The apparent chronic haunting over 12 years of a teenage girl, Shirley Hitchings and her family, at their home in Wycliffe Road, South London, by the ghost of the son of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI, nicknamed Donald. From 1956, Donald’s ‘residence’ at the Hitchings family home in Battersea was characterised by chaos and disruption: Donald chucked furniture and household objects, levitated Shirley, set fire to tea towels, stole jewellery for Shirley, wrote letters in a peculiar Franglais and even got Shirley sacked from Selfridges. The haunting became headline news, was discussed in the House of Commons and drew the attention of Harold Chibbett, tax man by day and an eminent ghost hunter by night, who investigated the case throroughly at the time, becoming pretty much part of the family. Danny Robbins’ recent Bafflegab produced podcast series on BBC Sounds is well worth a listen if you want to know more. This drawing was one of the pulling teeth ones - each constituent part seemed to work quite well, but I found it really hard to pull everything together, which is my own fault for not planning it beforehand.

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This 2018 supernatural thriller has it all - a big old spooky but v desirable house in the middle of Welsh nowhere, grumpy locals, trees, the occult, tragedy, mystery, suicide, an exquisitely creepy soundtrack and titles to match, top historical magician John Dee, and the best fringe in British TV history. The owner of the fringe is Matilda (Lydia Wilson), a brilliant young cellist who finds her life upended when she witnesses the gruesome suicide of her mother just before she is due to go on the Big London Stage with her regular pianist and best friend Hal (Joel Fry). Unbeknown to her many miles away, local landowner Ewan Dean has also killed himself after smashing every reflective surface in his house. Finding a box of photos and news clippings amongst her mothers effects relating to the disappearance of a 4 year old girl more than 20 years previously, Matilda drags Hal off to the town of Penllynith to investigate, shoving aside her grief and replacing it with a zealous need for answers. Only child and creative genius that she is, Matilda proves herself tenacious, capricious, determined and single minded to the point of pig headed as she and the more reluctant Hal do their bull in a china shop routine, thoroughly disgruntling locals and the local policewoman alike, especially once Matilda has decided that she must be the missing child Carys. The discovery of a collection of very weird reel to reel recordings and black scrying mirrors in a hidden underground room in the Big House sets them on a very sinister course indeed. I haven’t managed to rewatch the whole series before drawing this, but I heartily recommend it. It’s a really meaty, mysterious, involved tale, just the right side of ludicrous, genuinely effing scary in places and at heart an old fashioned haunted house mystery. I love the titles (I can’t find exactly who did them, but the ever talented spookster Richard Wells was the graphic designer on the series) and decided to try and emulate their beautiful monochrome kaleidoscopic design with my illustration. Wow, was that confusing. I enjoyed drawing this, but I could have gone on forever trying out different permutations of my rotated mirrored drawings. I’ve included the original drawing, which I like but thought the four way reflection didn’t really work. I realised far too late I’d started in the wrong place on the canvas, and should have had eight Matildas. But then she wouldn’t have been symmetrical (which I kind of liked as it makes her look even weirder). So tried to copy and rotate it, with different filters. Etc. If it was Richard who did the titles, blooming hats off to him. Check them out and the rest of the series too, obv, on Netflix.



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Drawn in response to this lovely essay by Tom Cox

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