Seventeen-year-old Evie O'Neill is thrilled when she is exiled from small-town Ohio to New York City in 1926, even when a rash of occult-based murders thrusts Evie and her uncle, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult, into the thick of the investigation.
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“How do you invent a religion?” Evie asked. Will looked over the top of his spectacles. “You say, ‘God told me the following,’ and then wait for people to sign up.”
“There is no greater power on this earth than story.” Will paced the length of the room. “People think boundaries and borders build nations. Nonsense—words do. Beliefs, declarations, constitutions—words. Stories. Myths. Lies. Promises. History.” Will grabbed the sheaf of newspaper clippings he kept in a stack on his desk. “This, and these”—he gestured to the library’s teeming shelves—“they’re a testament to the country’s rich supernatural history.”
There is nothing more terrifying than the absoluteness of one who believes he's right.
People will believe anything if it means they can go on with their lives and not have to think too hard about it.
People always fear what they don't understand, Evangeline. History proves that.
Often, the monsters we create in our imagination are not nearly as frightening as the monstrous acts perpetrated by ordinary human beings in the aim of one cause or another.
“There is a hideous invention called the Dewey Decimal System. And you have to look up your topic in books and newspapers. Pages upon pages upon pages…” Uncle Will frowned. “Didn’t they teach you how to go about research in that school of yours?” “No. But I can recite ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic’ while making martinis.” “I weep for the future.” “There’s where the martinis come in.”
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