The Hidden Almanac for
Wednesday October 2nd, 2013
Episode 9
Previous episode: 2013-09-30
Next episode: 2013-10-04


On the Almanac today we will speak of a lost ritual in Echo Harbor, as well as the origins of the Spice Wars. It is the Feast Day of St. Heroniuos, and in the garden there are onions.

Be safe, and stay out of trouble.


Welcome to the Hidden Almanac, I'm Reverend Mord. Today is October 2nd, 2013.

On this day, in the Year of the Blunt Ox, the last reported case of the strangling ritual was carried out in the town of Echo Harbor.[1] This barbaric rite has been banned for centuries and anthropologists point to its survival in Echo Harbor as a rare remnant of an old pre-pagan tradition.[2]The victims of the strangling ritual were three graduate students who had travelled to Echo Harbor specifically to research the ritual. Several prominent citizens were placed under arrest, but were later released after being provided with multiple alibis.

On this day in 1544, Prince Sergei III was attacked by outlaws and fled to the castle controlled by the Earl of Oregano.[3] It was later revealed that the outlaws were in the pay of the neighboring city-state of Troyzantine and had been sent as an assassination attempt. This is considered to be the beginning of the Spice Wars,[4]which would continue on and off for nearly a decade.

And it was on this day that the naturalist Eland the Younger first described the Magnificent Flatworm. This member of the planarian[5] family resembles a brightly colored carnivorous slug. Eland described the feathery appendages of the Magnificent Flatworm as "more glorious than the visions of saints or madmen," and "generally blue with purple stripes." For several decades during a more decadent era, there was a fashion for flatworm plumes on ladies hats. As a result, Magnificent Flatworms were hunted to extinction on the mainland,[6] but remnant populations survive on several islands, where they are closely monitored by the Horrowitz Trust.

Today is the Feast Day of Saint Heronius. Heronius was a marauding warlord of the eleventh century, famed for the unspeakable atrocities committed upon his foes. Then one night, at the age of thirty, he had a vision of the Lord in the form of a flaming yo-yo,[7] renounced his evil ways, and dedicated himself and his men to good works.

This lasted for about two months, whereupon the local populace, completely unable to deal with all the brigands who were trying to help them weed gardens, milk cows, and abducting little old ladies in order to help them across streets, rose up en masse and massacred the lot of 'em.

Cruelly martyred by angry little old ladies, Saint Heronius, for no reason that anyone can determine, is now the patron of young lovers and cheesemongers.

If you've harvested the onions this year and found that they're smaller than the sets that went into the ground, consider that your soil may not be sinful enough. Legend has it that when the Devil was chased out of paradise, onions sprang up in his footsteps.[8] If you've tried everything else and your onions still refuse to fatten up, consider mixing some minor venial sins[9] into the top three inches of soil, or failing that, chicken manure.

The Hidden Almanac is brought to you by Red Wombat Tea Company, purveyors of fine and inaccessible teas. Red Wombat — "We Dig Tea."

Also sponsored by Steve's Used Cars. Steve would like to extend his condolences to the families of those killed in the great Bob's Discount Car Lot fire, and offer them low, low prices on any car in stock. A fully loaded V6 with all-leather interior can't bring your loved ones back, but isn't it how they'd want to be remembered?[10]

That's the Hidden Almanac for October 2nd, 2013. Be Safe, and Stay Out of Trouble.


Out of Character

The Hidden Almanac is a production of Dark Canvas Media, written by Ursula Vernon and performed and produced by Kevin Sonney. Our theme music is Moon Valley and our exit music is Red in Black, both by Kosta T. You can hear more from Kosta T at the Free Music Archive. All other content is copyright 2013, Ursula Vernon.


  1. This would be the second ritual involving human sacrifice we've heard about in Echo Harbor, the first being the Wicker Man mentioned in Episode 5.
  2. Since the Wicker Man is a pagan ritual, the strangling ritual must be older than that.
  3. A reference to one of Ursula Vernon's artworks.
  4. One wonders if the Spice Wars were named after the Earl of Oregano solely, or if there was another noble with a spice name involved. Perhaps the Prince of Garlic
  5. There are a whole bunch of flatworm species, but planarians are most famous for the theory of memory RNA, where ground up flatworms fed to other flatworms allowed them to solve mazes faster. Like so many brain theories, it was quickly picked up by pop culture. And ultimately proven false.
  6. Flatworms would not be the only species hunted to or nearly to extinction for hats, particularly during the Victorian Era.
  7. Ezekiel saw Cherubim as flaming wheels (Ezekiel 1) and Moses saw an angel as a burning bush (Exodus 3:2), but a flaming yo-yo could only happen here...
  8. This is an actual legend, apparently from the writing of Mohammed (I can't find an exact source - it's apparently not in the Koran or Hadith). Specifically onions sprang from his right foot and garlic from his left.
  9. Ursula's Catholic upbringing is showing. Venial sins are less serious than the better known mortal sins. One wonders where precisely and in what form one acquires venial sins ready to be mixed.
  10. Steve strikes back for the slander in Episode 6.