I infused Smithy with references to famous figures, haunted history, favorite authors and TV shows, and inside references for my friends. Here is a sampling of such Easter eggs and behind-the-scenes trivia:
The fictitious house Trevor Hall is named after a co-author of The Haunting of Borley Rectory--A Critical Survey of the Evidence (1956).
Members of the Trevor family (e.g., Victoria, David, Curtis) are named for characters from the TV show "Dark Shadows" and its creator Dan Curtis.
The fictitious house Herbert Terrace is named after the scientist who spearheaded Project Nim, an early primate language study in the 1970s.
The original owner of this house, Jonathan Herbert, is named after actor Jonathan Herbert Frid ("Dark Shadows" Seizure).
Piers Preis-Herald is named after British ghost hunter Harry Price, who investigated the haunting of Borley Rectory.
Ruby Cardini is named after the restaurant chain Ruby's Diner. I brainstormed plot and character details of Smithy while lunching one afternoon at the Redondo Beach location on the waterfront (unfortunately, this location permanently closed during the 2020 lockdown).
Wanda Karlewicz is named for my friend Teresa and actor John Karlen (born John Karlewicz) of "Dark Shadows," Daughters of Darkness, and "Cagney & Lacey" fame.
Tammy Cohen is named after a character on the TV show "Mad Men" and author Daniel Cohen, whose books about the spooky and the supernatural written for young readers were favorites from my childhood.
Wanda's fellow researchers and co-authors Judy Caswell and Roger Keene are named for my friends who passed away in 2013 and 2007, respectively.
Before the Internet took off, psychologist Philip Zimbardo sold videos or DVDs of Quiet Rage, a documentary about his notorious Stanford Prison Experiment, through a PO box in Stanford, CA. Piers's PO Box in Stamford, CT uses the same number. Piers's PO Box is fictitious (the zip code isn't even for Stamford). Quiet Rage can now be ordered online: https://www.prisonexp.org/
The Black Pearl, where Ruby celebrates her birthday, served as the exterior for the Blue Whale pub in "Dark Shadows."
The White Horse Tavern, another birthday dinner spot, is said to be haunted. A publicity photo of the dining room allegedly depicts a spirit.
Imogene Rockwell is named after Imogen Swinhoe, purportedly the spirit who haunts Cheltenham Manor in England, and artist Norman Rockwell, whose works are featured in the Museum of Illustration in Newport, RI.
Stay tuned for more trivia in the coming days!