Murderous Phrases

Sometimes writing can be the ‘bane of my life’ as I struggle with motivation, procrastination and any other barriers that life throws at me. Recently, whilst procrastinating, er I mean, ‘researching,’ I came across the origins of a well know phrase which shocked me so much that I felt the need to write something about it.

DC Comic’s supervillain ‘Bane’ – was the character’s name chosen because it means murderer?
Source: http://movieweb.com/tom-hardy-bane-fight-batman-superman/

We all probably use a turn of phrase, colloquial saying or some other weird idiomatic expression at least once per day but where do such expressions originate and what do they actually mean? Has the original meaning of these sayings changed over time? If we look at the example in my opening line we often think of ‘bane’ as being some kind of trouble, affliction or ruin but the saying isn’t used as frequently as it used to be. The first recorded use of the word goes back to the Old English Chronicles (circa 1000) in which bane actually meant ‘murderer’ and literally means ‘that which causes death’, such as with a deadly poison. It is commonly used in combination, as in the names of poisonous plants such as Ratsbane (rat poison/arsenic), Henbane and Wolfsbane.

Even simple well-known phrases such as ‘OK’ (Okay) may have a distant relationship with murder. This phrase has evolved from many (often disputed) suggested derivations and one of those originates from the First World War, whereby nightly reports from the frontline filed on a good day would report that there were no fatalities or ‘0 Killed’ or simply abbreviated to zero K and written as ‘0K.’ Although this proposed etymology is disputed.

For those of you who like the occasional flutter, gamble or bet you have probably heard of the phrase ‘third time lucky,’ which seems to suggest that you should not quit after two failed attempts at something. It is quite often spoken aloud as a verbal good luck charm just before trying that fateful third attempt, but where did this phrase originate and how could it relate to death? Well there is a belief, in English Law, that a judicial court would set any person who managed to survive three failed attempts at being hung free.

John Henry George Lee (b.1864)

This belief could well relate to John Henry George Lee (born 1864) who later became known notoriously as John ‘Babbacombe’ Lee. Lee, who was born in Devon, England and served in the Royal Navy, was a thief who was convicted of the brutal murder of his employer Emma Keyse at Babbacombe Bay near Torquay in 1885.

Emma was killed with a knife on 15th November 1884. Lee was the only male at the house at the time of the murder and had a previous criminal record and, not to mention, an unexplained cut on his arm, so Lee was arrested. Despite the weak circumstantial evidence against him and his desperate pleas of not guilty Lee was sentenced to death by hanging. Continue reading

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Killer Research

Eyes swollen and encrusted with dried blood slowly flicker open; blurred images eventually coming into focus as the sticky clotted eyelashes blink into life.

‘Good, you’re awake again,’ Henry Bletchley-Ward said as he placed the Olympus digital voice recorder on the table and slid the long kitchen knife out of the wooden block. It hardly made a sound and his saggy jowls flapped as he shook his head and sighed. No sword-like metal sound as it was in the films. He yanked his notebook and pen from his back pocket and scribbled down some notes.

Henry crossed the room and waved the knife in the salesman’s face like a child swinging a foil sword and scrutinised every reaction before scribbling away once more. The blood-splattered laminate pinned to his chest read, ‘Clive Hedges. EDF Energy’ yet gagged and taped to Henry’s kitchen chair, face swollen, bruised and bloodied, he didn’t look like a Clive. Henry liked that, it made his character more believable. He adjusted the video camera’s tripod and zoomed in on Clive’s face. ‘01/12/1999 00:00’ flashed repeatedly across the screen and Henry cursed. He set the time and date and pressed record.

Continue reading

Surviving School

Apart from messing about with Bunsen burners, what else did you play around with at school to annoy your classmates or, if you were brave, the teacher?

Bunsen Burner
Bunsen Burner

Me? Well, I went through comprehensive school in Wales during the 80s, and there was that annoying green slime putty (which you could set ‘time delay’ charges on the ceiling and wait for them to lose their grip and splat onto someone’s head during the lesson), spud guns (if you could nick the potatoes without annoying your Mam too much), IMG_3693cap guns and cap rockets (into which you’d try and squeeze as many caps as possible in order to get the loudest possible ‘explosion’ when you threw it, although probably not in the confines of the classroom!), wet paper balls fired from out of Bic pen cases or pencil toppers launched at people’s heads.

Pencil Toppers
Pencil Toppers

The odd stink bomb strategically placed under the teachers desk or chair leg was guaranteed to clear the classroom and undoubtedly get you detention and/or lines. Whoopee cushions and fart spray, from the joke shop in Porthcawl, were also good for a few laughs but they’d get confiscated if you were caught, and that was just a waste of your pocket money. Continue reading

A Touch Of Death

How cool would it be to see the history of an object just by a single touch? You would be able to see everything and everyone that has come into contact with that object since it was first created. You could touch centuries old items and be dazzled by an amazing glimpse into its past – like time travel without the DeLorean or a big blue telephone box.

But what if that object was a murder weapon? Could you handle seeing the gruesome truth behind its bloody past down to every last bone crunching blood-spattered sinew and the heart-ache and suffering that undoubtedly follows?

At first you may be intrigued and become thick-skinned but in the end, as your head quickly fills with sickening images, could you continue?

Eldan Bethy, an Article Phenomenologist (AP), has this exact power.

To read more about Eldan and his work as an AP click on the link below:

A Touch Of Death

Popeye

Here’s the first piece of fiction that I’ve written specifically for this site – all my other stories have been entered into competitions so can’t be published on here, at least not yet anyway.

The idea for this story came about from one of my weird dreams. I don’t always remember my dreams and those that I do tend to fade away within minutes. To prevent this happening I now have a ‘reverie’ notebook by the side of my bed to scribble things down when my sleep encrusted eyes snap open.

If you like the story, feel free to let me know. If you don’t like the story, tell me why and maybe I can fix it, if I agree with you that is 😉

Warning – contains colourful language.

Click on the link below to read the story…

Popeye

Dad

Today would have been my father’s 72nd birthday and I miss him so much. It is a sad fact that we will all experience the loss of a loved one at some point in our lives but that doesn’t make things any easier.

I’ve always had the passion for writing since I stuck my head into C.S. Lewis’ Narnia books and felt snow on my nose as I peered out from within that magical wardrobe, although I had never made the effort to actually put pen to paper.

“I’d love to write a novel, one day,” I’d say, time and time again but it took the death of my loving father to push my lazy ass into gear, as thoughts of my own mortality reared their ugly heads.

My book is in progress and, whether it takes me two years or ten to complete it, it will be worth it, even if just one person likes it. OK, one person plus me!

Here’s a poem I wrote about the last few moments with my Dad.

Hope you like it and please let me know what you think.

Just click on the link below:

I Would Eat Sprouts