Some musings on Victorian mourning customs, historic calls for funerary reforms, and a modest proposal for a return to formal mourning.
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.
Did medium Eusapia Palladino speak through a young Italian medium, Nino Becoraro, at Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s first American seance in 1922?
Lightening the mood with a little costume humor. The target for today is the bustle. Like most fashions, they were ridiculed, caricatured, and exaggerated. Here are several examples of bustle humor and a thrilling episode from the history of wardrobe malfunctions.
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.
It was just a long, low human wail that seemed to contain the bitterest sorrow. I was almost dumbfounded. I thought my wife would faint, but she only sat still, very pale and looked at me. Finally I got up and went to the door. It was the same story as before. There was not a sign of any one’s presence….
From the mid- to late-19th century it was said that a Munich inventor had created a new kind of lace made entirely by caterpillars. Other articles told of dresses made of Madagascar spider silk–from drunken spiders. Were these stories of insect industry true?
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.
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.
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