop Uphill and points to wording indicating the village also called Uphill even though it’s next to and not up it. The small diamond-shaped (rhombus) area of water below the wizard’s staff is the same as seen in the ‘misty’ photo above.

The agonised trek along the beach (chapter 5: No-Man’s-Land) is stopped by the inlet indicated, at which point Uphill—the church in particular—is noticed for the first time.

From there it’s visited many times: in frantic daylight search, then rampant nighttime reconciliation. Living up to its mysticism, it’s a place of vision and apparition; ghosts and second-comings.

In chapter 8: The Outsiders, Sophie repeats a story about a horrific incident witnessed on the beach. The event is real – at least, Sophie repeats it pretty much as it was told me. It took place just up the beach from the inlet sign.

The Town Centre:

The Seven Steps to Hell

Events are numbered in chronological order, not the order they are presented to the reader in Book I Wish You Were Her:

  1. Phone boxes where call to Her is made after arriving in Weston.
  2. Bench staggered to and thrown-up from after hearing what She has to say; once recovering, where the beach is walked onto and the pier under, as the anguished trek to the inlet by Uphill begins.
  3. The pub where, after returning from Uphill, Mark Macey imposes himself to tell the story of the curse to someone with nothing but cold-blooded murder in mind.
  4. After dealing with Macey, the sci-fi bar where Leda impersonates the police and keeps threatening to have her ex-boyfriend turn up.
  5. After leaving the bar with Leda, the point where the sea is seen fully in for the first time – waves crashing over the top of the seawall having covered what was a massive expanse of empty beach.
  6. Three scantily dressed hot chicks are on the beach with joints and they’re willing to share; only thing, in the process they confirm the curse and a lot worse.
  7. The nightclub visited after to drown in alcohol the latest barrage of soul destruction; from there, the trap waits to be sprung in the form of Leda’s place.

Previously in this series:

Coming soon: The Contradiction of Clichés

Pop Quiz:

Per capita Weston-super-Mare is likely to have the most in Europe of?

1) Recovering heroin addicts
2) People who like to pretend they’re Vikings
3) Homeless Mexican Outlaw Bikers

Readers of the books should be able to answer with ease, but if you haven’t don’t let that stop you taking a guess!