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What You Didn’t Know About Bleak Woods


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01. The most famous Headless Horseman may belong to Washington Irving’s Sleepy Hollow published in 1820. But the legend itself dates back to the medieval era! The Irish has legend about Dullahan (headless fairy riding a black horse and carrying his head). In Middle English poet, there is story about Sir Gawain and the Green Knight which uses decapitation myth. Brothers Grimm collect two stories about German headless horsemen.

02. During Charles Carleton’s execution, a father brings his little son to witness it. This scene is inspired by real event. In Iran, parents may bring their under-age children to witness public hanging. There is a notoriously disturbing photo of a crying adolescent boy, next to an older man, during 2005’s execution of two under-aged gay couple: Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni. Local sources claim that the boy was Asgari’s younger brother.

03. Father Phelps is inspired by notorious Westboro’s founder: Fred Phelps (thank God, he’s dead. Finally!). Father Phelps shares the same misleading doctrine: “God hates fags”. After hearing stories about him, Neal Lucas wonders whether he is Fred Phelps’ ancestor.

04. Father Phelps preaches that their town, Norcross, is plagued by Headless Horseman’s curse because God is punishing the town for hiding a gay man. This belief is inspired by Westboro’s faith that Jesus is punishing USA for harboring gays. In the same sermon, Father Phelps preaches that God is cleaning up his church by allowing the Headless Horseman to slay the religious townspeople. This is inspired by a real Protestant sermon I heard with my own ears about God’s allowing his churches to get vandalized by other religion because those churches were “evil”.

05. A reader points out the coincidental similarity between my character Borden Callahan and the real-life murderess Lizzie Borden. Other than the similarity in name, they both have an axe.

06. My Headless Horseman was originally created as a mute specter. However, I later gave him the ability of telepathy so that he could interact with other characters.

07. There is a sacred ground in Bleak Woods, a place where the Headless Horseman can’t penetrate. I haven’t explained why, but it has something to do with some characters in my upcoming novella series: Demon Master. If many people buy Bleak Woods, I’ll definitely write a sequel/prequel to explore that.

08. The legal age in colonial law started when a person reached 21. Anyone below 21 was deemed an infant! However, children aged 14 and over could legitimately perform various legal actions: witness deeds, testify in courts, select a guardian, bequeath properties in a will, apprentice themselves without parental consent.


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