Something Wicked Tour: Mae Clair Discusses Spirit Circles and Ouija Boards

Ciao, amici! It’s the second day of Story Empire’s Something Wicked Tour. Yesterday, Mae Clair was kind enough to host me. Today, I’m returning the favor. It gives me great pleasure to welcome her to my site. She’s going to talk about how spirit circles and ouija boards factored into her novel, Cusp of Night. Have at it, Mae!


Thanks for hosting me today, Staci! It’s fun to be here with your readers kicking off my second stop of Story Empire’s Something Wicked Blog Tour.

October is a fun time that brings plenty of shivers as we near Halloween, our minds naturally drawn to all things spooky. Did you know there was a time when families regularly sought out the supernatural as a form of weekly entertainment?

In the late nineteenth century, “home circles” were popular. Think of board game night today when you gather with a group of friends for a few hours of fun. In the 1800s, charades and other parlor games like grandmother’s trunk and musical chairs were common. Eventually, home circles overshadowed these conventional games with small groups of family and friends gathering to try their hands at table tilting, producing rapping sounds, and communicating with the dead. By 1891, the Ouija Board was a strong seller and popular in home circles.

This is a Ouija board with lit candle on the antique setting.

Spiritualism was exploding as a practice, religion, and a blending of magic and science. Even those who had no experience with the supernatural found it intriguing to sit with a group of friends and experiment to see if any of them had mediumistic powers. Séances became a form of entertainment, as much as a way of breaching the Aether that separated the living from the dead.

My novel, Cusp of Night is populated with characters who are caught up in the surge of Spiritualism—both good and bad—and who use it to their advantage. With dual timelines, it tells the story of Maya Sinclair in the present—a woman who was clinically dead for two minutes and twenty-two seconds—and Lucinda Glass, a renowned medium of the late 1800s. Both timelines converge at the end, tying past and present together in one neat bow.

For Lucinda Glass—my main character in the past—being a medium is about more than producing messages from the hereafter. It’s about a way of life and understanding an odd, enigmatic man who upsets and reshapes her world in a time when Spirit Circles were commonplace. If you’re looking for a Halloween read, Cusp of Night is perfect for shivers and goosebumps.

Banner ad for cusp of Night, a mystery/suspense novel by author, Mae Cllair

Cusp of NightBLURB:

Recently settled in Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania, Maya Sinclair is enthralled by the town’s folklore, especially the legend about a centuries-old monster. A devil-like creature with uncanny abilities responsible for several horrific murders, the Fiend has evolved into the stuff of urban myth. But the past lives again when Maya witnesses an assault during the annual “Fiend Fest.” The victim is developer Leland Hode, patriarch of the town’s most powerful family, and he was attacked by someone dressed like the Fiend.

Compelled to discover who is behind the attack and why, Maya uncovers a shortlist of enemies of the Hode clan. The mystery deepens when she finds the journal of a late nineteenth-century spiritualist who once lived in Maya’s house–a woman whose ghost may still linger.

Known as the Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill due to a genetic condition, Lucinda Glass vanished without a trace and was believed to be one of the Fiend’s tragic victims. The disappearance of a young couple, combined with more sightings of the monster, trigger Maya to join forces with Leland’s son Collin. But the closer she gets to unearthing the truth, the closer she comes to a hidden world of twisted secrets, insanity, and evil that refuses to die . . .

UNIVERSAL PURCHASE LINK

Connect with Mae Clair at BOOKBUB and the following haunts:

Amazon | BookBub | Newsletter Sign-Up
Website & Blog | Twitter | Goodreads | All Social Media

bio box for author Mae Clair


It’s been a joy having Mae here for day two of our tour. I found the history of ouija boards and spirit circles fascinating. She did a great job summarizing here, but she did a fabulous job weaving them into her novel, Cusp of Night. If you haven’t already read it, you really should. If you like urban legends and supernatural phenomena, you’ll love it.

Please use those sharing buttons, and leave a comment to show Mae some love. And when you’re done, I hope you’ll join me at Joan Hall’s site, where I’m talking about the Gate of the Gods and Inca lore. Arrivederci!

