Taliesin wrote of elm … Then sow barley never fear;” It usually grows in … Wych-elm in Hagley Woods. DAVID SAUNDERSON talks to Black Country film-maker Tom Lee Rutter about his new dark docu-drama, Bella in the Wych Elm, which investigates an unsolved murder turned folklore in the … If so, please give us … Simpson and his trial; Netflix recently released a documentary about Amanda Knox; and a mini series about JonBenet was released last year. In April of 1943, in the town of Worcestershire, England, four boys stumbled across the skeletal remains of a deceased woman that had been shoved into a cavity of a large wych elm… The Witch Elm takes place in Ireland, and is narrated in the first person. No one came forward and the case went cold for several months. An online magazine for readers of horror fiction. Webster also estimated that she died from suffocation, based on the fact that some fabric was found in her mouth. The woman was Clara Bauerle, a cabaret singer and German movie star who had, according to Jakobs, been recruited by the Gestapo as an agent. While the graffiti gave the woman a nickname, the police were no further in the case and the person behind the writings was never apprehended. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Where to find wych elm. “When the elmen leaf is as big as a mouse’s ear, Part of a rural planting verse. In recent years, the stocks were greatly reduced by an ascomycete (Dutch elm disease). The wych elm is associated with death and has been since at least the time of the ancient Greeks. Eventually, ‘Anna’ came forward. Episode 50: Filipino Folklore feat. The heart of the case comes down to a single question: who put Bella in the old wych elm? Despite the English elm's name, wych elm is the only elm that is regarded as being truly native to the UK. Having grown up in Weston-super- Mare, near the home of occultist Aleister Crowley, or ‘The Great Beast 666’, Caitlin’s imagination … … The podcast Casefile True Crime has maintained a large audience over the last year; several shows and documentaries have come out about O.J. It is set in the West Midlands during WWII. Rations were thin and so four boys near Birmingham went hunting for bird eggs in the Hagley Woods. This characteristic made the wood largely unsuitable as a building material, nor does it make a good fuel. The elm’s wood bends well, or distorts easily, depending on which way you look at the situation, and indeed the ‘wych’ in wych elm refers to its wood being pliant, and not to witches, who were said to shun elm trees. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. Bauerle had even worked in Birmingham before the war and developed a convincing local accent in the process. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. Unravelling the mystery of the skull found in a tree trunk. They are typically mountainous species preferring moist soils and higher humidity’s, its name in Irish means mountain elm… The famous Who Put Bella in the Witch Elm graffiti, which has been on the Wychbury Hill obelisk for decades, now reads Hers Put Bella in the Witch Elm. One folklorist, named Margaret Murray, thought that Bella’s death had been occult and witchcraft related. This theory gains further traction with the fact that an actual Nazi spy named Johannes Marines Dronkers had been captured in mid-1942. But 15 years after Una Mossop came forward with this case, a historian published a book titled “Murder by Witchcraft’ that, despite its name, delved deeper into the Nazi spy ring. The woman had also given birth, was roughly five feet tall, around 35 years old, and based on how she was laying in the trunk, must have been placed in it shortly after death. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. The Hagley Woods Mystery: Bella in the Wych Elm, Is this the Bella in the wych elm? If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. In a hollow tree trunk of a wych elm, one of the boys found a skull but because they were trespassing on private property, the boys put the skull back and made a pact that they would keep quiet. One of the boys begun climbing the tree to look for birds eggs … The Festive Season is a time for spooky stories, this one has it all; murder, folklore and spies, it also happens to be true. While this theory remained popular for quite some time, there was nothing else that been found to support it. Elm trees in Britain can grow to become some of the tallest and largest native trees. She also had two crooked front teeth. Still, a search through thousands of missing persons cases and through dental practices from around England proved unsuccessful. In Gaelic it is known as ‘leven’, as in Loch Leven in Kinross, and was valued for its roles in the dyeing of wool. While this theory seems exceptionally more plausible than witchcraft, it was impossible to truly verify. Phrases like “who put Luebella down the wych-elm?”, “Hagley wood Bella”, and “who put Bella in the wych-elm” appeared in chalk around town. Police were stretched thin because of the war – many men had gone off to war, leaving local police forces and general resources limited. Who put Bella in the Wych Elm. It is interesting to note that both the yew’s and the elm’s mythology is intimately bound up with death and the transition into the Underworld, and that both woods were used to such deadly effect in mediaeval warfare. Mediaeval Welsh archers made their long bows from elm wood, whereas English bowmen preferred yew. We hope you have enjoyed reading about Elm and have taken away some useful knowledge. The question of who put Bella in the Wych Elm became part of the modern folklore of the Black Country – a fact which gives the lie to the idea that the modern age doesn’t allow for new folk … There were still strands of hair left, which indicated that she was also a brunette. A Gestapo agent by the name of Josef Jakobs had been captured after parachuting into Cambridgeshire in 1941 and a photo of a young woman had been found on his person. Elm, wych Elm, field Elm, Huntingdon Hazel Trees woods and wildlife. This was later corrupted to “witch” … On 18th April 1943 four Stourbridge teenagers, Fred Payne, Tommy Willetts, Robert Hart and Bob Farmer discovered the remains of a woman inside a hollow Wych Elm (also known as Scots … The wych elm is moderately shade-tolerant, but requires deep, rich soils as typically found along river valleys. The first – “Who put Luebella down the wych–elm?” was followed by many other … ... Wych, from wych elm… A dog walker noticed the legendary saying, which refers to the finding of a woman's body in a wych elm … feat. We, as a society, seem to be obsessed with true crime and the morbidly horrifying. While there have been many theories and many leads over the past few decades, a definitive answer to who Bella is exactly and what happened to her still remains a mystery. