The ghostly echoes of Pendle Hill in Second Life

Pendle Hill; Inara Pey, October 2018, on FlickrPendle Hill – click any image for full size

Pendle Hill, the latest Homestead region design by Lauren Bentham, takes its name – as the introductory note card offered to visitors on arrival states – the hill of the same name located in east Lancashire, England.

England’s Pendle Hill is steeped in history. Standing just 557m (1,827 ft) above sea-level, it is somewhat isolated when compared to the Pennines as a whole. In the 17th century George Fox climbed it and had a vision that resulted in him founding the Religious Society of Friends – and to this day, the name “Pendle” has strong connotations for Quakers. The hill is also the site of a Bronze Age burial ground; while again in the 17th century (and perhaps most famously), it was the location for the  trials of the Pendle witches. Because of this event, it is still regarded as one of the “most haunted places in Britain” in some circles.

Pendle Hill; Inara Pey, October 2018, on FlickrPendle Hill

It is in reference to Pendle Hill’s notoriety as a haunted place that Lauren – who is also responsible for the another haunting region in the shape of Arranmore (which you can read about here) – has created Pendle Hill in Second Life. She’s actually done so quite cleverly as well, touching as it does her love of the north of England (as seen through her marvellous Netherwood – which you can also read about here, whilst also offering echoes of the physical world Pendle Hill.

As a ghostly / haunted region, Pendle Hill has opened in time for Halloween, but isn’t intended to be purely for the Halloween season; like Arranmore, it will hopefully remain available the year round for people to visit and enjoy. And I have to say that like Arranmore, it is exquisitely atmospheric in its haunted presentation and feel – do make sure you have local sounds enabled when visiting.

Pendle Hill; Inara Pey, October 2018, on FlickrPendle Hill

The echoes of the physical Pendle Hill can be seen in the way the region is surrounded on three sides by high peaks while remaining apart from them – just as Pendle Hill stands apart from the Pennines. Within the region, black figures hover among the wizened, weathered trees, a possible allusion to the spirits of the Pendle Hill  witches of Pendle Hill, while to the north-west of the region a stone henge can be found, possibly echoing the bronze age history of the hill.

But this is not a place designed to emulate its namesake; nor is it intended to stand in a single moment of time. It has its own unique character, one that spans centuries, from the ancient stones of the henge, through to the wreck of the man-o’-war lying in the shallows off the coast, then forward to more recent times, as evidenced by the sunken and abandoned trawler sitting on the water close by and the tower of a lighthouse with its single, almost baleful eye surveying by turns land and sea. On the land is further evidence of this mixing of times as bent  Victorian gaslights looking like crooked old men are accompanied by the poles of electrical power lines.

Pendle Hill; Inara Pey, October 2018, on FlickrPendle Hill

There are several routes from the landing point, offering by turns routes to the ancient henge, the lighthouse, an apothecary / magic shop and a hunted house. There is the inevitable cemetery, while skulls hang from branches of trees or even make up their trunks, malevolent green eyes that glow through the mists and darkness staring outwards in menace whilst also drawing visitors to travel beyond the haunted house and the lighthouse and out to a headland. Nor are these green eyes the only ones watching: owls and vultures are in the air or perched where they can, the latter looking as if they might be hoping one or two visitors receive a shock severe enough to keel over … and provide a meal.

As with all of Lauren’s builds there is wonderful attention to detail throughout. Catch the monkey from Stephen King’s The Monkey for example. Other hints / reminders of horror flicks can be found as well; even Hogwarts (which can be a spooky place after all) gets some visual references.

Pendle Hill; Inara Pey, October 2018, on FlickrPendle Hill

Lauren’s region designs always make for an engaging visit, and Pendle Hill is no exception – although I strongly recommend that for best results you have Advanced Lighting Model (ALM) enabled in your viewer (Preferences > Graphics > enable ALM), particularly if you’re going to use the supplied torch, as it uses projected light. If you can also manage the region with shadows enabled, so much the better – but this is not an essential requirement for enjoyment of the region.

Photographers can join to local group for a single payment of L$175 and gain rezzing rights to rez props (do please remove them after use!), and a Flickr group is available to those wishing to share their pictures with other visitors to the region. Should you appreciate Pendle Hill, please consider making a donation at the landing point towards its continued presence in Second Life.

Pendle Hill; Inara Pey, October 2018, on FlickrPendle Hill

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