Author Archive

A Man of Vision: the Glass Coffin Inventor

A visionary inventor tries to sell an investor on glass coffins–the newest wrinkle in mortuary management–which include a filing system and a guarantee of permanent preservation of the corpse.

Vicky in the Sky, with Grover

Today is the anniversary of the death of Queen Victoria. Here are several odd visions of the Queen–in the sky, in shadows, and with American presidents.

Kate Field and the Letter from Poe

Yesterday was the anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe so today we look at a Spiritualist tale peripherally involving Poe, or rather a letter from Poe to a sympathetic editor, Joseph M. Field. A SPIRIT TELEPATHIC MESSAGE—OR WHAT? Miss Lilian Whiting, the well-known author and journalist, declares that she has had a direct message […]

The Mysterious Mirror of Maine

On 7 June 1903, Adelia A. Warren, Mrs. Robert Warren, of Bowdoinham, Maine, died, age 48, leaving behind a bereft husband and two sons: 28-year-old Randall S. and 33-year-old Edwin W. Just six months later, it was reported that Mrs. Warren, a Spiritualist, had returned to try to communicate with the family through a mirror.

Encore: Mistresses of the Dark: The Women in Black

The final chapter in my book The Ghost Wore Black: Ghastly Tales from the Past tells of a little-known 19th-century panic over those mistresses of the dark, The Women in Black. They were the female equivalent of Spring-heeled Jack, without the flames and (sometimes) the leaping, and they terrified communities across the United States from roughly 1865 to 1915.

Our Lady of the Bass Fisherman

One August day in 1896, a farmer named Moses Depue was fishing for bass in the Delaware River when he saw an astonishing apparition arise from the river near the Jersey shore.

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