Hidden History of Salem | In The Know
The Secret Hunter | Vampire Close
HIDDEN HISTORY OF SALEM
||For those curious about the advertisement described in Hidden History of Salem, here it is." Click image on left to see larger version.
IN THE KNOW
I like to throw, for lack of a better word, "in-jokes" into my writing. Little bits of trivia that only certain very weird, nerdy people (like me) are going to "get".
For example, in The Secret Hunter, I inserted an element or phrase from each of Jane Austen's works into the story. Someday I hope spotting them becomes a college drinking game. :)
I thought in this section of my website I would let you in on some of the more obscure references in my work.
THE SECRET HUNTER
From The Secret Hunter, set in Bath in 1804:
My heroine makes mention of the "green gig of the Bath Bugabo".
Henry Cope was a famous eccentric. He, according to the Annual Register October 25, 1806:
"dressed in green pantaloons, green waistcoat, green frock, green cravat.... He ate nothing but green fruits and vegetables; had his rooms painted green, and furnished with green sofa, green chairs, green table, green bed, and green curtains. His gig, his livery, his portmanteau, his gloves, and his whip were all green. With a green silk handkerchief in his hand, and a large watch-chain with green seals fastened to the green buttons of his green waistcoat, he paraded every day on the Steyne."
The Steyne was a large, grassy lawn and public promenade in Brighton. During the Season a band played there on fine evenings. Walking the Steyne was THE thing to do - or rather, to be seen doing, in the evening in Brighton.
He also was frequently in Bath, which accounts for the title of a caricature of him printed in 1802 - The Little Green Man or The Bath Bugabo.
Henry Cope died in 1806, having committed suicide by throwing himself off a cliff at Brighton.
His portrait is in the National Portrait Gallery. If you would like to look at it, click here.
The gruesome duo Burke and Hare are mentioned in passing, as one can hardly go to Edinburgh and not mention them. ;)
William Burke and William Hare are responsible for the West Port Murders. They had started out to be resurrectionists - what the Scots, with their typical dry wit, called body-snatchers. Back in the day, there were few legal ways to obtain corpses for anatomy classes, and Edinburgh Medical College - being one of the largest and most famous of its kind -was desperate. They would pay well for dead bodies, no questions asked. So people would raid graveyards for the recently buried.
Burke and Hare decided to take capitalism to a new level by creating their own bodies to sell. How many people they actually murdered is unknown - they preyed on poor unfortunates who would not be missed - but it is believed they killed, with the help of their wives, between 13 and 30 people from November 1827 to October 31 1828. And they were only stopped because too many people had seen them with the victim of that Halloween murder, which led to questions, and then Hare turned King's Evidence.
Burke was hanged 28 January 1829. His body was given to Edinburgh Medical College for dissection. Supposedly his skeleton is still there.
His common-law wife is believed to have gone to Australia. Mrs. Hare returned to Ireland. Hare is said to have died penniless in London, but that may have been wishful thinking.
Because of the West Port Murders, the Anatomy Act of 1832 was passed, expanding the legal supply of bodies for schools so they wouldn't need body-snatchers.
Many movies have been made about Burke and Hare - one of them being The Doctor and the Devilsstarring Timothy Dalton.
Their names were given to 2 similarly acting characters in Hugh Grant's movie Extreme Measures.
And in 2010 we'll be getting a new movie about them, Burke and Hare, with Simon Pegg, described as: A black comedy about two 19th century grave robbers who find a lucrative business providing cadavers for an Edinburgh medical school.