They call it valley bottom fever and while there is no scientific proof, many of those who live in Calderdale don’t need peer-reviewed research to be convinced of its existence.
Author Benjamin Myers is one of them. “Honestly, when autumn comes and the nights start drawing in, you can feel the change,” he says of West Yorkshire’s equivalent to seasonal affective disorder.
“We live just below Scout Rock and what I didn’t know when we moved in is that our house is pretty much in darkness for six months of the year. “It can begin to feel quite claustrophobic, but I have now become quite good at overcoming it. I take vitamin D supplements and I try to make sure that I get out of the house every day for a bit of walking or wild swimming.”
Myers’ own experience of valley bottom fever, which has also been blamed for increased depression rates in the area, was why he chose to set his latest novel in the autumn. These Darkening Days takes as its inspiration a peculiar chapter in Yorkshire’s history when mass hysteria broke out in Halifax…
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