Atlantic Books Today, Spring 2012

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ABT Spring Issue No. 60

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ex ce rp ts ·r fr ev iew s· ee bo o k w s ne spring 2012 · no 69 publications mail agreement 40038836 commemorating titanic 100th anniversary is traditional publishing the way to go find out on page 20 interview with sports anchor and author bruce rainnie books on ice page 30 great literary the books to take you from here to there and everywhere across atlantic canada road trip atlantic book awards and festival may 10-17 awards ceremony in st john s nl for the first time ever!

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atlantic books today contents contents atlantic books today · number 69 features 20 guest editorial self-publishing versus the traditional route author chad pelley on why he s sticking with traditional publishing 21 on the cover the great atlantic canadian literary road trip a province-by-province guide to take you across atlantic canada this summer including all kinds of regional books for and from the road literary road trip the great 21 27 2012 atlantic book awards and festival may 10-17 2012 we have the full list of nominated books and authors including two new newfoundland awards 29 right place right time news and sports broadcaster bruce rainnie believes timing is everything 30 books on ice for many atlantic canadians the good old hockey game is the best game you can put your name to as an author atlantic book awards and festival may 10-17 books on ice cover image by kelly clark special thanks to michael chambers of nautilus aquatics hobbies for letting us photograph his 1955 chevy 4 spring 2012 30 atlantic books today

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atlantic books today contents in every issue 9 our contributors tammy armstrong s most recent poetry collection is the scare in the crow from goose lane editions she is currently a visiting fulbright scholar at georgia state university in atlanta lis van berkel owns word writing editing research she can be reached at word@lisvanberkel.ca alec bruce received two golds in the 2011 atlantic journalism awards and one gold in the 2011 international editorial and design awards tabbies michelle brunet is a freelance writer and esl teacher based in halifax n.s paul butler is the st john s-based author of cupids and hero madeline comeau is a writer and an avid reader of literary fiction non-fiction and poetry jenna conter is a born and bred haligonion writer with a weekly entertainment column in metro news halifax you can find her on twitter @jennaboutown lisa doucet is a children s bookseller at woozles in halifax n s margaret patricia eaton is a visual arts columnist for the times transcript and a poet in moncton her latest collection vision voice contains paintings by angelica de benedetti skana gee is a halifax-based freelance writer editor and communications consultant sharon hunt is a freelance writer and editor from st john s n.l living in ontario joanne jefferson is a novelist poet and freelance writer and editor living in west lahave n.s rosalie maceachern is a freelance writer living in stellarton n.s laurie glenn norris writes and lives in lower kingsclear n.b with her husband barry many cats and lots of books clare o connor is a freelance writer living in halifax n.s elizabeth patterson is a writer musician and broadcaster based in sydney n.s chad pelley is a multi-award-winning writer and the founder of saltyink.com from st john s n.l darcy rhyno writes fiction columns travel and plays he s the author of two short story collections conductor of waves and holidays jon tattrie is a freelance journalist and the author of black snow and the hermit of africville pottersfield press valerie mansour is a writer researcher editor and former restaurant critic kate watson is a freelance writer and theatre critic for the coast living in dartmouth n.s atlantic books today interview with an author bobbi french completes abt s questionnaire 10 book excerpts titanic ashes a new novel set in 1925 in a london restaurant where chairman of the white star line j bruce ismay who was on board the titanic when she sank and his daughter evelyn encounter miranda grimsden another survivor of the disaster also more titanic books from atlantic canada to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking this navy doctor came ashore tales from a flight surgeon turned country doctor during prohibition this book chronicles some of the noteworthy events of the time charles read spent working on prince edward island haunted girl in 1878 eighteen-year-old esther cox arrived in amherst nova scotia to live with her sister s family is esther the victim of paranormal powers or the troubled mind behind a series of elaborate hoaxes 16 inside the author s studio studio s cross for cross katie kross a new illustrated children s book by mother-daughter duo donna morrissey and bridgette morrissey 18 children s books the best of new children s and young adult books 32 book reviews a selection of fiction poetry history non-fiction art and culture 43 events a list of upcoming atlantic book-related events 44 book news all the latest from the atlantic book world 46 book giveaway enter to win a beautiful basket of atlantic canadian books spring 2012 5

