The Seven Mounds, Oklahoma, takes its name from the earthen burial structures left by an ancient people known as the Mound Builders. In 1923, Theodore Meyer excavated one of these mounds. Shortly afterward, his young son was viciously mauled, and this was followed by sightings of a supernatural being linked to killing livestock—and a man!
The creature looks part-human and part-canine, prompting locals to call it “the Hound.” What is it? A vengeful spirit rising from that sacred mound? A werewolf on the prowl? Or an elaborate ruse to camouflage an impending murder?
The case will require Vera Van Slyke to use her sharpest skills as a ghost hunter and newspaper reporter to stop the Hound of the Seven Mounds!
196 pages, trade paperback
The History Behind the Hauntings
Much of the intrigue of The Hound of the Seven Mounds is the very real history woven into it. For instance, the novel’s depiction of Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, is authentic in terms of what he said and where he was traveling. The books and newspaper articles mentioned are all real, too.
100 BCE – 1700 CE
A variety of indigenous tribes, collectively known as the Mound Builders, lived throughout North America. They are named for the earthen structures they built, which served different purposes, from elevating temples to providing burial sites. While many of the impressive structures were lost to farming and other kinds of development, several remain. Some towns are named for their local mounds: Mounds and Mound City are both in Illinois, and West Virginia and Alabama each have a town called Moundsville.
Theodore Roosevelt traveled to North Dakota to hunt bison. The novel’s Theodore Meyer was named for the then-future President, since his father claims to have befriended Roosevelt (and rescued him from a stampede) during that year.
The Spindletop gusher in Beaumont, Texas, launched an oil boom in that state and in neighboring Oklahoma. This, in turn, launched oil dependency throughout the United States and beyond.
On May 31 and June 1, the Tulsa Race Massacre erupted in the Greenwood District of that city. Along with the widespread burning of houses and businesses in the predominantly Black neighborhood, fatalities are estimated to reach into the hundreds. Two years later, Vera — who might be considered biracial or mixed-race today, but who would have been considered Black in 1923 — rode in a segregated train car to Tulsa, where she stayed in a segregated hotel.
In August, Mabel Belardi explained to law officers that her dogs attacked and killed a neighbor, a rancher named Anton Biese, near Sacramento, California. However, she was arrested when the victim was also found to have been attacked with a club. To coerce a confession, Belardi was told that her beloved dogs would have to be exterminated. Nonetheless, she was reported to “not show any kind of emotion.” Vera discusses this event to illustrate how a pack of dogs might be used to cover, if not commit, a murder and how one should never underestimate a woman’s capabilities.
On April 5, George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon, died in Egypt. Some months earlier, he had spearheaded the excavation of Tutankhamun’s tomb there. Arthur Conan Doyle and a few others speculated that there was a supernatural connection between Lord Carnavon’s entering the ancient King’s burial chamber and his death, sparking the tradition of the mummy’s curse.
On May 3, Doyle gave a lecture promoting Spiritualism at the Grand Theatre in Kansas City, Missouri. The next day, he rode a train to Colorado Springs, Colorado. After “ambushing” and chatting with the author-turned-evangelical on that train, Vera solidified her theory about the Hound.