Barry McCann, of Blackpool, has launched an anthology, Shadow of Pendle, a collection of newly commissioned stories and verse inspired by the Pendle Witches written by contributors from all over the world. These include the Preston-based writers Gordon Aindow and Phil Howard, alongside other Lancastrians including Janet Kenny, Adele Robinson, plus Chris Newton and Zowie Swan from the Lancashire based punk band Dischord who have just co-authored their own horror novel, Convent Crescent.
Just a few weeks after being launched, the anthology is ranking in the Amazon’s top 100 books relating to Witchcraft.
Barry, who edited the book and wrote two of the stories, said: “A couple of years ago I became involved in the website Spooky Isles run by the David Saunderson, which features legends and reported hauntings around Lancashire.
"We began formulating plans for Shadow of Pendle. Spooky Isles was already expanding into print publishing with the short story and essay anthology The Spooky Isles Book of Horror, for which I had contributed two Lancashire based tales.
"I agreed to edit the new anthology and there was great response from both sides of the Atlantic to the call for submissions, many of which happily came from Lancashire based writers.
"The stories have turned out a surprisingly eclectic mix of the darkly psychological, fable, paranormal and some horror.
"The poems are more reflective of the tragic true story of the Pendle Witches. I have tried to approach this with the right sensitivity by reminding readers in the introduction that there is a terrible truth behind these fictions which needs to be remembered, and which I relate in the opening story as told by the adult Jenet Device looking back on what happened to her family and the part she played in that."
The collection is published by Dark Sheep Books, a range edited by Jon Kaneko-James, with all profits going into a fund to finance future anthologies.