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. This is a likely result of the ravaging effects of a recent wave of Dutch elm disease which has affected all of the UK's elms, … Viking, 2018. Pieces of the right hand were soon found buried nearby. Trees for Life is a registered Scottish charity – number SC021303. A yellow dye could also be derived from the elm, and the leaves were fed to livestock when other fodder was scarce. It belongs to the Ulmaceae genus and is popular for wood production. Intermittent colours in woollen yarns (by which a weaver could more easily create a pattern in the weave) could be introduced by way of an early form of tie-dyeing. The inner bark was especially efficacious when chewed or boiled into a liquor to treat colds and sore throats, while the boiled bark was also used to treat burns. English elm has fewer serrations along the leaf margin which helps tell it apart from wych elm (Ulmus glabra). Perhaps people who knew elms well were reminded of their own mortality when remembering the elm’s reputation for dropping large boughs without warning on otherwise still, warm days; “Elm hateth man, and waiteth” as the old saying goes. Its pliancy was also put to use in a variety of ways. About Wych elm is rarely found as a tree, but is more common as a hedgerow shrub. The wych elm of the novel had pigs' teeth embedded in the trunk by country people long ago and it was said that chewing some of the bark could cure toothache. And it was during that time that he met with his contact at a local pub one night. Jack and the man then stuffed her body into the wych elm trunk. Baurele was supposed to follow Jakobs into England; however, that was unlikely after his capture. Like the oak, they often had very specific customs and folklore attached to individual, named trees such as the Tenor, Bass and Alto elms on Humberside, or the Dancing elms of Devon around which May Day dances were held (these trees have all sadly succumbed to Dutch elm disease). The man went by the name Lehrer and the woman was Clarabella Dronkers. The novel is divided into 13 … Elm mythology and folklore Support our work Our vision is of a revitalised wild forest in the Highlands of Scotland, providing space for wildlife to flourish and communities to thrive. She could have been a sex worker killed by an angry client or a barmaid killed by an American GI. There is a myth which tells how the first elm grove sprang up when Orpheus paused to play a … This theory was exceptionally more plausible than witchcraft because the area where Bella had been found had been home to munitions factories. Many thanks for reading this offering. There is one case that remains open after 75 years and theories range from a Nazi spy ring to witch craft. In Scotland wych elm is the more common species of elm. © 2020. But in December 1943, graffiti started to appear. Like Scots pine, hollowed-out elm was used to make urban water pipes prior to the introduction of metal ones. Notwithstanding elm’s legendary associations with death and the Underworld, people also looked to elm for medicinal cures. As well as the Macabre, wych elm’s other conceptual concern is folklore. … However, like alder wood, elm wood withstands wet conditions very well, making it a popular choice for the building of boat and barge hulls, bridge foundations, and cartwheels. Sapphire Sandalo. Who put Bella in the Wych Elm? In a hollow tree trunk of a wych elm, one of the boys found a skull but because they were trespassing on private property, the boys put the skull back and made a pact that they would keep … Elm’s connection with death does not end there, as its wood is traditionally used to make coffins, though the wood’s durability underground may also play a part in this choice. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Who put Bella in the Wych Elm? Donald McCormick, the historian, had obtained some Germany Military intelligence files that pointed exactly to Jack’s contact and the real identity of Bella. Plus, Bauerle was never heard from after 1941, the same year Bella died. The question of who put Bella in the Wych Elm became part of the modern folklore of the Black Country – a fact which gives the lie to the idea that the modern age doesn’t allow for new folk … Pop culture is filled with shows, podcasts, and films about true crime and we can’t seem to get enough. Steve Zaragoza. The graffiti simply read — “ Who put Bella down the Wych Elm — Hagley Wood.” No evidence of any ritualistic murder was found, however, leaving the case unsolved to this day. Prior to 2005, the archdeaconry was called Scandinavia. In keeping with the novel's epigraph, "Only connect...", the wych elm … But in 1953, an anonymous person wrote to a local journalist and explained that Bella died because she was involved in a Nazi spy ring. The case died down a bit, with witchcraft still remaining the most popular public theory. SC143304, with registered offices at The Park, Findhorn Bay, Forres, Moray, IV36 3TH. Embla, the first human woman in Norse mythology, was created by Odin and his brothers, Vili and Ve, whose incantations roused a fallen elm tree into life. In 1943, England and the rest of Europe was in the midst of the second world war. There are so many other theories that attempt to explain who and what happened to Bella. Their large distinctive shapes feature prominently in many English pastoral paintings by Constable (eg his famous “The Haywain” painting) and his contemporaries. She based this theory on the fact that the right hand had been buried away from the rest of the body – an act that may have been a part of an occult ceremony known as the hand of glory. The youngest of the group, though, had trouble dealing with the discovery and soon told his parents, who then told the police. In Scotland the stick used to play shinty, called a caman, can be made from a variety of woods, with elm being a popular choice as it often has a natural bend already in the wood. Even with all this information, finding a positive identification was difficult. The Wych elm is the only native elm in Ireland. As a result of Dutch elm disease, wych elm is now rare. The “witch” part comes from older English word “wych” meaning “bendable” or “bending.” It looked similar enough to the European Wych Elm that the name was applied to the New World plants. It has been noted that two elm-motifs have arisen from classical literature: (1) the 'Paradisal Elm' motif, arising from pastoral idylls and the elm-and-vine theme, and (2) the 'Elm and Death' motif, perhaps … A weekly column of mythology and folklore. Change ). Around Christmas 1943, graffiti began to appear on the walls of empty buildings in various parts of the West Midlands area. is graffiti that appeared in 1944 following the 1943 discovery by four children of the skeletonised remains of a woman inside a wych elm in Hagley Wood, Hagley, in … The Wych Elm by Tana French review – a portrait of privilege. 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