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Mauherslieve (Sacred Hill)

The Silvermines

The Twelve Mountains of Ebhlenn (Evelyn)

Dha Sliabh Deag Ebhlinne

Taken from Sacred Ireland by Cary Meehan

"Ebhleen was a mythological figure, married to a king of Cashel. She fell in love with her stepson and eloped with him.
Right in the heart of these mountains is a small peak called Mathair Shliabh or Mother Mountain which has a cairn of stones on top called 'the Terrot'. Those climbing the mountain would carry a stone from the bottom to add to this cairn. The cairn was said to cover the grave of a young man who refused to go to mass one Sunday and went hunting instead. Although it was June – June 29th to be exact – he was caught in a snow-storm and his body later found at the spot now marked by the Terrot.
There was a traditional outing up the mountain here until the 1920s. It involved the usual Lughnasa activities of berry-picking, singing and dancing, though the date was 29th June. The monks of Kilcommon were to have started it but it is more likely that they changed the date from Lughnasa to the earlier date which is the Feast of SS Peter and Paul (The Festival of Lughnasa)"
bawn79 Posted by bawn79
23rd November 2005ce

Cnoc Aine (Sacred Hill)

Cnoc Aine

Taken from Sacred Ireland by Cary Meehan

"According to Celtic tradition, this is the sacred hill of the goddess Aine and her place of power. To some people the hill itself is shaped something like a female form with three rings or barrows in her belly. The barrows represent the dwellings of the ancestors of the munster tribe, the Eoghanachta: Fer I, Eoghabhal and Eogan. In this particular context Aine is their daughter. To the Celts the cairn on the summit was her palace and the entrance to the Otherworld.
However, the cairn is Neolithic and the barrows probably Bronze Age, so this would have been a ceremonial site long before Celtic times. Aine's presence here is most likely a continuation of a much earlier sun deity tradition. By making her their daughter, and the barrows the dwelling places of their ancestors, the Eoghanachta tribe were creating a divine lineage for themselves. At certain times in the Celtic year, usually the night before the major festivals, the entrance to this Otherworld would open and human lives could be touched for good or ill by spirits or Faerie beings. This could, of course, happen at any time but the eve of
A festival such as midsummer was a particularly potent time.
As the inauguration site of the Eoghanacht kings, it was here that they came to be united with the spirit of their kingdom, Aine. While the king lived in harmony with the Otherworld, the kingdom was blessed, but when customs or taboos were broken, everyone suffered.
The following story explains how the king Ailill came to be called 'Ailill O-lom' or Ailill One Ear'. It has echoes of the inauguration rite described in the story from Lough Gur. Once again the rules are broken by human failing and not without repercussions.
The king was having a problem as, every night when he went to sleep, the grass would disappear. His Druidess, Ferchess, advised him to visit Knockainy the next Samhain Eve. He did as she suggested but fell asleep, lulled by the drowsy sound of the cows grazing on the hillside. Walking disoriented in the middle of the night, he saw a beautiful maiden coming from the cairn with her father, Eoghabhal. Forgetting all about why he had come, and overcome with lust, he raped her. She, in her outraged anger, bit off his ear and in doing so, maimed him. This meant that he could no longer, by Celtic tradition, be King (The Festival of Lughnasa)
While the king had an obligation to maintain harmony with the Otherworld, the people had responsibilities as well. Until 1879 men used to bring flaming bunches of hay or straw on poles to the summit of Knockainy on Midsummer's Eve. They would carry them clockwise round the three barrows which they called 'the Hills of the Three Ancestors'. Then they would take the brands and run around the cultivated fields and pastures in the area to bring good luck to the animals and crops. It was believed that they were emulating the fairies who also performed this rite under the direction of Aine as she impregnated the land with her solar energy once the humans had gone.
Sometimes people reported seeing her leading the human procession. She was seen on the hill as the 'cailleach' or wise woman and there are many stories of her taking human form. Those who treated her with kindness prospered."
bawn79 Posted by bawn79
23rd November 2005ce

Dinas Emrys (Hillfort)

