There’s No Good Reason for You to Read This Year-End Review

This is one of those year-end “here’s what I accomplished” things. It’s traditional, I guess, but it’s also self-indulgent. Don’t get me wrong — I enjoy these. But I see no good reason why you would. That notwithstanding…

Brom Bones Books released two books this year. The first was Certain Nocturnal Disturbances: Ghost Hunting Before the Victorians. My inspiration came from the Ghost Hunter Hall of Fame, which began with mostly Victorian inductees, such as Catherine Crowe and William Howitt. Of course, these folks are very important to the history of ghost hunting, since they set the stage for Cambridge’s Ghost Club and then for the Society for Psychical Research, which in turn signaled a shift toward studying hauntings and other paranormal subjects with academic rigor. But my research kept nudging me to look earlier and earlier to learn about equally important figures such as Antoinette du Ligier de la Garde Deshoulières and Samuel Johnson. When I realized there was enough pre-Victorian material to do so, I went ahead and wrote my first book-length history. It has quickly become one of BBB’s bestsellers.

This year’s second book is a significantly revised, pretty darned new edition of an anthology I created for another small press many years ago. Retitled From Eerie Cases to Early Graves: 5 Short-Lived Occult Detective Series, this book allows fans of supernatural mysteries to have handy the case reports of some of the best founding characters of that cross-genre. Specifically, it features series detectives who didn’t “survive” enough tales to fill a book by themselves. But Harry Escott, Jim Shorthouse, the duo of Alwyne Sargent and Jack Hargreaves, and others are certainly as worthy of being remembered and reprinted as are the likes of Flaxman Low or John Silence (all of whom appear in a long parade of supernatural sleuths in my Chronological Bibliography of Early Occult Detectives).

But perhaps I’m most proud of the second season of Tales Told When the Windows Rattle. Season One was mostly stuff I had already recorded, so it was pretty easy to complete. This season was all new dramatic readings, and I almost didn’t finish the final episode on time! But with coffee and fortitude, I posted my performance of Charles Dickens’ creepy classic “The Signal-Man” in time for Christmas.

I originally conceived of Tales Told as being a YouTube thing, but then I realized it could also be a podcast. As a result, I have no idea how many people follow it. Still, I started this season with about 30 YouTube subscribers. Last I looked, there are over 170. It’s certainly, ahem, modest by YouTube standards — but I’m counting it a rousing success. Especially when I picture the numbers in terms of theater seats. Which I do. Because that’s how I think.

What’s coming up in 2023? I honestly don’t know! Remember the thing about my thinking in terms of theater seats? Well, I’m itching to write a stage play, a project that’s not especially web-friendly. So I might be absent for long stretches of time. And I’ll probably post some new episodes of Tales Told Whenever I Feel Like It! In fact, a request has been made for my take on Poe’s The Raven, which I think is an excellent idea. And regarding books, I have plans for a series of novel reprints featuring charming criminals — think Raffles — that will steer Brom Bones Books and my research in a fresh, felonious direction.

But I have nothing solid to report. We shall see. For now, click on any of the pictures above to get to the corresponding page. For now, have a silly yet safe New Year’s celebration.

— Tim

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