2022 Is Fast Approaching …

Okay, I have no idea how this happened, but 2022 is nearly here! The end of the year is fast approaching, and you know what that means … yep, it’s time to think about calendars!

Last year’s calendar went quickly, so if you’d like to order your 2022 Days of the Dead calendar, go ahead and smash that link. https://sylviashults.wordpress.com/contact/ . This year’s calendar is bigger! And better! And did I mention BIGGER? Plus it’s a brand-new crop of ghost stories from the pages of Days of the Dead. $18 gets you all set for a brand-new year, and that includes me sending the calendar right to your doorstep. I’m hoping to avoid supply-chain issues, so I’ve already worked up the calendar and sent it off to the printers, and they do look gorgeous.

So let’s welcome the new year with a story for every month! Order your 2022 Days of the Dead Calendar today, and MAKE EVERY DAY SPOOKY!

Today I Learned…

The Vikings were badasses, and pretty resourceful besides. They would gather a special type of fungus that grows on trees, slice it into chunks, then boil the chunks in a pot full of urine for several days. Urine contains sodium nitrate, which permeated the fungus and reacted with it. The urine-treated fungus, when dried, could be lit and left to smolder without burning properly for a long time. This made it easy to transport coals for a fire.

2022 is almost here…

Okay, I have no idea how this happened, but 2022 is nearly here! The end of the year is fast approaching, and you know what that means … yep, it’s time to think about calendars!

Last year’s calendar went quickly, so if you’d like to order your 2022 Days of the Dead calendar, go ahead and smash that link. https://sylviashults.wordpress.com/contact/ . This year’s calendar is bigger! And better! And did I mention BIGGER? Plus it’s a brand-new crop of ghost stories from the pages of Days of the Dead. $18 gets you all set for a brand-new year, and that includes me sending the calendar right to your doorstep. I’m hoping to avoid supply-chain issues, so I’ve already worked up the calendar and sent it off to the printers, and they do look gorgeous.

So let’s welcome the new year with a story for every month! Order your 2022 Days of the Dead Calendar today, and MAKE EVERY DAY SPOOKY!

Days of the Dead Review

So a couple weeks ago, I posted the link to a review of Days of the Dead. Becky Spratford, a reviewer for none other than Booklist, really enjoyed the book. Then it occurred to me, hey, maybe I should go ahead and post the ACTUAL review, with actual WORDS, instead of making you guys click a link. So here it is!

“This book is as advertised and even better than the hook promises it will be. As Shults says in her introduction, “Ghosts are with us, every single day.” That hook is intriguing and seducing to those who love Horror.
She then gives us an example, a ghost story tied to every single day of the year. These stories are from all over the world, and across the entire time span of human storytelling. 
Using her 20+ years of paranormal research, Shults presents these true ghost stories in context, giving you the date, obviously, but also the place and year.  Even though readers are jumping around time and space, Shults unites it all with her solid writing. It reads as if she took each day as a new challenge to hook the reader immediately. 
I started reading this book thinking, oh I will read a few days in January and then skip around reading a few days in each month, but I was hooked and when I looked up, I was through all of January. 
The stories are compelling on their own. I got fully immersed in each story. But also don’t underestimate the fun here. There is a story for every meaningful day in your patron’s lives. They can use this to look up a scary tale for their birthday, the birthday of a loved one, an important event in their lives, etc… Honestly, you need a copy of this book to circulate in your paranormal sections AND one in reference, for you and your patrons to consult as a calendar of days. You can use it as a prompt for displays or social media posts or to prank your co-workers on their birthdays. 
The uses for this book are endless, but again, it is also a solid nonfiction Horror on its own. 
Thank you to Haunted Road Media for donating a copy of this library friendly paranormal nonfiction title to me to give away to you. Consider ordering this title for your collections. Trust me, your patrons will LOVE it. And since it has a story for every single day of the year [even Leap Day] it can be incorporated into displays and promotions all year long.”

Today I Learned …

Hannah Twynney holds the dubious honor of being England’s first tiger fatality. According to history, Hannah was a barmaid at Malesbury’s White Lion Pub in the 1700s. A traveling zoo came to town, and Hannah was fascinated with the animals — who wouldn’t be, at that time? Hannah was so into the animals that she wouldn’t stop poking at them through the bars of their cages. The tiger, in particular, got tired of being prodded and teased. It turned around, swiped out a paw, and mauled Hannah to death. She died October 23, 1703, at the age of 33.

