February 18, 1927


Books are doorways to new worlds.

But what if they’re doors which should never be opened?

Mary Sebastian was a precocious and intelligent child of 9 when she received a book titled, A Child’s History of Cross from her Aunt Fiona. Mary’s father found the book to be a strange gift since there wasn’t any sort of book written about Cross.

His sister, with whom he had a poor relationship, had included a note to Mary. Simply put, the note told Mary not to share her book with anyone. Especially not her father or mother.

Mary was devoted to her aunt, and always cherished the presents the woman sent. So, when Aunt Fiona said not to do something, Mary’s parents knew better than to attempt to countermand the woman’s statement.

The following morning, Mary packed the book to share with her class at Cross Elementary, despite her father’s wish that she didn’t.

When Mary arrived at school that morning, February 18, 1927, she called her classmates over and showed them the book. Several of the children let out pleased screams, and one little boy burst into tears before running away.

Concerned, Mary’s teacher went to see what the issue was, and she saw that Mary held a pair of snakes in her hands.

According to Mary, the snakes had come from the interior of the book, where they lived.

When her doubting teacher demanded that she show her, Mary opened the book and placed the two snakes upon a page titled, The Snakes of Cross.

The two reptiles curled around one another to form a ring, and Mary closed the book as though there was nothing in the way.

Shocked, her teacher took hold of the book, opened it to the same page, and saw the snakes printed upon there.

A moment later the teacher screamed as the snakes crawled up and out of the book, curling around Mary’s small hands.

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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