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atlantic books today is published by the atlantic publishers marketing association www.atlanticpublishers.ca which gratefully acknowledges the financial assistance of the canada council for the arts and the canada book fund of the department of canadian heritage opinions expressed in articles in atlantic books today do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the board of the atlantic publishers marketing association saturday june 16 2012 visit your local bookstore for signings and events many authors who are featured in the 2012 atlantic summer reading guide available june 8 will be signing books at participating bookstores all over atlantic canada check your bookstore or visit www.atlanticbookstoday.ca for details publisher atlantic publishers marketing association peggy walt executive director managing editor heather fegan editorial advisory committee heidi hallett kristina parlee advertising sales jennifer chapin 902 701.0802 jchapin@atlanticpublishers.ca design meghan rushton ­ design@atlanticpublishers.ca printed in canada this is issue number 69 spring 2012 atlantic books today is published three times a year all issues are numbered in sequence total atlantic-wide circulation 60,000 issn 1192-3652 one-year subscriptions to abt are available for $15 17.25 including hst please make cheques payable to the atlantic publishers marketing association and mail to address below or contact heather fegan for subscription inquiries publications mail agreement no 40038836 return undeliverable canadian addresses to atlantic publishers marketing association atlantic books today 1484 carlton street halifax ns b3h 3b7 e-mail apma.admin@atlanticpublishers.ca phone 902 420.0711 fax 902 423.4302 www.atlanticpublishers.ca atlantic author day connect with abt online visit our website for digital issues reading guides articles book reviews lists of bookstores a publishers directory and more atlanticbookstoday.ca facebook.com/atlantic books today twitter @abtmagazine 6 spring 2012 atlantic books today

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atlantic books today editors message dear reader whether a road trip is in the works or the back deck is as far as you venture this summer our literary road trip guide will take you across atlantic canada with stops in all the top spots on and off the beaten track our tour takes you province-by-province and includes recommended reading for each region books for the road and souvenirs to bring home with you there are so many fabulous books coming out of atlantic canada we couldn t come close to featuring them all so this guide is just a taste of what s available in your local bookstore we dare you to try them all we had a lot of fun photographing the cover this issue it s not often we get to combine books with vintage cars but we hope you have the chance to do the same load up your car and explore both the beauty of atlantic canada and the abundance of books created here in may we re off to newfoundland for the atlantic book awards check out the nominees starting on page twenty-seven it s the first time the atlantic book festival will culminate with an awards show in st john s and we ll be keeping the literary road trip guide on hand while we re there in june check out the atlantic summer reading guide which will feature all the books we couldn t include and more for your reading pleasure all summer long mark your calendars for atlantic author day on june 16 many of the authors featured in the flyer will be appearing in bookstores across the region and you ll have the chance to meet some of your favourite storytellers thank you to everyone who has been responding to our great book giveaway contests the response has been happily overwhelming since the fall we ve received thousands of entries we love reading all the comments that arrive with the creative envelopes and colourful cards so keep them coming happy reading abt heather fegan peggy walt atlantic books today atlantic books today spring 2012 7

