1, 2, 3...Read with glee!
- Enchantress from the Stars by Sylvia Louise Engdahl
- The Humming of Numbers by Joni Sensel
- Giving Up the Ghost by Sheri Sinykin
1, 2, 3...Read with glee!
What is Executive Editor Christine Stoddard reading right now? Here are the three historical fiction & fantasy books currently on her list:
The Ghost Business
By Julie DiNisio
I have to say, this Halloween was just not a very good one. As a cold rain poured from a pissy sky, all I wanted to do (and I’m sure most trick-or-treaters and their parents felt the same way) was bundle up with a hot drink and a good book. However, more adventuresome enthusiasts of the holiday, such as the Richmond famous Scott and Sandi Bergman, were busy peddling their Halloween goods, in the form of city ghost tours.
The Bergmans own and operate Haunts of Richmond, which runs a variety of public tours six months out of the year. They range in title from "Shadows of Shockoe" to "Church Hill Chillers" to "Uncivil Wards." Any native of Richmond, Virginia would immediately recognize these familiar names, though few might actually realize the historical background and alleged spiritual activity associated with them. Scott and Sandi, for a small price, can enlighten and frighten anyone interested. In fact, the two entrepreneurs were kind enough to take time out of their ghastly holiday schedules and answer some of Quail Bell's questions:
Despite The QB Crew's current grieving period, we hope that you were able to enjoy your Halloween!
You can't cut the strings
By Luna Lark
By Christine Stoddard
On this day of zombie runs and vampire dances, remember that Socrates died. Caesar died. Romeo died. Elizabeth I died. Napoleon died. Sydney Carton died. Kennedy died. Martin Luther King, Jr. died. Twitching its fingers and undulating its wrists, Destiny played them, too. So bow before the puppet master. You cannot cut the strings. Just ask the ghosts.
Introducing W.W. Poole
By Jade Miller
The best thing about living in city as old as Richmond, VA is the folklore that comes with it. On Halloween, one tends to shift interests into the spookier side of a city’s history. Of course, Richmonders consider Poe and the Civil War old hat, but how about the Richmond Vampire?
The legend goes that on October 2, 1925, there was a huge tunnel cave-in in the Church Hill Tunnel on the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroads line. This collapse buried many men alive. Shortly after the cave-in, a figure emerged from the wreckage, covered in blood, the red and viscous fluid dripping from its jagged teeth. Strips of flesh hung from the creature’s body, seemingly freshly removed from the men beneath the clay. This creature fled towards the James River and was tracked until it disappeared into the tomb of W. W. Poole, located in Hollywood Cemetery, more than 20 blocks away from the disaster site.
By Rachel Jones
As fantastical as the story sounds, the Richmond Vampire’s background as a man is really quite ordinary. Born in Mississippi, the second born of five sons, William Wortham Poole moved to Virginia in the 1860s and became a clerk in a tobacco factory in Manchester. From there, he worked as a private secretary as well as a bookkeeper, and did the traditional thing of getting married and having children. He seemed to die unremarkably in 1913 at the age of 80.
Yet, if this man was the Richmond Vampire, what interesting circumstances about his death have been kept under wraps? Who did he meet the night he died to go from aging bookkeeper to creepy creature of the night?
Unfortunately, not much has happened on the vampire front since the initial sighting in the early 1920s. All modern glimpses of this vampire, aside from the mysterious times the door to the mausoleum has been unlocked and left ajar, echo the original tale, leaving one to wonder if the vampire was really seen at all. The only worthwhile news was when Poole’s bones decorated the hill behind his tomb in a Satanic symbol, prompting the big wigs at Hollywood Cemetery to place Poole’s bones elsewhere. Their current location is a mystery.
Despite the yearnings of Quail Bell(e)s for things to go bump in the night, this vampire’s reign is not as immortal as one would come to believe from vampire lore.
Good-bye, dear friend
Halloween is supposed to be a fun holiday, but this year the day carries a different tone for members of The QB Crew. Those of you who don't follow our About blogroll may not be aware that our Managing Editor, Josephine Stone, was killed by a valet driver in downtown Richmond, VA this past weekend. Josie was only 23 years old. We knew her to be an intelligent, creative, and spritely young woman. Her infectious laugh, natural friendliness, and unquestionable sincerity made her an even more lovable human being.
Please check our About blogroll as we keep you abreast of the case concerning her tragic death. More importantly, we plan to continue posting writings and photos in honor of our lovely Josie. We are also deciding how best to memorialize Josie with a QB legacy project in Richmond. Lastly, because Halloween was Josie's favorite holiday, we hope to keep posting Halloweeny stories even after the day has ended. (After all, fledglings wouldn't mind if it were Halloween year-round, right?)
Thank you for your kindness and understanding during this difficult time.
The QB Crew
Your Instant Queue Just Got Quail Belled
By Starling Root
Got Netflix? Put these very "Quail Bellish" picks in your instant queue now!
We have a CafePress store full of goodies, from T-shirts to mugs to tote bags and more. Check it out! Every purchase supports QB and its socially-minded community arts & historic preservation endeavors, too.
Fairy Food: Violet Cream Cheese Sandwich
By QB Chef
When you're a fairy, finding flowers should be a cinch. (If not, your magical garden's in seeerious trouble.) There's probably a flower to your right, a flower to your left, even one below you and maybe one above you. You're probably touching a flower at any given moment. So gathering a bunch of violets shouldn't be a problem. As for the cream cheese part of your violet cream cheese sandwich? Well, you might have to milk a field mouse. Finding bread is just a matter of watching a mortal's windowsill long enough (at least if life is like the cartoons.)
Once you've acquired the aforementioned ingredients, get to...sandwiching. Pluck the leaves and stems off the violets before sprinkling them onto the sandwich bread and adding cream cheese.
Famous for Fairy Tales
By Christine Stoddard
Artists--perhaps more so than any other category of people--are painfully familiar with the hopelessness and despair that finds company with broken dreams. (Either that or black clothing's good for hiding coffee stains.) Prone to developing grandiose illusions, artists often set unattainable goals, only to plummet into the angst of reality. Writer Hans Christian Andersen knew this free-fall hell quite well.
From childhood onward, he spent his days longing for a career in theater. Instead of playing with other kids, young Hans huddled up with a little puppet theater his father had built. He entertained neighbors with stories and songs. But Hans was a clunky child who grew into an even clunkier man.