Click for Content Warnings
- Background sounds and music
- Panning effects (sounds will be different in right and left headphones)
- References to death and dying
- Implied cult/high control group (entirely fictional)
- Extended reference to cannibalism (not detailed; mentions of human bone)
- Discussion of unhoused people including dismissal of their value (which is immediately condemned)
We are more than a map of our memories. We are ourselves even when we don’t know it, even when the last pieces are gone, still, we remain. Welcome back to Spirit Box Radio.
Hello faithful listeners! I hope you’ve all had a pretty good week. Before we crack on, I did speak to Oliver about what happened last week and it’s all fine and I won’t be saying any more about it so please stop asking. I don’t know how I always seem to get into this stuff on air. I don’t think Oliver likes it, though he’s never said directly, and— I’m doing it again! Sorry, sorry. Ehem.
I have an augury forecast for you this week! This one is pretty unusual, because it arrived in letter through the post box, marked with a stamp and everything. Of course, the post box is attached to what’s left of the house, is a little in itself unusual, and I suppose it’s also unusual that it just so happened that it was earlier this evening that I thought I’d go up there, just to have a look at the wreckage again, and it was right there. It had to have arrived this afternoon because there’s no roof whatsoever left over that part of the house and it was raining all day until about one, so. It’s pretty new. Inside, on a small blue piece of paper, written in blue biro, was the dates of this week, and then, the forecast I will share with you now.
Beware skincare advice from the woman with the red smile. She is not what she seems.
If your name contains an ‘l’, it is a prudent time to invest in new shoes.
As the crow flies, it is not far to reach the things you seek, but you cannot fly, so there may be obstacles you find which you do not expect.
The ducks in Fog Lane Park are turning in slow circles. It is not a good time to make a leap of faith.
Look to the stars. You may not find answers but it will give you pause to think.
And so concludes the augury forecast! Pretty ponderous, this one.
Okay so, we’ve received a few letters over the past few weeks that I haven’t really had much chance to address because there’s just been so much going on, so I thought we’d take a crack at them together, faithful listeners!
The first one is from Bernie in London,
[SAM AFFECTS A STILTED, POSH ACCENT]
I’ve met the most incredible woman. The problem is, she’s entirely out of my league. It- it was a chance encounter at the London bookshop where I work and I’d seen her around but I tried my absolute best to keep it cool, though I– I’m not sure I managed it. I felt an idiot afterwards because she just left without comment and I realised there was very little chance of my ever running into her again after that, and I’d wasted the whole conversation trying to seem nonchalant and didn’t make it known that I thought her to be anything other than just another customer.
I got home and stewed over it for hours and hours, feeling a right fool. My useless housemate was absolutely no help, except that he suggested I check out the Spirit Box Radio forums as he said he was pretty sure he’d seen something posted there about attraction spells. I’ve heard him piddling about with weird arcane affirmations before and more the once walked in on him chalking pentacles onto our kitchen floor, but his arcane practice seems mostly focused on trying to win the lottery, an endeavour which has yet to lend him any success, much to my chagrin as he’s several weeks behind on rent…
Despite my misgivings, I did decide to check out the forums as he suggested and found the attraction spell he was talking about. It turned out not to be of any use to me because I don’t know her or where she lives so I couldn’t put the drawn symbol near the place she sleeps as suggested. Instead, I started to look into sigils, which seem to be a topic of rife discussions on your forums. I have to say it was all extremely fascinating. My housemate helped me draw up a witch’s circle to make my own sigil, and I spent some time trying out different designs. I finally landed on one which seemed pretty enough for the task at hand, finalised it whilst chanting my words of intention aloud as was advised, and burned the sigil to… focus the energy as instructed.
Well, I have to say it’s been remarkably successful. I bumped into the object of my affections the very next day, though I did immediately pour coffee down her front which was not part of my intention whatsoever. Fortunately, though, we were right next to my house when it happened so I suggested she come inside to clean up. She did, and I made some rather embarrassing attempts to offer her snacks and beverages, all of which she rebuffed. I thought it was going quite terribly, but then, as I was unlatching the door to send her on her way, quite out of nowhere, she kissed me.
It was delightful. She left, and I was left practically floating. She actually gave me her number, too. I can’t quite believe it! Ah- of course, I’m thrilled, but I’m also worried. I don’t want her to be interested me only because of this sigil. How can I be sure her attraction to me is genuine, and not solely because of the magic I used?
[SAM RETURNS TO THEIR USUAL SPEAKING VOICE]
Well, Bernie, I’m glad your sigil was a success! It’s actually quite a pertinent time for you to have sent this letter because… well. I’m having to wrestle with concepts such as this in my own life at the moment, as regular listeners to the show will know. Our situations are quite different, but I think it may be helpful for me to share just a little bit, about this? Basically, you have to trust that you can speak to one another about this. You need to find a way to talk about it, to communicate. Like everything, the best thing you can do is communicate about it. And if you can’t do that, well. You can always make another sigil that overwrites the first one and work on from there. Hope that helps, Bernie!
Right, okay then! This one comes from Chloe in Cambridgeshire.
