Dead Rise On London Streets


UnknownWait, the streets of London are meant to be paved with gold, aren’t they? Instead it seems they’re full of plague victims. A swidely reported this morning, more than a dozen skeletons thought to be victims of the Black Death have been unearthed in the City of London, although how they can tell that straight off hasn’t yet been fully explained to us.

So far the skeletons of 13 adults have been found under Charterhouse Square in Farringdon during the Crossrail excavation work. There could be as many as 50,000 plague victims buried in the Farringdon area. There’s no longer any health risk from the plague, which killed over a quarter of the British population in 1348, because you have to actually meet someone who has it in order to catch it.

But what about the Living Dead then, eh? So far, in an act of literature that feels eerily prescient, I’ve contributed to two volumes explaining that this is just how the Apocalypse started in London. ‘Zombie Apocalypse!’ and ‘Zombie Apocalypse! Fightback’ are shared-world volumes, which I don’t usually like to contribute to, but I thought they turned out well.

However, the books have fallen afoul of an unpleasant online campaign to discredit them, and I suspect there are possibly two reasons behind this. One – editor Stephen Jones has been a forthright and outspoken critic of World Horror, a US organisation of horror writers, who have been taking their revenge on him in a variety of petty ways for a while now.

Second, when there’s a major motion picture in the offing on the same subject, studios go to great lengths to derail rival projects; I’ve seen this many times at close quarters. One of the oldest tricks is to take out a film option to keep your rival off the screen, which is exactly what happened in this case.

Well, c’est le mort. Meanwhile, just under the London streets, 50,000 are waiting to be discovered…

17 comments on “Dead Rise On London Streets”

  1. Ken Murray says:

    Yep can see it now: Time Team – the bite back… They only have 3 days to live… A group of stripey jumpered, real ale drinking misfits on a dig in Depford/Wales/Cornwall/Cumbria, find the tools have turned up something nasty… Even credibility sorted due to the radiation in the above localities. Can’t wait!

  2. M.E. Hydra says:

    World Horror, is that the HWA? I know they put on the World Horror Convention. Or is this a different organisation?

  3. Dan Terrell says:

    Does anyone else remember the two or three B&W 30s or 40s films that seem to have started all this? Shot dark, in “Haiti”, voodoo queen, posts for trussing up the heroine and hero, the torches flamming, drumming, swamp and Spanish moss, air plant, what have you. The bubbling pot of hands, frogs, special seasonings potion, people unknowingly drinking it, or being forced to, and then being “called” to come the swamp and unable to resist. And finally the Voodoo Queen raising the dead from the gassy black waters.
    Republic, National, or Warner Brothers or such, before United Artists, certainly, around the time of the Cat Woman, the Mummy, Frankie, and “I am Count…” At a young age (50’s TV for me)this was great stuff – now good campy stuff. A. A. Merrit, too, “Burn, Witch,Burn”, etc.
    I’ll end here. The kettle’s just boiling for my healthful cup of tana leaf tea.

  4. Dan Terrell says:

    One last time today, promise, but Reuters has released a story and several photos on the plague pit discovery. While one photo shows a number of skeletons laid out rather neatly considering the Age, the fear, and the vast number of dead, another shows a close up of an archeologist with a measure squatting by the grave site. Okay, so? This particular skeleton has had its lower legs chopped off.
    Unless this is a consequence of the tunnel digging, than is this a pre-burial preventative? Like a stone in the mouth of the dead, a nail through the ear, a stake through the heart (all happened), the breaking of the dead’s bones, etc.
    Admin, please, investigate. It seems up your alley, street; you’re the walking about Londonist.

  5. snowy says:

    Dan, the first full length Zombie film is ‘White Zombie’ shot mostly in the studio.

    I suspect one of the films you might possibly be thinking of is ‘I Walked with a Zombie’ [1943].

    [I’ve a related question for you lot, later on. When I’ve returned from the Book Sale].

  6. Dan Terrell says:

    Snowy – meant both, but think there’s a third, maybe more. H*ll they stagger together like bedbugs looking for a room.

  7. Pheeny says:

    Just wait until they discover a martian spaceship with eerie insectoid skeletons …

  8. Ken Murray says:

    Someone just reminded me the original first few Resident Evil games were the best example. However I do have to admit the effect was somewhat spoiled when someone else pointed out that the soundtrack of zombies sounded like old people having sex….

  9. Dan Terrell says:

    Hrummp… Ken, please… It’s not how aged you are. It’s how fit. Ttch, tsch.

  10. Anchovee says:

    Dan, I had similar thoughts about the neatness of the graves – the word ‘pit’ to me conjures up a ‘sling ’em in’ attitude but according to the BBC website…

    “The skeletons’ arrangement in two neat rows suggests they date from the earliest era of the Black Death, before it fully developed into the pandemic that in later years saw bodies dumped haphazardly into mass graves.”

    Not sure if we can post links, but if you search for ”Black Death pit’ unearthed by Crossrail project’ on the BBC website there’s a bit more information.

    And how was the tea?

  11. Ken Murray says:

    Trust me Dan the comment was entirely self reflective. Sadly…

  12. Dan Terrell says:

    Thank you, Anchovee – Found it and how interesting. London is always facinating, like the ancient cities in the Near East: layers upon layers, a stacked history of settlement.
    In Jerusalem there is an area that goes way down through multiple strata that has been excavated to the sub-soil and you see the “geolithic” sandwich of streets upon streets, and then Roman and Jewish houses, some burnt, and further down to where the AD clock began ticking, and finally the darker bottom. So much dust, rubble and earth built up over time. Did nobody sweap up or pick up a lucky coin from the pavement? All there.
    The tea is a bit musty tasting and leaves you with s still dry mouth. After three cups I find I tend to stagger with one arm stretched out infront and one across my chest. Ackward! (But you’re ready for trick or treating any day of the year. “And what can I fix you, sir?” I’ll have a wrap, the tomato, cheese and chicken.” “I should have guessed it’s be a wrap, sir.”
    Ken – I was just messing with you! Not to worry.I was born two weeks before Chrystal Night, but in the States.

  13. Alan G says:

    Pheeny – a bloke called Quatermass discovered just such a thing back in the sixties but the Government covered it up.

  14. glasgow1975 says:

    There was another fascinating find in Edinburgh too recently, under a Uni car park just like old Richard III, of a medieval knight with a carved gravestone. The carpark was of course just feet away from the Archaeology Building. 🙂

  15. Ken Mann says:

    Dr Who’s Quatermass rewrite “The Daemons” began with scenes inspired by “The Silbury Dig”, a pioneering bit of live archaeology from the BBC. Personally I’m still waiting for an object with a curse attached to turn up on the Antiques Roadshow. Come to think of it isn’t one of the architectural inspirations used by M R James now in the V&A?

  16. Colin Bulent says:

    Can anyone please tell me what type of journalist a “swidely” is, as in A swidely reported this morning…?
    Most grateful,

  17. Helen Martin says:

    Colin, Really? “As widely reported this morning…” We all have rough typing moments.

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