I added another one of my readings to the “Shall I Read You a Story?” page here and to the Brom Bones Books YouTube channel. It’s my recitation of “Monstrimony,” one of the chronicles in Help for the Haunted: A Decade of Vera Van Slyke Ghostly Mysteries. The adventure involves Vera being invited to join what we now call a cryptozoologist in his search of what we now call Bigfoot or Sasquatch. This man’s theory is that these creatures — as elusive and intangible as ghosts — are, in fact, ghosts. Specifically, they’re ghosts of the evolutionary “missing link” between humans and their anthropoid ancestors.
You’ll get to hear an approximation of how I hear my characters in my head, bad accents and all. You’ll also get to listen to a scene where I got pretty fancy, painting an audio landscape of birds, frogs, footsteps, and Vera and Lida playing B flat and high G on their respective oboes. Those who have read Help for the Haunted or its companion novel Guilt Is a Ghost know that the oboe thing is Vera’s method of locating the presence of dimensional punctures, the rips that allow ghosts to pass to the physical realm. It’s all a bit complicated (and a maybe touch silly). I’ve never come across a detailed account of how the timbre and tones of those notes, when played on oboes, tug those ruptures between here and the Great Beyond into the violet edge of our visible spectrum. I’m certain, though, that there’s some reasonable explanation.
Meanwhile, I stumbled upon another illustration from a newspaper ghost report, the kind collected in Spectral Edition: Newspaper Ghost Reports from U.S. Newspapers, 1865-1917. It accompanied a very sad article about a 33-year-old woman who killed herself because she was unable to adequately support herself and two children after the death of her husband. Apparently, she blamed herself, not the sharp restrictions on a 1915 housewife who suddenly finds herself needing to earn a salary. She began to see the ghost of her husband, and he acted as the voice of that blame. A lot of blaming. A lot of guilt. It reminds me of the time Vera Van Slyke mentions to Lida Bergson: “Guilt and ghosts swirl together in all of our cases.”
I don’t know why I find these illustrations so interesting, but I do. They’re fairly rare, and I have a page of those I’ve found here. And the BBB YouTube channel is here. And you can listen to “Monstrimony” — or download it — or see what else I have on my “Shall I Read You a Story?” page here.