November 30th – The Corolus Kitchen Ghost Festival

Like every year since 1794, today all the eggs in the Corolus House kitchen will go bad. Every single one will stink and produce horrible food. Of course nobody has actually observed this in about two hundred years; they ensure that there are none left on the premises today by making and eating an enormous pre-midnight omelette last night. Still, there’s no proof that the eggs don’t go bad, so who’s to say?

This omelette is eaten by the various cooks of Corolus House, and is only an aspect of today’s festival, which is more concerned with the cause of this strange taint, rather than avoiding its effects. The House is something akin to a restaurant, situated in what appears be be a very grand domestic setting. It was one of the first aristocratic eating clubs, created by Bene Swithain XVIII, after they lost their partner, Edde Swithain. Missing the company of others of their class, the famously gluttonous toff decided to open up their house to any other aristocrats for all meals of the day, to make better use of the award-winning chefs they had working for them.

Obviously, since the Revolution, there have been many changes in Corolus House, primarily the servants and chefs taking over ownership of the establishment, which still retains the ‘eating club’ feel, though now long benches replace the chairs that once lined the long dining tables, and the clientele is significantly less posh. No violence was required to push out the former owners, simply a change of menu to one comprised of dishes such as ‘shank of aristocrat’ or ‘richman’s rump’. One of the things that hasn’t changed is the fact that the House lies on a so-called ‘ghost highway’.

Apparently it was after the first few times the eggs went bad that they sent for the occultist. Twindale Mare was her name, a woman known for righteously swindling money out of aristocrats by making false prognoses of hauntings, and then charging outrageous amounts to ‘lay’ the spirit. According to the organisers of today’s festival, the work she did at Corolus House was ‘different’, and she actually did identify a ‘ghost highway’ or ‘spirit lane’ that surfaced from the spirit realm momentarily, straight through the House’s kitchen. Shortly after giving the prognosis, Mare died from choking on a sugared hazel nut that she neglected to chew whilst giving her explanation. She never got around to how to get rid of this ‘highway’.

The answer, over two hundred years later, is that you don’t, you just watch it, like you’d watch people walking down the Grand Boulevard. Mare explained how to see the spirits, before she died. The trick is to boil as many pans of water as you can, each with a single tear and a good deal of salt dropped in. The idea is that you make as much steam as possible, as it is through the columns of steam rising out of the pans that you can see the occasional human-shaped shadow pass through. It only happens at night, in the early hours of this morning, and the organisers of the festival have consistently denied using any sort of projection technology in aid of creating the shadows; apparently it’s the ‘spectral energies’ of the highway that cause the steam to light up so much and it’s only for health and safety reasons that you can’t go on the other side of the counter.

Other festivals happening today:

  • The Festival of Getting Your Hands Up
  • The Festival of Frosty Stares
  • Iremea Sansa’s Day