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Human Sacrifice, Ancient Gods and Lady Fern

One of my favourite things about the writing process is the research I do. There is so much intriguing/stunning/horrifying information out there, and writing let’s me delve into things I probably wouldn’t have touched otherwise.

Here are a few of my favourite discoveries:

Lady Fern

lady fern

My parents love gardening (meaning they revere it religiously), and I wanted to be a witch when I was younger (as we all do, non?) so I knew – to a very small extend – how useful herbs and plants can be before I started my research. Sage, for example, can be used for just about everything. It can be used to treat a wound, to stop a wound from becoming infected, it can be used as a painkiller, and has many more uses I would not have known about if it wasn’t for my writing.

In Rise of the Sparrows I refer to lady fern, which has very similar uses to sage. If you roll it up between your palms to form a rough mash, you can use the juices to ease stinging nettle burns, minor cuts and any other stings or burns. That’s precisely what it’s used for in my book – Cale treats Cephy’s burnt and blistered hands with a paste he’s made from lady fern.

Human Sacrifice

I won’t lie – I was excited to research this. The traditions of human sacrifice aren’t something you hear about often, but thanks to my books having a rather dark side I got to do a bit of research.

evil laugh

The Incas were kinder than expected. They sacrificed mostly children to prevent natural disasters, such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and floods, and believed that the sacrificed children would go on to a better afterlife. While they also sacrificed prisoners, they raised children specifically for the task. Those children were treated extremely well before they were killed, had feasts in their honour and they got to meet the emperor. Between that and the promise of a better afterlife,Β they probably thought they were doing the kids a favour.

The Hawaiians, on the other hand, have a much darker history than I ever knew. They sacrificed captives, often chiefs from other tribes, by hanging them upside down from wooden racks and anointed a priest with the sweat from the sacrifices. They then beat them until smooth (imagine tenderising your cut of beef before you cook it), eviscerated them, and finally cooked the flesh to be eaten by the priest and tribe chief. At times they ate them raw, too.

And then there were the aztecs, the carthaginians, the etruscans,… But I’ll leave you to do your own research if you’d like to know more – it’s a fascinating subject πŸ˜‰

Japanese Mythology

I was quite excited to delve into this one, too. One of the countries in my trilogy, Midoka, is very loosely based on Japan, and to do it justice I thought I’d research their mythology and came across a very interesting creation myth. I won’t bore you with the details here if that’s not your thing, but if you like you can read more about the one here.

While reading up on Japanese myths I got sidetracked by a few other creation myths as well. Did you know that it’s a very common belief across many religions that one day the world will be reborn? (you’ll have to excuse me if everyone but me knew this already, I’m not very religious)

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got research to do πŸ˜‰ (regarding the end of the universe, as well as theories around multiple universes and parallel worlds)

What’s the most interesting research you’ve done? What’s the strangest? Grab a cookie and let’s chat!


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  1. Methods of execution in 1800s China. Poop decks. Filigree rings for men. All for the same project.

  2. I love to hear what other writers have been researching. My latest searches into google have been on how to fire a gun correctly – I believe I am a pro now, although, I’ve never handled a gun EVER. The most disturbing things I have looked up are- waterboarding, pharmacological torture, and what happens to a persons head if shot at point blank range. Bit of light reading, you know how it is πŸ˜‰

    • A normal day at the office, I see πŸ˜‰ Pharmacological torture sounds very interesting, I should take a look at that! … For professional purposes, of course πŸ™‚

  3. Sometimes, you’ll see me scrolling through witchcraft and ghost stories. Occasionally, you’ll find notes about witchcraft and devil worship on scattered pieces of paper. Sigh. I could be difficult to explain at times.

    • I think saying ‘I’m a writer’ should be explanation enough. My character might be a sadistic satanist, but I’m not!

  4. Wow! I love researching and these all seem so interesting! I definitely need to check these out.I like researching about things like ‘The Bermuda Triangle’ and ‘Mary Celeste’ and unsolved mysteries of the world. Looking at different theories is what I enjoy a lot. For e.g ‘Was Shakespeare A Real Person?’ and other topics. Wonderful Blog and keep up the cookie-tastic (I don’t think that’s a word) blogs.

    • I do, too, the research is one of my favourite parts πŸ™‚ Unsolved Mysteries are also very interesting. When I was fifteen I had a folder with fifty printed pages worth of Atlantis info πŸ˜› (all from the same source, I think it was Wikipedia – I was very new to the internet and didn’t know what I was doing)
      Well, it’s a word now πŸ˜‰ Thank you for stopping by again! There’ll be plenty of cookies in the future πŸ˜‰

  5. These are some intriguing research topics! It’s a great idea to share them in a post! Mythology is something I love researching (I have about three different books about different mythologies in the world). With Pirate Eyes, I’ve done a lot of research on pirates & ships & sword fighting.

Get a tea and a cookie, and let's chat!

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