Hoogly Blogs / halloween

BUMP IN THE NIGHT

BUMP IN THE NIGHT

Greetings Hoogly fans! It’s that time of year again: the nights are getting longer; the temperature has fallen and the bulging darkness begins to encroach on our every flank. Before long it will be that most spooky of occasions: Halloween, and we will once again take to the streets like an army of the undead, dressed like vampires or monsters or ghouls, helping our kids score chocolate and sweets from ordinary humans, and listening carefully to every bang, rustle and clank in the shadows. But how can we explain our continued fascination with all things ghastly and spectral? Stories of spirits and otherworldly entities have run through all cultures since the dawn of civilisation, woven and overlapping with stories that seek to explain death and the journeys we take after our mortal race has run.

The most compelling and persistent story is that of the ghost: from Pliny the Elder in ancient Rome describing a spectre with rattling chains, to Hamlet’s father in Shakespeare, all the way up to the Victorian tales of Charles Dickens and Henry James, and the contemporary tales of modern Hollywood, such as Ghostbusters, Paranormal Activity and the Blair Witch Project. But what exactly is a ghost? Is there as scientific basis for them? Is it possible to find out? Should we even question such an ancient and mysterious phenomenon, or should we perhaps accept that some things at the fringes of our understanding are meant to remain there, tantalising, but always out of reach?

Science, as it tends to do, has had a good stab at trying to define the ghost. Here are some ideas that experts have touched upon over time:

SUGGESTION. It appears that people are more likely to report paranormal activity if they believe a location is haunted. Studies have shown that groups of people shown around old buildings will react differently based on the information they have been given: those that have been told the location is haunted nearly always report more ghostly goings-on than those who have been told there is no spectral infestation. There is also the possibility that our will and power of belief is much stronger than once thought: simply wanting to see a spirit go bump in the night may be enough to create something in the mind that appears—or perhaps is—real!

  ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELDS.  Some scientists have posited that pulsed magnetic fields—undetectable on conscious level—may be responsible for our perception of ghostly presences. The magnetic fields, it’s thought, could contribute to unusual patterns in the brain’s temporal lobes—a theory which other scientists have refuted, but nevertheless many ‘haunted’ locations do have unusual magnetic fields.

MOULD. Strange as it may sound, there is anecdotal evidence that toxins linked to mould growth can create hallucinations and visions, with other symptoms including irrational fear and dementia-like complaints. It’s not too much of a stretch to link classic haunted locations like unused castles or unkept houses to widespread mould growth, so perhaps there is something to this!

CARBON MONOXIDE. In the 1920s, a family reported a haunting after moving to an old house. After investigation, a leaky pipe was discovered, and carbon monoxide was blamed for the family’s ghostly hallucinations. There’s more than one reason to make sure your alarm is in working order!

OUIJA BOARDS. Hollywood has immortalised this spirit-summoning board-game where users move a planchette over a board covered with letters and words allowing a spirit to communicate from beyond and pass on a message for those they have left behind. The odd thing is—on many occasions, players’ hands do seem to move independently, giving rise to a fascination with the process, but scientists have insisted that these movements are involuntary, unconscious physical movements called the ‘ideomotor effect,’ where our bodies respond to our deep-rooted yearnings and desires without our brain giving instructions. Ghost-hunters will tell you that there are things that science can’t explain, and perhaps they are right. But I don’t dare take out a Ouija board to prove the experts wrong!

Well, in order to calm down after all that talk of ghastly ghouls, let’s take a moment to enjoy some lovely Hoogly tea. This month, we think it’s important warm up and rediscover one of our classic cuppas: Around the Fire Oolong Tea. One of our original blends, this customer favourite is perfect for the winter months, combining smoky leaves with safflower and crushed chilli, making this your go-to fiery friend!

To complement our Oolong, why not try Masala Chai black tea? Based on the iconic India brew, this rich and malty assam is blended with warm, aromatic spices to enchant your senses and stave off the frigid winter evenings! Brew it strong with milk and sugar to the complete Hoogly experience, allowing you to wind down, relax and let go of the day’s stress!

That’s it for this time, folks. Enjoy Halloween; fangs for reading!

