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profile-icon Dr. Brittnee Fisher

Brittnee's Spooky SZN Roundup

Clown in a Cornfield 2: Frendo Lives by Adam Cesare

This was an excellent follow-up to the first Clown in a Cornfield, a Halloween 2022 read of mine. Cesare always comes in clutch with unexpected plot twists. I finished this one in one weekend and truly enjoyed it. Spoiler alert- you will not like this if you have an aversion to clowns. It is very clown-heavy. Luckily, I don't mind clowns, so this was a great way to kick off my Halloween reads for my favorite month- October! The only problem is that now I’m itching to buy KKFOS cosplay items again from the internet. Someone stop me!

We Sold Our Souls Grady Hendrix

Hendrix is another repeat Halloween author for me. I enjoyed The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires AND Horrorstor last year. I wanted to give him another opportunity to impress me with a spooky story. One thing about Grady is that he's going to bring the fun! We Sold Our Souls is everything you want in a Halloween read- murder, mayhem, and mystery all in one! This one will especially appeal to the music lovers in the crowd. Hendrix is an author that I will read again. I encourage you to give him a shot.

Enchanted to Meet You by Meg Cabot

I hate to play favorites…but this was by far my favorite of all my spooky season reads this year! This book is for the witchy romantics out there. This book is your vibe if you love picturesque orange and brown leaves blowing across the ground on a cool October evening. I mean, the cat in this book is even named Pye; it's like Meg knows one of my favorite movies of all time is Bell, Book and Candle. I felt good reading this book, and I hope you have a chance to read it, too!

My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

I wasn't kidding when I said I'd be reading more Grady Hendrix! While this one was sometimes fun, it was more of an emotional read. I felt overwhelmed with sadness for the characters and had to step away from the book to clear my head. This book is a coming-of-age story disguised as a spooky Halloween read. You will especially enjoy this one if you're a fan of all things 80's! It's an ode to a different era and stays on theme throughout!

Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield

This is suspenseful! The chapters alternate between the two main characters, Julia and Miri, a married couple reunited after the unexpected sinking of Julia's submarine during a routine expedition. You are simultaneously unpacking the present situation through Miri's chapters and learning what happened at the bottom of the sea as Julia recounts her memories from below the water. I didn't love the ending, but I would love to know your take!





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profile-icon Randi Gibson

If you're a fan of spine-chilling suspense and heart-pounding horror, then Darcy Coates' "Parasite" is a novel that deserves a prime spot on your reading list. Coates, known for her ability to craft eerie and atmospheric stories, delivers yet another chilling tale that will keep you glued to the pages from start to finish. I first came across Coates when my sister was looking for a horror series to read, and we were immediately encaptivated by her style of writing and how she makes the story feel so incredibly real.

"Parasite" immerses readers into the unsettling world of a remote, decaying mansion known as the Mire House. Set against a backdrop of dense woods and a gloomy, overcast sky, the house itself becomes a character in its own right - a malevolent entity that seems to have a life of its own. Coates' masterful descriptions bring the setting to life, making every creak of the floorboards and rustle of leaves outside feel tangible, and every shadow a potential hiding place for something sinister. 

The story revolves around two main characters: Jess and Richard. Jess, a young woman with a mysterious past, finds herself drawn to the Mire House by a job opportunity that seems too good to be true. Richard, an investigator with his own troubled history, is tasked with uncovering the truth behind the house's dark secrets. As the two characters delve deeper into the house's history, they realize that they are not alone in their pursuit. Something malevolent lurks within the walls of the mansion, and its intentions are far from benign.

Coates skillfully weaves a web of mystery and suspense, gradually unveiling the layers of the Mire House's history. The narrative oscillates between past and present, providing glimpses into the lives of those who once called the mansion home. As Jess and Richard dig deeper, they uncover a series of chilling events that hint at a force that defies rational explanation. The tension builds steadily, leaving you on the edge of your seat as you attempt to piece together the puzzle alongside the characters.

