Listening for the Dead Bells

by Marian Bruce

Mysterious lights, howling dogs, ringing sounds in the ear: these omens of death are part of a treasury of supernatural beliefs transmitted through centuries and across the Atlantic Ocean. Part memoir, part oral history—Listening for the Dead Bells reflects on stories about bad fairies, witch con­trol, bòcans, second sight, divination, healing incantations, attitudes toward death, and other links between Prince Edward Island and the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.

Marian Bruce, a former journalist, is the author of six books. Her book on farm horses, Remembering Old Dan, won the PEI Book of the Year Award for non-fiction in 2012. A descendant of 19th-century immigrants from the Isle of Skye, she grew up in a community influenced by Highland customs, beliefs, music, and supernatural tales. After decades of working in cities across Canada, she now lives in High Bank, in the farmhouse where she was born and raised.

September 2019
6 x 9, 140 pages, softcover, perfect bound, $18.95
ISBN 978-1-988692-29-6
Also available as a PDF

“Bruce highlights the transference of cultural phenomena through immigration and the extraordinary way such cultural knowledge is preserved on islands.”

The Island Studies Journal.


Purchase the book here or at your local bookshop. Available at The Bookmark in Charlottetown.

Marian sat down with CBC’s Matt Rainnie to chat about the new book. Listen to the interview here.

Listening for the Dead Bells shortlisted for an Atlantic Book Award for Historical Writing!

Marian Bruce wins Publication of the Year Award 2020!

Over 70 people attended Marian’s launch at Macphail Homestead in Orwell, PEI.