[SAM AFFECTS A HIGHER, SWEETER TONE OF VOICE]
Dear Mr Enfield,
The last few times I’ve tuned into Spirit Box Radio, I’ve gotten really clear communications, but they don’t seem to make any sense in relation to the questions I’ve been asking. I’m pretty sure there’s a ghost living in my airing cupboard, see, and I’ve been trying to communicate with it. I’ve tried everything standard séance-wise and I thought that I’d try using Spirit Box Radio to see if it puts out anything interesting. I was mostly going for introductory-type questions like ‘who are you’, ‘what do you want’, that sort of thing, but what I got from the Spirit Box was the extremely confusing ‘spaghetti’ and then I’m pretty sure it said ‘apple tater’ which, you know, not really very coherent as an answer for ‘who are you’.
I wonder if you might be able to shed some light on this. I did post about it on the forums but there’s been a lot going on over there so I thought I’d have a better bet of you seeing this if I sent it to your PO Box.
All the best,
Chloe from Cambridgeshire
[SAM RETURNS TO THEIR USUAL SPEAKING VOICE]
Well, Chloe, I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to you, and that I missed your post on the forums. I’m afraid things there are so lively nowadays I rely on the updates page to keep me informed and I don’t always look through the new threads which have appeared. I’m also sorry you’re having trouble with the Spirit Box Services, it’s an ongoing issue that it’s unusually responsive and I’m not sure what to suggest in order to fix it, as I still don’t really understand how the forums work and from what Show Caller Emily and Regular Caller Beth told me, it feels pretty unlikely that I ever will. That’s the arcane, isn’t it?
What I will say is that it’s probably a good shout to return to other methods of séance or communication with your airing cupboard ghost, Chloe. Instead of starting with questions like ‘who are you’, you could try a different tack. It’s possible a ghost won’t remember who it is, or really have any idea what it’s doing hanging around in your airing cupboard, so maybe try some nice party icebreakers. You could also try to leave it something interesting! I’ve heard good things about hanging some wind chimes or bells on strings where you’ve felt the arcane presence most strongly. This might be easier for the ghost to use to get your attention, and can also be a nice little bit of decoration just for them, which may help them feel a little bit better about the whole ‘being dead’ situation. Just try to be a welcoming presence and see where that gets you. If you notice there are bad vibes, however, there are some excellent threads on the forums outlining what to do, and if all else fails, Stykler and Stykler are always available to help with any ablutionary services you may require.
I do hope you get a coherent response of some kind, Chloe! Best of luck.
Alrighty, the next letter I have here isn’t signed off with a name, and it’s pretty lengthy but it’s also very interesting, so I’ll just dive right in.
[SAM AFFECTS A MORE NORTHERN ENGLISH ACCENT AND AN EXASPERATED TONE]
To the ‘occultist’ known as Sam,
You should know, first and foremost, that I do not listen to your show, and nor do I take stock in the devilry that you peddle. However, I have been reliably informed that your show is the best place to receive advice regarding the ‘occult’ and paranormal. And it is such advice that I am in desperate need of.
I volunteer at a soup kitchen on weekends and most evenings, funded by my local parish. I’m not much of a chef, but I am in charge of our food bank, and I pride myself on sourcing fresh ingredients for our patrons. It’s an unofficial position, but one that I work hard to maintain. However, recently, the church has been… taken over, for want of a better word.
A new Group have come in, all at once, and while they’re quite… lovely, they’re pushy. They have a way of doing things that steamrolls what has done before. Of course, it is not my place to openly argue against such things, and I didn’t mind until they took over the soup kitchen too. They told me they had their own ways of sourcing fresh ingredients. Which is ridiculous, because I’m the one who sources the ingredients, I’m the one who brokered the relationships with the restaurants and the independent greengrocers, and most importantly, I am the one who oversees the making of the soup. They pushed me out, said that ‘Bob’ would take over, he used to be a chef, and wouldn’t I prefer an administrative role instead? They asked if I wanted to talk it out over tea and biscuits. I said no.
The soup kitchen has been a cornerstone of our community for years and has helped many people back onto their feet when they’ve been in unfortunate circumstances. Saying that, we do have regulars who can’t seem to shake off said circumstances. Through no fault of their own, of course. And over the years, I have grown to know some of them quite well. So when Jones— a veteran with missing fingers and an unfortunate addiction which I will not name here— didn’t come by at his usual time, I feared the worst.
When I raised this to the new Group, they feigned concern, helped me make and distribute missing posters, told me gently that he would be back before I knew it. As though he were a lost pet. They were friendly enough to my face, of course, but I’m old enough to know when someone is trying to fob me off. Especially with the younger folk. They invited me to a coffee evening to take my mind off it. I declined. The posters stayed up, at least, but to this day there has been no sign of Jones.
More of my regulars started to go missing. The Group helped me make posters for them as well, and gently told me that I was doing a good job in making sure these people wouldn’t be forgotten. Forgotten! As though they already knew that my poor old regulars were gone for good! Homelessness is an awful, awful thing to happen to a person, and it is certainly true that many unfortunate individuals do not make it through that particular chapter of their lives. But the way the Group talked about my regulars… It made me shudder.
