Author Talk


Book Talk with Author Marie Carter

May's Social Justice Reading Circle

May 8, 2024

Mortimer & the Witches: A History of Nineteenth-Century Fortune Telling, a Book Talk with Author Marie Carter

Please join HBSC and Marie Carter for a talk about her latest book from Fordham University Press. The titular character, Mortimer Thomson, wrote under the pseudonym Q.K. Philander Doesticks, P.B., and in 1857 he wrote a series of articles about “witches” or rather fortune tellers most living on Broome Street. This was later published the next year in book form as The Witches of New York as an expose of the evils of fortune tellers and the practice of clairvoyance. But the story of the women and of Thomson himself was more complicated than that. Carter will discuss the inspiration for her book, Spiritualism in the nineteenth century, the struggles of working women trying to make a living, and a little of the peculiar biography of Thomson, who had many connections with the Beecher family.

Mortimer and the Witches is an unflinching cultural history covering the social ills of nineteenth-century New York through the lives of women who were, at the time, memorialized in mocking print.

– Foreword Reviews

Books will be available for purchase, and for signing, at the program. Cash, Venmo, PayPal, and Zelle are accepted.

Joined by Alycia D. Jenkins offering tarot readings.

Marie Carter is a Scottish-born writer, tour guide, and tour guide developer who has been based in New York City for the last twenty-three years. Fascinated by New York City’s macabre and little-known histories in her writing and life, she is a licensed tour guide, as well as researcher and developer with Boroughs of the Dead, a walking tour company that specializes in strange, macabre, and ghostly walking tours of New York City. Her first book, based on her experiences in learning trapeze, The Trapeze Diaries, was published by Hanging Loose Press. Her novel Holly’s Hurricane was published in 2018 and was a finalist for the 2019 Montaigne Medal.   

Photo Credit: Sangeeta Mehta

Location 77 Forest Street, Hartford, CT 06105
Doors Open 5:45 pm
Program 6:00 - 7:00 pm