Regarding Vera and the Violet Ruptures between Dimensions

the-v-files“Violet, say our scientists, is on the extreme edge of visibility! Could it somehow mark a passage between ours and the invisible world?”

— Vera Van Slyke, “The Minister’s Unveiling”

The very first story in Help for the Haunted introduces the idea that violet light marks passageways between the spirit and physical realms — but the light can only be perceived by spirits. By the third story, Van Slyke and Lida discover a means to tug that light into the visible spectrum of the living. It becomes the duo’s chief means of confirming supernatural activity.

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A Book Report on Ghosts: Appearances of the Dead and Cultural Transformation, by R.C. Finucane

Ghostology 101aGhosts: Appearances of the Dead and Cultural Transformation, by R.C. Finucane (Prometheus, 1996) looks at the history of ghosts with a wide-angle lens. The author opens with classical Greek and Roman accounts and closes with a brief look at how ghosts manifest in the twentieth century. His emphasis is on Western Civilization with an open bias toward British specters.

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Review: Josh Reynolds’ The Whitechapel Demon

present-tensions“He was shot, staked through the heart and buried at a crossroads, after the burning of Columbia. . . . Or he might’ve gone to San Francisco.  No one really knows.”

This passage has next to nothing to do with the main plot of Josh Reynolds’ delightful novel The Whitechapel Demon (Emby Press, 2013). It’s fairly telling of the work’s tone, though, which manages to balance the dark and gruesome with the light and witty. And this entertaining tone strikes me as one of Reyonds’ greatest strengths as a writer, his ability to make a reader cringe on one page and then snicker on the next.

Those comic moments are particularly welcome, given that the story’s primary villain is a demonic doppelgänger of no less than Jack the Ripper. I say primary villain because there are variations on villainy in this story, some of which are entirely human.

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