Friday, July 1, 2016

Top Ten Mind-Blowing Historical Facts and Legends from Oubliette—A Forgotten Little Place by Vanta M. Black

An oubliette was a pit or dungeon where prisoners and criminals were thrown and “forgotten”. Oubliette—A Forgotten Little Place by Vanta M. Black is set in a fictional castle in France and features several intertwining stories of those who met their demise in its oubliette.  

A modern story of two scrappy American sisters who are lured to decorate the castle acts as the main artery and weaves the stories together. This book is crazy-intricate. One story feeds into another and they all come together wickedly at the end. 

After Black learned about the real oubliette at Leap Castle in Ireland, she was inspired to write this book. She even went to visit the owner of Leap as part of her research. She also visited castles in the Loire Valley and the Catacombs of Paris. Additionally, she calls on her own childhood experiences with mysterious things called “shadow people”. Plus the historical references are all researched and authentic. 

You’re going to scratch your head after reading it and wonder if that really could have happened…and the disturbing answer is yes.

1. During the time of the Black Death—the plague in France—there really were nut cases called the Flagellents who went on parade flogging themselves throughout the countryside. And just like in Oubliette, they really weren’t happy with how the Church handled things. They were a cult and caused a lot more harm than good. You’ll find them referenced in Father Michel’s Story in Oubliette.

2. According to history, Helena was the mother of Constantine. It’s documented that she went to the Holy Land and discovered relics like shards of the cross Jesus died on and the Spear of Longinus that pierced His side. And in Sebastian’s Story in Oubliette, she is given a delicious backstory that could actually be true.

3. Absinth was invented in Switzerland around the time of the French Revolution and Dr. Ordinaire actually traveled the French countryside touting it as a cure for whatever ails you. The elixir allegedly contained wormwood which caused madness and visions. In Oubliette it is given to a pregnant Josette-Camille in The Journal Intime, raising the questions: is it the absinth, the voices, the oubliette, or her own sanity that taunts her?

4. The Children’s Story in Oubliette is loosely based on accusations that King Richard III of England murdered his two nephews to secure the crown for himself. The children in Oubliette are brother and sister, but they share a similar, desperate fate.

5. The controversial necromancy scene in The Pagan’s Story in Oubliette is based on a real myth about a knight who mourned the sudden death of his future bride. Legend has it that he crept into her tomb at night to consummate their love. This launched a chain of events that created a powerful force that the Knights Templar used in battle to defeat their enemies.

6. There really is a legend of a lady who becomes enamored by her husband’s prisoner while he is off battling Protestant uprisings in the name of the Church during the Reformation. This is the inspiration for Dorothée’s Story.

7. Just like Ralph explains in Veronica’s Story, the Knights Templar actually were accused of worshiping a magical “head”. Some legends say it was the head of John the Baptist, others the head of a demon.

8. During the time of the Plague, the Pope did issue a decree that cut himself off from all contact with the outside world in an effort to prevent infection. The Church did blame Jews and witches for the malady, just like in the opening of Father Michel’s Story.

9. The Paris Catacombs are a real place, and Vanta M. Black visited them while researching Oubliette—A Forgotten Little Place. Thousands of bodies were emptied from their graves over the years to fill the twisting and turning maze. Though most of the Paris Underground is off limits to tourists, there are areas that people manage to get into. Parties and other mischief are known to happen in it.

10. Vanta M. Black was terrorized by things known as “shadow people” as a child. This phenomenon has been documented throughout time. In some cases they have been called succubus or incubus. Some legends refer to “The Old Hag”. Whatever they are, they not only haunted Vanta for many years like they do the main character in the book Oubliette, but they once revealed themselves to someone else as it was about to attack Vanta while sleeping. To this day Vanta doesn’t know what they are, but she does know they are more common than most people would like to admit.

Oubliette: A Forgotten Little Place
Vanta M. Black

Genre: Fiction, Thriller, Paranormal, 
Historical Fiction, Genre-Fiction, 
New Adult, Horror

Publisher: Black Chateau Publishing

Date of Publication: March 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9964488-2-6
ISBN: 978-0-9964488-1-9
ISBN: 978-0-9964488-0-2

Number of pages: 566
Word Count: 247,912

Cover Artist: Black Chateau Enterprises

Book Description:

Veronica knows the monsters aren’t “just in her head”, but no one listens to the headstrong ten-year-old as they tie her to a hospital bed every night.