Local lore adds more about Merlin. He stayed on for a while after Vortigern left. When he left himself he filled a golden cauldron with treasure and hid it in a cave, blocking the entrance with a stone and a heap of earth. The treasure is intended for one particular person, a youth with blue eyes and yellow hair. When he approaches, a bell will ring and the cave will unblock itself. Other treasure seekers have been repulsed by storms and sinister omens.
p89 in Geoffrey Ashe's 'The Landscape of King Arthur' (1987).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
21st November 2005ce

Cadbury Castle (South Cadbury) (Hillfort)

According to legend the ghosts of Arthur and his knights make a periodic nocturnal ride over the hilltop and down to Sutton Montis below, where their horses drink at a spring. This is reputed to happen on Midsummer Eve or Midsummer Night, or Christmas Eve, or every seventh year, so the ghosts may be difficult to catch riding.

I have kept the vigil twice without seeing them, but perhaps I chose the wrong night; and I do recall walking along the uppermost rampart in pitch darkness, and hearing, far below in the woods, the sound of a flute.
p45 in 'The Landscape of King Arthur' by Geoffrey Ashe (1987). Hmm. A flute - or maybe pan pipes?? Spooky.

The name of the highest part of the plateau can be traced to at least the same kind of time (1586): 'Arthur's Palace'. Curiously, (although no trace was known before excavation) there actually was a timber hall on that spot in the 5th century - the era that an 'Arthur' would have lived. There was also a gatehouse (in the gap in the top rampart to the SW) and the whole perimeter was protected by a 16ft thick fortification made of stone and wood. Such a type and size of structure is apparently very unusual for this period - so 'Camelot' is actually quite credible as the headquarters of a king or regional chief, according to Ashe's book.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
21st November 2005ce

Glastonbury Tor (Sacred Hill)

To this day you can hear local tales of a chamber below the summit, or a well sinking far into the depths, or a tunnel running all the way to the Abbey, a distance of more than half a mile. Rash explorers are supposed to have found a way in and to have come out insane.
From 'The Landscape of King Arthur' by Geoffrey Ashe (1987).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
21st November 2005ce

Loch St Clair (Chambered Cairn)

This small circle of 6 stones could be (according to the RCAHMS record) the remains of a chambered cairn, from which the small stones have been robbed. There are a number of similar monuments in this area, overlooked by Bheinn Tangabhal - so you can bet one of them is the setting for the following story:
THE TULMAN.

There was a woman in Baile Thangusdail*, and she was out seeking a couple of calves; and the night and lateness caught her, and there came rain and tempest, and she was seeking shelter. She went to a knoll with the couple of calves, and she was striking a tether-peg into it. The knoll opened. She heard a gleegashing as if a pot-hook were clashing beside a pot. She took wonder, and she stopped striking the tether-pig. A woman put out her head and all above her middle, and she said, "What business hast thou to be troubling this tulman in which I make my dwelling?" "I am taking care of this couple of calves, and I am but weak. Where shall I go with them?" "Thou shalt go with them to that breast down yonder. Thou wilt see a tuft of grass. If thy couple of calves eat that tuft of grass, thou wilt not be a day without a milk cow as long as thou art alive, because thou hast taken my counsel."

As she said, she never was without a milk cow after that, and she was alive fourscore and fifteen years after the night she was there.
* Now 'Tangasdal', I assume. 'Tulman' sounds suspiciously like 'dolmen', or perhaps that's coincidence? Perhaps someone local knows of this term. The story goes to show that you should be polite to people who live in grassy mounds - the woman lived to a great age in addition to her luck with livestock.


From "Scottish Fairy and Folk Tales" by Sir George Douglas [1901]. Online version at the excellent 'Sacred Texts Archive':
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/sfft/sfft33.htm
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
16th November 2005ce

Peat Law (Cairn(s))

The following is an account of a fairy frolic said to have happened late in the last century:--The victim of elfin sport was a poor man, who, being employed in pulling heather upon Peatlaw, a hill in Selkirkshire, had tired of his labour, and laid him down to sleep upon a fairy ring. When he awakened, he was amazed to find himself in the midst of a populous city, to which, as well as to the means of his transportation, he was an utter stranger. His coat was left upon the Peatlaw; and his bonnet, which had fallen off in the course of his aerial journey, was afterwards found hanging upon the steeple of the church of Lanark. The distress of the poor man was, in some degree, relieved by meeting a carrier, whom he had formerly known, and who conducted him back to Selkirk, by a slower conveyance than had whirled him to Glasgow.

