My friend, Gina, lives across the road from the Witch’s Hat houses. It is a grand and gothic strip, those magnificent old homes with their spires. Some of them even have gargoyles (check out the house on the right….)
Seems a bit of an urban myth has developed in Gina’s block. She and many of her neighbours are of the belief that the witches hats are actually used at night by real witches to frolic and dance and jump; clinging to the steep peaks of the spires like bats.
I can see what they mean. If I was a witch I would be tempted to fling myself from hat to hat. When the shadows were high and the moon was bright.
And if I managed to get right up to the top and secure myself it would be so hard not to shout out: ‘I’ll get you my pretty and your little dog too…’ I don’t actually think I could stop myself (think I’ve watched The Wizard of Oz too many times.)
Funny how urban myths develop. Tricks of the light, dark clouds, solar flares, traffic lights; all sorts of things could contribute to the leaping shadows the locals claim they see. They will harbour no argument. They want witches on those hats and witches they shall have.
Gina has taken her imaginings even further. She works at the university and looks out onto this window every day.
It is a window full of mystery. Intriguing, reminiscent of days gone by. At twilight every day a shadowy figure appears in the lower right hand corner of the window. It is a bulky formidable shape, it could be half man, half beast. Gina swears she sometimes hears the beast’s hooves on the sandstone path, is sometimes disturbed in the middle of working by the sweep of his cape.
I peered through the window one afternoon and saw a projector on a table covered with a huge vinyl sheet, which in the right light could have been a cape. The projector was bulbous at the top, protruding. It could have been the head of some supernatural creature, coming to life as the university was gripped by shadow.
I didn’t have the heart to tell Gina what I saw. She loves fairy tales and magical things even more than I do. As far as I can see there’s no harm at all in wishing for witches, or beasts, or anything else that captures your fancy. No harm at all. Even urban myths need a helping hand from time to time.