Years later, after being dumped by her business-partner/boyfriend, Veronica finds herself on the verge of bankruptcy. Then a late-night call promises the perfect solution — a job opportunity decorating a castle in France.

Will Veronica risk what little she has left to chase a fairytale?

When the shadowy things that once terrorized her come back, Veronica must decide how much she’ll sacrifice for them, for her sanity, and for her life.

This epic book consists of interwoven stories with paranormal twists. A horror-filled historical fiction adventure, it spans nearly two millennia.

You'll be transported to an ancient Pagan ritual, Roman-ruled Gaul, the bloody Inquisition of the Knights Templar, France as it's ravaged by the Black Death, the duplicitous Reformation, the Paris Catacombs, and the gory French Revolution, while you unravel Oubliette’s cryptic layers.

Amazon    BN    Author Website

Los Angeles – Early 1990s

eronica didn’t understand why they looked for the monsters in her head, that’s obviously not where they were. Instead of listening, the doctors stuck pads with wires to her temples and increased the dosage of an IV that dripped into her veins.
They also told the nurses to tie her down with thick, leather belts every night.
The tethers didn’t matter though, because when the monsters came, she wouldn’t be able to move anyway. The only thing Veronica could ever do was scream.
The doctors called them “night terrors”. The pudgy lady who talked funny –– she told Veronica it was her accent –– said they were “spirits”. Mommy used the term “shadow people”. Veronica just called them “monsters”, and wished they’d stop scaring her when she slept.
They wanted her. Deep inside, on a primal level, Veronica knew the monsters –– or whatever they were –– craved her, and if given the chance, they would do something very, very bad to her.
The little girl tried to explain this to the doctors, the nurses, the accent-talking lady, and her mother, but none of the adults really listened. Instead they argued and shouted at each other, and huffed in and out of the room –– but the thing that frightened Veronica the most, is when the adults would simply shrug their shoulders, and admit that they really didn’t have any idea what the monsters were at all.
It was almost ten o’clock –– shift-change time. The night staff would come now. The nurse on duty was a plodding and lazy lady who would only check on Veronica at the beginning of the shift, and then abandon her in favor of the nurses’ station and a VHS tape of the day’s soap operas. Veronica didn’t like her. Sometimes it would take “Nurse Lazy” a full five minutes before she’d respond. She never came fast enough.
Veronica tried to tell the doctors that the nurse was too slow, but the complaints of a ten-year-old weren’t taken seriously against the word of the lazy nurse who smiled sweetly and said, “Poor dear and those dreadful night terrors. I always come running as fast as I can!”
Veronica cringed as the television automatically turned itself off. It always happened at ten o’clock; it was on a timer. She wasn’t sure why, but she felt it protected her and wished more than anything it could stay on. The noise, the pictures, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, there was something inexplicable about the TV that kept the monsters away. 
Veronica’s pleas to leave the television on all night were never honored by the adults. Nurse Lazy actually once told her, “Oh, we can’t leave the TV on, it’ll give you bad dreams.”
Ha! Little did she know the TV prevented the bad dreams.
The door opened and in walked Nurse Lazy. Her metal nameplate actually read “Lucy”. She handed Veronica a little paper cup with a green pill inside and waited with a thin, forced smile. The longer Veronica took to take her medicine, the longer Nurse Lazy would have to wait until she could watch her soaps.
Veronica plucked the pill out of the cup. “Aren’t they ’sposed to be yellow?”
Lucy flared her nostrils ever so slightly as she replied, “No, your new doctor prescribed the green ones. Hurry up and take it.”
Veronica studied the pill closely, holding it inches from her nose. She looked at it slightly cross-eyed. “I don’t think I like the green ones though. Yellows are better.”
Lucy’s trembling hand clutched a Dixie cup of water. “That’s for the doctors to decide. Now eat it up! Time for sleep.”
Veronica painstakingly laid the pill on her tongue and grunted for the nurse to hand her the water.
Lucy thrust it forward. “Here, drink!”
Veronica pouted, though she knew the cute face wouldn’t work on ol’ Lazy.
“Thanks,” she muttered as the nurse buckled down Veronica’s arms and legs and pulled the covers up to her chest.
“Goodnight,” Lucy grumbled. She snatched the mermaid doll that sat by Veronica’s side, and tossed it on the nightstand before careening out the door.
Random acts of meanness like that weren’t uncommon for Lucy. Veronica sniffed as the silence left in the nurse’s wake permeated the room.
Then familiar, tinny tunes from a transistor radio wafted through the air. It hung from the janitor’s cleaning cart. He always blared it while mopping the halls. There was that song again. Some stupid radio station played it almost every night right around this time. Veronica stared at her doll on the nightstand, just out of reach, as the lyrics began:

