Everyone knows that kissing the Blarney Stone gives you good luck. But where does all that good luck come from? Did you know that there’s a lesser known legend surrounding the Blarney stone… and its curse? Could the “good luck” associated with kissing the Blarney stone be leached from the victims of this curse?
Everyone has heard of Agatha Christie. She wrote during the golden age of detective fiction, and she’s been crowned as the Queen of the Cozy Mystery. She’s written at least 74 books, including “Murder on the Orient Express”, “And then there were none”, and “Death on the Nile”. But there’s one mystery that she didn’t write. Instead, she lived it.
On December 3, 1926, Agatha Christie went into her seven-year-old daughter Rosalind’s bedroom in their home in Berkshire, England, and she kissed her on the cheek goodnight. Then, she got into her car and drove away. She wouldn’t be discovered for another ten days. Not only did she go missing for ten days, but when she was found, she claimed to have absolutely no memory of where she’d been or what she’d done.
The oldest bookstore in America, the Moravian Book Shop in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, has been continuously running for over 270 years. There are some solid arguments that it’s actually the longest running bookstore in all of the world (Sullivan, 2016). Of course, a place like this would pick up a few ghosts over the centuries. There are at least two spirits haunting this bookstore—if you believe the stories, of course.
Today’s blog post is a little shorter, because I’ve been doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and I’m writing an entire book in just thirty days. I don’t have many words to spare! I picked this story to dissect because there isn’t much evidence supporting or refuting the claims of the people who’ve seen strange things in this bookshop. But it still makes for a fascinating story…
In 1912, a St. Louis, Missouri housewife named Pearl Lenore Curran had a good friend and writer named Emily Grant Hutchings over for a visit. Emily brought a Ouija board with her, because she was interested in the resurgence in “spiritualism” that had taken over America at this time (Carroll, 2015). They experimented with the Ouija board, but it wasn’t until almost a year later that Pearl received her first message from the beyond.
Pearl began to channel the writings of “Patience Worth”, a British woman from the seventeenth century. Pearl would sit at the Ouija board, her hands whipping the planchard back and forth as her husband, John, transcribed the many poems, short stories, and novels of this seventeenth century author. Patience could also take over Pearl’s mouth, engaging the many scholars who came to observe this miraculous feat in delightful conversation. She also took over her hands, as Pearl later wrote by hand with what is considered “automatic writing”. Pearl/Patience would come up with poems at the drop of a hat, given only a prompt from a skeptical onlooker. Many scholars at the time praised her work, and they didn’t know what to believe (Diliberto, 2010). Was she writing these fully composed works of fiction off the top of her head? Or was she truly channelling the spirit of a seventeenth century writer? Otto Heller, Dean of Washington University’s Graduate School said: “I still confess myself completely baffled by the experience” (Diliberto, 2010). Many books have been written about her, and some, like Edgar Lee Masters, believed wholeheartedly that she was a true medium, while others, like Harry Houdini, believed her to be a fraud (Schlueter, 2012). Continue reading “A Genuine “Ghost” Writer”
With Halloween just around the corner, I’ve decided to deviate from my typical library and book-related theme. Much to my delight, horror movies have been playing on some TV channels around the clock. I’ve been reading The Amityville Horror, a book which inspired a classic movie and a whole slew of lame sequels. The book, however, just so happens to be based on a true story. A lot of horror movies are based on true stories: The Exorcist, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Psycho, The Girl Next Door, The Conjuring… But there’s one movie that’s based on a true story that you wouldn’t expect. This is a real head scratcher. The film is the 1958 B-movie, “The Blob”.
For those of you who have never seen it, the movie is about a a strange “blob” that falls out of outer space, but it doesn’t just sit there. It oozes around, consuming people, and, of course, getting bigger. The movie stars Steve McQueen in his first leading role. This isn’t a review of the movie, so I’ll just link to this trailer for “The Blob”, and you can watch it for yourself if you’re interested, before I tell you the “true” story.
Now, how can a movie about a killer “blob” be based on a true story? Let me tell you…