That he had been carried off by the fairies was implicitly believed by all who did not reflect that a man may have private reasons for leaving his own country, and for disguising his having intentionally done so.
From Scottish Fairy and Folk Tales
by Sir George Douglas
[1901] - his source supposedly being Sir Walter Scott's "Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border".

What sort of cynic would doubt such a story (especially as his hat was found on the steeple). But if you are ever tempted to 'do a bunk' and start a new life somewhere - perhaps it's not that advisable these days to profess you were kidnapped by the fairies. Call it aliens or something (more fashionable).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
16th November 2005ce

Burnswark (Sacred Hill)

A similar story to the one below (this time involving a brother kidnapped by the fairies of the Burnswark, with the sister left behind) is 'Elphin Irving - The Fairies' Cupbearer'. You can read a long version (including song) in 'Scottish Fairy and Folk Tales' by Sir George Douglas [1901] - an online version available courtesy of the magnanimous people at the Sacred Texts Archive:
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/sfft/sfft81.htm
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
16th November 2005ce

St. Michael's Mount (Natural Rock Feature)

The tradition that the Mount was formerly called in old Cornish, Careg-luz en kuz*, and that it rose from the midst of an extensive forest, is very prevalent. "A forest is supposed to have extended along the coast to St Michael's Mount, which was described as a 'hoare rock in a wood,' and stood five or six miles from the sea. The bay was said to have been a plain of five or six miles in extent, formed into parishes, each having its church, and laid out in meadows, corn-fields, and woods."

*or Careg cowse in clowse--i.e., the hoary rock in the wood.
This and much other folklore connected with the island at the online version of Hunt's 'Popular Romances of the West of England', at the sacred texts archive:
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/eng/prwe/prwe088.htm
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
15th November 2005ce

Dodman Point (Cliff Fort)

Hunt also said:
Merlyn is said to have pronounced the following prophecy, standing near St German's Grotto on the shores of Whitsand Bay:--

"When the Rame Head and Dodman meet,
Man and woman will have cause to greet."
Rame Head is near Plymouth, so I reckon it won't be any time soon. The old misery.

Quote from the online version at the Sacred Text Archive
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/eng/prwe/prwe076.htm
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
15th November 2005ce

This Iron Age cliff fort has been reused for defensive purposes over the centuries, during the Napoleonic and First World wars. But the IA earthworks (presumably referred to in the folklore below) aren't the first signs of the place's significance - there are also Bronze Age barrows which survive.
In the parish of Goran is an intrenchment running from cliff to cliff, and cutting off about a hundred acres of coarse ground. This is about twenty feet broad, and twenty-four feet high in most places.

Marvellous as it may appear, tradition assures us that this was the work of a giant, and that he performed the task in a single night. This fortification has long been known as Thica Vosa, and the Hack and Cast.

The giant, who lived on the promontory, was the terror of the neighbourhood, and great were the rejoicings in Goran when his death was accomplished through a stratagem by a neighbouring doctor.

The giant fell ill through eating some food--children or otherwise--to satisfy his voracity, which had disturbed his stomach. His roars and groans were heard for miles, and great was the terror throughout the neighbourhood. A messenger, however, soon arrived at the residence of the doctor of the parish, and he bravely resolved to obey the summons of the giant, and visit him. He found the giant rolling on the ground with pain, and he at once determined to rid the world, if possible, of the monster.

He told him that he must be bled. The giant submitted, and the doctor moreover said that, to insure relief, a large hole in the cliff must be filled with the blood. The giant lay on the ground, his arm extended over the hole, and the blood flowing a torrent into it. Relieved by the loss of blood, he permitted the stream to flow on, until he at last became so weak, that the doctor kicked him over the cliff, and killed him. The well-known promontory of The Dead Man, or Dodman, is so called from the dead giant. The spot on which he fell is the "Giant's House," and the hole has ever since been most favourable to the growth of ivy.

