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An Idea on Deck

With the first season of the Eidolon podcast wrapped (I did 10 episodes, I commend myself for that), I can use my hands to make words instead of my mouth for a bit. Hopefully I'll see everyone around June and July for another 10-episode season of the podcast. Until then, and through that time into the start of next winter, I'll be house hunting.

While Ryan and I do want to move into a new house in the next two years or so, (we are in a casa pequeña sans basement or attic), the houses I'm searching for need to be very empty, and depending on the structure the surroundings and the overall look it has, it may need to have been empty for quite some time. The archetype of a haunted house is so powerfully present in our culture, I think it has become something that resonates with even those far outside the paranormal. The homes we drive by over and over in our every day lives that haven't had a family in them or a mower to their lawn in years, even decades, can become something haunting.

The presence of something like an abandoned house can inspire unintended or unexpected emotions and create different perceptions, depending on the observer's state of mind. The strange space that unoccupied and unused houses create in our minds might come from a sort of material uncanny valley situation. We recognize immediately what an uncared for structure must have been like, or could be like, and mentally organize the chaos of abandonment. The homes present unseen possibilities and that may also translate to people through their imagery. Utilizing this in the context of divination through cartomancy, depending on the observer's intent or search for insight, the archetype of a haunted house may provide those perceptions.

I've shuffled, decked and divined through cards of several types for years now, and my tarot rabbit hole started around age 12. While the outward image of Full Dark might seem somewhat distant from the more metaphysical aspects of the paranormal, we're in no way separated from it within our daily lives and our own life histories. Without eschewing details of our pasts, I'll say that the journey through the Weird that led Ryan and myself to each other, and now to this present point, has laid the groundwork for me to create a metaphysical tool in the form of an oracle deck. The Haunted House Oracle.

My family spends nearly every summer on the Great Sacandaga Lake, enjoying land and history passed down my mother's side back to the 19th century. One back road to the lake winds through fields and patches of forest and past a particular wood home set back from the trees about fifty yards. It's been shadowed by pine trees for unknown years before me and during my entire life. I've noticed it and pointed it out for nearly four decades, in every car ride, and with everyone who accompanies me now to the lake. Ryan is exhaustingly familiar with "the house."

It's because I love it. Looking at photos of this home this past autumn reminded me of all the other beautifully abandoned homes I've come across for years and how I could in some way gather them together. I don't recall the moment the words "oracle deck" entered my mind, but I sat with that for several months before putting the wheels into motion and publicly professing my want to make this idea a reality.

The deck has taken shape as I've reinstalled old external drives to find the photos that had become memories, and I've organized the idea further into a process, a basic design and theme. I wanted to make this a public project so I can provide insight into the way I'm choosing houses (all remaining anonymous, no famous haunts) as they form the final 44-card deck.

I have an almost year-long trajectory and hope to either use the publisher I've found which can create the deck, or launch a GoFundMe if the project needs a larger and more customized publisher, depending on support and enthusiasm for the project. As of now, it's all entirely attainable from gathering the images during different seasons, and putting the final artwork through editing and organizing with a custom guidebook and tuck box.

I'm as nervous as I am excited, and those feelings can mix intermittently as ideas and creating updates and content for the deck progresses. That's the plan for 2022, along with other paranormal and personal endeavors that Ryan and I are continually evolving with. I hope the concept of The Haunted House Oracle can inspire and excite some folks out there who may want a little spooky insight to their divination.

Thanks for reading,

Check out more on Instagram.


I'm Amy L. Bennett, a writer, multimedia artist, recovering archaeologist and YouTuber from Upstate, New York. I've been invested in all things strange and unusual since my dad gave me the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark trilogy when I was way too young. Along with my fiancé, Ryan, we've explored countless haunted locations in the US and abroad in search of the Weird.
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