The story of the raising of The Goose Spirit at Cross Bones burial ground and of her initiation of John Crow is itself shrouded in legend. It seems that, on the night of 23rd November 1996, the writer John Constable experienced a visitation from a muse who claimed to be the spirit of a Winchester Goose buried at Cross Bones. Her teachings, received through the mediumship of John Crow, were revealed in a cycle of poems, or Vision Books, received during the three years leading up to the millennium.
In his preface to The Southwark Mysteries, Constable writes that these
‘Vision Books… were revealed by The Goose to John Crow at Crossbones... My shamanic double had somehow raised the Spirit of a medieval Whore, licensed by a Bishop, yet allegedly denied Christian burial…’
In the course of the Vision Books, The Goose leads John Crow on a journey through the secret history of south London’s ancient Liberty to reveal her transforming ‘vision of humanity’. The second part of The Southwark Mysteries expands that vision in a cycle of contemporary Mystery Plays, set on Bankside. The third part is entitled the Glossolalia, a glossary of local history and occult lore. The entire book can also be read as a grimoire or book of magical invocations.
Constable frequently spoke of John Crow as a distinct entity, a spirit much like The Goose. Yet from 1998 onwards, he began performing work from The Southwark Mysteries as John Crow, and played the character for the 2000 production of The Mystery Plays in Shakespeare’s Globe and Southwark Cathedral. Since 1998, he has conducted The Halloween of Cross Bones and other rituals in this ‘shamanic’ role, and is widely known as John Crow in many pagan, occult and other alternative sub-cultures.