One of Coates' greatest strengths is her ability to create an atmosphere that seeps into your bones. The sense of dread is palpable, and the tension is relentless. With each page, the feeling of being watched, of something lurking just out of sight, grows more intense. Every sound becomes ominous, and every flicker of movement becomes a potential threat. Coates masterfully exploits the fear of the unknown, keeping readers hooked as they try to anticipate what horror might come next.

"Parasite" is more than just a horror novel; it explores themes of isolation, the unreliability of memory, and the darkness that can reside within the human psyche. The characters grapple not only with the external terrors of the house but also with their own inner demons. This layer of psychological complexity adds depth to the story and elevates it beyond mere shock value.

Darcy Coates' "Parasite" is a haunting masterpiece that will leave you sleepless and haunted. With its skillful blend of atmospheric writing, well-crafted characters, and relentless tension, this novel is a must-read for horror enthusiasts and fans of psychological thrillers alike. Just be prepared to keep the lights on as you navigate the chilling corridors of the Mire House and uncover the secrets that lie within. 

ParasiteParasite by Darcy Coates
ISBN: 9781728221809
Publication Date: 2020-08-04
Sci-fi thriller from USA Today bestseller and rising queen of atmospheric horror comes a haunting story of isolation, desperation, and terror. There are bodysnatchers about, and they're closer than you think... For fans of Shirley Jackson and Stephen King For readers who love science fiction and horror novels Perfect for fans of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Passengers When a guard discovers an unusual lifeform on her remote moon outpost, she disregards protocol to investigate--with catastrophic consequences. It soon becomes clear she's stuck in isolation with an alien capable of incredible depravity. The parasite wears its victims' skins and adopts their personalities. It mimics the way they talk, the way they look, the way they act. It's the perfect disguise. And by the time humanity realizes it's facing extinction, it's already too late. As the alien's ruthless progress collapses communication networks, wipes out defenses, and leaves hundreds of stations to fend for themselves, a handful of remarkable individuals must find a way to battle the greatest threat the universe has ever encountered... or die trying. More Horror Novels By Darcy Coates: The Carrow Haunt Craven Manor The Haunting of Ashburn House The Haunting of Blackwood House The Haunting of Rookward House The House Next Door The Folcroft Ghosts Hunted Dead Lake The Haunting of Gillespie House Black Winter series: Voices in the Snow (Book 1) Secrets in the Dark (Book 2) Whispers in the Mist (Book 3) Silence in the Shadows (Book 4) House of Shadows series: House of Secrets (Book 1) House of Shadows (Book 2)
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profile-icon Kayla Cook

At the end of August, Irish singer-songwriter Hozier released a new album titled Unreal Unearth, which features numerous cultural, historical, and literary references, the most prevalent of which is the Inferno section of Dante Alighieri’s epic poem The Divine Comedy, originally written in the early part of the 14th century. Last month, on September 11, I posted the first half of my song-by-song analysis of this album, in which I pointed out most (I’m sure there are a few I’ve missed) of the literary and historical references and some of the highlights of each song. This post examines the second half of the album in the same way.


“Son of Nyx”

  • Synopsis: This song represents Dante and Virgil’s further journey through hell and their first steps towards the light which they will see when they finally make their ascent at the end. It is also about Nyx, the Greek goddess of night, and her son, Charon, the ferryman who helps the souls of the recently deceased find their way across the River Styx. In Dante’s story, Charon is a demon on the River Archeron who fulfills the same role.
  • Highlights: This is an instrumental track; it is also the first instrumental track Hozier has released as part of an album.

“All Things End”

  • Synopsis: This song takes us deeper into the sixth circle of hell, home to heretics. Hozier’s take on heresy in this song is, interestingly, not a religious one; instead, he takes a heretical view on love. In the West, love is viewed as an eternal thing, something that never ends regardless of whether or not two people in love remain together. In this song, however, Hozier posits a different theory: that love does, in fact, end, just like everything else in the universe.
  • Highlights: Despite the message of the song, it is full of contradictions. Themes of reincarnation and the cyclical nature of life and love seep into the lyrics throughout, and a feeling of hope for a second chance prevails, making the narrator come off as unreliable and perhaps not someone whose convictions should be believed.
  • Recommended: Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett; Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard (these plays are not directly referenced, but this song reminds me of them because each of these plays also feature two people in the midst of something that seems to end and never end all the time, and perhaps never will, even in death).