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atlantic books today interview bobbi french abt s proust questionnaire bobbi french bobbi french was born and raised in st john s newfoundland she was a practicing psychiatrist working with children and adolescents until she up and ran away to france with her husband her new book finding me in france chronicles her awkward perplexing yet always entertaining journey of discovery and an experience of a lifetime living abroad bobbie also blogs about her big french adventure at she shares with abt her idea of happiness her favourite fictional heroes and a fear of platform stilettos www.findingmeinfrance.com finding me in france $19.95 pb 978-1-89717-494-4 270 pp creative publishing april 2012 what do you consider your best quality compassion a quality you desire in a partner above average cooking ability what do you appreciate most about your friends unconditional support and enthusiastic cheerleading your worst quality impatience your favourite occupation reading listening to music is a close second what is your idea of happiness living a life on my own terms answering only to myself big things like that but also small everyday things the day i know for sure that spring has arrived starting a book and being hooked by the end of the first page a warm cookie all the lovely minutiae life has to offer your idea of misery living in a country engaged in or ravaged by war or living under an oppressive regime and of course having anything waxed if you could be someone else for a day who would it be anyone who can speak fluent french where you would most like to live everywhere favourite colour i tend to have favourite colour combinations like charcoal grey and apple green favourite animal i like all animals but lately i m loving elephants i assume it s due to the solidarity i now feel with grey wrinkled creatures your favourite poets pablo neruda and dr seuss your real life heroes the architects of feminism people who risk everything for noble causes like peace equality and social justice aung san suu kyi springs to mind anyone coping with mental illness my husband your favourite food drink my favourite food list is too long to print and my hatred for cooking is too difficult to describe without the use of profanity so anything made by someone else drink meursault wine what is your greatest fear the loss of basic rights and freedoms also that platform stilettos will stay in style forever favourite authors carol shields edith wharton lisa moore a natural talent you d like to possess mary lawson david sedaris lawrence songwriting and a functional sense of dihill rohinton mistry too many to count rection i am perpetually lost your favourite fictional heroes how you want to die elizabeth bennet flavia de luce and fulfilled probably jason bourne on account of his your present state of mind plethora of passports linguistic prowess open navigational skills and all around awefavourite or personal motto someness i m between mottos at the moment abt atlantic books today spring 2012 9

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atlantic books today book excerpt abt book excerpt titanic ashes by paul butler excerpted from titanic ashes by paul butler flanker press 978-1-92688-152-2 149 pp $17.95 pb february 2012 in 1925 in a london restaurant j bruce ismay former chairman of the white star line has a quiet dinner with his daughter evelyn through the extravagant foliage of the dining room a young woman watches like ismay miranda grimsden was a passenger on board the ill-fated titanic that terrible night in april 1912 fuelled by simmering emotions ismay evelyn and miranda take a backwards journey through the thirteen intervening years to confront issues of cowardice spite and revenge and to dare themselves to exorcise the spectre of the past new fiction from flanker press of course adventure is in my blood my father was a shipbuilder in halifax nova scotia and there was always romance in our family i ve tried my best to pass it on miranda hears a note of regret as mother looks at her wistfully we spent a glorious summer in new york when miranda was just ten years old do you remember dear yes mother i remember she weighs the words carefully if her mother were in a mood to notice she might pick up on the undercurrent of warning but miranda knows this is too hopeful mother is immune to any such sirens with psychological insight and ruthless efficiency she knows miranda is more afraid of the subject than she and there s nothing miranda can do to change this fact and there was that dreadful tragic event from which we all had to recover first mother says well i m sure miranda must have told you though i know she doesn t like to talk about it miranda wonders what she must look like part of her skin is overtaken with a shivery coolness part is blushing she imagines a patchwork of white and red and shrinks into herself certain her about the author paul butler is the author of several novels including titanic ashes cupids hero 1892 nageira easton s gold easton and stoker s shadow his work has appeared on the judges lists for canada reads the relit longlist for three consecutive years and he was a winner in the government of newfoundland and labrador arts and letters awards four times between 2003 and 2008 a graduate of norman jewison s canadian film centre butler has written for the globe and mail the beaver books in canada atlantic books today and canadian geographic and has also contributed to cbc radio local and national he lives in st john s n.l of course adventure is in my blood my father was a shipbuilder in halifax nova scotia and there was always romance in our family i ve tried my best to pass it on miranda hears a note of regret as mother looks at her wistfully we spent a glorious summer in new york when miranda was just ten years old do you remember dear in real terms her mother should have more reason to avoid the subject of the glorious summer in new york than she but it never seems to work out that way while immune to the emotion herself agnes grimsden marshals the threat of embarrassment 10 spring 2012 reptilian appearance will draw attention from everyone in the restaurant including the man beyond the palm she meets graham s gaze for the first time in ten minutes and only furtively his grey eyes waver with a mixture of atlantic books today