Dream the dream that only you can dream
Sing the song that only you can sing
Dance with me, we’ll start slow
Clasp my hand, now lose control
Bite the monster only you can see
And dream the dream you only dream for me

Veronica tried to squish her head into the stiff pillow so her ears were covered, but it didn’t work. The heavy metal song’s pounding chorus kicked in.

Spirits in the maze
Burning brighter
Like a dream within the haze
Dancing fire
Deep inside malaise
Hungry spider
Force your screams to blaze
Spinning spiral

The song frightened her. It seemed to always precede a particularly bad episode. She really wished she had the yellow pills. She felt defenseless as sleep consumed her. The green pills would be no help if one of the bad ones came…the real Bad Ones, that is.
She twisted her head and glared into the large mirror on the wall across the room. People watched her from inside there. Veronica wasn’t sure if they were the doctors, the accent lady, or maybe even her mother, but every now and then someone would move, the light would catch just right, and she would see a figure behind the glass. Dimly, she watched them watch her. They studied her and talked about her and wrote notes about her on clipboards. Knowing they were there gave Veronica little comfort because they weren’t there to help; they were only there to watch.
Her sleepy eyes narrowed at the watchers and she whispered with dopey lips, “What, no popcorn? You gonna stare at me all night and you got no stinking popcorn? You’re all a bunch of stupid heads, ya’ know that? Stooopid heads...”
Sleep quietly took over while Veronica cursed the stupid heads behind the glass. She jerked her droopy neck to force herself awake, but the green pill was powerful. It pushed her into the darkness where the shadow people waited.
Veronica, here we are!
Veronica, time to steal your dreams.
Time to let us steal your dreams and break your bones and slip your soul right out of your slimy sack of skin…Veronica!
She fought to wake up. With all her might she tried to scream, but the green pill seized her motor functions and paralyzed her. She was like a petrified slab of meat laid out on a table –– unable to move, unable to cry out, unable to defend herself.
Do you know the evil that you dream, Veronica?
Do you know the song that only you can sing?
In the limbo between sleep and lucidity Veronica sensed their heinous presence with crystal-clarity. She was hyper-alert and instinctively knew these were the real Bad Ones. Without looking she saw one crouching in the far corner of the room. It glared at her intently and oozed animosity. It waited patiently, almost casually, for Veronica to succumb.
With a sudden surge of intense willpower she cried out — just a little — it was a tiny whimper that was barely audible. It wasn’t loud enough to scare the shadow people away though, and it definitely wasn’t loud enough for anyone living to hear.
Another Bad One pulled itself onto the foot of her bed. This one was small and hairy like an animal. Scrooching under the blanket, it crept slowly along the side of her bare leg. It felt for a nook to burrow — a soft place like her stomach or side so it could squirm and writhe itself into her flesh — where it could rip her apart from the inside out.
“Help,” Veronica whispered one last time before falling into the dark depths of sleep –– deep, down, spinning ‘round, until the darkness took a hold…

About the Author:

Vanta M. Black, author of Oubliette—A Forgotten Little Place, enjoys uncovering the dark mysteries of our Universe.

In addition to writing,  she enjoys traveling to provocative places and studying all things esoteric.

Black has degrees in English, communication and art. She resides in Southern California with her husband and two pug-mix dogs, and spends her time in support of causes that empower women and advance science and technology.

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1 comment:

Vanta said...

Thank you for posting this artcle. It looks great and really captures the essence of my book. XOXO