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Part 2: An Intro to the Haunts

The HAUNTS 9-card expansion pack is an addition of oracle cards to add to your Southern Gothic Oracle deck. With the exact same back design, surface texture and size, these cards can easily and seamlessly be shuffled into the main oracle deck to serve as shadow cards for oracle card readings.

October only… The HAUNTS expansion pack is currently available for FREE SHIPPING and 10% off, now through November 1st, if you use the coupon code HAUNTS10 in your shopping cart before checkout. Go get you some…. of course they’ll work a lot better if you have the main oracle deck, to shuffle them into.

The HAUNTS is based on a darkness theme. By using the stories of legendary Southern monsters, ghosts and cryptids, the cards offer cautionary tales for users looking to explore darker sides of their personalities, relationships or tendencies.

If you haven’t seen the Part 1 of this post series, please check that out because in the last post, I discussed how it came to be during the Kickstarter campaign last summer, and I introduced the first three cards: Mothman, the Bell Witch, and Crimes of Passion.

In today’s installment I’d like to introduce you to three more legends.

So without further ado, let’s delve into some of those stories.

1. Conjured Spirit. When “to conjure” is used as a verb, it means “to influence as if by invocation or spell.” It is a word that implies a drawing near, a summoning. Sometimes we accuse others of “conjuring” up a tall tale, which equates that word with imagination. You’ve dreamed up something; you have “conjured” that out of nowhere. But there is one kind of Conjure that is not child’s play at all.

Conjure is a category of southern folk magic, and often interchangeably referred to by outsiders as hoodoo, voodoo, juju and/or mojo. It is one of a category of African-derived religious practices that mainstream Americans have for years dismissed as devilish superstition. Priests and conjurers were denigrated as witchdoctors, and any non-Christian gods or spirits were denounced as evil. Like many world religions, Conjure embraces the use of necromancy—the practice of magic that summons the dead for the purpose of divination, communication, or other reasons.

The Conjured Spirit card depicts a spirit rising up from the grave. Priests and conjurers warn us that conjuring spirits should be left to only the most knowledgeable and senior practitioners, because summoning spirits from the dark is potentially dangerous. If your intuition summoned this card from the deck, it may be because you are experiencing very bad luck, or attracting unwanted negative energy.

2. The Richmond Vampire. There is a large crypt in Richmond Virginia which used to house the remains of a man named W.W. Pool and his wife. The Pools’ remains have since been moved  for their protection  and preservation, because of the persistent local legend that Mr. Pool was a vampire. Born in England, Pool was an immigrant to Virginia, but otherwise a fairly unremarkable resident: he was a husband, a father, and a bookkeeper for the Bryan estate. However, when locals caught wind of a story that he had supposedly been “run out of” his hometown in England on accusations of vampirism, he was later held in suspicion.

The Richmond Vampire is  an unusual story for the South, in that we don’t often classify our haunts as vampires. Perhaps the idea of a blood-sucking undead monster is too eccentric, even for us. But in 1925, when the Church Hill Tunnel disastrously collapsed, someone believed that they saw—amid the mayhem—a character leaning over one of the victims, and he didn’t seem to be helping. Rather, he seemed to be…threatening them? The witnesses claimed to see blood on the man’s mouth. A chase ensued, and the people chasing the man-creature claim that he disappeared into the crypt of W.W. Pool. This story, combined with the mysterious appearance and style of the tomb, served to convince the locals that the vampire story must be true.

Vampires hold a great deal of symbolic power over us. They are night creatures, undead, wholly different than us humans in the way that they exist. Yet they share our humanity because we believe that they once lived as mortals. We are strangely attracted to them, even as we are repulsed by their violence. The Richmond Vampire card represents being the mysterious other, in ways that are self-destructive. Do not let your ego grow so large that your very persona puts you in danger. Find paths to relatability, without sacrificing your soul.

3. Boo Hag. From the Gullah people of the coastal south, we get the legend of the Boo Hag, a monster who stalks victims in order to steal their breath. In a parallel to vampires, who suck the blood of the living in order to survive, the boo hags “ride” on top of their victims to steal their breath. Worse, they might steal your skin to wear like a suit, in order to remain inconspicuous among the humans.

The Boo Hag is similar to the Boogeyman in the sense that its story is used to warn children of stranger danger, or to keep them obedient: You better listen to your Momma or the Boo Hag gonna come see you tonight. Similar monsters can be found in many other cultures around the world: think of El Coco, or the Sack Man. The large majority of discipline monsters are there to just frighten children into good behavior, and not to actually inflict much damage. Of course, then there’s the Boo Hag, who is quite terrifying.

When you draw the Boo Hag card, there are essentially two ways to look at it. Are you the monster in this scenario, threatening others in order to browbeat them into compliance? Or are you at the other end of the story, in a situation where someone else is threatening you with fear tactics? If there is an aspect of this manipulative pattern taking place in your life, step back and try to understand the root of the conflict.  The air is being sucked from the room: are you the one doing it, or are you the one left gasping? Ask yourself what can be learned from this fear.

The Haunts expansion pack does contain images that are hard to look at; not only because the images might be scary or bloody, but because they invite us to examine shadow sides of ourselves, and our darkest urges and tendencies.


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