Costume History

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.

Christmas in the Graveyard

Much to do to prepare for Christmas so a quick post on mourning and Christmas in old Russia. A STRANGE CHRISTMAS PARTY December and the year had almost unwound themselves. We were among the scantily clothed days at the end of the year. There was now no snow on the ground, or if there were […]

Mr Moon and his Mummified Molly

Around Halloween there was a shuddersome spate of stories about mummies and grave robbing. There were so many mummy dearest that I just had to write about Mr Moon and his wife Molly.

Introducing The Victorian Book of the Dead

A shamelessly commercial post today: Kestrel Publications is draping itself in black in celebration–The Victorian Book of the Dead has arrived!

Know When to Hold ‘em: Waiting Mortuaries in Connecticut?

An account of a proposal from Bridgeport, Connecticut, for an organization that would hold the bodies of the dead until they showed unmistakable signs of decomposition–in the interest of preventing burial alive.

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