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

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A SPECIAL DELIVERY

A SPECIAL DELIVERY

The doorbell rang. Sarah looked up from her book. She wasn’t expecting anyone, and no deliveries were scheduled. Brady, her white and brown spaniel, wagged his tail at the possibility of guests and treats, but Sarah was less enthusiastic. Perhaps it was one of the neighbours asking for a favour, or maybe some kind of charity agent, or possibly even kids from the nearby school playing pranks. She got up wearily and looked out of the living room window. It was a cold, grey October afternoon, with dry bronze leaves flittering and drifting in the breeze, and silvery puddles on the roads. Some birds had delivered a cluster strike of white poo on her car windscreen and bonnet, which worsened her bad mood, and as she opened the door, she noticed the neighbour’s cat—as if driven by some secret competition with the birds—had done its business on her front drive. That’s just wonderful….

Nobody was there.

Looking down, she spotted a small, square cardboard parcel, about thirty centimetres high and wide. She knelt to inspect it. There was no label or barcode. No address. No markings at all. She turned it over in her hands a few times. It was light and made no sound when she rotated it.

Brady came out and sniffed the parcel. Which was no help at all, because Brady had failed his police sniffer training, being massively uninterested in scenting out drugs and explosives, preferring instead to focus solely on biscuits and soggy tennis balls. At least Sarah knew that the box contained neither of these items, because Brady lost interest in a matter of seconds and scrambled away.

Sarah shrugged and brought the parcel inside. She figured it was a mistake, so she left it in the porch, deciding that it’s rightful owner would come back and claim it at some point. The she returned to the sofa and didn’t give the package a second thought.

Later that night, as she was brushing her teeth, Sarah heard a sound. At first, she couldn’t make out what it was, only that it was coming from downstairs, and that it sounded somewhat like humming.

She set her brush down and listened.

Heard nothing.

She moved closer to the stairs.

Still nothing.

“Brady? Is that you?”

The dog didn’t reply.

Sarah shook her head and turned away.

Hoooo….’

She stopped in her tracks, a shard of ice in her chest.

What was that?

‘Hoooo…’

It sounded like a whimper. A mournful wail. Somewhere between the drone of a mosquito and an electrical appliance running low on battery.

“Pipes,” she said out loud, because she felt like saying something to fill the space, and because that’s what her dad always said when there were strange noises in the house. “Pipes…or your mother snoring.”

It didn’t sound like either of those things, and she felt as though she should investigate. Maintenance of this place was her responsibility now. If something was faulty, she needed to fix it.

“Brady? Come here boy. Come and help.”

Brady didn’t come.

There was no sound. No movement.

“Puppy? Where are you?”

No answer.

Moving slowly, she made her way downstairs. She turned all of the lights on as she went.

“Brady?”

Hoooo…’

Louder this time. Coming from the near the front door. With her skin pricking with goosebumps, Sarah crept towards the noise.

She opened the door to the porch.

Saw Brady sitting bolt upright in front of the package, his head tilted to one side, his silhouette dead still.

“What are you doing, dog?” Sarah said.

Brady didn’t turn around.

Sarah took a step closer. Put a hand on the dog’s collar.

Brady jumped in the air and squealed. It was as if she’d jabbed him with a taser.

Sarah’s heart nearly exploded.

“Bloody hell, Brady!” she snapped, and the dog seemed to notice her for the first time, thrusting himself against her legs and licking her hands.

“What have you been doing down here?”

Brady leapt up into Sarah’s arms and made himself small. Caught by surprise by the dog’s fear, Sarah ruffled the pup’s neck and whispered comforts to him. Then she looked down at the parcel. The air around her was cold. Even with the light on behind her, the corner where the parcel sat was threaded with gloom. Sarah dropped Brady in the living room and went back to pick up the box. She opened the front door and placed the parcel outside. The weather forecast had predicted rain, but that was too bad. The box didn’t have her name on it. It wasn’t hers. Who cares?

Closing the door firmly, she raced Brady back upstairs and settled down into the warmth of her bed. Brady looked at her with big, wet Disney eyes.

“Come on then: you too…”

Brady grinned and jumped onto the bed, curling himself into a ball beside her.

Sarah listened to some podcasts and music for an hour until her heart stopped jackhammering and her eyes got heavy. Then she went to sleep to the sound of Brady’s rhythmic breathing.

 

When she opened her eyes, the red digital numbers on her clock read 3:03am. She sat up and noticed right away that she was shivering. She pulled the duvet around her but it made no difference. She could see her breath form in misty puffs in front of her face. Had she left a window open? She was sure she had not.

She switched on the bedroom light.

