October 22, 2009

doo doo, doo doo - doo doo, doo doo...



Not long ago I received an auto-generated email from Amazon saying,
Are you looking for something in our Mystery & Thriller Books department? If so, you might be interested in these items.
The first item shown was a book called, The Birthing House by Christopher Ransom. (Of course I had to go the author's website to find out more.)

The first thing I saw was this ominous message:
The only thing more terrifying than death...
IS BIRTH.
No, seriously, I'm not kidding... ;-)

In 2004, Mr. Ransom and his wife moved to a "140-year-old former birthing house in Mineral Point, Wisconsin."

Shortly after we finished unpacking, the former owners showed us a hundred-year-old, sepia-toned photo of a group of women standing on our porch. Dark dresses and pale countenances. Some were wearing aprons, others were wearing nurse caps. None were smiling. This did not appear to be a family gathering.

Our hundred-and-forty-year-old home was once a birthing house, we were told. A what? Yeah, a birthing house. You know. Doctor’s quarters. Midwives. Wet nurses. A birthing house. Neat, I guess. - Ransom's backstory at Cheryl's Book Nook.

Sound Familiar? What are the chances?

As I read on, I soon discovered how very different the imaginations of two authors can be...
Rather than the benevolent, maternal presence I had felt after moving into my birth house in Nova Scotia, Christopher Ransom's move brought on nightmares and terror.

Here's his account of the end of the dream that inspired his book.

It was at that time I experienced a sublime terror. I woke all the way up and the pressure lifted. I rolled onto my back and pulled covers up and blinked into the pitch-blackness of our bedroom, trying to see her. To see if she was still in there with me. And then I remembered the sepia-toned photo of the women standing on the porch of our house a century ago.
Midwives, wet nurses, maids. Mothers gone astray.

And I thought, What if one of them is still here? What if she suffered a loss . . . and wants compensation? -Ransom's backstory at Cheryl's Book Nook.

Eeeeeeek!

Whew, am I ever relieved that it was Dora and Miss B. who came knocking on my brain in the middle of the night...

All teasing aside, I'm actually quite thrilled to find that there's another author out there taking care of an old birth house and making stories from its history.

Happy Halloween and best wishes Christopher Ransom,
- from my old birth house to yours.
A. McKay.