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Self-Guided Tour: Folklore's Home

The Collected Prophesies of Christine Parkins of South Wickford, NH

Christine Parkins asked for little from life except a roof over her head and a job to pay for it. Hired as a secretary for a small office, Christine found herself entering trances if she typed for too long. She would be struck with revelation (or hijacked by daydreams, perhaps) and jot her glimpses of the future on handy scraps of paper. She thought nothing of them, and neither did her co-workers, until one day, she simply vanished from her desk. Her co-workers were spooked by the note-holder and sent it to the RDT for safekeeping.

Hand of Glory

The term the "hand of glory" is believed to be derived from the French "main de glorie" or "mandrogore," and is related to the legends of the mandrake. The mandrake plant grows under the gallows of a hanged man. Hands of Glory are made from a hanged criminal's hand, pickling and drying substances, wax, and human tallow. Burning a hand of glory inside a building was believed to immobilize everyone inside. This legend probably stemmed from the fact that most people would be too horrified by a burning hand to do much but stare and gag. This made it popular with idiot thieves throughout the ages. What many people don't know, however, is that depending on the type of criminal, which hand is used, and the "curing" process employed, different hands can do different things. This hand, for instance, smells minty fresh. It is also an effective in-law repellant.

Leprechaun's Gold

Leprechauns are known for their craftiness and magical trickery, especially when it comes to their precious, precious gold. One particularly unsavory fellow (he lived in Newark) who caught a leprechaun and demanded its gold got more than he asked for. The leprechaun turned him and all his friends into gold pieces. You can even see their little horrified faces on the coins.

Mojo Bones

Somewhere along the line, people discovered that various bones carved with pseudo-meaningful rune symbols and tied with scraps of rope made a really cool fortune-telling gimmick. This in and of itself is harmless. However, these bones were dug up outside of Bradford-on-Avon and belong to a long-dead Nephilim. The bones of a creature with a human for a mother and an angel for a father are not to be messed with. Not only did every so-called prediction come catastrophically true, but the fortune-teller developed an acute case of leprosy and sent the bones to the RDT in a desperate panic. The RDT wasn't able to save her, of course, but the bones are in a safe place.

Monkey's Paw

Pretty much everyone has heard about the dangers of monkey's paws. It's a wishing device - each owner gets one wish per withered, clawed finger. However, each wish is flawed and distorted in some way, no matter how innocent the wish. You may wish for a winning lottery ticket - but it will be expired. You may wish for a riding mower - but you will fall off and get mowed under. You may wish for a turkey sandwich, but the turkey will be a little dry. It's best not to even make the attempt. A previous intern once wished herself right out of existence. 

Screaming Skulls

Screaming skulls are part folklore, part haunted house mythos. If a skull of someone who met with a wrongful death is kept inside of a house, it will psychically scream until everyone in the house is insane and they've either killed themselves or solved the mystery and given the skull a proper burial.

Astute visitors will note that some of these skulls have horns. That should be your first clue that there's something amiss with these skulls. A pissed off human ghost is bad enough, can you imagine what a pissed off demon screaming skull would be like? These have been gathered up by HUD home loan inspectors over the years. Denied their proper burial, they're still pretty annoyed. Golem smashed the first few to make too much noise, so now they spend their time playing pinochle instead of screeching in futile rage. (Pencils/Inks by Matt Genier.)

The Tarot of Clear and Brutal Truth

Another fortune-telling device. This deck was created by 1984's most celebrated telekinetic astrologer psychotherapist. I'm sure I don't need to tell you his name. Through a painstaking process combining all of his talents, he created a tarot deck that explicitly told you what you needed to know about your past, present, and future, whether you wanted to hear it or not.

Needless to say, it proved very unpopular. Most people simply didn't like to hear that their future relationships would include "great sex, but that's about it." Neither did the those who were drawn as "doormats," "losers," "fraud failures," or "insufferable jackasses." Suicide rates skyrocketed. Bookstores couldn't move them off the shelves at all, and since the cards' creator had gone into the Witness Protection Program, couldn't be returned. Thus, many bookstores sent their overstock to the RDT, not knowing quite what else to do with them. The RDT accepted them as an "iffy" - because of the suicide rates - but Ms. Harper just uses them as coasters for her coffee mug.

Van Buren's Skipping Stone

Martin Van Buren (who had the craziest sideburns of all the Presidents) wished upon and skipped this rock all the way across the Potomac on the night that William Henry Harrison, to whom he had lost the election, was inaugurated into the Presidency. Days later, Harrison caught pneumonia, and a month later, he died. A guilt-stricken Van Buren retrieved the stone from the opposite shore and ordered it locked up in the RDT.

Will-o'-the-Wisps

These indistinct flitters of light reside in Folklore's Home for the atmosphere. Disconnected from a non-superstitious population, they got homesick and decided to live someplace where so many wonderful and familiar objects are stored. They are friendly and helpful. Many times, Davis has tied a string around one of them and used it to find his way around the impossible hallways. They have flawless navigation and enjoy the attention.

2002-2004 Amanda Hardy