SATANIC MAJESTIES REQUEST?
The CRCMH has long since been covered in a variety of graffiti,
some more tasteful than others. There's one well-known piece in particular
which had almost completely skipped my mind until it was recently
brought to my attention under amusing circumstances.
musical cohort Mike Murray of Wire
Jesus had this to say:
remember reading an article in the Maidenhead Advertiser a few
years ago about the Council and local residents being worried
about a possible Satanic Cult using the hospital on the basis
of finding that Satanic drawing on the wall - which gave me
and my family a great laugh..."
There is a logical
reasoning behind all of this. The graffito in question (which can
be seen above) is found in a prominent place just off the main corridor
as you enter the canteen area. To the right of the photo, you can
just about glimpse Mike Murray, and behind him, next to the offending
piece of art, is the artist himself. And I have a confession to make
here. That artist was me.
I'd like to take
this opportunity to formally apologize to anyone who may have lived
in genuine fear, having been naïve enough to have taken it seriously.
But on the other hand, I'd like to burst into laughter at the thought
of having created an issue of hilariously misinformed proportions
- and one which should teach the local press to concentrate on the
real issues facing the community rather than fabricating stories
which have no genuine basis.
To the best of
my knowledge, there has never been any connection between the CRCMH
and the act of devil worship. The only true incident that remotely
borders on such a topic is one which I shall relate to you now. The
version I have comes from Eric Fitch's book "Unknown Taplow"
(which is excellent - pick up a copy if you can), and it goes something
In the 1960s,
a coven of witches met one midsummer night (perhaps for the solstice)
in Burnham Beeches. During this gathering, the head witch drank poison
from a ritual chalice in the belief that his magical powers would
make him immune from its effects. Unfortunately, his powers failed
and his followers rushed him to the nearby CRCMH - where he died some
But modern day
satanic worship in the abandoned hospital? I don't think so. And we've
certainly never seen any evidence that would imply it either. So I'd
love to know what the locals claimed to have known about or seen to
have created such an uproar. Just kids dressed in black wandering
around the place I suspect. And, of course, my graffito.
Before you ask,
although I have allegedly spent my scholastic years in the same classrooms
as Aleister Crowley (it's unconfirmed because there's evidence both
for and against it) - no, I'm not a devil worshipper either. I don't
think that this website is the right place to discuss whatever personal
spiritual beliefs I may have, but I can assure you that I don't waste
my spare time attempting to learn the Lord's prayer backwards (or
indeed playing vinyl records backwards - like those Christian evangelists
who claim that the chorus of Queen's Another One Bites The Dust
played backwards says "it's fun to smoke marijuana" - though
I must admit, you do have to try that one - it's hilarious).
So what's it all about then? Well, it's quite simple really. Two things.
One being music...
you'll find the actual source of the whole "issue." I've
always had a varied music taste. I don't listen to metal much these
days (I must be getting old) but I still appreciate a good deal of
it. And back in the early 90s, amongst other things, I listened to
a fair bit of heavy stuff like Cathedral, Napalm Death, and Morbid
Angel. The latter, a now defunct Florida-based band drew influence
from a lot of classical composers, Bach in particular. Their music
might have been fast and dark, but they weren't satanists. Actually,
their second album was dedicated to Jesus Christ of all people. But,
as you can see, their logo featured this intricate little design incorporating
a pentagram and inverted crucifix.
me being an artist of sorts, forever doodling here and there, I'd
got this part of the design stuck in my head. Something I've proved
here though is just how inaccurately stuck in my head it was - my
reproduction was terrible! It was done from memory, and although I
got the elements right, it's all badly out of shape. I can't for the
life of me remember what paint I used. It looks consistent with a
spray can, which would be the most likely medium (I can't picture
myself wandering around the place like Rolf Harris with a paint pot
in one hand and a brush in the other). Incidently, the Pwürg
cemetery and "Save Our Hospital" petition were created with
permanent markers. But why did I bother?
was a teenager, and teenagers do things for the sake of doing things.
It's art for the sake of being art. That's one explanation. Then there's
the music aspect - paying homage to something I enjoyed listening
to (just like the railway bridge near Melbourne that now has Fleetwood
Mac written under it...I wonder how that got there...constable?).
It's not graffiti in the street-sense (kids, drugs, vandalism etc),
because it was hidden away inside a condemned building in the middle
of nowhere - so don't take this as an invitation to re-decorate your
local shopping mall. Spray tags are an awful mess too - so if you
want to do it, get permission to use somebody's wall and do an interesting
mural instead. But as I said earlier, there was one other thing that
it was all about. Humour.
did it for a laugh because I figured that maybe a couple of people
might see it and go "oooh, satanists - better get out of here,
I'm scared." But I didn't anticipate that the joke might reach
the stage whereby the local community and press ends up believing
that the CRCMH is the "devil's playground." That's just
the icing on the cake - very funny indeed. So the people of Taplow
can now rest easy in their beds, safe in the knowledge that there's
no evil darkness emanating from their favourite former hospital. If
you discount The Flincher,
that is. And no wise person would want to do that if they know what's
good for them...
P.S - Thanks
to Mike for bringing the issue up. Sadly though, he threw away the
Advertiser article by mistake, so if anyone has a copy I'd love to
have a look because I've never seen it - Just contact
us. However, Mike did manage to extract further a little snippet of
trivia about the hospital from his mother (both Mike and his sister
were born at the CRCMH) - The CRCMH was full of ants. Why doesn't
that particularly come as a surprise?...