From Hunt's 'Popular Romances of the West of England' (3rd ed. 1903), online at the Sacred Texts Archive.
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/eng/prwe/prwe020.htm
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
15th November 2005ce

St. Michael's Mount (Natural Rock Feature)

Do giants always have to reach a sticky end?
The giant on the Mount and the giant on Trecrobben Hill were very friendly. They had only one cobbling-hammer between them, which they would throw from one to the other, as either required it. One day the giant on the Mount wanted the hammer in a great hurry, so he shouted, " Holloa, up there! Trecrobben, throw us down the hammer, woost a'?"

"To be sure," sings out Trecrobben; "here! look out, and catch 'm."

Now, nothing would do but the giant's wife, who was very nearsighted, must run out of her cave to see Trecrobben throw the hammer. She had no hat on; and coming at once out into the light, she could not distinguish objects. Consequently, she did not see the hammer coming through the air, and received it between her eyes. The force with which it was flung was so great that the massive bone of the forehead of the giantess was crushed, and she fell dead at the giant's feet. You may be sure there was a great to-do between the two giants. They sat wailing over the dead body, and with their sighs they produced a tempest. These were unavailing to restore the old lady, and all they had to do was to bury her. Some say they lifted the Chapel Rock and put her under it, others, that she is buried beneath the castle court, while some--no doubt the giants' detractors--declare that they rolled the body down into the sea, and took no more heed of it.
From Hunt's 'Popular Romances of the West of England' (1903 - 3rd ed) - online at the Sacred Texts Archive
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/eng/prwe/prwe014.htm
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
15th November 2005ce

Carn Galva (Natural Rock Feature)

More about the giant who lived on Carn Galva:
Holiburn, according to tradition, was a very amiable and somewhat sociable gentleman; but, like his brethren, he loved to dwell amongst the rocks of Cairn Galva. He made his home in this remote region, and relied for his support on the gifts of sheep and oxen from the farmers around--he, in return, protecting them from the predatory incursions of the less conscientious giants of Trecrobben. It is said that he fought many a battle in the defence of his friends[...] I once heard that Holiburn had married a farmer's daughter, and that a very fine race, still bearing a name not very dissimilar, was the result of this union.
So if you meet any exceptionally tall people in the locality, perhaps they could be a relation. From Hunt's 'Popular Romances of the West of England' (1903, 3rd ed), online at the Sacred Texts Archive
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/eng/prwe/prwe010.htm

Hunt also heard from a man named Halliwell that ""Somewhere amongst the rocks in this cairn is the Giant's Cave" where the giant lived.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
15th November 2005ce

Trencrom Hill (Hillfort)

Trencrom Hill was also used as a spot from which to throw stones at St Michael's Mount:
In several parts of Cornwall there are evidences that these Titans were a sportive race. Huge rocks are preserved to show where they played at trap-ball, at hurling, and other athletic games. The giants of Trecrobben and St Michael's Mount often met for a game at bob-buttons. The Mount was the "bob," on which flat masses of granite were placed to serve as buttons, and Trecrobben Hill was the "mit," or the spot from which the throw was made. This order was sometimes reversed. On the outside of St Michael's Mount, many a granite slab which had been knocked off the "bob" is yet to be 'found; and numerous piles of rough cubical masses of the same rock, said to be the granite of Trecrobben Hill, [a] show how eagerly the game was played.
Also from Hunt's book, online at the sacred texts archive.
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/eng/prwe/prwe009.htm

Hunt mentions that "Trecrobben Hill still exhibits the bowl in which the giants of the west used to wash." - so you may wish to keep your eyes open for this if you visit. This is presumably 'The Bowl Rock', on the stream to the NE, judging from the OS map.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
15th November 2005ce

