Vampires? In New England?

Copyright 2014 by Paula S. Jordan

I always figured the only vampires in the US were in New Orleans, neatly interred — at least in daylight — between the pages of Ann Rice’s books.Gravestone

But not so.

There was a real live, er, undead one in Rhode Island, with a really eerie grave where no grass grows and the tomb stone “must be anchored down by a steel post.” Or so goes the story. Coins, shells, rocks, even printed prayers, have been left there as gifts for 19 year-old Mercy Lena Brown.

Mercy died in the deep winter of 1892 and her body was stored in an above-ground tomb until the ground thawed enough to bury her. When suspicions of Rock Cropvampires arose, Mercy’s body and those of her also recently deceased mother and sister were exhumed. The decayed condition of the other two bodies was enough to acquit them. But Mercy’s, having lain only two months in the freezing, above-ground tomb, was in perfect condition. It was reported, in fact, that she still had fresh blood in her veins. Proof positive that she was “feeding off the living.” So they cut out her heart and burned it on a stone.

In another instance, the body of a 50 year old man, buried around 1830 in Connecticut, was “completely rearranged” some time after death. The skeleton was beheaded, the ribs fractured, and the head laid on the chest with the thigh bones crossed beneath it as on a pirate flag.

And they weren’t the only ones. Rhode Island Folklorist Michael Bell has exhumed some 80 “questionable” burials, some from as early as the late 1700’s or as far west as Minnesota, but primarily in backwoods New England in the1800’s. He suspects there are many more.

Stone crypt at Chestnut Hill Cemetery, Exeter, RI, where Mercy's remains may have been kept in the winter of 1892.

Stone crypt, Chestnut Hill Cemetery, Exeter, RI, where Mercy’s remains may have been kept the winter of 1892.

But what raised such powerful suspicions among the good people of New England?

Turns out, the one linking factor among all the known disturbed burials is that they occurred around the time of virulent outbreaks of consumption (tuberculosis.)

People falling ill without explanation? Wasting away till death claimed them?

What would you think?.

P.S. It’s been suggested that one Bram Stoker, traveling in the United States with a theater company the same year as Mercy Lena Brown’s exhumation, may have taken note: Lena + Mercy = Lucy??? And a doctor attending at her exhumation as with Miss Brown’s?

P.P.S. H.P Lovecraft specifically mentions Mercy’s exhumation in “The Shunned House,” and includes a living character named Mercy.

Sources:
Extensive analysis and commentary here:
The Great New England Vampire Panic, Smithsonian, October 2012

mystery of Rhode Island’s vampire revealed

Kat’s TBFinished pile

I finally compiled my TBR list. I’m hoping to get through these in the next year. I always find more to read on my kindle library too, but these are the ones I’ve been thinking about and I figure if I put them in a nice list I will remember to look at it and prioritize! I do own all of these books, so, realistically I should read them before buying yet another kindle book on sale. Just kidding. ;-) Also, I already started most of these. sigh. so this is more of a TBFinished pile!

My abbreviations are [HB] hardback, [PB] paperback, [K] Kindle

In no particular order:
~House of Bathory by Linda Lafferty [K]
~Ignition Point by Kate Corcino [K]—->this is my friend! read this! she’s good!
~Koko Takes a Holiday by Kieran Sea [PB]
~Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch [K] (kind of a re-read…turns out the audio book I listened to 4+ times was abridged! The horror!! But hey! Now I get to read this awesome book about the Gentlemen Bastards again for the first time.)
~Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch [K] (more Gentlemen Bastard adventures)
~Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss [K] (this is a re-read for when the new side story book comes out!)
~Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey [big fat PB]
~Icarus Rising by David N Pauly [PB]
~Wool by Hugh Howey (re-read 1-5, then read the rest, I think there are 8?)
~Great Gatbsy by F Scott Fitzgerald [K]
~PT Barnum by Kunhardt [HB]
~Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi [HB]
~The Doctor and the Dinosaurs by Mike Resnick

whew! wish me luck!

Unseaming by Mike Allen

We got this beauty up and running, too! Enjoy the creepy!
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UNSEAMING
FOURTEEN TALES OF HORROR

THE DEBUT SHORT FICTION COLLECTION FROM MIKE ALLEN

FEATURING AN INTRODUCTION BY LAIRD BARRON

Available at: Kindle

iTunes

Kobo

Book Trailer

 

Mike Allen has put together a first class collection of horror and dark fantasy. Unseaming burns bright as hell among its peers.

—Laird Barron, author of The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All

Antimatter Press is up and running, with Bad Wizard, James Maxey

Hey! after more than 18 months of preparation, Antimatter Press is up and running.

www.antimatterpress.com

Our first publication is Bad Wizard by James Maxey.

It takes a lot to put a publishing house together, and a lot to put a publication together. On my end, I had three editors and an an illustrator for the project itself, plus the support of friends and family patient with me when I needed to talk about fears or more socially unavailable and stupid than I normally am.

James had a bevvy of wise readers helping him to shape the story. He describes that process here.

Antimatter Press has more to come, actually very soon, but for now, we present:

Bad Wizard by James Maxey

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Reading List Context 27

There were many good things that came out of Context 27. One of them was a large index card of scribbled titles making up a to-be-read list culled from panels and fellow readers. I ended up making a list of TBR and TBreR (to be re-read). These are classics, graphic novels, old faves, Star Trek novels, poems, novellas, but they have all been recommended by a person here at the convention. The availability on these selections varies wildly as does the reason for recommendation so I leave the treasure hunt to you. But rest assured! The folks recommending these were dribbling in booky love for these.

