Caught by the River

Hounds of Whitby

Michael Smith | 31st October 2020

Michael Smith introduces a film which recounts the true events of a terrifying night spent in Whitby.

Whitby, that jet-black jewel on the Yorkshire coast, the most romantic evocation of the old idea that it’s grim Up North. I spent the most terrifying night of my life there a few years ago, and this is the story of what happened. 

This is not a film about psychogeography, unless you mean psycho as in psychotic. 

I know some people believe places can have a kind of memory, events can leave a kind of psychic resonance in a particular location, and I subscribe to that view myself, but the things I experienced that night were different. I felt there was evil afoot, I’d disturbed something wicked, and it was after me. Malevolent spirits rather than spirit of place, though the two seemed inextricably woven together. 

I believe supernatural entities can haunt a place, because I’ve seen and heard and felt them. I believe in ghosts and devils because they’ve bedevilled me. And no, I wasn’t on drugs.

I don’t expect you to believe me when I tell you that everything in this film really happened, but it is not an exaggeration or a shaggy dog story, but rather a blow-by-blow account of the strangest and scariest night of my life. I was literally terrified by the events I’ve tried to recount as staightforwawrdly as possible here. Just writing this down now is making me feel a bit weird.

I hope this story unsettles you because it scared the shit out of me.