articles, publications, and guest posts

The results of my efforts researching, documenting, and dallying in everything from the arcane to zombification occasionally result in articles and guest posts at other darkly-minded institutions around the web. The following are excerpts of my research into the unexplained, spooky, and just plain inspirational.

Lizzie Siddal: In love and death

Lizzie Siddal

In love and death

for The Midnight Society

This story happens by lamplight, under a copse of trees and at the top of a steep hill, predictably under the cover of night when only the most nefarious deeds are done. It's October and the ground is frosted, but there are men at work with spades and shovels, digging into the soil with some ardour, awaiting that telltale sound of metal striking a coffin. If you've ever dug up a grave yourself, I'm certain you'd know it: the timber of the strike changes as the wood buckles, and then splinters. It's an extra bit of give beneath the tool -- the result of the grave being undisturbed, underground, for several years. Seven, to be precise.

Poor Polidori

Grandad of the Romantic Vampire

for The Midnight Society

In the summer of 1816, a group of artists, poets, and friends gathered together at the Villa Diodati on Lake Geneva in Swizerland. Sounds quaint enough. So here’s the dirt, and I’m paraphrasing liberally from a couple of different sources: Mary Shelly’s step-sister, Claire Clairmont, had the idea: she was hooking up with Lord Byron and even though he wasn’t really feeling it, she decided to “surprise” him in Swizerland though he never really invited her along for the trip…

Poor Polidori: Granddad of the contemporary vampire
Publications: Emily's Bridge by Kira Butler

Emily's Bridge

For Folklore Week

for The Midnight Society

It’s sometime after ten and we’re standing in front of Old Yard holding an eighteenth-century lantern replica with a tin roof, holds slotted into it to let the heat escape. We’re dangling it over the wall that separates the parking lot from the cemetery. The candlelight reflects off a small slabbed tombstone — isolated from the rest of the graves without any real indication why. It could be a dissenter’s plot. I run over the number of reasons why someone might be buried as a dissenter in 19th century Stowe: usual reasons include not adhering to the popular religion of the day, but in some cases, convicts or suicides got special treatment.

On Writing

Community and Aspiration

for The Midnight Society

Hello fellow horror fans. Today we’re visiting the deep end of the swimming pool. Let’s shimmy up to the edge, our toes curling around the lip of cement that separates us from the water, and peer down into the murk and what lingers there. It’s been some time since I’ve tried to put one of these posts together, and there’s a good reason for that. Let’s call it the separation of church and state; art and presentation; craft and identity.

Publications: On writing. community, and aspiration by Kira Butler
Publications: The Bell Witch

The Bell Witch


for The Midnight Society

When we discuss folklore, the stuff of legends particular to certain areas, we’re not always discussing the story itself — we talk about the hype that surrounds it; makes it bigger than it probably is. The fact is, a lot of the pop culture we get our hands on today lies roots in stories that were told a couple of centuries ago. I can’t say that this suggests that there’s no original horror stories anymore, far from it; it’s interesting, however, that the origin points for the things we find scary now might actually have kernels of truth to them because they’re so deeply seeded in history.

The Myrtles Plantation


for The Midnight Society

Since I was twelve years old and I put down the The Witching Hour by Anne Rice for the first time, I’ve had a love for the South. The swamps with cypress trees draped in Spanish moss, the balconies jutting over the narrow streets of the French Quarter in New Orleans, the slow dirge of jazz music played on the way to a funeral. The above-ground cemeteries. Sweet tea and humidity and a clean sweat on a spring morning. Gas light and the perfume of magnolia trees on a slow evening stroll through the Garden District.

Publications: The Myrtles Plantation
Publications: Borley Rectory

Borley Rectory


for The Midnight Society

You can leave out the ghosts and give me a derelict, once-enchanted-looking building, and I’d find a story in the remains. I won’t complain if there’s a haunting, but old houses, churches, barns, asylums, mansions, greenhouses, theatres, and the like are magical places all on their own. I set my creative roots often in settings, and let my imagination take me to the worlds where those old ruins once cast formidable shadows on their inhabitants. Settings become characters. Settings have their own stories locked away in the walls.

Cemetery Picnics


for The Midnight Society

The Victorians had a very peculiar tradition of picnicking in cemeteries. After the death of Queen Victoria’s hubby in 1861, the entire country donned their mourning attire. For forty years. (To be fair, Victoria only asked her court for three years of goth gear. Moved by her dedication to Prince Albert, they persisted in continuing the tradition until the queen’s death, at which point the custom was put to rest, and so began the Edwardian period in Britain.)

Publications: Cemetery Picnics
Publications: The Vengeful Spirits of Japan by Kira Butler

The Vengeful Spirits of Japan

Yurei and Onryo

for The Midnight Society

Telling myself that “I could handle it,” I sat down for the first time to watch a series of Japanese horror films that basically destroyed my sleeping patterns for the following months. I bought a nightlight. I developed a habit of dashing from the bathroom, which is three feet away from my bedroom, once I’d shut off the light. My partner thinks it’s hysterical when I use a pillow to “defend myself” from the images on the television, or, in this case, the thing crawling out of it.

Would you like to live deliciously?

Occasionally, Kira runs a giveaway, a contest, or supplies the horror community with interesting tidbits of useful information that she’s collected. She likes to curate the weird and wonderful, but is a real stickler about who gets that information first. Subscribing to her newsletter is the golden ticket.

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