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Sheela seems to be drawn from the word sile, meaning a hag or fairy woman, or suil, a term for the evil eye. Unfamiliar, perhaps, with the brand of ribald humour of rural craftspeople, Anne Ross (in The Divine Hag of the Pagan Celts) suggests the Sheelas have a Celtic origin
"In their earliest iconographic form they portray the territorial or war goddess in her hag-like aspect, with all the strongly sexual characteristics which accompany this guise in the tales".
Whatever their original intention may have been, in the folk tradition of many rural areas, Sheelas are still used for promoting fertility, healing the sick and turning away the evil eye.
Recently, it has been claimed that camera equipment refuses to function when attempts are made to take photos of the Sheelas. Sidney Jackson, an antiquarian and field-worker based at a West Yorkshire museum, recorded a number of strange experiences involving Sheela figurines he had examined during the 1960s. In particular, he describes a visit to an image built into the entrance wall of the parish church at Croft-on-Tees, on the North Sea Coast near Newcastle.
The carving is described by the church guide as Romano-British in origin, and represents a local deity of the sea. Before it came to the church, it was formerly built into the masonry of a bridge, probably in a guardian position. Jackson wrote after a visit to the church,
"I wanted to photograph it, but from the start things went wrong. First, the flash wouldn't work, then the shutter amazingly wouldn't work, until , having wasted eight exposures, with the last on my film, I came away without a picture."
Some time later Jackson learned that a fieldworker from Denmark, Jorgen Anderson, had had the same experience when he tried to obtain a picture of the Sheela at Croft. Similar problems were encountered by another colleague of Jackson, Jean O'Meila, who also failed to obtain pictures of Sheelas at Bridlington Priory and in a ruined church in Ireland. David Clarke and Andy Roberts mention colour slides they were sent of the Croft Sheela disappearing without trace in the post.
CLARKE, D. & ROBERTS, A. "Twilight of The Celtic Gods" Blandford London, 1996.
1) The deaths were orchestrated by the Royal Family, outraged by the likelihood that she'd (a) leave the country and set up in the States (b) marry a moslem (c) prevent Charles becoming king/marrying Camilla (d) become a feminist icon; or (e) Dodi had cheated the Queen in a cocaine deal or (f) all of the above.
2) Landmine manufacturers did it.
3) Diana was hounded to death by greedy paparazzi in the pay of media moguls. Just because they were 200 metres behind the car when it crashed doesn't mean they weren't hounding her.
4) Diana did it herself - she faked the crash so that she and Dodi could live in private. The Mercedes brake system does not leave skid marks and yet there were skidmarks: why? Or did she do it for real because she was mad? Or did her implant make her do it? Or the passengers and driver of the Mercedes were all off their heads on booze and drugs and their youthful exuberance got the better of them.
5) It was The Bank of England, in league with Ghostly Shock Troops of the Situationist International. Paris is the traditional Masonic home of regicide, this also explains why early reports said the bodyguard's tongue had been severed in the crash.
6) It was a psychic attack from Chumbawamba; that's why Elton John recorded Candle in the Wind to push them out of the charts.
7) The deaths were a spiritual retribution for the theft of the head of Yagan, 19th century Aboriginal warrior.
8) The satellite navigation system on the Mercedes was interfered with by (a) computer hackers (b) the crew of the space station Mir.
9) Agents from Interflora tampered with the brakes when the car was stolen earlier in the summer.
10) It was all a dream.
The Guardian September 17th 1997
The Guardian September 17th 1997
Fair play to Diana, though. She did some very good work for some worthwhile causes, especially the publicity she gave to the anti- personnel mines issue. Her good looks and the fact that her public image was riddled with contradictions made her seem a lot more 'human' than the rest of the Windsor gang. Unfortunately, she never gave up her designated role in perpetuating the class system, and sadly we`ll never know if my love for her was requited.
Thanks to AUX, Andy Norfolk and anyone else I've forgotten to credit in this piece. Drive safely!