Full Metal Alchemist, Hiromu Arakawa

Pump 6 – Paolo Bacigalupi

Mirabella and Spin, Nina Allen

Uhuru’s Song, Janet Kagan

Defenders, Will McIntosh

Scale Bright, Benjanun Sridungkaew

City of Stairs and American Elsewhere, Robert Jackson Bennett

Afterparty, Daryl Gregory

The Last Policeman, Ben Winters

Pen Pal, Francesca Forrest

Transmetropolitan

Elfquest

Santiago, Mike Resnick

Mythago Wood, Robert Holdstock

The Integral Trees, Larry Niven

Gossamer Axe

Ann Aguirre, new series

Jean Johnson, new series from DAW

Heaven of Animals, a poem by Dickey

Devices and Desires, K. J. Parker

The Knights of Breton Court, Maurice Broaddus

Shadows Fall, Simon Green

The Master Builder, Henrik Ibsen

The Anubis Gates, Tim Powers

Leigh Brackett

Maureen Johnson

Kaliedoscope

 

That’s a long list. I’ll leave the TBreR list for next week.

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Jazz Funeral

Copyright 2014 by Paula S. Jordan

You might think of this post as a book review trailer, an early comment about a great read that will get more detailed examination sometime soon. Because it deserves it.

It is also a hint to writers looking for the secret to satisfying character creation and development: Read this book. This is the way it should be done.

Julie Smith, Author

Julie Smith, Author

There is no science fiction or fantasy about Jazz Funeral, by Julie Smith, only the magic of New Orleans and Jazz and the mysteries and foibles of the human soul in all its imperfection.

Ms. Smith’s infinite knowledge and talented depiction of human nature, aided and abetted by an unwavering devotion to honesty mellowed by endless sympathy, have produced here a tour de force: the most massively dysfunctional extended family I have ever run across in literature or out.

What is this family like? Occasionally loving, but most often consciously, stunningly cruel. Variously talented. Greedy, but occasionally giving. Or, poignantly, emphatically not all those things, but creative, generous souls too young or too insecure to escape the emotional tyranny of the family long enough to discover the never-normal but at least more normal world of New Orleans just outside.

Jazz FuneralIt is important to note that each of the major elemental forces in this perfect human storm gets his or her moment of clarity, the revelation of causes (redemptive or not) where we readers may glimpse the reasons why, and occasionally the seeds of a more generous humanity waiting for one spot of sunlight to show them the way out.

I hasten to explain that there is much more to this book than the conflicts suggested here. There are imminently readable elements of love and laughter and friendship, as well as the mystery and suspense of unsolved murder.

Also, like the prize at the bottom of the box, there is Skip Langdon, a sterling, six-foot-plus, somewhat over-weight, female New Orleans police detective. Skip has her own complications, of course, but along with them come the skills and the heart to sort out at least most of this mess.

And over, under, around, and through it all are the incomparable, worldly-wise strains of New Orleans Jazz.

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!

Links for Julie Smith:

Goodreads.

National Public Radio

Wikipedia

Photo Credit

Up to Snuff*

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Snuff, Terry Pratchett**

this, I love. Typical slapstick-to-satire-to-gravely serious Pratchett:

Let it be said here that those who live their lives where life hangs by less than a thread understand the dreadful algebra of necessity….

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*ha. ha.

** ok ok. simmer down, you canonical types. I am aware that I skipped over Making Money and Unseen Academicals.

***I didn’t actually skip these. I have a bad habit of leaving appropriate reading material lying about in prime locations. For example, Making Money is upstairs by the rocking chair; Unseen Academicals is stashed in the Contraband Fiction Drawer at the work library. Thus, when I was presented unexpectedly with a pair of hours to read, I had to quickly find another Pratchett from Columbus Metro Library. … Ah, never mind, it’s a bookish life.

Bubonicon 47, dispatches from Kat!

Bubonicon 47 was a blast! I was fighting a cold from a very recent plane ride but with modern medicine I was able to persevere. I dressed as
Batgirl, my youngest was Batman (imagine a three year old with a cape and angry-face cowl), and my oldest was Iron Man (also Captain BadGuy when he wore the black cape with it). We had so much fun. I bid on about 6 things at the art auction (I still had the lead on 4 last night), bought fun
things at the dealer’s room, and met lots of authors!! Here is my bounty:

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Beth has been gently suggesting I read James S. A. Corey for years, so I
bought the first in the series, Leviathan Wakes. I read the frist few pages while in line for autographs and am seriously hooked. This is kind of a
problem since I’m halfway through two big books already. Always room for one more! I ran into Daniel Abraham and mentioned my book. Why? Because the bookseller (Who Else? from Denver) said that James Corey is actually two authors, both of whom were at the con. Yay! Daniel said he is the “James”. part and Ty Frank is the rest. I got both of their autos and Ty drew a rocket ship for me.

I met with Kirt Hickman again, and got the second in his Worlds Asunder
series. I remember reading the first one but I can’t remember the
story….don’t you hate that? I know I liked it, so I’ll get to it again.
Space operas rule. He signed it as usual and was a nice guy to talk to. He
is super excited about books and writing.

I caught the eye of a lady in the autograph room and she said, “Wanna free book?” I said “YES PLEASE!” and ran over there. She gave me her latest, The Wish List, and signed it for me. I read the back and determined it was
exactly my kind of in-between-big-books-read and made a point to find her and thank her again. It has magic and silliness and defending the world
problems. Yes please!

Oh, but the main reason I went while fighting a cold was to meet Ernest
Cline, who wrote Ready Player One. If you have not read this, go read it
right now, I really think it is one of the best books in the last 5 years,
and made my top three of all time personal favorites along with Hobbit and Cabinet of Curiosities. That’s saying a lot for me. Anyway, read it and/or find the audio version because Wil Wheaton narrates it beautifully. I know, I know, I’ll have to write a review for it!

And this totally happened:

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