Today I Learned…

After moving into a house in Pancevo, Yugoslavia, the new owner opened some shutters in front of a walled-in window and was surprised to find that unopened mail — some of it dating back 90 years — tumbled out. Mrs. Vera Aremovic told reporters that her father and grandfather, both merchants with extensive business connections throughout the Austro-Hungarian Empire, had lived in the house during the nine decades postmen had been dropping mail through an open shutter thinking there was a glass pane behind it. Their business had eventually failed, she said, because their customers complained that they never answered letters. (From Bizarre World, by Bill Bryson)

Today I Learned…

(Today’s TIL is on the long side, but hey, today’s my birthday. So here’s my present to you.)

On the morning of October 23, 1894, Louis Bouchard enjoyed some good fortune. As the Fall River, Massachusetts, egg merchant drove his cart along his route, he noticed a wrapped bundle lying on the trolley tracks at the “Westport Four Corners” intersection. A subscriber to the “finders keepers” school of philosophy, Louis concluded that the unattended package was his, and he descended from his cart to make the retrieval.

He climbed back in with the bundle under his arm, settled into his seat, and slowly unwrapped his prize. Louis was delighted to find that the take was bountiful: four large, plump sausages, a ready-made breakfast for a hungry man who was sick of eggs. Unable to read English, Louis could not make out what was written on the large stamps prominently displayed on each end of the four tubes.

The lucky merchant dug into the end of one of his trophies and took a taste. He noticed that the flavor was different from that of any sausage he had ever tasted — and unusually sweet. He wondered if it was not a sausage at all, but some type of dried fruit. But he liked the sweet flavor, and after sampling some more, he decided to find out just what it was.

Louis pulled up to Barre’s Drug Store, hoping that Homer Barre might be able to identify the mysterious stuff. He proudly unwrapped his find and asked what type of fruit he had been eating. After reading the stamp on one of the tubes, Homer gave Louis a sympathetic look. He gently explained that he’d been eating dynamite and was likely, at any moment, to explode.

Horrified, Louis sank gingerly into a chair while Homer fetched help. Officer Louis Moreau soon arrived on the scene, relieved to find that the egg merchant was, at least for the moment, still intact. An explosives expert was summoned, and he identified the “sausages” as high-intensity dynamite. It had probably been meant to blow up the streetcar. What could have been one of the worst disasters in Fall River was avoided because Louis picked up the package. History doesn’t tell us if the police ever caught the saboteurs. It does seem that Louis never did explode. The Fall River Daily Herald noted that “when restoratives had been applied to Bouchard, he departed aimlessly and is probably treading his way back home with panther-like steps, that no sudden jar might set off the explosive he had chewed off the ‘sausage’.” (This story comes to us from the pages of Yankee Magazine.)

Today I Learned…

As if being bitten by mosquitoes isn’t bad enough, the little buggers regularly pee on us too. Female mosquitoes (the ones that do the biting) suck up so much blood that they swell up to twice their normal size, which makes takeoff a bit problematic. They solve this problem by offloading all unnecessary water and salts from the blood they’ve just eaten, by excreting them as urine.

Today I Learned…

In 1968, Robert Rush, an American army sergeant, was woken at 6 am by his wife, who screamed once and then died. At the inquest it was revealed that five years earlier, the woman’s sister had expired in a similar manner. She had climbed out of a local swimming pool with a look of terror on her face, screamed once, and died. Autopsies on both women failed to explain either death. (From Bizarre World, by Bill Bryson)

Today I Learned …

Monkeys will pay to look at images of sexually attractive or socially powerful primates. Male rhesus monkeys will give up a drink of cherry juice in order to look at a picture of a face of a socially dominant monkey, or of a female’s hindquarters. However, it seems that the monkeys have to be paid to look at a picture of a subordinate, as they only take a peek at the picture if they are bribed with a larger than normal drink.

Today I Learned …

A book given to an Australian girl by her father found its way back to her after 66 years and a journey around the world. When Betty Fowkes of Melbourne was 11, her father gave her the book, titled Magic Australia, and inscribed it, “To Betty, from Daddy, Christmas 1944.” She lost the book in a house move four years later. In 2014 she heard the author’s name mentioned on a radio broadcast and asked her daughter, Liz Crooks, to search for a copy online. Liz randomly selected a copy from New York’s Austin Book Shop — and when it arrived, it was Betty’s original, complete with her father’s inscription. (From Ripley’s Believe It or Not: Eye-Popping Oddities)