70 thoughts on “Something Wicked Tour: Mae Clair Discusses Spirit Circles and Ouija Boards

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  1. Cusp of Night is one of my favorites. That era and spiritualist mindset are fascinating to me. I think of William Butler Yeats and Alaister Crowley’s conflict and heated topics of discourse. It’s interesting– late last night I had to move the car to another spot and got caught up listening to a George Noori segment where the guests worked a spirit board, a type of ouija board. The board reacted to them quickly, and they would comment when it sped up and when it moved more slowly. The board spelled out Atlas, Alice, world, under, and 4 state. The items were quickly researched to discover that CERN has conductors named Atlas and Alice, and they are, in essence, in the underworld. Not only that, the 4th estate is plasma, which is the medium of most of CERN’s work. Spooky!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Between the Point Pleasant series and this one, I’ve come to appreciate how you make a creepy scene really creepy, especially when I’m reading at night! Keep up the good work, Mae. Thanks to Staci for hosting Mae today.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved ‘Cusp’! Mae does chilling supernatural so well. And I HAVE to say, the other day I was watching Judge Judy (tragic that I am), and a lady came on and her name was….. Maya Sinclair! I lost my shit! Unfortunately, she was on coz she was rear-ended, not because of some phantom night-swinging stalker rampaging through town 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m a big chicken too, despite the weird things I write about, Yes, I kow that makes no sense, LOL.

      So glad you enjoyed the dual timelines in Cusp. It was such a challenge to tackle, but I loved doing it!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Judi! One of the great things about writing this book was the research I got to do. It was so fascinating to learn that mediums were really performers, many of them from a carnival background. They were so skilled at their craft! I could talk on the subject for hours, LOL!

      Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks so much, Michele. I can’t believe I’ll be wrapping up another series with Eventide. Yikes! It’s releasing on December 31st and will have plenty more mystery, suspense and hints of the paranormal.

      Liked by 4 people

    1. Oooh, so cool! I love the name Glass. I’m also eager to explore your series, especially the Halloween-themed story.

      I’m freaked over Ouija boards, though. They were quite common in the late 1800s and early 1900s, but the give me shivers 🙂

      Liked by 4 people

  4. This is another Mae Clair book that I LOVED! Writing the dual timelines had to be a challenge, but you pulled it off, Mae! You also showed in this book how people who were “different” such as the blue lady, were exploited. Strangely enough, my sister and I had a Ouija board and we would play around with it until something would scare us and then we’d put it away for a while. I say “strangely enough,” because I was raised in a Pentecostal holy-roller home and I’ve often wondered why our mom would allow such a thing. Anyway, my sister still has that Ouija board. I’m sure it’s an antique by now. Thanks for sharing, Mae, and thanks for hosting, Staci!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Jan, a Ouija board in a Pentecostal household is mind-boggling, LOL.
      When I was a kid my friends and I played around with one a few times but then got very creeped out. I haven’t touched one since.

      I’m so glad you enjoyed Cusp. The idea of the blue people was one I had hanging around in my “to use” cache of notes for years before I finally found a place for it 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  5. I loved this book! But I’m like Denise, I stay away from Ouija boards although I have played with one when I was younger. I had an “experience” with a seance which turned out later to be funny, but not so much at the time. So I leave those alone also. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I’m glad you liked Cusp, Joan, but I’m like you—I won’t go near a Ouija board or a seance. Anything of that nature freaks me out. When I was a kid, my friends and I goofed around with a Ouija board until we got too scared. I haven’t touched one since!

      Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m terrified of Ouija boards, Tessa. My friends and I goofed around with one when we were kids, but got creeped out by it. Now, I won’t go near one or even have one in the house.

      I found it interesting that they were once used as a form of entertainment, along with trying to contact the dead through seances.

      I’m delighted to hear you’re interested in Cusp. I had an amazing time doing the research on this book. Mediums were such skilled performers, many coming from a carnival background. And then there’s my Blue Lady….but I won’t say anymore on that note, LOL!

      Liked by 3 people

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