Hello and welcome! My name is Ashley and I’m the writer and researcher behind Curious Archive.
I started this website in the summer of 2020 while the world came to a standstill during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Anxious and trapped inside, I sough comfort and normality in writing about the places I’d been prior to the world getting turned upside down. I combined my two favourite things — ghost stories and history — and found an escape from the boredom of lockdown by sharing some of my favourite strange histories.
Researching has been one of my pastimes for as long as I can remember and I was lucky enough to find my own corner of academia after a few years of trial and error. I have a BA and MA in the History of Art from two Canadian universities and I focused my graduate research on monstrosity and hybridity in medieval sculpture (or to put it another way, I wrote about dragons and monsters in medieval Christian art for two years… not a bad gig). Following the completion of my Master’s degree I moved from my home country of Canada to the United Kingdom, met my husband, and decided to make this lovely country my new home. We have two children (our spoiled cat and rabbit) and live on the beautiful and very haunted Isle of Wight off the coast of England. Outside of Curious Archive I work in a boring office job and enjoy reading speculative fiction, watching kdramas, and listening to a near obsessive amount of music.
But enough about me… what is Curious Archive?
This is first and foremost a website that explores my love of history. The type of history I’m interested in isn’t necessarily found in high school textbooks, but it’s still an important one to to talk about. People might turn their nose up at conversations surrounding ghost stories, UFO sightings, cryptids, urban legends, and conspiracy theories, but these beliefs are part of what makes humankind so fascinating. And it’s the history – the truth – behind these beliefs that I find so interesting. Why is a particular house thought to be haunted? Why did an artist paint something so disturbing and bizarre? What happened in a small town that inspired a gruesome urban legend? Where did the fear of ‘secret societies’ come from? A large part of answering these questions is looking to history, whether that’s through news reports, eye-witness accounts, primary documentation or academic analysis. This type of research also requires some suspension of disbelief. If a group of people think an old mill down the road is haunted, it doesn’t matter if I think it’s true. The fact that they do is what I’m interested in.
Initially, Curious Archive was meant to focus specifically on the United Kingdom. However, as of 2022 I’ve expanded to include stories and places from countries around the world. Our planet is too big and too weird to limit my research to one location! I hope to continue sharing strange and wonderful stories, artwork, and histories from different countries around the world and develop Curious Archive into an extensive database exploring the weird and wacky side of human history.
Thank you to everyone that’s visited my website and helped share Curious Archive articles around the internet. Seeing so many people love these stories as much as I do keeps me motivated during even the most gruelling late night editing sessions. I appreciate your support and I hope you continue to enjoy Curious Archive!
Ashley, Curious Archive ♡