Strong characters. Real relationships. Deep terror. A journey through time where the fears are not only of monsters, but of shadows inside ourselves.
—Justina Walford, horror film writer and producer, Wildworks Production
Vanta M. Black is a writer, traveler and explorer of the esoteric. She spent ten years writing, researching, and pouring over historical references to create an authentic representation of the time periods in her novel.
Black resides in Southern California, but lives wherever her spirit moves her.
True Events and Historic Legends that Inspired Oubliette — A Forgotten Little Place
During the 1920s, the oubliette at Leap Castle — the famed “most haunted castle” in Ireland — was unearthed. Remains from over 150 bodies were rolled out in wheelbarrows. A pocket watch from the mid-1800s revealed how recent the oubliette had claimed victims.
There are many accounts of an “elemental” spirit at Leap Castle. One of the most renowned is Mildred Darby’s. Her family once owned Leap, and there she dabbled in the occult. Some say her meddling provoked the entity to appear. Her description of it states:
The thing was about the size of a sheep, thin, gaunt and shadowy in parts. Its face was human, or to be more accurate, inhuman, in its vileness, with large holes of blackness for eyes, loose slobbery lips, and a thick saliva-dripping jaw, sloping back suddenly into its neck!
One theory claims that before Leap Castle was erected, the elemental was summoned by Celtic Druids during a sacrificial ritual. It was brought into this dimension of reality to act as their guardian.
On Friday the 13th, 1307, King Philip IV of France ignited the Inquisition by charging the Knights Templar with heresy.
Leaders of the organization were pulled from their castles, keeps, farms, vineyards, and homes. They were accused of worshiping a Pagan god. Some speculated it to be the demon Baphomet, or a Muslim deity which the Templars encountered while in the Holy Land.
The Templars were also accused of keeping a magical “head” that helped them fight the crusades. The mysterious relic was rumored to be the offspring of the copulation between a young warrior and the corpse of his bride-to-be.
Empress Helena was the mother of Constantine, the emperor who made Christianity the official religion of Rome. Her pedigree is veiled in mystery and some scholars suspect she had a Pagan upbringing. In her later years she traveled to the Holy Land to seek out relics associated with Jesus Christ.
In 1348 the Plague spread across France. An especially virulent strain, it ravaged indiscriminately — young, old, rich, poor, pious or heretic — no one was immune. Jews were blamed for the malady. Many were tortured and burned at the stake after being accused of inflicting the peste on society.
Absinth was created by Dr. Pierre Ordinaire around the time of the French Revolution. Traveling on horseback, he sold the concoction as a cure-all elixir across France and Switzerland.
Absinth would go on to become the subject of much debate. Rumored to cause hallucinations and madness, laws were passed starting in 1908, banning it in many European countries and the United States.
The phenomenon of “shadow people” has been documented throughout time. Legends of the Old Hag, the succubus/incubus, and other late-night visitors who cause sleep paralysis and a sense of mortal terror, are common across many cultures.
I’ve experienced these visitations. My skeptical mind once dismissed them as vivid dreams. They were just in my head — they couldn’t be real. Then someone witnessed one preparing to attack me as I slept, and described it to me afterward.
The question that haunts me: how could it be in my head if someone else saw it, too?
Author Vanta M. Black was inspired to write Oubliette after learning about the real oubliette at Leap Castle, the famed most-haunted castle in Ireland. She traveled there, as well as to châteaux in France, and to the Paris Underground, for research.
Real paranormal accounts of elemental spirits, ghosts, sorcery and demons, plus actual historical events and legends, all feed into this masterfully-crafted narrative. Additionally, Black's own encounters with entities known as "shadow people", serve as the novel’s foundation.
Oubliette — A Forgotten Little Place is published by Black Château Publishing, a division of Black Château Enterprises.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication or website may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, contact the publisher.
Black Château Enterprises — Publishing Division
Oubliette — A Forgotten Little Place copyright © 2016 by Vanta M. Black.
Website, art, cover, and jacket design copyright © 2016 by Black Château Enterprises.
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