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atlantic books today book excerpt more titanic books from atlantic canada sympathy and muted curiosity she has told him about the titanic of course and alluded to doing something in the aftermath of which she was ashamed no says graham quietly his eyes moving from miranda to mother she doesn t like to talk about it such an experience so many lives lost indeed graham coughs as though nudging toward a change in subject miranda s father wasn t travelling with us says mother as if her husband weren t present at the table thank goodness because john is noble and selfless he would have insisted on remaining behind on the ship and we would have been left destitute father coughs his frown tightening as he takes another sip of water if you ll forgive me mother miranda is unable to contain herself the logic of that statement somewhat eludes me a selfless act surely doesn t leave a man s family destitute honour my dear mother says raising her glass in a dark parody of a toast an old concept i admit but an important one nonetheless there is harshness in her expression now well miranda says her face burning thank goodness father was never put in the position of deciding what he must do father grunts and takes another sip of water leaning back in his chair and looking from one face to another miranda wonders how they have managed to arrive at this point in the conversation all she has wanted to do since glimpsing the face through the palms is to keep the talk away from the subject of travel by sea in general transatlantic liners in particular and in minute particular the titanic and the disaster of 1912 and here they are not only discussing the titanic but the very heart of miranda s current anxiety notions of valour and cowardice as they pertain to gentlemen going down with the ship or stepping into lifeboats abt titanic lives on board destination canada by rob rondeau $19.95 pb 978-1-4595-0019-8 112 pp formac publishing company limited halifax and titanic by john boileau $19.95 pb 978-1-55109-895-1 172 pp nimbus publishing on the 100th anniversary of titanic s sinking the stories of survivors and victims rich boileau examines the relationship between and poor alike with extensive illustra the city and the unprecedented tragedy tions many in colour this book adds a new this illustrated history includes over 100 historical photographs of the people chapter to the titanic story and places involved in halifax s sombre recovery effort voyage of the iceberg the story of the iceberg that sank the titanic by richard brown $19.95 pb 978-1-4594-008-0 160 pp formac lorimer books a classic work of natural history in an extensively illustrated new edition to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the titanic brown uses the iceberg s story to present the natural history of the arctic ocean and the north atlantic at the turn of the twentieth century first published in 1983 titanic victims in halifax graveyards by blair beed $19.95 pb 978-1-55109-897-5 192 pp nimbus publishing a new edition of the guide to titanic victims buried in halifax with two new chapters and an updated design visitors to halifax have many questions about the city s connection to the infamous ship these questions are answered in this intriguing and little-known story of the 150 passengers and crew who were buried in the port city of halifax spirit of the titanic by nicola pierce $13.99 pb 978-1-927099-06-3 216 pp boulder publications in this novel fifteen-year-old samuel plunges to his death while building his beloved titanic now as the great ship crosses the atlantic ocean samuel finds himself on board as a ghost disaster strikes when titanic hits an iceberg as titanic sinks a family is trapped behind locked gates can samuel s spirit save them the first violin the life and loss of the titanic s violinist john law hume by yvonne hume $15.95 pb 978-1-55109-918-7 96 pp nimbus publishing the story of the construction and sinking of the great ocean liner on her maiden voyage and the fascinating life and loss of the ship s first violinist john law hume written by hume s great-niece the book traces the violinist s early years in scotland the events that led him to play on board the titanic and the doomed voyage across the atlantic the sinking of the titanic thrilling stories of survivors with photographs and sketches edited by logan marshall $14.95 pb 978-1-55109-916-3 288 pp nimbus publishing originally published in 1912 this account of the sinking of the titanic was an instant bestseller and remains an important account of the most famous marine disaster in history illustrated throughout this reprint contains the original drawings and photos of the great ship and some of its passengers children of the titanic by christine welldon $14.95 pb 978-1-55109-892-0 96 pp nimbus publishing introducing young readers to the ship that couldn t sink welldon tours young readers through the vessel bringing to life the sights and sounds of the ship from a child s perspective a richly illustrated detailed look at this historic event and at a way of travel unfamiliar to most children today atlantic books today spring 2012 11

