SHADOWS IN THE ASYLUM

D A Stern

In the tradition of H.P. Lovecraft.
In the style of Griffin and Sabine.
In the woods of Northern Wisconsin . . .
A terrible darkness stirs.

Dr. Charles Marsh arrives at the Kriegmoor Psychiatric Institute in Bayfield Wisconsin, eager to take on his new duties as a means of distancing himself from a scandal that erupted at his previous post in Texas.

During Marsh’s first days at the Institute, he is assigned the case of Kari Hansen, a young girl teetering on the edge of madness, haunted by visions of shadows that only she can see.

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In the tradition of H.P. Lovecraft.
In the style of Griffin and Sabine.
In the woods of Northern Wisconsin . . .
A terrible darkness stirs.

Dr. Charles Marsh arrives at the Kriegmoor Psychiatric Institute in Bayfield Wisconsin, eager to take on his new duties as a means of distancing himself from a scandal that erupted at his previous post in Texas.

During Marsh’s first days at the Institute, he is assigned the case of Kari Hansen, a young girl teetering on the edge of madness, haunted by visions of shadows that only she can see.

Yet as he begins to treat her, Marsh makes a series of startling discoveries—parallels between the figures tormenting Kari and legends of the Native American tribes that once inhabited Bayield—connections between her visions, and the fluid nature of reality, as espoused in the writings of reclusive scientist Raymond Laszlo—similarities between Kari’s breakdown and the mysterious disappearance of 1960s teen idol Danny Rasmussen—all of which lead Marsh to a final, fateful conclusion . . .

The shadows are real.
And only he can stop them.

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  • Clerisy Press
  • Paperback
  • December 2005
  • 224 Pages
  • 9781578602049

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About D A Stern

D.A. Stern lives in Northampton Massachusetts. He is the author of mul­tiple works of fiction and non-fiction, including The Blair Witch Project: A Dossier and Your Secrets Are My Business.

Discussion Questions

Do you believe in the supernatural? Did reading this book change any of your beliefs? If so, how?

Do you think science will eventually find an explanation for every inexplicable/supernatural phenomenon?

Discuss how Kari Hansen was treated as a patient by the doctors at Kriegmoor. Consider, in particular, her treatment by Dr. Marsh versus her treatment by Dr. Ferguson. Contrast with your own experiences, either as a patient or, as in the case of Kari’s mother, as a member of the family or friend of a patient.

Do you think the creatures Dr. Marsh encountered were real or his imagination?

How do you feel about the death penalty? Does the possibility that there is an afterlife influence those feelings?

Did you like experiencing the story through the mechanism of ‘found documents,’ as opposed to a traditional text narrative? What was good/bad about this storytelling method? What do you see as its strengths/weaknesses?

How do you feel about religion? Do you see it as Dr. Marsh did, as an attempt by primitive man to explain aspects of the natural world he could not understand?

What is the single action you’ve taken in your life you feel most guilty about?

Are there places you’ve visited that carried a foreboding feeling, as if previous generations somehow still had an influence or control?

Considering the various ways that characters were “opened up” to see the shadows—by illness, isolation, drugs—do you believe there are parts of our senses rationally closed off to other phenomena in life? If so, what else do you think is out there?

For earlier or indigenous civilizations not based in current religious beliefs, do you think the culture and practices and vengeances of these peoples still affect our world?

If there are spirits among us, vestiges of people and willful actions from long ago, do you think we can change or communicate with them?