The Miniaturist Enthralls


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The Miniaturist Enthralls

“Every woman is the architect of her own fortune.”

The new 3-part mini-series, The Miniaturist, airing on PBS delves into 17th century life in Amsterdam. Based on Jessie Burton’s book by the same title, the mini-series is based on a real married couple and a bizarre wedding present: a cabinet house.

Cabinet houses were displayed in many seventeenth Amsterdam houses serving 2 purposes: status symbols denoting extreme wealthy and privilege. A cabinet house was a miniature replica of a home consisting of a large hutch sectioning off rooms. They were expensive showpieces and incredibly popular; they were not toys. The cabinet house led to the modern-day dollhouse.

The inspiration for the novel exists and is housed in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Johannes Brandt, a Dutch merchant, gifted his wife Petronella “Nella” Oortman an expensive cabinet house upon her arrival in Amsterdam. Nella spent the equivalent of $2 million Euros over 5 years filling up the house with trinkets, furniture, and people. It is exquisite!

Author Burton proclaimed, “[seeing the doll house] really started in my imagination this concept of the domestic world.” She constructed her novel highlighting the marginalized misfits within society. Although the story revolves around the true owners of a cabinet house displayed in the Rijksmuseum, the story is pure fiction.

The television cabinet house reflects the coldness of the physical house and the characters living within. The British production company crafted a cabinet house to match the home used in the series. However, not everything is as it appears. A mystery surrounds the Miniaturist, played by Emily Berrington, and how she knows so much about the house, objects, and people associated with the dwelling.

The PBS series is a refreshing addition to the line-up of British productions airing.


The Nun (2018) Conjures Up Largest Opening Weekend for Franchise


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The Nun (2018) Conjures Up Largest Opening Weekend for Franchise

The Nun raked in $53.5 million over its opening weekend—far exceeding projections. Filmed on a shoestring budget of $22 million, The Nun is a financial success; however, it failed to excite critics and fans alike.

Friday night’s episode “Damaged” on The Dead Files was more believable than the latest offering in the Conjuring franchise. The movie opened with the all-to-cliché disclaimer: “Based on a true story.” Unfortunately, it isn’t. There are more effective ways to insinuate a true tale of horror. Instead, the producers decided to lie. Horror audiences aren’t that gullible.

The film follows Father Burke, played by Demián Bichir, the Catholic Church’s “Miracle Hunter” who has been assigned the uninitiated Sister Irene (played by Taissa Farmiga) as they travel to the isolated Carta Monastery in Romania to investigate the suicide of one of the cloistered nuns. The year is 1952.

Narrative and jump scares propel the film forward. The backstory is complicated as Father Burke and Sister Irene pick up Frenchie, played by Jonas Bloquet, who provides much needed comic relief. The story is slow in places; the jump scares predictable in others.

However, it’s important to stay until the end.

The 96-minute horror movie is rated R.

5 Things I Learned from The Nun


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5 Things I Learned from The Nun

  1. Father Burke, played by Demián Bichir, is called a “Miracle Hunter,” not an exorcist. Watch the movie and decide if the correct title is used.


  1. The Carta Monastery in Romania, the named location in the film, was built by Benedictine monks around 1202-1206. At no point in time did it transfer into the hands of a sadistic Count.
  2. The Corvin Castle, where the movie was filmed, may have a checkered past; however, that past is nothing compared to the story relayed in the film. The Romanian Minister of Culture owns the castle.


  1. This addition to The Conjuring franchise focuses on the Catholic Church the most. That may explain the couple next to me who left. Using a religious relic from Christ may have been a bridge too far for some moviegoers.
  2. The movie opens claiming, incorrectly, that it is set in 1952 and based on a true story. Most Conjuring franchise fans know this is incorrect. However, there are still many moviegoers—and I mean a lot—who fall for this marketing ploy.


Thank You, DragonCon!




Thank You, DragonCon

DragonCon 2018 is in the books. My two panels were well-attended providing lively discussions related to paranormal investigations. I spent the last two days with 85,000 of my closest cosplay buddies at Atlanta’s largest fandom convention. It was fantastic.

The Paranormal Track is housed at the Sheraton Hotel and provides close contact with some of the best paranormal people working in the field. My first session was a 6-member panel discussing researching paranormal activity ranging from private residences, well-known active locations, client interviewing, and the future of academic paranormal research. Each panelist expanded upon unique researching techniques they employ, specific to the location or subject-matter. It was reassuring the number of people looking for the correct/proper way to investigate. The second panel was equally engaging.

To be sure, there are a lot of women paranormal investigators. I met them at the second panel focused on “Women in the Paranormal.” Of the estimated 52% of Americans who believe places can be haunted by ghosts, the majority of believers are women, according to the Chapman University study (2017). Yet, women are not that well represented in the television paranormal series. Indeed, of the 12 current productions, only 3 shows involve women, with 2 leading the investigations. Of course, these productions are tied to advertising dollars, and, admittedly, women like to watch men on tv. That’s the para-tainment path.

However, women work in the boots-on-the-ground paranormal teams who respond to private citizen concerns. They lead investigative teams; they host podcasts; they blog. They won’t appear on television soon. They’ll be the ones with the crazy, hard-to-believe stories from the general public. I hope to return in 2019 to share some more of mine.

Thank you, DragonCon for allowing me to present and to attend your insanely popular convention celebrating nearly every realm of fandom. PS. Please invite me back!

Meet Me In …


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In addition to my appearance at this year’s DragonCon, Labor Day Weekend in Atlanta, I will be speaking at two academic conferences. These are fantastic conferences on everything related to Pop Culture.

  1. “Using the Paranormal Phenomenon of Mothman to Teach Research.” Pop Culture Association in the South & American Culture Association in the South (PCAS/ACAS), New Orleans, LA, October 4-6, 2018.
  2. “Exorcists Needed: Filling the Gap.” 2018 Annual Conference of the Mid-Atlantic Popular & American Culture Association, Baltimore, MD, November 8-10, 2018.

If you’re attending, look me up. For more information, please visit the organization websites at and

#SpotlightSunday Highlights Corpsewood Manor


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My latest blog highlights Corpsewood Manor, the infamous location where Dr. Charles L. Scudder and Joseph “Joey” Odom were brutally murdered on December 12, 1982. Read the blog to see why this location is unique. Read the entire blog here:

Ghost Stories (2017) Set for September 4th on DVD/Streaming


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Ghost Stories (2017) Set for September 4th on DVD/Streaming

The independent horror film Ghost Stories (2017) debuted in theaters on April 20th in a very limited capacity. It faired well. With 1,269 ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 67% audience score boasting a solid 3.6 out of 5 score. The critics were nicer, giving the movie an 82% fresh score. Initial reports claimed that the film would be available immediately after the April 20th showing; however, there were some glitches. Instead, the film will be released on DVD, BlueRay, and streaming services on September 4th. Look for it. It offers a lighter—more palatable—paranormal film as compared to Hereditary.

Read more at: