While there have been many theories and many leads over the past few decades, a definitive answer to who Bella is exactly and what happened to her still remains a mystery. Rations were thin and so four boys near Birmingham went hunting for bird eggs in the Hagley Woods. Then sow barley never fear;” This theory was exceptionally more plausible than witchcraft because the area where Bella had been found had been home to munitions factories. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. The famous Who Put Bella in the Witch Elm graffiti, which has been on the Wychbury Hill obelisk for decades, now reads Hers Put Bella in the Witch Elm. This theory gains further traction with the fact that an actual Nazi spy named Johannes Marines Dronkers had been captured in mid-1942. The woman was Clara Bauerle, a cabaret singer and German movie star who had, according to Jakobs, been recruited by the Gestapo as an agent. The Hagley Woods Mystery: Bella in the Wych Elm, Is this the Bella in the wych elm? Even with all this information, finding a positive identification was difficult. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. Many thanks for reading this offering. In Gaelic it is known as ‘leven’, as in Loch Leven in Kinross, and was valued for its roles in the dyeing of wool. … The Wych elm is the only native elm in Ireland. While the graffiti gave the woman a nickname, the police were no further in the case and the person behind the writings was never apprehended. Trees for Life is a registered Scottish charity – number SC021303. ( Log Out /  Their large distinctive shapes feature prominently in many English pastoral paintings by Constable (eg his famous “The Haywain” painting) and his contemporaries. Having grown up in Weston-super- Mare, near the home of occultist Aleister Crowley, or ‘The Great Beast 666’, Caitlin’s imagination … Donald McCormick, the historian, had obtained some Germany Military intelligence files that pointed exactly to Jack’s contact and the real identity of Bella. In Scotland the stick used to play shinty, called a caman, can be made from a variety of woods, with elm being a popular choice as it often has a natural bend already in the wood. English elm has fewer serrations along the leaf margin which helps tell it apart from wych elm (Ulmus glabra). It has been noted that two elm-motifs have arisen from classical literature: (1) the 'Paradisal Elm' motif, arising from pastoral idylls and the elm-and-vine theme, and (2) the 'Elm and Death' motif, perhaps … Identify trees with our … Mediaeval Welsh archers made their long bows from elm wood, whereas English bowmen preferred yew. But in 1953, an anonymous person wrote to a local journalist and explained that Bella died because she was involved in a Nazi spy ring. A yellow dye could also be derived from the elm, and the leaves were fed to livestock when other fodder was scarce. She could have been a sex worker killed by an angry client or a barmaid killed by an American GI. Working at the factories was stable enough but soon after befriending a Dutchman, Jack started to come into money that wouldn’t be explained by his factory wages. Like Scots pine, hollowed-out elm was used to make urban water pipes prior to the introduction of metal ones. The youngest of the group, though, had trouble dealing with the discovery and soon told his parents, who then told the police. A company limited by guarantee, registered in Scotland – company No. Bauerle had even worked in Birmingham before the war and developed a convincing local accent in the process. The question of who put Bella in the Wych Elm became part of the modern folklore of the Black Country – a fact which gives the lie to the idea that the modern age doesn’t allow for new folk … There were still strands of hair left, which indicated that she was also a brunette. At one point though, he admitted to Una that he had been a part of a Nazi spy ring and had been passing information along. On 18th April 1943 four Stourbridge teenagers, Fred Payne, Tommy Willetts, Robert Hart and Bob Farmer discovered the remains of a woman inside a hollow Wych Elm (also known as Scots … Like the oak, they often had very specific customs and folklore attached to individual, named trees such as the Tenor, Bass and Alto elms on Humberside, or the Dancing elms of Devon around which May Day dances were held (these trees have all sadly succumbed to Dutch elm disease). This characteristic made the wood largely unsuitable as a building material, nor does it make a good fuel. Change ). This was later corrupted to “witch” … SKIP TO 41 MINUTES IF YOU DON'T LIKE INTROS AND JUST WANT … In a hollow tree trunk of a wych elm, one of the boys found a skull but because they were trespassing on private property, the boys put the skull back and made a pact that they would keep quiet. They are typically mountainous species preferring moist soils and higher humidity’s, its name in Irish means mountain elm… ... Wych, from wych elm… feat. But 15 years after Una Mossop came forward with this case, a historian published a book titled “Murder by Witchcraft’ that, despite its name, delved deeper into the Nazi spy ring. Wych-elm in Hagley Woods. Failing that, it could easily be heated, bent and set to the required shape. Who put Bella in the Wych Elm? For the ancient Greeks and Romans, the elm was the tree of Oneiros, the son of the night and God of dreams. A Gestapo agent by