Readers of my earlier books may
recall the strange story of Netta Fornario, and it was one of the first stories
of unexplained mystery that I came across, and it has beguiled me ever since.
Did the spirit of a dead woman come back to kill Netta? Or, was she killed by
the Immortal race of the Fairies?
It’s a gothic, Victorian tale
of magic and mystery, murder and madness, and the yearning for
immortality. It is ripe for a chapter in
a Penny Dreadful; but this is a true story. It is a tale that grips as it horrifies;
fascinates yet simultaneously strikes at the fear inside of us all, that if we
were to delve into the supernatural, it may show us where its allegiances lie,
and destroy us entirely.
The location of this tale is
the tiny ancient island of Iona, an Island in the Outer Hebredies off the Coast
of Scotland. It is 1929, and a young woman has gone missing. When she is found,
she is naked and dead and lying on a cross cut into the earth on top of a
‘faerie mound.’ There is a knife in her hand and a look of terror etched across
her face. She has no wounds. She is barefoot but the soles of her feet are
clean. Her story encompasses the most cryptic unsolved disappearance and death
of an eccentric student of the esoteric arts, whose adventures into ‘the Nether
World,’ would appear to be her undoing.
Iona is a mystical place, rich in the lore of dragons, angels, and vengeful faeries. Its victim is perhaps a naive adept of the occult, who believed she could step into ‘Summerland,’ the astral plane of Heaven, and return unscathed. One of her best friends, Dion Fortune said, “I do not object to reasonable risks, but it appeared to me that ‘Mac’ as we called her, was going into very deep waters … and there was certain to be trouble sooner or later.”