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Main article: Lewis Barnavelt series characters
- Belle Frisson
Three real boys from Marshall won the right to be included in the book. Brad Strickland, in Marshall for research, was speaking at an area school when during a question and answer session a student asked if he could be in the next book. "I thought about it, then made up a trivia quiz of around fifty questions and made them available through the Ann La Pietra's book store. There was a time deadline, and when we checked the answers, three people had tied, with only one wrong each." The three winners of the Contest were Chad Britton, Chris Walsh, and James Gensterblum in roles they themselves helped to create.
For Bob and Elaine Lund, whose museum shows that the secret of magic is people.
"The story grew out of the fact that Bob (1925-1995) and Elaine (1926-2006) Lund's wonderful American Museum of Magic is located in Marshall. Elaine very kindly allowed Barbara and me backstage at the museum on our most recent trip to Marshall, and much of the detail that you'll be reading in the book is based on fact. There is even a cemetery twenty miles from Marshall much like the cemetery in the book -- except that, as far as I know, it does NOT contain a haunted Egyptian tomb. My editor thought it was one of the scariest yet -- but to be fair, she has a thing about spiders."
- Correspondence with Brad Strickland.