Three costumed girls, Pauline, Barbara and Dorothy Luck surrounding Halloween pumpkin, 1940

Halloween: A Mystic and Eerie Significance

Despite the prevalence of tricks and spooky spirits in earlier years, the American commercial holiday didn’t develop until the middle of the twentieth century.
A ouija board and a planchette

How to Use a Ouija Board

Read on, but beware, these tales of spine-tingling ghosts and eerie spirits...
The exhumation of a body believed to be a vampire

Vampires and Public Health

At the end of the nineteenth century, the people of Rhode Island were drained by a mysterious force that caused them to slowly waste away.
Photograph: Marley Shelton, Marla Sokoloff and the rest of the girls at a sleepover in a scene from the film 'Sugar & Spice', 2001

Source: Getty

Slumber Parties and Folklore

Slumber party rituals are indeed alive and well, and being passed down to the next generation in person and online.
Nella Larsen, 1928

The Plagiarism Scandal That Ended Nella Larsen’s Career

Larsen's 1930 story "Sanctuary" had a similar plot to an earlier British story. So what? Perhaps the tale never really belonged to either writer.
An illustration of elderberry

Plant of the Month: Elderberry

The recent entrance of elderberry into mainstream success is marked by an increasing popular desire to engage with traditional, “natural” remedies.
This statue in front of US Steel's Edgar Thomson Works in Braddock, PA depicts Joe Magarac, a mythical steelworker deriving from local legend.

Joe Magarac, a Boss’s Idea of a Folk Hero?

The Paul Bunyan of the steel industry never went on strike. He was too tied up working the twenty-four-hour shifts that unions were fighting.
Mary Malone records Henry Higgs for the Woman's Club oral history project from a Miami Herald article of June 19, 1975.

How to Gather the Oral Histories of COVID-19

The Federal Writers’ Project offers vital lessons for capturing the oral histories of ordinary Americans living through the coronavirus pandemic.
An Ayahuasca visual

The Colonization of the Ayahuasca Experience

“If someone is from the Amazon,” says Evgenia Fotiou, an anthropologist who studies Western ayahuasca usage, “they bring some legitimacy” to an ayahuasca ritual.
Simone Simon in movie art for the film 'The Curse Of The Cat People', 1944

Dial Meow for Murder

Notes on the figure of the feline in horror.