So much folklore and ancient tales to be discovered and told around my domicile of Worthing, it would seem, most recent of which for me is the story of a 300 year old oak tree which stands next to a busy intersection near Broadwater Green. I took some pictures of what is left of the tree last week.
Until the 19th century, it was believed that on Midsummer's eve skeletons would rise up from the roots of this tree and dance around it until dawn when they would sink back into the ground. The legend of the Midsummer Tree was first recorded by folklorist Charlotte Latham in 1868 and its origin harks back into England's pagan past, when Midsummer, rather than Hallowe'en, was viewed as the most auspicious time to commune with the spirit world.
With this in mind, today's improvisation begins with the spirits stirring from their subterranean slumber in anticipation for the skeletal dance. They rise from the ground and their spooky dance begins around four minutes in with a little whole tone folk ditty. This merges into the spectacle as seen by the observer and the sense of wonder regarding who these spirits once were. By 7'30" the dance takes on a celebratory tone, all the while accompanied by that sense of wonder. By 8'45" the bones can be heard knocking against each other and the dance takes some unexpected turns before the preparation of the souls for the eventual return to their earthy beds.