Take a stroll down this dark alley to check out the blurb:
Compelled to discover who is behind the attack and why, Maya uncovers a shortlist of enemies of the Hode clan. The mystery deepens when she finds the journal of a late nineteenth-century spiritualist who once lived in Maya’s house--a woman whose ghost may still linger.
Known as the Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill due to a genetic condition, Lucinda Glass vanished without a trace and was believed to be one of the Fiend’s tragic victims. The disappearance of a young couple, combined with more sightings of the monster, trigger Maya to join forces with Leland’s son Collin. But the closer she gets to unearthing the truth, the closer she comes to a hidden world of twisted secrets, insanity, and evil that refuses to die . . .
I hope I’ve intrigued you.
For this book, I did a lot of research related to spiritualism in the nineteenth century. It’s interesting to note this was a time rife with sham mediums and charlatans who tried to pass themselves off as being able to communicate with the dead. The Society of Psychical Research (SPR) was often called upon to investigate for fraud. I found the account of Daniel Douglas Home particularly interesting.
Born in Scotland, Home was adopted by his mother’s sister, immigrating to America with her and her husband when he was nine. Home (pronounced “Hume”) was an odd child, often sickly. There are reports of his cradle rocking by itself, then later, furniture moving of its own accord when he entered a room. His aunt’s home was often filled with strange rapping sounds whenever he was present. The noises and unexplained movements of inanimate objects grew to such a level that Home was eventually asked to leave.
At eighteen, he gave his first séance. Unlike many mediums of the age who held séances in darkened rooms, Home usually conducted his during the day, or in brightly-lit surroundings. Two of his most famous demonstrations involved levitation.
In the first he caused a table to move about the room. Several men tried to hold it down without success. The second—his greatest feat—came when he levitated out a third story window , then entered through a different window into an adjoining room—all in the presence of three respectable witnesses. There are numerous accounts of this feat and the debate continues as to how home accomplished the deed. Conclusions run from hypnosis and illusion to hidden ropes or other trickery.
Harry Houdini—famous for debunking charlatan spiritualists—claimed the stunt was an illusion and that he could duplicate it. It’s said Houdini’s assistant got cold feet at the last moment, and thus Houdini never followed through with the attempt. Houdini clearly planned to use an assistant. Did Home have an associate aiding him that his guests didn’t know about?
Despite giving over a thousand performances during his career, Home was never exposed as a fraud. Was he a gifted magician and illusionist posing as a medium, or were his spectacles authentic? Either way, he lived in an era populated by people who held an interest in “Summerland”—and all of that makes for good fiction.