“To Someone From a Warm Climate (Uiscefhuaraithe)”

  • Synopsis: With this song, Hozier takes us into the seventh circle of hell, reserved for those who committed acts of extreme violence. This song is written from the perspective of someone from a cold climate describing to a friend from a warm climate the kinds of things they must do to keep warm in the harsh winters where they live, from hiding under blankets and falling unconscious from lack of good oxygen to drinking or doing drugs to create a false sense of warmth and calm, or sharing a bed with a stranger. Throughout, he likens warming oneself against the cold to desperate physical attraction.
  • Highlights: This song is based around the Irish word uiscefhuaraithe, which is repeated throughout and even listed as the alternate title to the song (in parentheses). This word is used to describe something made cold by water; literally it means “water cooled.”

“Butchered Tongue”

  • Synopsis: This song, also representative of the seventh circle of hell, speaks of the violence committed by British colonizers in Ireland in an attempt to Anglicize the population. Hozier likens the violence and destruction in Ireland and the attempted erasure of the Irish language to similar violence enacted against the native populations of Australia and North America.
  • Recommended: Translations by Brian Friel (a play about the Anglicization of Ireland and the violence of British colonization in Ireland); The Severed Head and the Grafted Tongue: Literature, Translation and Violence in Early Modern Ireland by Patricia Palmer; Native Tongues: Colonialism and Race from Encounter to Reservation by Sean P. Harvey; Loss and Renewal: Australian Languages Since Colonization by Felicity Meakins


“Anything But”

  • Synopsis: This song is used to represent the eighth circle of hell, where frauds are punished. On the surface, it sounds like a love song, but really, the narrator is actually saying they want nothing to do with the person he’s singing to.
  • Highlights: The song is about reincarnation in a traditional sense: when someone dies, they may come back as anything, not just another human. The narrator describes his desire to die and return to Earth as some kind of act of violence or natural disaster—something thrilling. He wishes to be a riptide or a stampede, but promises if he were these things, he would do no harm to the person he’s addressing. In one verse, he even goes so far as to say that if he were death itself, the subject of his song would live forever. It sounds like a beautiful love song and a romantic promise of kindness and gentleness, but really, he’s telling them he doesn’t want to be anything to them, and he even tells them to “go look another way” numerous times throughout the song.
  • Recommended: Graceland (album) by Paul Simon. This song shares similar sounds and some similar themes to Simon’s Graceland, which was written shortly after his second divorce, from actress Carrie Fisher, and reflects to some degree upon both his first and second marriages and subsequent divorces.

“Abstract (Psychopomp)”

  • Synopsis: Still in the eighth circle of hell, this song is told from the perspective of a guardian of the afterlife, a psychopomp, whose job is to guide souls to the realm of the dead.
  • Highlights: The psychopomp is guiding a person through their life’s memories and, specifically, their experiences with death, including finding a dead sheep as a child, seeing an animal get hit by a car, and, interestingly, the memory of being in love (this is perhaps a callback to “First Time,” in which Hozier likens falling in love to choosing to die).
  • Recommended: Afterlives: The Return of the Dead in the Middle Ages by Nancy Caciola



  • Synopsis: The narrator is traveling through the final circle of hell, where the most traitorous souls are punished, and is also home to Satan. Having made his way through all the other circles of hell up to this point for his beloved, the narrator is coming to realize that, perhaps, his perception of his beloved was misguided, and their love was not as he believed, but a fantasy he created about them.
  • Highlights: He speaks of the “true colors” of his beloved shining through “in darkness and in secrecy.” He also speaks of seeing pieces of his own heart in their teeth when they smile at him and call him an angel, a sign of the treachery that he never recognized in them until now. He also admits to still loving this person despite the betrayal they enacted against him, giving further evidence to the idea of “All Things End” being told by an unreliable narrator, if these songs are believed to be narrated by the same person.


