Happy Halloween!

It should come as no surprise to you that when I started my current WIP “Where the Angels Dream” I fell down a LOT of rabbit holes. The story, set sometime in the late 1890s, is about Devon and Sara Amaris, a brother and sister with a strong affinity for the dead. There were so many interesting subjects in this story to explore: ghosts, cemeteries, creatures of other planes, clairvoyants, hauntings, practitioners of magick, zombi, possession… not to mention Halloween in the 1890s!

Liam’s dreams the night before had been anything but restful. He had met Sara, as usual, that morning, and afterward had set off to get a candle for Gertie and find some work for the day. Unfortunately, he had not had a great deal of success.

He had had better luck getting work that evening, but he found himself having a hard time settling into it. That same bad feeling from the night before had kept gnawing at him. Silas had had the right of it when he had said the devil was in the air. So Liam had not even looked for more jobs after he had picked up the pay from his first one. Instead, he had turned his restless feet in the direction of a certain boarding house on Winding Street.

There had been plenty of people out and about, mostly drifting down towards the town square where the bonfire would be. Some had been wearing costumes of witches, devils, angels, and the like. 

He had passed a few houses with jack o’ lanterns in their windows or on their walks; their pumpkin faces leering at him as he had walked by. Or maybe they had been watching the figures that were lurking in the shadows with their flour bombs and string at the ready. Of course, no one had bothered him, and in fact, more than a few had whispered out a hello or an invitation to join them in their fun. He had waved them all away, having left that sort of nonsense behind long ago.

Liam soon found himself standing outside Mrs. O’Toole’s garden gate just after the street lamps had been lit. A single light shining from the garret window of what he was pretty sure was Sara’s room had told him someone was home, but he had not quite been able to bring himself to go up and knock on the door of the dark house. He had not been able to bring himself to leave either. Instead, he had found a place in the narrow alley that ran between the boarding house and the house next door where he could keep an eye on everything. He was still there ten minutes later, leaning up against the neighbor’s garden wall as a cold fog rolled in from the ocean. 

If he had seen someone else doing what he was doing, he would have thought him a creep. But a niggling worry had kept him where he was, half hidden in the wall’s shadow. His eyes watched the people as they made their way down Winding Street, occasionally glancing up at the square of golden light above him where he could sometimes see the flicker of a silhouette ghost across the room’s ceiling. A few people moved further down the alley, sometimes even passing by the spot where he stood, but no one seemed to notice him.

One of these passersby, a woman, stopped beneath an old oak tree that was growing just outside Mrs. O’Toole’s garden, its huge trunk doing its level best to slowly swallow the iron fence as it leaned over the garden like a nosy neighbor peaking into the boarding house’s windows. She stood there for a good while, her hair shining like copper pennies as she stared up at the same window that Liam was watching. The hair on the back of his neck stood on end, and if he had been a dog he would have growled. Why was she standing there? He went to leave the spot where he had been standing with the vague idea that he would go ask her, but he found he could not move, not even an inch. It was like he had been turned to stone and the air around him was icy cold.

A man, tall silk topper on his head, came strolling down from the other end of the alley just then, humming a low tune as he walked. The woman looked over her shoulder, then drifted along as though she had never stopped at all. 

The gentleman moved passed the spot where Liam was loitering, the light from the gaslamps on Winding Street made him into a thing of quicksilver and ebony. His eyes shone uncannily from the shadow of his hat as he glanced unerringly over at where Liam stood. His lips quirked up in a tiny smile as he touched his cane to the brim of his top hat, like a larger dog taking notice of an overly ambitious pup. Anger burned away the cold and Liam thought he might have actually growled then because the man’s smile grew.

– unedited excerpt from Where the Angels Dream

Below are some of the links I came across in my wanderings, if you are curious.

And if you have any links that you think I might find interesting, then please share them in the comments below. I will happily lose myself down them as well.

A quick note – I am not affiliated with any of the sites whose links I have shared below. I make no money if you click on them, and any of the ads or opinions seen there do not necessarily reflect my own opinions or suggestions.

Wikipedia – Spirtualism

Victorian Spirtualism

Wikipedia – Mediumship

NPR – Occult America

The Difference Between Magic and Magick

The Occult Magic of the 1890s Writers

Wikipedia – Zombie

Yumboes and African Ghost Lore

Wikipedia – Jumbee

Wikipedia – Werewolf

Berserkers and other shamanic warriors

Wikipedia – Jack-o’-lantern

When Halloween Was All Tricks and No Treats

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