On the summit of this hill, which is only surpassed in savage grandeur by Cam Brea, the giants built a castle--the four entrances to which still remain in Cyclopean massiveness to attest the Herculean powers by which such mighty blocks were piled upon each other. There the giant chieftains dwelt in awful state. Along the serpentine road, passing up the hill to the principal gateway, they dragged their captives, and on the great flat rocks within the castle they sacrificed them. Almost every rock still bears some name connected with the giants--"a race may perish, but the name endures." The treasures of the giants who dwelt here are said to have been buried in the days of their troubles, when they were perishing before the conquerors of their land. Their gold and jewels were hidden deep in the granite caves of this hill, and secured by spells as potent as those which Merlin placed upon his "hoarded treasures." They are securely preserved, even to the present day, and carefully guarded from man by the Spriggans, or Trolls, of whom we have to speak in another page.
From Hunt's 'Popular Romances of the West of England' (3rd ed 1903). He mentions that Trencrom was also known as Trecrobben Hill.
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/eng/prwe/prwe008.htm
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
15th November 2005ce

Paviland Cave (Cave / Rock Shelter)

The vulgar belief is that the Red Lady was entombed in the cave by a storm while seeking treasure there - a legend the truth of which no one can dispute with authority, since the bones are certainly of a period contemporary with the Roman rule in this island.
From 'British Goblins' by Wirt Sikes (p387) 1880.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
14th November 2005ce

Treninnow Stone Monument (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

A large amount of space is given over to this "destroyed" monument in "The Romance of the Stones". In the Broderick Index, which is kept at Plymouth Local History library there is a account from a Mr West (born about 1900) who remembers his mother telling him about how she walked under a large stone supported by three others that leaned inwards. She went on to say that her father later pulled the stones down to make a haedge and covered the site with soil.
The CAU looked into this story in 1978 and confirmed this site after looking at aerial photos and the old tithe map which quoted a Borrow park at this point. A distinct circle, about 25 mters accross could be seen on the photos.
Mr Hamhead Posted by Mr Hamhead
10th November 2005ce

Dyffryn Ardudwy (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

According to C. Grooms (The Giants of Wales. Cewri Cymru Welsh Studies Vol. 10 (Lampeter, 1993)) this stone was one of three quoits thrown by Arthur from the top of Moelfre, and is said to have his fingermarks upon it.

see
http://www.arthuriana.co.uk/concepts/folkgazt.htm
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
8th November 2005ce

Bron y Foel Isaf (Burial Chamber)

According to C. Grooms (The Giants of Wales. Cewri Cymru Welsh Studies Vol. 10 (Lampeter, 1993)) this stone was one of three thrown by Arthur from the top of Moelfre.

see
http://www.arthuriana.co.uk/concepts/folkgazt.htm
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
8th November 2005ce

Penllech Coetan Arthur (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

"[A]cromlech named 'Arthur's Quoit' is found in Myllteyrn parish, Caernarvonshire (SH22973456). Professor Grooms (1993, pp.118-9) translates the following from Myrddin Fardd (writing in the 19th-century), which is worth repeating for its illustration of the local folkloric traditions surrounding these stones:"
A multitude of tales are told about him [Arthur]. Sometimes, he is portrayed as a king and mighty soldier, other times like a giant huge in size, and they are found the length and bredth of the land of stones, in tons in weight, and the tradition connects them with his name - a few of them have been in his shoes time after time, bothering him, and compelling him also to pull them, and to throw them some unbelievable distance... A cromlech recognized by the name 'Coetan Arthur' is on the land of Trefgwm, in the parish of Myllteyrn; it consists of a great stone resting on three other stones. The tradition states that 'Arthur the Giant' threw this coetan from Carn Fadrun, a mountain several miles from Trefgwm, and his wife took three other stones in her apron and propped them up under the coetan.
Borrowed from Thomas Green, the writer of "A Gazetteer of Arthurian Topographic Folklore" at http://www.arthuriana.co.uk/concepts/folkgazt.htm
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
8th November 2005ce

Arthur's Bed (Natural Rock Feature)

Dr William Borlase, writing in 1754 , said:"Round Arthur's Bed, on a rocky Tor in the parish of North-hill, there are many [rock-basins], which the country people call Arthur's Troughs, in which he us'd to feed his Dogs."

lifted from The Arthurian Resources pages at
http://www.arthuriana.co.uk/concepts/folkgazt.htm
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
8th November 2005ce

Slaughter Bridge Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

The bridge is said to be haunted by 'weary looking phantoms' - they cross the bridge in the gloaming, looking misty and depressed as though they've just staggered from the battle, and then 'pouf' melt into the dusk. Or so says Marc Alexander, in his completely unreferenced 'Companion to the folklore, myths and customs of Britain' (2002). He also calls the stone 'Arthur's Gravestone'.

