Friday, 5 June 2015

"Sense a Presence?" Public Information (1970)



In 1970 a council public information campaign warned citizens that they should be afraid, though it didn't clarify exactly what it was they were supposed to be afraid of. Inevitably, this lead to widespread panic. Police, council and coven telephone helplines were inundated with calls by distressed citizens of Scarfolk who had been previously unaware of the danger they were in.

In an attempt to define what the campaign's 'presence' might refer to, the Daily Ail newspaper printed what it believed everyone should fear. What began as a ten-point list quickly grew into a publication as thick as a telephone directory and included: Foreigners; magic gypsies; diseases with a foreign origin or name, e.g, Asian Squid Flu; asylum-seeking succubi and other demons that haunt Britain without the appropriate paperwork; 'other foreigners' not included in the first mention of foreigners; and the threat of rabies from migrating continental bats which refuse to make any attempt to learn the English language.

By the mid-70s Scarfolk was in a frenzy and adults and children alike were accusing all and sundry of being invisible, malevolent presences. Eventually, to allay the fear of its citizens, the council allocated a handful of social workers to each household. Every evening, these workers (actually, mentally-ill criminals sentenced to community service) would conceal themselves beneath beds, in wardrobes, in cellars and attics to ensure that sinister entities had no place to lurk.

2 comments:

  1. "other demons that haunt Britain without the appropriate paperwork"
    Perfect! Pretty much the epitome of Skarfolk in one phrase.

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  2. My grandmother had a man with x-ray eyes t-shirt. She loved Ray Milland she watched the final scene were he plucks out his eyes on loop. We got her a themed coffin when she died. We now use it as a sideboard.

    ReplyDelete