The Librarians and the Heart of Darkness

IMDB : aired January 11, 2014 : previous episode  
index and explanation of these posts


You’ve seen those movies with haunted houses? Yeah. Like that. Only not.

(This is probably the time to note that horror movies are not a thing I watch easily, and thus I suspect there are rather a lot of references in this episode I am not going to spot. Feel free to tell me interesting things about that in comments.)


This week’s plot gets me thinking about what’s helpful and what’s not when we think we’re helping other people.

Moments in search. Searching for ‘Ur Adobe’ is suprisingly complicated, due to the number of people using netspeak when talking about Adobe programs. (Actually, all the house names except one are hard to search, because they’re common terms in various ways.)

I ended up being tight on time this week, so I did not spend quite as much time digging to see if I could find meaningful results, but I would normally have done a number of iterations of Name and “haunted house”  or Name haunted, with quotes as needed for multiple word names, and various other terms, like ‘horror’ or ‘ghost’ 0r ‘haunting’ or ‘mystery’.


Nitra, Slovakia. Prague. (Apparently they have been chasing around eastern Europe. It’s about a four drive, but a different country, between the two, these days. Incidentally, the most likely route takes you through Bratislava, where I spent an afternoon some years ago, and which has a lot of fascinating history.)

Zou Yan was a Chinese philosopher in the 2nd century BCE.

19th century american frontier house (which, okay, didn’t necessarily look like that)

House on the Haunted Hill. There are rather a lot of sorority horror movies.

Ur Adobe. The Dionaea House (warning for the maze of links that is TVTropes – incidentally, the author is Eric Heisserer, which explains the Heisserer Index earlier). The Shatterbox. The Final Rest. The House of Refuge. The Soul Cage. (All hard to search, as noted above, except the one.)

1350 (the Final Rest destroyed). 1883 (first sighting of the Shatterbox – there appears to be no meaningful reference for Abigail Munson)

Rosemary’s Baby.

What are little girls made of” is a traditional children’s song/rhyme.


The Book of the Bright Stars is one of the less commonly used names for The Book of the Fixed Stars, by Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi. As Stone says, the original manuscript is lost, but it survives in others and translations. It took some of the classical texts on astronomy, compared them with observations by various Arabic astronomers, and refined them. There’s currently no translation in English (there’s one in progress).

Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, you can see scans of one of the manuscripts – go here, and click on the little “+ view item” in the bottom right of the image when you hover over that area. (You can also try this link, which should take you to page 37, which is about where the constellation charts begin: there’s an illustration then several pages of text, then the next constellation). Other editions here, here, and here. (If you hadn’t figured it out, this is a book I’ve come across and been fascinated about before.)

Texarkana. Fort Smith was active from 1817 to 1871ish.

Ashes, ashes, they all fall down” is from a nursery rhyme first in print in 1881, but dating before that (if you’ve heard the thing about that referring to the plague, that’s likely not true.) “Driving six white horses when she comes” is from a song that started as an African-American song, and has become a common children’s tune.

I can’t place the phonograph song.

Star Trek transporter. Tardis. (The first, for anyone reading this not up on their respective sources, is a teleporter, the later moves in both space and time.)

Comments on the historical Benders:

  • Kate Bender was somewhat older than the Katie here (though, y’know, magic and stuff affects that) – she was likely in her twenties.
  • The house they lived in did not look like the house in the show (it was basically a two room sort of thing, as common in the prairie states at around that time). You can see photos here, from the nearest town. Also some over here.
  • They did, however, pretty much disappear after they were almost caught.
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Hi, I’m Jen

Librarian, infovore, and general geek, likely to write comments about books, link collections, and other thoughts related to how we find, use, and take joy in information.

I'm the Research Librarian at the Perkins School for the Blind

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