Cathville Haunting (Book 2) Research

The Cathville Haunting is Vol 2 in the Jack Raven Ghost Mystery Series. It takes place in the fictional town of Cathville, Arkansas. Jack is hired to eradicate a ecto-mist in the backwoods where secrets are buried deep in the soil.

Arkansas’s wonderful cuisine, people, cultural beliefs, critters, woods, snakes, bats, fried pickles, and Ozark superstitions was great fun researching. Below are some of the tidbits of what I used in the book.


Ecto-mists ( ecto mist or ecto). This is a vaporous energy field that’s a popular sighting in cemeteries.

They form as a fog, mist, smoke, cloud, haze, swirling effect, or an orb, which hold their consistency. Ecto-mists are translucent and appear as white, bluish gray, pale gray, rose, green, or black. They often glow. Their size varies.

They can change shapes and some have faces. They usually float several feet off the ground and move quickly. A dip of 10 to 20 degrees is usually noted. They are not associated with any sounds.

They have been sighted at all hours and are sometimes seen with ghosts lights at night.

It’s speculated that the phenomena is an apparition that is attempting to manifest, but unable. Some paranormal researchers believe the mist is actually a byproduct of a spirit, or is a vaporous state that forms before the spirit appears full-bodied.

Sometimes an ecto-mist is referred to as Ectoplasm. During the rise of spiritualism in the late 1800’s, Charles Richet was the first to use the term to describe physical manifestations secreted from the ears, nose, or mouth of a psychic medium while in trance. Those displays were later determined to be hoaxes by fraudulent mediums.


Cudweed. (Gnaphalium obtusifolium) is also called rabbit tobacco or field balsam. It is/was smoked by country folks and Native Americans (who also put it on heated stones), specifically the Lakotas who used it in sweat lodge rites of purification.

It was used  to cross the threshold to an alternate reality and crossover the veil in order to meet the users’ ancestors. It has a sweet scent which some describe as vanilla or cinnamon.

It was and still is used as medicine for asthma, respiratory conditions, strokes, depression, colitis, burns, ulcers, and general pain.

Its scent, life-force, and psychic powers were thought by the Native Americans to last for years. The herb is also thought to absorb the energies it’s exposed to. Around evil, it can open the door to negative spirits.

You can buy a cudweed tonic on Amazon that claims to relief stress, improve mood, and calm your spirit.  You can find more information about Ozark herbs on Granny Woman Ozark Herbs


Yarb Doctors. Also called herb, rubbing, power, or nature doctors, yarbs (an Ozark pronunciation of herb) are found in the backwoods of Appalachian country.

Yarb doctors are the male equivalent of granny women. They’re herbalist and don’t study medicine. Many preachers did doctorin on the side. They mainly use herbs, barks, leaves, and roots to make remedy teas or mix the plants with honey to make syrups. The original root beer was a yarb medicine (saraparilla and sassafras roots).

The origins of cold lozenges may be credited to yarb doctors. Horehound was soaked on the stove for a few days then boiled down to a thick concentrate. It was then mixed with honey and spread on a baking sheet. When dry, it was brittle and was broken into small pieces to suck on.

The mother of Meriwether Lewis of Lewis and Clark fame was a woman yarb doctor.

The Herbal Apothecary on Amazon profiles 100 medicinal plants with instructions for making herbal teas, tinctures, compresses, and salves to treat everything from muscle strain to the common cold or anxiety. Also  includes advice for growing and foraging medicinal plants.


Poppets. Also called a baby doll, voodoo doll, fetch, or fetish. These sometimes cute, sometimes scary handcrafted dolls use sympathetic magick: like creates like.

The poppet’s magick will affect the person it represents. They are used to attract, retain, heal, or banish.  Poppets are popular in casting love spells and sticking pins in with murder on the mind, or at least the hopes of giving an enemy a bad cold.

I was inspired by Terra LunaWolf’s book My Fetch Poppets and Voodoo Dolls to create my own poppet, which I name, what else, but Morowa.


Spirit Animals. The main character in the series is Jack Raven and her Spirit Animal is the strong, independent, and stubborn Bull.

Ex-boyfriend and ex-con, Levi Cardona, is guided by the wild and free Horse. The transformative Snake plays a significant role in the story and the series.

Each of us have our own Spirit Animal guide who assists us in growing, surviving, and transitioning to the next leg of our journey.

Take the quiz to identify your own Spirit Animal guide and learn ways to most effectively use their energy for your highest good.


Deep Fried Pickles.  Jack gets hooked on this popular Arkansas favorite. I’d never heard of and thought I’d never want a fried pickles, but turns out they are pretty tasty.

Fried pickles were popularized by Bernell “Fatman” Austin in 1963 at the Duchess Drive-In located in Atkins, Arkansas; a town made famous by its annual Picklefest.

Here is the fried pickle recipe I used in the Cozy Comfort Recipes  cookbook. Sign up and get all the recipes in this ebook including Jack’s favorite Green Chai Tea for a supernatural boost.  If you are a subscriber and didn’t get a copy of the ebook, contact me for a copy of this free ebook.  Otherwise, sign up in the sidebar and download it now.

2-4 Servings

  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 2 cups sliced dill pickles, drained
  • or 2 cups whole pickles, sliced into 4 spears each
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt to taste

In a large bowl, mix buttermilk and egg. Drain the pickles and add to mixture.

In a square casserole dish, mix flour, cornmeal, and seasoning.

With a slotted spoon add the pickles to the dry mixture a few at a time. Coat well and shake off excess.

Add 2 inches of oil to a large pot or deep-fryer. Heat to 375o F.  Add pickles to oil, a few at a time. Fry 1-2 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from oil with slotted spoon and drain on a sheet tray lined with paper towels. Serve immediately with sauce dips below.


Credit: Bicolored Cudweek photo by NatureShutterbug 

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