the name of Josef Jakobs had been captured after parachuting into Cambridgeshire in 1941 and a photo of a young woman had been found on his person. It is interesting to note that both the yew’s and the elm’s mythology is intimately bound up with death and the transition into the Underworld, and that both woods were used to such deadly effect in mediaeval warfare. © 2020. Where to find wych elm. And it was during that time that he met with his contact at a local pub one night. The “witch” part comes from older English word “wych” meaning “bendable” or “bending.” It looked similar enough to the European Wych Elm that the name was applied to the New World plants. Elm trees in Britain can grow to become some of the tallest and largest native trees. In Scotland wych elm is the more common species of elm. The following edition was used to create this study guide: French, Tana. DAVID SAUNDERSON talks to Black Country film-maker Tom Lee Rutter about his new dark docu-drama, Bella in the Wych Elm, which investigates an unsolved murder turned folklore in the … Elm’s connection with death does not end there, as its wood is traditionally used to make coffins, though the wood’s durability underground may also play a part in this choice. The Festive Season is a time for spooky stories, this one has it all; murder, folklore and spies, it also happens to be true. In French folklore, the elm was considered the “tree of justice”. The elm’s wood bends well, or distorts easily, depending on which way you look at the situation, and indeed the ‘wych’ in wych elm refers to its wood being pliant, and not to witches, who were said to shun elm trees. Steve Zaragoza. This is a likely result of the ravaging effects of a recent wave of Dutch elm disease which has affected all of the UK's elms, … In 1943, four young boys, out poaching in Hagley Wood came across a large Wych Elm, a broad, spiderlike tree. It usually grows in … In keeping with the novel's epigraph, "Only connect...", the wych elm … There are so many other theories that attempt to explain who and what happened to Bella. She also had two crooked front teeth. There is one case that remains open after 75 years and theories range from a Nazi spy ring to witch craft. SC143304, with registered offices at The Park, Findhorn Bay, Forres, Moray, IV36 3TH. The case died down a bit, with witchcraft still remaining the most popular public theory. Episode 49: Who put Bella in the Wych Elm? An online magazine for readers of horror fiction. Simpson and his trial; Netflix recently released a documentary about Amanda Knox; and a mini series about JonBenet was released last year. Still, a search through thousands of missing persons cases and through dental practices from around England proved unsuccessful. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. As well as their widespread use in hedges, their stature made them imposing landmarks and boundary markers, and travelling preachers and judges would often pronounce from beneath them. Elm mythology and folklore Support our work Our vision is of a revitalised wild forest in the Highlands of Scotland, providing space for wildlife to flourish and communities to thrive. Twine made from the inner bark of the elm tied tightly at regular intervals, to form ‘hanks’ of the yarn, was used to stop a dye from reaching the wool. As a result of Dutch elm disease, wych elm is now rare. The wych elm is moderately shade-tolerant, but requires deep, rich soils as typically found along river valleys. In recent years, the stocks were greatly reduced by an ascomycete (Dutch elm disease). Pieces of the right hand were soon found buried nearby. … However, Jack started to have a mental breakdown, which resulted in both a divorce between him and Una and was eventually institutionalized. One April … Despite the English elm's name, wych elm is the only elm that is regarded as being truly native to the UK. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. One folklorist, named Margaret Murray, thought that Bella’s death had been occult and witchcraft related. No one came forward and the case went cold for several months. The Witch Elm. Eventually, ‘Anna’ came forward. Embla, the first human woman in Norse mythology, was created by Odin and his brothers, Vili and Ve, whose incantations roused a fallen elm tree into life. Unravelling the mystery of the skull found in a tree trunk. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. It belongs to the Ulmaceae genus and is popular for wood production. Elm, wych Elm, field Elm, Huntingdon Hazel Trees woods and wildlife. His contact was already there, arguing with a woman and eventually the three left in Jack’s car. The Wych Elm by Tana French review – a portrait of privilege. There’s another theory that’s centered around Bella being involved with Nazi spies. Webster also estimated that she died from suffocation, based on the fact that some fabric was found in her mouth. