Archive for
‘November, 2012’

Mourning Becomes Elective: Musings on mourning customs

Mourning becomes elective Some musings on Victorian mourning customs, historic calls for funerary reforms, and a modest proposal for a return to formal mourning.

Tokens of Death: Owls, Cats, and Phantom Funerals

As I said in a recent post on an Indiana Banshee, “tokens of death” were a frequent theme in the ghost stories of the past. These death-omens could be anything from a prophetic dream, a vision of a phantom funeral, headless apparitions or women in white ghosts, a familiar disembodied voice calling one’s name, a crown of feathers in a pillow or mattress, dogs howling, or mysterious lights.

A Bum-roll, Please – Victorian Bustle Humor

A Bum-roll, Please – Victorian Bustle Humor Victorian costume humor. Like most fashions, bustles were ridiculed, caricatured, and exaggerated. Here are several examples of bustle humor and a thrilling episode from the history of wardrobe malfunctions.

For the Blood is the Life or The Feast of Blood

While a contemporary vogue for vampire fantasy has inspired some people to identify themselves as vampires and to actually drink blood, there has always been a curious belief in the efficacy of blood-drinking, not as a lifestyle, but for medicinal purposes only.

The Maker of Mermaids

The Maker of Mermaids: In 1880s New York, a distinguished exponent of the art of taxidermy was quietly promoting the superiority of American-made mermaids and sea serpents, complete with pedigree.

The Woman in Black of Massillon, Ohio: Part 2

A few days ago I wrote about a Woman in Black haunting the town of Massillon in 1895. The town was in a fever of excitement and a young man, ill-advisedly impersonating the ghost, was wounded when shot by a friend. Here is the thrilling conclusion to that tale.

The Woman in Black: Death Stalks Plum Street

The Woman in Black: Death Stalks Plum Street For several decades between 1870 and 1910, ghostly female figures in mourning clothes and veils caused panic wherever they appeared. This is the story of the 1895 Woman in Black panic of Massillon, Ohio

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