Super Weird Thing Outside My Bed Tent


I thought I had a bat in my apartment last night, which was weird and exciting because I thought bats vanished during winter (do they hibernate or what?), but anyway here’s what really happened and it’s totally more exciting than a winter bat.

I’m in my bed tent, and it’s late, and I’m playing Carly Rae on my earbuds and reading Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft for the godzillionth time. And suddenly this thing lands on the outside of the tent and it’s all like, “Fluttery, flappity, look at my wings I’m super awkward.”

I unzip the tent and jump out of bed and it’s GONE. My apartment’s small. My roommate Katey’s room is up the hall and her door is shut (she had that boy over again) so whatever landed on my tent’s got to be in my room, the hallway, the bathroom, or the kitchen. I checked them all with a flashlight. Nothing! No sign of the thing.

So now I’m 101% awake and disappointed and way too distracted to read, so I get back into bed and lay there, staring up at the tent’s ceiling with my earbuds on.

I’ve got holiday lights strung around my room, and they’re glowing through the tent, and it’s crazy magic pretty and you ought to try it. Anyway anyway, I listen to two songs and the thing comes back.

It’s straight above me outside the tent, flippity flappity, and I can see its wings like silhouettes because of the glow. Except they aren’t really wings.

They’re hands!!! Two adult-sized hands pattering on the tent, not violently but nervously? Shakily? I don’t mean anything disrespectful because you know I looooove old people but they were like a mega-old person’s jittery helpless hands.

I say, “Who’s that’s, who’s there?” and I’m kinda freaked because they’re definitely hands, and there’s either a stranger in my room, or it’s Katey or Katey’s boyfriend messing around, and I say, “Knock it off or I’ll hex you soooo bad.” Katie, at least, knows that’s true.

The hands disappear. My earbuds are out and I wait a bit, listening for footsteps or creepy breathing, but I don’t hear a sound and I can’t see any shapes moving in the glow. So I unzip the tent again and jump back out.

There’s nobody there. No one under the bed or in the closet. Katey’s door was still closed up the hall. And there’s absolutely no way it was a bat. I saw the hands’ fingers, clear as a shadow puppet’s shadow.

Phantom hands! Total mystery. They didn’t come back that night but maybe tonight I’ll get lucky. Reeeally hoping it’s Red Maggie, who I told you about a while back. How wild would that be??


P.S. Give William a hug for me. Extra tight!

Read more by Amanda Cress

The Girl with the Polkadot Arm


Thanks for forwarding William’s answer to my “fingers sprouting from my arm” situation. I loved his idea of chopping the fingers off and healing the wounds with skinwort, especially b/c I had a Tinder date coming up on Friday night, and a dozen extra pinkies probably doesn’t make the average guy’s fetish list. The chopping fix was nice and quick.

But yeah no. Even with St. Madelia’s spirits to dull the pain, the fingers had roots. Like deep-set bones and tendons and stuff. Pruning shears wouldn’t have worked. I’d have really had to gouge the finger-roots out.

So I grabbed a vial out of a biology starter kit I ordered last week (coincidence or omg fate!?), transmogrified the specimens with a hybrid curse and my own special medley of herbs and spices, and wha-la: I had a Petri dish full of necrotizing amoebas.

I mixed the amoebas into Vaseline and smeared them onto the extra fingers. They devoured the pinkies down to the roots in less than six hours. THEN I used skinwort to heal the wounds. I’ll have a dozen oval scars but it’s actually kind of neat: I’m the girl with the polkadot arm.

Please tell William thanks for his suggestion, though, and I’d love to borrow that book he offered to loan me.



P.S. That’s sad his love life is sad. Do get him up and running on email. I’ll cheer him up Amanda-style.

Read the full exchange here.

Finger Cure

Dear Amanda,

Good work healing your severed pinky with skinwort. I’m afraid I have no explanation for why the rest of your arm started growing fingers.

There’s one account in LOST CURES, REFOUND AND REIMAGINED (very entertaining book; I’ll loan it to you) of a German man who died in 1911 after drinking skinwort tea. The following spring, a “flesh tree” sprouted from his grave.

I’ll keep researching possible causes of your finger problem so we can all avoid similar trouble in the future.

The best option I can suggest is to chop the extra fingers at the root and heal those spots with more carefully applied skinwort. I recommend a jigger of St. Madelia’s spirits before you get started. It’ll dim the pain without making you groggy.

I wish you lived closer so I could help in person, Amanda. Please let me know how it goes.

Look Beyond,
William Rook

Read the full exchange here.

Fingers Sprouting from Arm

Hi, Dennis!

I accidentally chopped off my pinky finger. You should have seen the blood. It was like some crazy cartoon the way it spurted.

I thought I was cutting a chunk of grief-root. I know grief-root doesn’t look anything like a pinky finger, but I was making more solstice broth, and you know how the vapors get if you add too much almond after the wishbone, and I spaced out from the fumes and whacked my finger off without feeling it at all. I even smeared a picture on the wall with blood before I came to my senses. It looks like a cave painting, like a bison or something. See attached pic.

Anyway it’s not the finger I’m emailing about. It’s the FINGERS. I used the skinwort treatment and my pinky’s reattached great and mostly healed, but now I’m growing extra fingers all the way up my arm. There’re fourteen of them now, ranging from stubby tips to whole pinkies. I can actually wiggle a few. I didn’t even think this was possible with skinwort and have no idea what went weird.

Will you please forward this to William Rook and get his advice? I know he’s good with this kind of stuff but he still doesn’t have email (?!?).



P.S. Does William date? Hook me up. Kidding not kidding. I don’t even know what he looks like, he probably has fingers growing out of his forehead.


Hi, Amanda.

Holy smoke. Fingers growing out of your arm: only you, lady. But I’m glad the original severed pinky healed up well.

I forwarded your message to William via the usual private channel. I’ll work on getting him online because this kind of relay obviously isn’t ideal when someone has an emergency. Regardless, he’ll answer quickly, and you’re right—he’s good with this kind of stuff. Hang in there.

Thanks for the pic of your blood drawing. It does look like a cave-painting bison, or a very primal Rudolph.


P.S. I wouldn’t ask William about his love life at this point. He had a rough year. That’s a very long story you’ll hear in the coming months when he’s ready to tell it.

Read the full exchange here.