Hidden is here, the latest book by the mother-daughter team of P.C. and Kristen Cast in their their best-selling House of Night series, which is set in an alternate-universe version of my hometown, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA -- a version of Tulsa that has, among other interesting inhabitants, vampyres (that's the Casts' spelling). (I had the delight of writing an essay about the ways in which the authors reimagine the most Gothic sites in Tulsa for the collection Nyx in the House of Night: Folklore, Religion, and Myth in the PC and Kristin Cast Vampyre Series.)
Many of the places described in the novels truly exist (including Street Cats, a non-profit rescue for felines, Utica Square, the Starbucks there, St. Joseph Monastery, and the school attended by protagonist Zoey Redbird -- and yours truly -- South Intermediate High School).
In honor of Hidden's publication, I thought I might revisit my quick tour of some of the most interesting "real life" places in Tulsa that feature in the series, several of which are reputed to be haunted.
- Cascia Hall, a Catholic college preparatory school, has changed hands in their novels, and it's now the House of Night academy for vampyre fledglings.
- The gorgeous art deco Union Depot, now the Tulsa Jazz Hall of Fame, figures prominently in the novels.
- A pivotal scene later in the series takes place in the park at Gilcrease Museum, and the infamous Gilcrease Mansion (on the museum grounds) serves as a hideout for a key character.
- One of my favorite places in Tulsa, Philbrook Museum of Art, is the setting for some of the series' most significant action, along with Philbrook's elaborate gardens.
Can't you imagine vampyres hanging out here?
- Last but most definitely not least are the famous Tulsa tunnels running underneath the city's downtown and connecting many of its most prominent buildings. Originally built to move freight, the tunnels became popular with the more security-conscious of the wealthy businessmen after the 1932 kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby. Rumor has it these tunnels also moved alcohol during Prohibition -- supplying the oil needed to fuel the oil tycoons, as it were. In the Casts' novels, the tunnels become the territory of a new breed of so-called "red vampyres." Click here to see a photo set of the tunnels and the buildings they connect. Click here to read more about the tunnels.
Excerpt: Of all the Cherokee wizards or witches the most dreaded is the Raven Mocker (Kâ'lanû Ahkyeli'skï), the one that robs the dying man of life. They are of either sex and there is no sure way to know one, though they usually look withered and old, because they have added so many lives to their own.
At night, when some one is sick or dying in the settlement, the Raven Mocker goes to the place to take the life. He flies through the air in fiery shape, with arms outstretched like wings, and sparks trailing behind, and a rushing sound like the noise of a strong wind. Every little while as he flies he makes a cry like the cry of a raven when it "dives" in the air--not like the common raven cry--and those who hear are afraid, because they know that some man's life will soon go out.
Read James Mooney's complete description of the Raven Mockers here.