Brady was gone.

Nothing unusual there, however. He often slinked back to his own bed, tired of Sarah’s flailing arms and general fidgeting, and wary of the sharp old springs in Sarah’s ancient mattress.

She wanted to get up and seek out the source of the draught, but she was too damn cold. It was as though she’d parachuted naked into the middle of some Arctic expanse. She checked her phone. The temperature readout said sixteen degrees. Which couldn’t be right. Sixteen was less than ideal, but a long way from this ice blizzard.

‘Hooooo…’

There it was again. This time it was more urgent. It didn’t sound focussed or pinpointed. It was all around her.

It was everywhere.

‘Hooooo…’
“Pipes,” Sarah said again—because that had to be the cause. Especially now the heating was gone.

Come on. You can do this. Just go and check the dial. It’s not that far…

One, two, three…

She tore out of bed, pulling open the wardrobe and putting on her thickest fleece and jogging bottoms. Then she put on another two layers, top and bottom, plus three pairs of socks.

‘Hooooo…’

“Alright! I get it!”

A plumber call-out was going cost a lot of money. She hoped the damage wasn’t too bad. Frozen pipes were no joke. She guessed Christmas was going to be a charity shop affair this year.

‘Hooooo…’

Behind her. In front of her. Above her.

Below her.

‘Hooooo…’

Brady started yapping. Not helpful.

Sarah opened the airing cupboard and placed a hand on the emersion heater.

Red hot…

The pipes were warm too. The dial looked healthy, with no flashing lights, alarm bells or faults.

‘Hooooo…’

What the heck?

Brady kept barking. Insistent, staccato ruffs, cutting into her cold ears.

‘Hooooo…’

Sarah went downstairs. The sound was getting stronger. It was coming from the front door.

‘Hooooo…’

Breathing heavily, and with a cold sweat slicking her back, Sarah reached out towards the porch door with trembling hands.

She opened up.

Then she jumped back, catching her hip on the door handle, sending a bolt of pain arrowing up her side.

The parcel was there, on the mat, neatly lined up, taunting her.

Singing at her…

‘Hooooo…’

‘Hooooo…’

How had it got back inside?

Who had put it there?

Why had they put it there?

Sarah took out her phone and hovered her finger over the number 9.

All of a sudden, Brady stopped barking.

A thick silence draped over the house.

Sarah’s phone glowed, her thumb twitching, the device wobbling in her weak grip.

Then something touched her shoulder.

Something heavy.

A hand.

Gnarled fingers dug into her skin. Long nails pressed against her flesh.

Sarah turned around

…and screamed.

 

Happy Halloween everyone!!!!

Sarah’s parcel didn’t turn out so well for her…but that shouldn’t put you off sending someone an amazing gift this Christmas—the Hoooo…gly gift of tea! If you’re stuck for a gift idea for your friends and family this year, look no further than our luxurious and eclectic range of Hygge-inspired brews! Even those hard-to-buy-for people will be blown away by the novelty of receiving an unusual and thoughtfully chosen prezzie from our delightfully Danish collection, and they will discover a gift that keeps on giving—delicious treats that smell as good as they taste, and offer a calming, mindful way to enjoy one of life’s simple pleasures.

As well as our individual teas, we offer stunning collection sets that are ideal for gifting. How about our large luxury wooden box, handmade in the UK, divided into six compartments and housing 60 individually wrapped tea pyramids and seven different blends?! This elegant and stylish gift set will look lovely in any setting, and can be refilled or repurposed as required!

If you want something even more Hoogly, how about our amazing range of hand-crafted mini hot water bottles? There is nothing that says Hygge more than curling up on the sofa with fluffy socks, a blanket and low lamplight, and our gorgeous bottles—made from luxury fabrics—are the ideal accompaniment to a cosy night in. With seven colours to choose from, there’s something for everyone!

Last, but not least, how about treating your friends and relatives to one of our gorgeous Hoogly tea pots?! Our stunning glass and silver design comes with a removable filter and is perfectly proportioned for one person. Add two teaspoons of our loose-leaf creations—or a single tea pyramid—then sit back, relax and let the Hoogly magic happen! The elegant tea pot is dishwasher safe and will become a stylish part of any kitchen collection!

So that’s it for now, Hoogly lovers! Have a wonderful Halloween and Christmas. Stay safe and drink lots and lots of tea!

Written by Chris Bedford, 

www.hooglytea.com

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