The photographs in this series were taken at Cannock Chase in England, not far from where I lived as a child. It’s a densely wooded, mixed-use area of countryside that’s very popular with walkers, mountain bikers, horse-riders and the like.
But Cannock Chase has a dark side. It’s one of the most paranormally active areas in the UK, with a wide variety of spectral sightings including Werewolves, Big Cats, UFO’s, Pig Men and the so-called ‘Slenderman’, an 8-foot tall black-suited fiend. But perhaps the most disturbing and notorious sighting is the ‘black-eyed child’ that’s been spooking local residents for the past 30 years, and was supposedly seen as recently as early 2015. There’s speculation this hollow-eyed spirit could be the child ghost of Christine Darby, one of the victims of the infamous ‘Chase Murders’ in the 1960s, or perhaps a tortured soul from a notorious diphtheria outbreak in the 1800s.
Whilst acutely aware of Cannock Chase’s haunted reputation when I took these photographs, the series is certainly not a search for paranormal activity, or an attempt to prove or disprove any of these stories. Though I cover areas associated with the unusual happenings, and retrace tracks I walked as a child, these images merely try to capture the cool darkness and eerie silence that perhaps feeds the myths of these notoriously unsettled forests.