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! And there are other flaws in this theory: Bella in the tree was roughly 5ft, while Baurele was known to quite tall. A pathologist named James Webster did a forensic examination on the body and established that it had been a woman who had died sometime around October 1941. Perhaps people who knew elms well were reminded of their own mortality when remembering the elm’s reputation for dropping large boughs without warning on otherwise still, warm days; “Elm hateth man, and waiteth” as the old saying goes. About Wych elm is rarely found as a tree, but is more common as a hedgerow shrub. The woman had also given birth, was roughly five feet tall, around 35 years old, and based on how she was laying in the trunk, must have been placed in it shortly after death. The Wych elm is native to Europe and there also very common. The elm was also considered the tree of justice in … Archdeacons in the Diocese in Europe (3,963 words) exact match in snippet view article find links to article Eastern and Northern Europe. We hope you have enjoyed reading about Elm and have taken away some useful knowledge. Prior to 2005, the archdeaconry was called Scandinavia. While this theory remained popular for quite some time, there was nothing else that been found to support it. Episode 50: Filipino Folklore feat. The novel is divided into 13 … As well as the Macabre, wych elm’s other conceptual concern is folklore. The first – “Who put Luebella down the wych–elm?” was followed by many other … Our vision is of a revitalised wild forest in the Highlands of Scotland, providing space for wildlife to flourish and communities to thrive. Who put Bella in the Wych Elm? ( Log Out /  605079649. The wych elm of the novel had pigs' teeth embedded in the trunk by country people long ago and it was said that chewing some of the bark could cure toothache. A weekly column of mythology and folklore. The question of who put Bella in the Wych Elm became part of the modern folklore of the Black Country – a fact which gives the lie to the idea that the modern age doesn’t allow for new folk … While this theory seems exceptionally more plausible than witchcraft, it was impossible to truly verify. Part of a rural planting verse. Pop culture is filled with shows, podcasts, and films about true crime and we can’t seem to get enough. The graffiti simply read — “ Who put Bella down the Wych Elm — Hagley Wood.” No evidence of any ritualistic murder was found, however, leaving the case unsolved to this day. The wych elm is associated with death and has been since at least the time of the ancient Greeks. Folk Names: Sweet Elm, Elven, English Elm, European Elm. A twisty pageturner that considers the bruised relationship between the world and the self. The podcast Casefile True Crime has maintained a large audience over the last year; several shows and documentaries have come out about O.J. She based this theory on the fact that the right hand had been buried away from the rest of the body – an act that may have been a part of an occult ceremony known as the hand of glory. Baurele was supposed to follow Jakobs into England; however, that was unlikely after his capture. Taliesin wrote of elm … It is a wide ranging Elm tree, it can be found from Ireland to Russia and as far north as the Arctic Circle. The argument between the man and woman grew violent and the man ended up killing the woman. ( Log Out /  The inner bark was especially efficacious when chewed or boiled into a liquor to treat colds and sore throats, while the boiled bark was also used to treat burns. The heart of the case comes down to a single question: who put Bella in the old wych elm? ( Log Out /  “When the elmen leaf is as big as a mouse’s ear, But in December 1943, graffiti started to appear. Plus, Bauerle was never heard from after 1941, the same year Bella died. It is set in the West Midlands during WWII. Sapphire Sandalo. Jack had died while still institutionalized in 1942 and no one else related to the ring had been identified. Who put Bella in the Wych Elm. However, like alder wood, elm wood withstands wet conditions very well, making it a popular choice for the building of boat and barge hulls, bridge foundations, and cartwheels. In 1943, England and the rest of Europe was in the midst of the second world war. There is a myth which tells how the first elm grove sprang up when Orpheus paused to play a … VAT No. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. In Scotland wych elm is the more common species of elm. is graffiti that appeared in 1944 following the 1943 discovery by four children of the skeletonised remains of a woman inside a wych elm in Hagley Wood, Hagley, in … Underneath its branches, judges reflected and received inspiration for how they would rule. In April of 1943, in the town of Worcestershire, England, four boys stumbled across the skeletal remains of a deceased woman that had been shoved into a cavity of a large wych elm… ... Who put Bella in the Wych elm? Viking, 2018. In a hollow tree trunk of a wych elm, one of the boys found a skull but because they were trespassing on private property, the boys put the skull back and made a pact that they would keep … Its pliancy was also put to use in a variety of ways. Elm’s roots run deeply through folklore, an associate of the Otherworld, symbol of both creation and death. Intermittent colours in woollen yarns (by which a weaver could more easily create a pattern in the weave) could be introduced by way of an early form of tie-dyeing. Jack and the man then stuffed her body into the wych elm trunk. A dog walker noticed the legendary saying, which refers to the finding of a woman's body in a wych elm … The man went by the name Lehrer and the woman was Clarabella Dronkers. The Witch Elm takes place in Ireland, and is narrated in the first person. 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