Apparently there are two stones though?? Which is a bit confusing? One in the stream and one by the stream? The following from the Celtic Inscribed Stones doesn't exactly clarify things.
http://www.ucl.ac.uk/archaeology/cisp/database/
There is some confusion about the exact history of this stone as it appears to have occasionally been mixed-up with a second, probably uninscribed stone which now lies in the stream.

Okasha/1993, records that the stone was first mentioned in 1602. By 1754 it had been used as a footbridge and then as part of a early 18th landscape folly. The stone is unlikely to have moved since at least 1799.

..the first recorded location of the stone was its use as part of a footbridge at Slaughterbridge. We do not know the original location.

..Nearby, in the early 18th century, Lady Dowager Falmouth created a kind of hill with spiral walks to which the stone was removed as decoration.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
7th November 2005ce

Ardcroney (Burial Chamber)

The same farmer I met that told me about Ard Croine also told me that about 30 years ago before this cairn was bull-dozed this was the main landmark in the area being up to 30ft high and much wider. However most of this was removed as fill for the roads in the locality.
The area around Ardcroney is called Carney and there seems to be many hillocks in the area that could be natural or maybe manmade.
bawn79 Posted by bawn79
7th November 2005ce

Ashley Park (Burial Chamber)

While looking for the whitstone cairn I stopped to talk to a local farmer. As luck would have it we had a friend in common and he also knew a little about the local folklore attached to this site.
He told me that the mound was originally capped "like a pyramid" by the stones that are lying around the field and that a local man bull-dozed the lot for fill. It was also much bigger than its present size.
However it was when he got to the capstone of the burial chamber that he stopped. When it was open 3 skeletons were found, one 7ft tall, the next 6ft 6inchs and the third 6ft. He also reckons that the 7ft tall skeleton was on the Late Late Show! As you can see in my field notes the official report mentions 2 skeletons.
Also he pointed out that the name for the area Ardcroney means Ard being Big, Croine. And locally that is believed who was found in the mound Ard Croine.
bawn79 Posted by bawn79
7th November 2005ce

Long Meg & Her Daughters (Stone Circle)

Some modern folklore from 'The Ghostly Guide to the Lake District' by Tony Walker
http://www.ghoststories.org.uk/stories/ghostlyguidelakedistrict.pdf

"In the early 1990s, a local girl called Paula Thompson and her friends decided to do a bit of ghost hunting at Long Meg. Friends had gone there in their cars late at night to sit and talk and do what teenagers do. They reported seeing flashes of light outside the car, coming from the
stones. They told Paula and they all decided to go back another night as a group.
It was late, after midnight and at first Paula wouldn't get out of her car. Her friends teased her and so, reluctantly she opened the door. By that time the others had spread out round the circle. There was some light from the moon, and so she walked over to Long Meg, the tallest stone. She saw a dark shape in front of her. As she got closer, it started to move towards her very quickly. She thought it was a male friend having a laugh and called out jokingly for him to stop. He didn't stop and she saw that he was going to run into her. As it got closer she saw the shape wasn't her friend. To her horror it ran right through her. She says she felt cold and frightened and rushed back to the car.
Another time a group of people went there late, they met a coven of witches. When you visit Long Meg, you will more often than not see offerings of flowers or suchlike around Long Meg herself, or hanging in the tree nearby. My advice would be to stay away from Long Meg after dark. These people probably mean no harm, but they don't like to be disturbed".
fitzcoraldo Posted by fitzcoraldo
6th November 2005ce
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