The Hidden Almanac for
Friday October 4th, 2013
Episode 10
Previous episode: 2013-10-02
Next episode: 2013-10-07


Today we will commemorate Sir Edward Marlbone’s breathtaking treatise, and the last known Sugar Plum Fairy’s death. It is the Feast Day of St. Barnaby, and in the garden there are acorns.

Be safe, and stay out of trouble.


Welcome to the Hidden Almanac, I'm Reverend Mord. Today is October 4th, 2013.

Today marks the 300th anniversary of the publication of the 12,000 page work, "On the Psychoactive Properties of Non-Psychoactive Fungi" by Sir Edward Marlbone.[1] The premise of Sir Marlbone's work was that non-hallucinogenic fungus must still contain some trace quantities of hallucinogens, through what he called "spore-based racial memory."[2] He tested this theory by eating heroic doses of ordinary mushrooms and documenting the effects. His enormous treatise saw only a single print run of forty copies and Marlbone himself passed away from indigestion after devouring eleven pounds of morels in one sitting. Under normal circumstances, Sir Marlbone and his morels would be lost to history, except that the assassin known as "Gray Hemlock" used Marlbone's extremely heavy treatise, dropped from a great height, to kill the brutal Librarian Prince over two hundred years ago. She threw her back out in the process.

On this day in 1822, the last known Sugarplum Fairy[3] died in captivity. It had been born in the Royal Zoo and was one-hundred-seventeen years old at the time of its death.[4] Keepers nicknamed the fairy "Elmer" and had attempted unsuccessfully to breed it. Elmer's body was stuffed and is on display at the Royal Museum.

Today is the Feast Day of Saint Barnaby, patron of sideshows. The only known followers of St. Barnaby still in existence are Sister Rosemary's Curious Convent, a circus act including the World's Smallest Nun, the Strong-Nun, the Bearded Nun, and occasionally, depending on venue, the Tattooed Nun as well. They travel with Miss Tansybaum's Circus of the Moderately Peculiar and maintain a small but profitable ministry.[5]

And if you've got oak trees near your garden, you've probably started to notice acorns falling. This used to be a sign that it was time to turn the pigs into the forest to begin fattening on the nuts. While it is possible for humans to make flour out of acorns, it requires a lengthy bleaching process[6] and is generally not worth the trouble. In what is called a "mast year," a mature oak tree will double or triple its normal acorn production, burying the ground in nuts. This can lead to a temporary overpopulation in animals that feed on acorns. Some older gardeners will remember the Great Squirrel Flood of 1941, which claimed so many lives.

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 Bob's Discount Car Lot. Bob's motto is "I'm gonna hunt you down, Steve, and when I find you, I'll pull your guts out through your nose." Bob's Discount Cars!

That's the Hidden Almanac for October 4th, 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. So published October 4th, 1713
  2. Racial or genetic memory is one of those ideas that is generally completely misinterpreted by the layperson. Somebody else will have to conquer explaining it.
  3. The Sugar Plum Fairy is a character in Tchaikovsky's 1892 ballet The Nutcracker, whose characteristic music, "The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy", is one of those pieces of classical music most people recognize even if they have no idea where it's from. In the circumstances, it's interesting to note that in the original ballet the Sugar Plum Fairy is the only one of her kind (the character was created as a solo feature role for one of the lead ballerinas) and in an apparently-stable relationship with the (male) Throat Lozenge Fairy.
  4. So born in 1705
  5. This is not the first appearance in Ursula Vernon's works of Miss Tansybaum's Circus and Sister Rosemary's Curious Convent; an account of their history and a portrait of the World's Smallest Nun may be found in her DeviantArt gallery
  6. It's actually a leaching process, to remove tannins. Some varieties of oak don't require it.