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atlantic books today book excerpt abt book excerpt this navy doctor came ashore by charles h read mdcm excerpted from this navy doctor came ashore by charles read acorn press $17.95 pb 160 pp 978-1-894838-75-7 march 2012 dr read entered the royal canadian navy in 1943 and worked for three years as a flight surgeon when the war was winding down he realized that his career as a flight surgeon was also over but he remembered how much he had enjoyed the three weeks he spent in charlottetown when he relieved the medical officer at hmcs queen charlottetown he also knew that as the only medical officer there would be independence significant responsibility and virtual freedom from naval protocol and politics one couldn t ask for more little did he know that a great deal of his time would be spent writing prescriptions for alcohol so that the officers could be allowed to drink this book chronicles some of the noteworthy events of the time he spent as a country doctor new non-fiction from acorn press about three weeks after i opened my office the telephone rang just as the last patient was leaving annie answered and called out it s for you doctor it s a man and he sounds scared then she passed the phone to me the first words i heard were doc yah gotta come quick it s an emergency the high pitch of his voice spoken while inhaling underlined this man s anxiety please calm down i said putting as much warmth and confidence in my voice as i could muster under the circumstances now speak slowly and tell me about your problem he seemed a bit calmer when he continued it s my son he drank some kerosene now he s unconscious and he s having trouble breathing make sure there s nothing in his mouth that s clogging his breathing where do you live we live in uigg annie can tell you how to get here and for god s sake doc hurry although i d never been to uigg i knew it wasn t too far away annie knew the 12 spring 2012 family and where they lived and gave me what turned out to be accurate directions they re good simple people she said as i ran out the door and they re not much for talking driving the navy van as fast as i dared on the narrow red clay road immense clouds of dust rising behind me finding the family in uigg was the least of my problems the more significant one was that i d never heard of kerosene poisoning i was familiar with kerosene because during every summer of my childhood we used kerosene lamps to light our cottage the daily replenishing of the lamps with kerosene and cleaning the glass chimneys were a never-ending chore but drinking the stuff i d never heard of anyone doing that more importantly i hadn t learned anything about kerosene poisoning in medical school i had no idea why the boy was unconscious or what the treatment was for this kind of poisoning i drove in the lane and parked near the gate beside a rather dilapidated tractor the house was typical of so many of the farmhouses on prince edward island white painted clapboard a centrally positioned door and a steeply pitched roof so the snow would easily slide off only the dog greeted me it came charging toward me intermittently barking and growling and acting in a very inhospitable fashion as i walked across the one hundred or so feet of lawn to the house i avoided eye contact with him but still kept track of where he was also i kept talking quietly to him look dog i m coming here to help a little boy i m really a good guy so don t get in my way little by little he paid somewhat less attention to me but i continued to feel he was ever threatening at last i reached the safety of the front porch and knocked on the door i braced myself for what might come next a tall lean dark-haired man who looked to be in his early thirties opened the door and said god i thought you d never get here i didn t reply for even as i entered i saw the patient he was lying supine on a sofa on the opposite side of the room directly across from the door although he must have been close to twenty feet away i could atlantic books today

