Jamie MacPherson of MacPherson’s Rant
Jamie MacPherson was a real person, born in 1675 and executed on November 16, 1700.  The story Jimmy relates is accurate, as far as any of the stories of legendary people can be accurate.

The link below will provide additional information on MacPherson.

My favorite rendition of MacPherson’s Rant is performed by the Corries. I encourage you to give it a listen.

Mortuary Caves in Ancient Scotland
The crypt described in the story is based on a sea cave in Moray.

The researchers have digitally mapped the caves, so people can explore without necessitating a callout to the local search and rescue.

Dark Lochnagar
The lines from the poem recited by the tech in the cave of the dead came from Lord Byron’s poem, Dark Lochnagar. Written in 1807, the poem expresses the author’s bone-deep sense of his heritage. Lord Byron spent his childhood in northeast Scotland, where he used to visit Lochnagar in Highland Aberdeenshire.

Rugby and Missing Ears
A trial in 2013 for unlawful wounding during a rugby game centered on one player biting off a piece of the ear of another. It happened during a collapsed scrum, under a pile of bodies, so the referees had not witnessed the assault. The biter severed the cartilage and detached part of the rim. The piece of ear allegedly bitten off had not been seen since the scrum. I can only imagine what became of it.

Pictish Warrior
Domnall son of Drest was modeled after a Pictish warrior found in a cave on the Black Isle. (Note that this warrior lost his life sometime between 430 and 630 A.D. and would not have run into Sigurd, who left this earth in 892 A.D.) The young man suffered at least five severe head injuries that fractured his face and skull before he died. The article provided in the link below details the horrible beating he took.

Someone placed his body in a dark alcove of a cave, laying him on his back and placing him in an unusual cross-legged position before weighing him down with large beach stones placed on his arms and legs.

The researchers performed a facial reconstruction after gathering up all the pieces of skull. They describe him as strikingly handsome. Follow the link to see the man.

Sigurd and Máel
The story of Sigurd and Máel is true. I first heard the tale while ridge walking in the UK.

Modwen is a character I made up, but her death is modeled after a description from a manuscript found in 1923 in Iran. The manuscript was written by Ibn Fadlān around the year AD 921and it describes how he was invited to witness a Viking chieftain being cremated on his boat on the banks of the River Volga. The ceremony culminated with the ritualized killing of a slave-girl. The method of execution was reflected in Modwen’s wounds.

Taylor, T. 2002. The Buried Soul: How Humans Invented Death. Beacon Press.

Maggie Wall Witch Monument
Maggie Wall’s monument can be found outside the small village of Dunning, along the B8062.

Gurkha Heroism
Jimmy’s Napalese friend, Dipprasad Gurung, was modeled after two Gurkhas of unquestionable bravery. I cite below their actions. I encountered the story about the parachute school here:

Lachhiman Gurung of the 8th Gurkha Rifles served in Burma during World War II. He and his men were taken by surprise when Japanese troops opened fire and lobbed three grenades into their trench. Lachhiman managed to throw two of the grenades back at the 200 Japanese soldiers. The third blew up in his hand, taking a few fingers, most of his right arm, and sending shrapnel into his face and leg. Partially blind and bleeding profusely, Lachhiman struggled to move, but still managed to show the world why Gurkhas have the reputation of being such bad-asses. Pulling his Kukri knife with his good hand, he stabbed the ground, and thundered that none of the Japanese soldiers would make it past that knife. He then picked up his rifle and chambered a round, inviting the enemy to “come fight a Gurkha.” Lachhiman fought for hours, laying down until the Japanese were on top of his position, and then firing and chambering a new round one-handed. By the next morning, 31 Japanese soldiers lay dead. Lachhiman was hospitalized through the end of the war after this action and lost partial vision in his right eye and the use of his right arm. He was awarded the Victoria Cross, Great Britain’s highest military honor, and was the only recipient still alive when his command presented medals for the battle.

Dipprasad Pun of the Royal Gurkha Rifles was serving in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province in 2010. While manning a two-story outpost, Taliban fighters surrounded him, and he had to fight for his life with no back-up. Believing he would die in the assault, he aimed to take as many of the enemy with him as possible. In all, he fired off 250 machine gun rounds, 180 SA80 rounds, threw six phosphorous grenades and six normal grenades, and one Claymore mine. When a Taliban fighter climbed the side of the tower adjacent to the guard house, hopped on to the roof and rushed him, he even threw the tripod from his machine gun in the guy’s face, sending him plummeting from the tower. If Dipprasad had a kitchen sink, we probably would have seen that flying off the outpost. He kept this up until reinforcements arrived, who discovered this one man had taken out 30 Taliban on his own. Dipprasad was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.

Right to Silence (United Kingdom)
According to the US Miranda Rights, what you say can be used against you in a court of law. In contrast, holding your tongue in the UK can be used against you if you are arrested. It is in your best interest to declare your alibi ASAP if you are arrested in the UK.

Mental Illness and the Ability to Consent
Striking the balance between protecting vulnerable people from sexual abuse and allowing people to live a fully human life is complicated. Psychiatric professionals are expected to perform capacity assessments, and these assessments may change depending on a huge number of factors. For more on this thorny dilemma, read the article below.

Mental Illness in Colonial America
Understanding how Phebe perceived Katie MacPherson’s condition led me to the article below.

ELDRIDGE, L. (1996). "Crazy Brained": Mental Illness in Colonial America. Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 70(3), 361-386. Retrieved August 30, 2021, from

Phebe’s elixir for Katie also comes from this article.

There was a particular passage that caught my eye on p. 372 of the article:
“…he described the unfortunate condition of Mrs. Hopkins, wife of Connecticut’s Governor Edward Hopkins and aunt of Elihu Yale, founder of Yale University. She “was fallen into a sad infirmity, the loss of her understanding and reason, which had been growing upon her diverse years.” This happened because she gave “herself wholly to reading and writing, and had written many books.”

I have a sad fate ahead of me if this is true.

Body Language of Lying
All the little nuances displayed when Kirk Ritchie lied were culled from the sources below.

EKMAN, P. (2001). Telling Lies: Clues to Deceit in the Marketplace, Politics, and Marriage. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

11 Signs Someone Might Be Lying to You

10 FBI Tips On How to Spot the Liar

Copyright © 2016-2024 Favis Literary LLC

​​Reyna Favis