That’s me. Decapitated!

If for nothing else, my life has prepared me for this blog. I have a doctorate in English and wrote a dissertation on 19th-century American Spiritualist literature. The foundational principle of Spiritualism is that the dead communicate with the living. While the texts I studied were written to comfort the bereaved, this idea that “the veil” is thin and easily crossed is also the basis for most horror. Aiming to scare rather than soothe, horror gives us the return of the dead without the sentimentality: No longer gentle spirits whispering words of love, they are poltergeists blowing down the doors, vampires draining our blood, and zombies eating our brains. It’s all so much more exciting than a Victorian seance! 

Before university, there was nothing I loved more than curling up in a chair and uncritically consuming paperback horror–Salem’s Lot, Night Things, and so on. However, following countless courses in literary theory, I discovered that the thrill was gone. Unable to turn off my training, I couldn’t identify closely with characters or feel the immediacy of fictional threats. This blog is part of my continuing effort to reignite those feelings of excitement and remember how to enjoy a good read. 

While I loved studying Spiritualism, it was time to move on. After years in academia and living in my head, I wanted to explore my interests in a more concrete way. So I became a funeral director. In this role, I learned the ins-and-outs of the medical examiner’s office, the science of lividity, and the best lighting for pale skin. For almost a decade, I spent my days surrounded by the props and scaffolding of horror–caskets, urns, and drab velvet curtains. It was wonderful until it wasn’t. I eventually got tired of those 2 am calls.

So, you see, my life has been equal parts scholarly and scary, a perfect combination for a horror critic and the most direct path to where I am now–at the start of a new adventure: Tracy’s Terrors. 

When I am not reading horror, I am cuddling Vampullet and her flock mates, growing food, or cross stitching reproductions of memorial samplers. If you, too, are interested in chickens, please visit my other site,