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atlantic books today book excerpt i drove in the lane and parked near the gate beside a rather dilapidated tractor the house was typical of so many of the farmhouses on prince edward island white painted clapboard a centrally positioned door and a steeply pitched roof so the snow would easily slide off only the dog greeted me it came charging toward me intermittently barking and growling and acting in a very inhospitable fashion as i walked across the one hundred or so feet of lawn to the house i avoided eye contact with him but still kept track of where he was also i kept talking quietly to him look dog i m coming here to help a little boy i m really a good guy so don t get in my way little by little he paid somewhat less attention to me but i continued to feel he was ever threatening at last i reached the safety of the front porch and knocked on the door i braced myself for what might come next hear his loud and labored breathing when i reached his side i saw that his skin was dusky his lips were blue and that that he was struggling to breathe first i made sure that there was nothing in his mouth impeding his breathing i really didn t need to use a stethoscope to listen to his chest because i could easily hear the loud bubbling sounds without it it told me there was a lot of fluid in his bronchi examining some of the fluid in his mouth showed me it contained a lot of mucus when i found his blood pressure was normal i was relieved actually apart from his breathing difficulty he looked like a very healthy four-year-old boy but what to do the few medicines i carried in my bag were not going to help this situation the one obvious finding was the fluid and mucus in his bronchi in which he seemed to be drowning so i picked him up by his feet allowing his head to rest lightly on the sofa immediately he began to drain copious amounts of fluid from his mouth and nose this went on and on i don t really don t know how long he showed no sign of regaining consciousness but he certainly was getting rid of a lot of the kind of liquid mucus that accounted for what i d heard in his lungs across the room not far from the door the several members of his family huddled silently on a sofa i had the feeling that the family was becoming restive as this treatment to them must have seemed anything but spectacular not at all using any of the magic often expected of doctors while they could see the continuing drainage neither they nor i could see much improvement but by this time i thought he perhaps was not draining as much but maybe that was wishful thinking related to my having become very tired holding what was probably a forty-pound boy up by his feet for this length of time finally i had to lay the boy down on the sofa certainly his breathing was not as labored or as noisy as it was and his lips were not as blue i wondered what else i could do without any expectation of success i reached in my bag and pulled out a bottle of one-half per cent neo-synephrine nose drops the well known decongestant that we all have used when we had a cold i thought maybe this might clear his nose of mucus anyway i squeezed several drops in each nostril to my amazement he almost immediately came to opened his eyes and sat up his breathing essentially normal i immediately did another physical his lungs were almost clear and he seemed to have largely returned to normal he knew his name his age what day it was and talked like a normal four-year-old boy i had the feeling that the family was no more impressed with what i had done than i they neither thanked me nor even showed me to the door on my way back to my vehicle even the dog ignored me abt about the author charles read was born in amherst nova scotia and went on to medical school at mcgill university he was a surgeon lieutenant for the royal canadian navy and then went on to residency training at the children s memorial hospital and became a medical fellow royal victoria hospital in montreal during this time he was also a medical fellow massachusetts general hospital harvard university he then moved to winnipeg to be an associate professor at the children s hospital there in 1954 he moved again to iowa city and now at the age of ninetythree is an emeritus professor of pediatrics university of iowa hospitals and clinics atlantic books today spring 2012 13

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atlantic books today book excerpt abt book excerpt haunted girl esther cox and the great amherst mystery by laurie glenn norris with barbara thompson excerpted from haunted girl by laurie glenn norris with barbara thompson nimbus publishing $18.95 pb 176 pp 978-1-55109-907-1 may 2012 in 1878 eighteen-year-old esther cox arrived in amherst nova scotia to live with her sister s family shortly after esther moved in the story goes the house was plagued by unexplained occurrences something or someone knocked on the walls hid household items moved furniture around and set fires was esther the victim of paranormal powers or the troubled mind behind a series of elaborate hoaxes at the time of her alleged haunting the plausibility of esther cox s claims were hotly debated in newspapers and by fellow amherst residents in the hundred years since her death esther s story has been retold numerous times and she remains to this day the town s most famous historical figure new non fiction from nimbus publishing the great amherst mystery began with a cardboard box that would not behave itself on september 9 1878 eighteenyear-old esther cox and her sister jennie had just settled down for the night when they heard a strange noise coming from beneath their bed they knew that the only thing under there was a box full of old fabric patches the girls hung over the edge of the bed and peeked upside down at the room esther and jennie watched as it threw off its cover and turned over on one side spilling patches out onto the floor one brave girl got up replaced the fabric and the cover and scurried back to bed the pesky box once again moved about and dumped its contents by this time esther and jennie had become truly alarmed and called for their brother william cox and brother-in-law john teed to come on september 9 1878 eighteen-year-old esther cox and her sister jennie had just settled down for the night when they heard a strange noise coming from beneath their bed they knew that the only thing under there was a box full of old fabric patches the girls hung over the edge of the bed and peeked upside down at the box it was moving back and forth box it was moving back and forth after agreeing that the noise was likely from a mouse making its nest for the night esther and jennie thought no more about it and soon both of them were fast asleep the following night the box became even more active this time it moved out from under the bed to the middle of the 14 spring 2012 into the room to witness what was happening the young men initially laughed and dismissed the idea of a box of fabric moving about on its own but the girls asked them to stay for a few minutes longer and see what might happen next william and john sat at the edge of the bed waiting but the box remained still then someone suggested that the lamp on the bureau be turned down this was done and to the astonishment of the witnesses almost immediately the box s cover flew off and the container turned over on its side jennie promptly fainted the next night it was the girls bed that suddenly came to life esther and jennie could feel their quilt and blanket slowly moving being pulled downward to the bottom of the bed by an unseen force again they called william and john to witness what was going on the bedclothes were replaced and once again with the lamp turned low the four waited to see what would happen this time the covers crept slowly by degrees toward esther s side of the bed the pillows began to move that way as well only more quickly john jumped up and grabbed one of the pillows he felt a jerking motion and when he let go the pillow flew to the bottom of the bed the two girls were greatly upset by these nightly happenings but things were about to get a lot worse the next evening soon after she and jennie had retired esther leapt from the bed screaming that she was dying jennie quickly lit the lamp and was atlantic books today

