Monday, June 18, 2018

New Release, Cusp of Night, and the Birth of the Spiritualist Movement By Mae Clair


I am so excited to have talented author Mae Clair return as we celebrate the release of her fabulous new novel, which, by the way, I absolutely loved! (See my review here). She is about to share some of her inspiration behind the story. I'm sure it will intrigue you every bit as much as it did me! 

Welcome Mae!

Thanks for having me as your guest today, Debbie!  I’m excited to be able to share my new mystery/suspense novel, Cusp of Night. The story features two timelines—one in the present and one in the past. For the past timeline, I delved into the era of Spiritualism, a religion/pseudo-science that experienced its birth in the mid-1800's. Founded on the principle that life existed after death, and that the dead could communicate with the living, most consider the Fox Sisters responsible for setting Spiritualism in motion.

In 1848, John Fox, his wife, and two daughters—Margaret and Kate—moved to a cottage in Hydesville, New York, temporary lodging while their house was being built nearby. Previously owned by a family named Bell, locals referred to the cottage as the “spook house.” A peddler, rumored to have had an affair with Mrs. Bell, vanished after visiting and was never seen again.

Within days of arriving, unexplained noises began to plague the Fox family. Rattling sounds, tappings, and loud bangs were heard each night. John thought nothing of it at first, but the incidents increased in frequency. His wife and daughters were so disturbed, he took to making nightly rounds, searching for the source of the mysterious noises.

After a time, Kate realized that whenever her father knocked on a wall or a doorframe, the same number of knocks would come in reply as if something was trying to communicate. She and her sister named this unseen entity Mr. Splitfoot. In no time they were communicating through an intricate series of knocks.

Splitfoot claimed he was the peddler who had been murdered in the house years before. When John Fox and a neighbor took to digging in the basement and found a piece of a human skull, it seemed apparent Kate and Margaret were in communication with the ghost of the peddler. By 1849 both daughters were hailed as mediums and were giving regular performances, showcasing their otherworldly skills. The Spiritualist movement was born, and the girls became celebrities.


Attribution:
By Lithograph after a daguerreotype by Appleby. Published by N. Currier, New York. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons Public Domain



Their fame spread, and in time, they were world renowned. Over the years, their skill would come under scrutiny. In 1888, Margaret Fox denounced Spiritualism as a sham, saying she and her sister produced the rapping sounds by cracking their toes. By 1891 she would recant her confession, and in 1893 would die penniless. Kate, likewise met a sad end, drinking herself to death and passing in 1892. The Spiritualism movement, however, would continue, and would attract such noted practitioners as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

I found the entire Spiritualist movement fascinating, especially the idea that many of the mediums were stage magicians who honed their skill on the “flim-flam” circuit. That’s not to say that there weren’t credible mediums (a topic for another post) but many of practitioners of the day were skilled con artists out to make dollar from the grief of others. This became especially true after the Civil War, in which an extraordinary amount of lives was lost. Those who remained needed assurance their sons, husbands, brothers and fathers had found peace beyond the Veil in Summerland. Mediums promised that communication with the dead to bring comfort.

For Cusp of Night, I’ve delved into the props that Spiritualism used by sharing how a medium of the day—Lucinda Glass, also known as the Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill—plied her trade. As a reader you’ll be introduced to table titling, rapping sounds, a medium’s spirit cabinet and spirit trumpet, ectoplasm, automatic writings, and a host of other tools common to spiritualists of the day. The research was utterly riveting. I hope you find the book equally engaging.





BLURB
Recently settled in Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania, Maya Sinclair is enthralled by the town’s folklore, especially the legend about a centuries-old monster. A devil-like creature with uncanny abilities responsible for several horrific murders, the Fiend has evolved into the stuff of urban myth. But the past lives again when Maya witnesses an assault during the annual “Fiend Fest.” The victim is developer Leland Hode, patriarch of the town’s most powerful family, and he was attacked by someone dressed like the Fiend. 

Compelled to discover who is behind the attack and why, Maya uncovers a shortlist of enemies of the Hode clan. The mystery deepens when she finds the journal of a late nineteenth-century spiritualist who once lived in Maya’s house--a woman whose ghost may still linger.

Known as the Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill due to a genetic condition, Lucinda Glass vanished without a trace and was believed to be one of the Fiend’s tragic victims. The disappearance of a young couple, combined with more sightings of the monster, trigger Maya to join forces with Leland’s son Collin. But the closer she gets to unearthing the truth, the closer she comes to a hidden world of twisted secrets, insanity, and evil that refuses to die . . .


You can find Mae Clair at the following haunts:
Website | Blog | Twitter | Newsletter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon | Other Social Links



Thanks so much for sharing your new release with us, Mae! It's been such a pleasure! I've already purchased my copy of this wonderful book, and I'm sure everyone else will want to do the same! 

22 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for sharing my post and my new release with your readers, Debbie! It is always a pleasure to visit your blog!

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  2. I read CUSP OF NIGHT and loved it. The research was fascinating--I really enjoyed learning how Lucinda Glass tricked her "sitters." I'm a mystery fan, and the paranormal mystery kept me guessing. Well done!

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    1. I loved it too Judith! Mae does keep one guessing! How I love her books! Thanks for stopping by and taking time to leave a comment. We love them!

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  3. Thanks so much, Judith. That is awesome to hear. It was so intriguing to weave elements of early spiritualism into this book. I'm so glad you enjoyed!

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  4. I'm enjoying all the history Mae! What a informative and fun tour. Great post:)

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    1. The history is truly interesting! Once I finished the book I had to know more about the blue-skinned people as well as those early mediums. Thanks for stopping by!

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    2. So glad you're enjoying it, Denise. I can be a research sponge when I stumble over a topic that interests me, LOL. Thanks for dropping by today to check out the post!

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  5. Nice job of hosting, Mae. Thanks, Debbie.

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    1. Thanks for popping in to check out the post, John!

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    2. Your Welcome John! Having Mae is always such a pleasure!

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  6. Loved the history behind the story. Best wishes, Mae.

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    1. Thanks, Staci. You know how much I value all your support :)

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  7. Fascinating, Mae. Really enjoyed this post.

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    1. Hello Sue! Thank you so much for taking time to stop by!

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  8. Thanks, Sue. I really got caught up in the research behind this novel. There were so many aspects--from spiritualism, to blue people and creatures, I was in research Heaven, LOL!

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  9. Fascinating reading about those sisters, Mae. This is research I'd definitely enjoy.

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  10. Glad you enjoyed the research, Teri. Sometimes, research can be so-so, but in this case I was besotted, LOL

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  11. Wow. So interesting that the two sisters could spawn a whole new "industry". Love finding out about the origins of these things. Good luck with the new release, Mae!

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  12. I was amazed how everything was spawned from their experience. They were both fairly young at the time too, which makes it even odder. Glad you enjoyed the post, and thanks for visiting, Julie!

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