There’s one complaint that every writer wants to hear: “I wished it were longer.”
This is what I was told by a couple of people who read the very first Vera Van Slyke ghostly mystery, “The Minister’s Unveiling.” With that in mind, I went back to my great-grandaunt’s manuscripts — and I elaborated. It also helped that I know Vera and Lucille much better now from having edited several of the latter’s chronicles. For “The Minister’s Unveiling,” I went much further into Father O’Neil’s character, added a scene, and generally polished the prose. Essentially, I tailored this story to be more in keeping with the stories that follow it.
If you have been following the chronicles, there are enough changes in “The Minister’s Unveiling” to make it worth re-reading. In fact, you’ll notice that Vera and Lucille have a new look!
The new photo of the duo was sent to me by Dr. Brewster Alfred, a retired Professor of History living outside of Toronto. Dr. Alfred’s primary work, it seems, has been on the Flannery Recording, a wax cylinder from the early 1900s that was purported to feature the voices of two Cro-Magnon men! It’s sort of an earlier version of the Piltdown Man hoax of 1912. It made sense, then, that Dr. Alfred would be interested in Vera Van Slyke’s paranormal investigations from the same era.
Learning that I was editing several chronicles about Vera, Dr. Alfred contacted me. He explained that the photo I had been using shows two women wearing dresses from about the mid-1800s, not the early 1900s. This was a photo I had found among my great grandaunt’s wooden box of notes, unfinished manuscripts, and memorabilia — but there were no indications of who sat for the portrait. Dr. Alfred sent me the photo I’ll now be using. It does somehow look more like the Vera and Lucille I’ve been gotten to know through the chronicles.
Dr. Alfred also gave me dates of Vera’s lifespan: 1868-1941. This is useful information that I’ll be adding to my timeline titled The Life and Ghosts of Vera Van Slyke. I plan to remain in touch with Dr. Alfred to exchange much more information.
In the meantime, please enjoy the story of the very first ghostly investigation that Vera Van Slyke conducted with my ancestor, who went by several names. You can find “The Minister’s Unveiling” in .epub, .mobi, or .pdf formats by clicking here.