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atlantic books today book excerpt esther was assisted back to bed where she sat for a moment she then jumped to her feet once more and screamed that she was going to burst into pieces as her family looked on esther s body swelled and she alternately screamed and ground her teeth these convulsions lasted until a loud noise like a clap of thunder boomed through the room a moment later three more reports that seemed to come from under the bed shook the whole house esther s swelling began to subside in a few minutes it was gone and she slept peacefully through the rest of the night shocked to see her sister standing in the middle of the room holding tightly to the back of a chair her nails digging into the wood esther s hair was standing on end her face was red and her eyes were bulging out of their sockets jennie called for help john and william rushed into the room this time followed by olive teed the girls older sister and daniel her husband esther was assisted back to bed where she sat for a moment she then jumped to her feet once more and screamed that she was going to burst into pieces as her family looked on esther s body swelled and she alternately screamed and ground her teeth these convulsions lasted until a loud noise like a clap of thunder boomed through the room a moment later three more reports that seemed to come from under the bed shook the whole house esther s swelling began to subside in a few minutes it was gone and she slept peacefully through the rest of the night each evening after this frightening first episode esther continued to experience painful swelling accompanied by the twitching of her arms and legs sometimes she appeared to be in a trance her physical suffering seemed to be relieved only when the thunderous noises began either as rapping sounds emanating from under the bed or as knocking sounds on the roof of the house these loud nightly noises began to attract the attention of neighbours who were curious to know what was going on olive and daniel at their wits end summoned dr thomas carritte the family physician to have a look at esther and see what he could make of her condition on his first evening at her bedside dr carritte witnessed the swelling and other symptoms and treated her for what he called nervous prostration he administered the standard medication for rattled nerves powdered laudanum mixed with water and alcohol to relieve any pain and calm esther s irritation dr carritte s ministrations did not help much almost nightly throughout the rest of september and into october esther and jennie s bedroom was a scene of turmoil the quilts and sheets continued to move off the bed and the pillows took on a life of their own swelling and deflating and moving about the room while esther continued to grow feverish and her body ballooned and trembled other more disturbing symptoms emerged esther while in a trance often went through the motions of having sexual intercourse abt laurie glenn norris a native of cumberland county laurie glenn norris is the author of cumberland county in facts and folklore she holds degrees in anthropology and education and a master s degree in art history laurie lives in lower kingsclear new brunswick with her husband barry norris along with lots of books and cats barbara thompson barbara thompson has been involved in the history museum and heritage field for twelve years she was the director/curator of the cumberland county museum in amherst and is currently director of desbrisay museum in bridgewater trained in commercial design thompson spends much of her time researching women s lives and watercolour painting she currently lives in bridgewater nova scotia about the authors laurie glenn norris barbara thompson atlantic books today spring 2012 15

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