I kept asking about the soup. They gave me a bowl to try, and as delicious as it smelled I couldn’t bring myself to eat it. I did, however, notice that it was broth. And animal broth at that. When I was in charge of the soup kitchen, I made certain that the soup was vegan. You do not know what a person’s circumstances or beliefs are, after all, and a vegan soup is the best way to address this. Everyone can eat a vegan soup, certain allergies aside, and I was sure to always cater to those as well. When I raised these concerns to the Group, I was added to a Whatsapp and mailed several articles about the nutritional benefits of bone broth, accompanied by the most irritating of emoticons. At the time, I was certain they were taking bones from the local butchers and abattoirs, the ones they won’t even give to dogs.
To say I was furious would be an understatement. The Group assured me that they would take my thoughts into consideration, and let me know that they did a tea and biscuit break at midday and I was always welcome at their table. I didn’t even dignify that with a response.
What hurt the most was how popular the soup was. Far more so than anything I ever managed. People kept coming back for more, and more. They had to start making it offsite, and it would be delivered at the strangest times, and always in the same white van.
They gave me administrative work out of some sort of pity, I think. But it meant that I was sometimes in the food bank when everyone else went home for the night or to their endless coffee evenings. One of those evenings, I said I would be happy to do the washing-up. The Group told me it was no trouble, but one of them left a key for me anyway. And so I set foot into the kitchen for the first time in months, and was alarmed by how ordinary everything was. And clean, too. I don’t know what I was expecting. I told myself off for being a silly old biddy, and went to do the washing up. I was nearly done when I found something in one of the bowls. I don’t know how they missed it, but I suppose it was only a little thing. And you could so easily mistake it for a chicken bone, if you didn’t know. But before the soup kitchen, I worked as a nurse for forty years. Human anatomy is not something you forget.
I kept the bone. I don’t know why. I just tucked it into my pocket and finished the washing, locked up, left the key on my desk, and went home.
I called an old work friend and showed him a picture of the bone, and he confirmed what I already knew. He asked where I had found it. I lied and said it was fake, a prank. I don’t know why I lied.
The bone is in an envelope in a bureau I inherited from my grandfather. I haven’t looked at it since. It’s such a small thing. I don’t like to think about where it came from, but at the same time I can’t stop. I ended up doing what many people these days do, and turned to the internet for help. With some anonymity added, I googled the phrase ‘human bone in food’, and eventually found a forum discussing a letter I believed you answered a while ago. The people there are quite helpful, although I will be the first to admit that the jargon is mostly beyond me. They told me to write you a letter, and so here I am.
My phone keeps buzzing. I haven’t been to the food bank in several days. The Group are concerned for my wellbeing. They want to talk over tea and biscuits. Or maybe I can come to one of their coffee evenings.
I suppose my question, Sam, is this. How do I say I’m not interested?
From, Disgruntled Volunteer
[SAM RESUMES HIS USUAL SPEAKING VOICE]
Okay, first things first, you need to get rid of that bone. Bury it at a crossroads or, or, I don’t know! Lob it into a river. Do something. Do not keep that thing. Who knows what energy is tied to it. My goodness, what were you thinking, holding onto it like that?! Don’t you— And they mentioned a white van. I think I remember what letter they were talking about, the Burger Van. What if it’s something to do with Scarcity? Gods. What if the Scarcemongers aren’t the only ones? Well, clearly they’re not the only cannibals but. Maybe there are other groups. No, no. Other congregations. B called it a sacrament, whatever else I know, it’s worshipful, what they’re doing. Don’t know what they–
Sometimes cannibals are just cannibals but— oh hang on from the stamps here, that was before we knew the people in York were cannibals so I suppose I can’t fault you there but. Get rid of the bone and do not tell them you aren’t interested. Don’t do anything that might provoke them. Find another soup kitchen! Do not go back there. Please! Oh no. It’s been so many weeks. Disgruntled volunteer, I hope you’re listening. I hope you’re alive.
I hope you’re not soup.
You know, I would really love some soup right now, actually. Not people soup! Obviously! Or I hope obviously. Is it obvious? I don’t want to eat people! Cannibalism bad. Words I am saying out loud to you right now, apparently.
Okay, I’m going to go and rummage through the cupboards to see what I have left in to eat, I’ve not done a proper shop since before New York. I’ve been having a hard time even considering using public transport now I’ve travelled via zap with Oliver. Everything feels so pointless. Why can’t I teleport? All I can do is… a confusing set of things which combine into garbled nonsense. Summon cats, draw doors, tell people what to do in a way they can’t refuse without really meaning to. Make ghosts, badly. Hmph. Some Heir I’m shaping up to be. Maybe that’s what he meant, when he called me after the Impossible House imploded or whatever.
You know what else is weird? I’ve not heard from Scourge. Seemed to me for a while he was ringing all the time, leaving cryptic little messages everywhere which seemed specifically designed to keep me up at night. Elusive weirdo.
Nope, not even insults can entice them, apparently.
Okay, Faithful Listeners, I think I’m going to call it a night. Do something nice for yourselves before we next speak, Faithful Listeners, and goodnight.