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on 18 January 2013
Paul Screeton is a journalist and writer from the north-east of England. His interest in the case of the so-called Hexham Heads goes back decades. Information about the alleged happenings is incomplete, and there have been conflicting reports from participants in the story. Therefore, we may never know for sure precisely what occurred.

THE CORE STORY

In 1971, two children (brothers Colin and Leslie Robson) found what appeared to be two small, stone heads in the garden of their semi-detached house in Hexham, northern England. Shortly after, neighbours in the adjoining house allegedly experienced strange phenomena, and there were reportedly manifestations in the boys' own home.

Not long after their discovery, the Hexham Heads fell into the temporary custody of Dr Anne Ross, an archaeologist and Celtic scholar. While the items were at her home in Southampton, she and other members of her family allegedly experienced paranormal phenomena. Indeed, it seems that phenomena occurred even after the heads were removed from the premises.

Initially, at least, Ross was inclined to believe that the Hexham Heads were of ancient origin. But a Hexham man, called Des Craigie, claimed that he'd made them from building materials in the 1950s. Over the years, the heads were passed from person to person, but Screeton is unaware of their current whereabouts.

PROBLEMS WITH THE BOOK

Screeton's chapters focus on different aspects of the case and the people involved, but he doesn't provide a clear timeline of the alleged events. That could have been done in an appendix, if not in the main text.

The book mentions numerous people, but unfortunately it lacks an index. Therefore, if a reader forgets who such-and-such is, it might not be easy for him or her to identify where that person is first mentioned in the book. Indeed, the book would have benefited from a systematic listing of the 'main players', with a paragraph or two about each of them.

An occasional typographical or grammatical error can be forgiven, but Screeton's book is packed with them. Clearly, it wasn't properly proofread. For example, he misuses 'mitigated' for 'militated' (on pp. 173 and 213), and 'deprivation' for 'depredation' (p. 184). And there are frequent punctuation errors. For instance, in respect of a family called 'Dodd', he refers (p. 237) to "the Dodds's dog" (which should, of course, be "the Dodds' dog"). Similarly, regarding the Robson family, he refers (p. 237) to "the Robsons's budgie" (which should, of course, be "the "Robsons' budgie"). Some of his sentences are excessively long, and I found his general style of writing quite convoluted. His text is sprinkled with unusual words or expressions ("apotropaic", "folkloristic ostention", "manimals", "onomastic folklore", "spiritual diorama", "temenos", "yonic cult", etc.), which makes it even more opaque.

Various newspaper cuttings are reproduced in the book. But with some of them, the print is too small to be read comfortably without a magnifying glass.

Page 48 shows a press report, supposedly from a newspaper called the 'Evening Chronicle'. The article is mentioned in the main text, on pp. 49-50, which quotes a couple of passages. However, the quoted material doesn't match up with the wording of the article reproduced on p. 48. In fact, it's the wrong article (one from a paper called 'The Journal', not the 'Evening Chronicle') that's displayed on p. 48.

There are other production problems. For example, six paragraphs on p. 238 re-appear on p. 242.

CONCLUSION

Given that Paul Screeton has done so much research on the case of the Hexham Heads, I'm disappointed that his book isn't more readable and wasn't better produced.
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on 17 September 2012
Like most people of my generation (I'm in my 40's) with an interest in anomalous phenomena, the Hexham Heads case is a classic. Strange stone heads, which may or may not be Celtic are dug up in a garden in Hexham. Once uncovered all manner of weirdness erupts - including the sighting of a 'werewolf' type of creature in the homes of some of the people who have the stones.

Paul Screeton was the first serious researcher on the case, and since then he has been the only serious researcher to investigate this case and try and track down where the heads are today.

This is Paul's second book on the Hexham Heads (the first was a privately published booklet published some years ago), and it is bound to become a modern classic! As you would come to expect from Paul's other books, no stone (head) is left unturned - and Paul takes the reader on an interesting, informative and at times speculative journey about the heads and the anomalies associated with them.

I found this book difficult to put down once I had started to read it. Paul writes with a compelling narrative style (as you would expect from a professional journalist).

The only minor drawback is the publisher - CFZ are not renowned for their promotion of the books they publish, which is always a shame, considering all the hard work their authors put into their books. Even the CFZ website is out of date regarding new books!

With Winter and long dark night approaching, do yourself a favor, and put this excellent book on your Christmas list.
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on 24 September 2012
A truly fascinating book! Would thoroughly recommend it to anyone with an interest in the supernatural and unexplained. Very thoroughly researched, I couldn't put it down!
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on 9 November 2012
I purchased this book after seeing the authors presentation at this years Weird Weekend.He was then later interviewed for a paranormal radio show by two of my friends,which further gained my interest.I have held a life long interest in the paranormal and Fortean aspects of life,yet I had never heard of the Hexham Heads.
This book certainly satisfies in its presentation, and delivery, of this amazing (and bizarre) account of a true home grown mystery.
A documentary film (Heads) was also screened at the Weird Weekend (although due to a concern of my tent being blown away I missed this film!).This book is highly recommended,even if (like me) you have never heard of the Hexham Heads.
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on 11 November 2012
This is an outstanding bit of research into modern folklore, a case study into how myths are made. Well written and researched, its forensics evaluate the 'modern cottingley'. It enlightens us I had never actually heard of this modern Geordie tale of were-sheep (yes were-sheep!) despite its local flavour. Not only a good bit of anthroplogy its also a good read, destined to be a classic.
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on 9 January 2013
Having had an interest in the Hexham Heads for many years it was wonderful to find that Paul had now written a full length book on the subject. I would highly recommend it to anyone who want's to either know more, or who has never heard of them before. A very interesting and informative book on the subject by somebody who has researched them for many years. Not to be missed.
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on 24 January 2013
Thank goodness a book has finally been written in regards to the mystery of teh so-called 'Hexham Heads,' the only downpoint being the number of spelling errors within the book. Even so, Screeton still takes us on a journey into the surreal, the terrifying, the coincidental, and the downright normal as we meet a whole host of characters who almost seem as shifty as those in the board game 'Cluedo'! 'Quest for...' is a Fortean feast of fun and frolics, highly recommended.
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on 29 September 2014
I was looking forward to reading this book having been interested in the Hexham Heads story for a long time. I didn't like the narrative structure - would have preferred a linear approach, i.e. an historical account. Instead he adopts an almost "Pulp Fiction" structure with chapters called 'The Finders', 'The Neighbours', 'The Archaeologist' and so on. Missing is a timeline/chronology of the main events, which are complicated/conflicting, a biographical section in an appendix which lists the key figures with a snippet about each, a comprehensive bibliography and an index. The book is fairly poorly produced with articles clumsily inserted in the text, which by their size makes them difficult to read. They should have been put in an appendix. The text is also littered with spelling and typographical errors, which is inexcusable. I liked chapters 1-9 but it lost its way after that and seemed to be padding.
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on 21 September 2014
Absolutely fascinating - one of those books which makes the reader ponder just what lies beneath the surface!
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on 22 November 2015
great item and a fantastic read. Also a good addition to add to my collection.
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