“First Light”

  • Synopsis: The narrator has reached the end of his journey through the nine circles of hell and returns, without his beloved. He holds the memories of them still, but he is changed by the experience, and he knows he can never go back to the way he was before, or back into the depths of the inferno to retrieve them again.
  • Highlights: The song makes reference in its first line to the hymn “I’ll Fly Away” by Albert Brumley, which has been covered by numerous artists over the last hundred years and is commonly sung at funerals in the American South.
  • Recommended: “I’ll Fly Away,” covered by Gillian Welch and Alison Krauss for the 2000 film O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Cover ArtThe Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri; Burton Raffel (Translator); Paul J. Contino (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780810126725
Publication Date: 2010-09-30
At the midpoint of his life, during Holy Week in 1300, Dante awakes to himself in the middle of a forest so dark that the sun's light cannot penetrate its gloom. of the wildness and brutality of the woods, Dante cries out for help, and thus begins one of Western literature's greatest epic journeys. The Divine Comedy follows Dante the pilgrim--guided by the great Roman poet Virgil, then by the love of his life, Beatrice--as he travels downward through Hell, then upward through Purgatory in order to reach Paradise and witness the love that moves the sun and the stars. Raffel's translation vividly captures the divine contrapasso, the ultimate case of the punishment the crime, in the Inferno, while fathoming the complexity of the Purgatorio and the ecstasy of the Paradiso. One of the world's greatest works of literature, Dante's Commedia revolutionized poetry and the Italian language. This epic poem was the to be written in the vernacular of the Italian people rather than in Latin. In it, Dante weaves the best of classical literature from Virgil, Statius, Aristotle, and Ovid with staples from the Christian tradition (including the Scriptures, Augustine, and Aquinas), into a colorful medieval tapestry that depicts at once the vividly checkered history of church and empire.
Cover ArtWaiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett (Translator)
ISBN: 9780394172040
Publication Date: 1954-01-01
A classic of modern theatre and perennial favorite of colleges and high schools. "One of the most noble and moving plays of our generation . . . suffused with tenderness for the whole human perplexity . . . like a sharp stab of beauty and pain".--The London Times.



Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard

Call Number: PR6069.T6 R6 1967
Publication Date: 1967
Cover ArtThe Severed Head and the Grafted Tongue by Patricia Palmer
ISBN: 9781107041844
Publication Date: 2013-11-11
Severed heads emblemise the vexed relationship between the aesthetic and the atrocious. During the Elizabethan conquest of Ireland, colonisers such as Edmund Spenser, Sir John Harington and Sir George Carew wrote or translated epic romances replete with beheadings even as they countenanced - or conducted - similar deeds on the battlefield. This study juxtaposes the archival record of actual violence with literary depictions of decapitation to explore how violence gets transcribed into art. Patricia Palmer brings the colonial world of Renaissance England face to face with Irish literary culture. She surveys a broad linguistic and geographical range of texts, from translations of Virgil's Aeneid to the Renaissance epics of Ariosto and Ercilla and makes Irish-language responses to conquest and colonisation available in readable translations. In doing so, she offers literary and political historians access not only to colonial brutality but also to its ethical reservations, while providing access to the all-too-rarely heard voices of the dispossessed.
Cover ArtNative Tongues by Sean P. Harvey
ISBN: 9780674735798
Publication Date: 2015-01-05
Sean Harvey explores the morally entangled territory of language and race in this intellectual history of encounters between whites and Native Americans in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Misunderstandings about the differences between European and indigenous American languages strongly influenced whites' beliefs about the descent and capabilities of Native Americans, he shows. These beliefs would play an important role in the subjugation of Native peoples as the United States pursued its "manifest destiny" of westward expansion. Over time, the attempts of whites to communicate with Indians gave rise to theories linking language and race. Scholars maintained that language was a key marker of racial ancestry, inspiring conjectures about the structure of Native American vocal organs and the grammatical organization and inheritability of their languages. A racially inflected discourse of "savage languages" entered the American mainstream and shaped attitudes toward Native Americans, fatefully so when it came to questions of Indian sovereignty and justifications of their forcible removal and confinement to reservations. By the mid-nineteenth century, scientific efforts were under way to record the sounds and translate the concepts of Native American languages and to classify them into families. New discoveries by ethnologists and philologists revealed a degree of cultural divergence among speakers of related languages that was incompatible with prevailing notions of race. It became clear that language and race were not essentially connected. Yet theories of a linguistically shaped "Indian mind" continued to inform the U.S. government's efforts to extinguish Native languages for years to come.
Loss and Renewal: Australian Languages Since Colonisation by Felicity Meakins
Publication Date: 2016
Cover ArtAfterlives by Nancy Mandeville Caciola
ISBN: 9781501702617
Publication Date: 2016-03-31
Simultaneously real and unreal, the dead are people, yet they are not. The society of medieval Europe developed a rich set of imaginative traditions about death and the afterlife, using the dead as a point of entry for thinking about the self, regeneration, and loss. These macabre preoccupations are evident in the widespread popularity of stories about the returned dead, who interacted with the living both as disembodied spirits and as living corpses or revenants. In Afterlives, Nancy Mandeville Caciola explores this extraordinary phenomenon of the living's relationship with the dead in Europe during the five hundred years after the year 1000.Caciola considers both Christian and pagan beliefs, showing how certain traditions survived and evolved over time, and how attitudes both diverged and overlapped through different contexts and social strata. As she shows, the intersection of Christian eschatology with various pagan afterlife imaginings?from the classical paganisms of the Mediterranean to the Germanic, Celtic, Slavic, and Scandinavian paganisms indigenous to northern Europe?brought new cultural values about the dead into the Christian fold as Christianity spread across Europe. Indeed, the Church proved surprisingly open to these influences, absorbing new images of death and afterlife in unpredictable fashion. Over time, however, the persistence of regional cultures and beliefs would be counterbalanced by the effects of an increasingly centralized Church hierarchy. Through it all, one thing remained constant: the deep desire in medieval people to bring together the living and the dead into a single community enduring across the generations.
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profile-icon Dr. Brittnee Fisher

