I remember years ago when I was at St Pauls there always was stories going around about satanic rituals and Black Magic happening in Derrymore Woods and lights appearing in windows of derelict houses etc.

Derrymore Woods. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
Derrymore Woods. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

Well the weekend's Sunday Times has maybe helped put pay to the "legitimacy" of these alleged happenings!

Apparently the British Army had a "Black Operations" department where they deliberately circulated these stories in an attempt to dissuade people from going out after dark and keeping them away from derelict buildings where the IRA etc might have met.

They even set up mock ritual sites with upside down crosses and stone altars, even going to the trouble of coating a knife in animal blood from an army kitchen.

Of course us locals would then come across it and report it to our friends and then the papers would get a hold of it and by then of course we all believed every word was true. They even wrote to the same newspapers pretending to be concerned locals worried about the rise of occult happenings in the area.

The saying, you should never believe everything you hear has never been truer!