Darkest Light

Date of Award


Document Type

Bibliographic Record

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)



First Advisor

Elizabeth Searle

Second Advisor

Robert Levy

Third Advisor

Justin Tussing


Darkest Light is a historical horror novel based on true events involving the Blaisdell spirit, also known as the Nelly Butler apparition, from Sullivan, Maine. The novel brings to life the most convincing account of demonism ever recorded, an incident that set off one of the last witchcraft investigations in the United States in 1799-1800.

Fifteen-year-old Lydia Blaisdell will do anything to overcome obstacles preventing her marriage to George Butler, a twenty-eight-year-old sea captain noted for his wealth and good looks. From Moll Pitcher, a renowned witch in the Boston area, Lydia learns she can obtain her wish by contracting a demon from a talisman made of ancient human flesh. When Lydia summons her demon, she nearly dies of infection. She was led to expect a spirit of the utmost discretion, working secretly on her behalf. Instead, the demon has its own agenda that involves terrorizing Lydia and her family in open displays of supernatural power that trigger the scrutiny of her Puritanical community located in the coastal wilderness of the eastern frontier.

While Lydia eventually achieves her romantic wish, it comes with a death curse, which she works frantically to undo as her world comes crashing down around her.


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