Over a decade ago, when I chose to move in with my boyfriend to his place in Bardin, Florida, I had no idea how impactful the local lore would be in my life. Having grown up only about 30 minutes south of Bardin, you'd think that I would have heard at least a little something about the legendary "Bardin Booger" at some point in my life. Sadly, I was well into adulthood when I finally learned about the larger-than-life big foot-esque creature rumored to stalk around the woods at night. This post is my opportunity to teach you about local legend and to espouse my adoration of the big, furry guy.

The seminal work of Bardin Booger literature is a piece from 1995 written by local journalist Jody Delzell. Jody, a columnist for the Palatka Daily News, learned about the lore of the Bardin Booger and took the opportunity to write a small, self-published book about him called The Enigmatic Bardin Booger. The existence of this book is almost as hard to believe as the existence of the Booger himself because it is so hard to find a copy! About six years ago, I located a copy online through Abe Books. The UK seller was asking for $500! I offered a lesser amount (which was still obscene), and it was declined. Since then, I have been unable to find a copy for sale. If you have a lead, please contact me immediately- I have been known to pay too much for books, and I'm willing to strike a deal.

Luckily for me, an unnamed colleague offered to lend me his personal copy so I could at least experience the book. Honestly, I had no idea what to expect from this book. I mean, just look at the cover art (provided below). And those brilliant illustrations are included throughout the entirety of the book. Just amazing. To my pleasant surprise, the content of the book is just as ridiculous and silly as the illustrations. The basic gist is that the Booger (Boog for short) and Mr. Delzell become close friends. The book then reads as a collection of short stories about their interactions, where Jody learns about the Booger's many adventures. It's a great read for anyone familiar with Bardin and Palatka. The references to the local areas and businesses are nostalgic in the best of ways.

I won’t be able to truly recommend the book to you since it’s unlikely that you’ll find a copy to read. But, since I brought this subject up, here are some other resources for learning more about the infamous Bardin Booger. Enjoy!


Tales of the Bardin Booger

The Legend of the Bardin Booger

Jaxlore: Folklore, Urban Legends, and Regionalisms


Bardin Booger Cover Art

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