The Acre

This is a write-up about the ghost infested supernatural part of old Fort Worth known since the 1870s as “Hell’s Half Acre.”

From about 1873 until 1900 50% of all crime in the entire city of Fort Worth happened in Hell’s Half Acre alone. A lot of blood was spilled and there are still some pretty unhappy ghosts.


So, “Ghost Story” just came out (the novel)… so a lot of the “Ghost” world of the Dresdenverse is still getting hammered out. Until there’s more “official” stuff… this is how we’re handling it.

  • The Light Side: “Guardian Ghosts” seem to be shades with a one trick wonder and the Light Side equivalent of a Wraith… not a lot of power/independence but still doing good stuff. Then you have what, we’re calling for lack of a regular word, regular “Ghosts” (like Sir Stuart). The lingering memories in body form of the once-living.
  • The Dark Side: Obviously Wraits are lower than Lemurs, Lemurs are vicious and mean. Wraiths ain’t a cakewalk either. Lemurs are Ghosts given over to vengeance and pain.
  • The realm of Ghosts seems to exist just on “the other side” of Mortality and just before the Nevernever. It’s a limbo realm in-between the two.
  • “Matter” in the realm of ghosts (and Nevernever) is Ectoplasm… but the “currency” and “vital energy that makes everything work” are the memories retained from life.

ps – In Cowtown… they say LEE-murz … not LAY-moors. Sir Stuart’s accent can go hang.

So what’s Hell’s Half Acre like?

You got ghosts (like Big Jim) who haven’t moved on for some reason or another and pretty much the rest of area is full of Lemurs and Wraiths. They’re busy going through the motions of what they were doing before they died. It kinds makes the place like a macabe set from a Disneyland theme park ride.

There are a few modern spirits sure… but the far bigger bulk date back to the 30 years of bloody violence from 1870-1900 when cowboys, gamblers, prostitutes, cattlemen, and banditos all came to Cowtown to have their own kind of wild fun. Usually modern spirits just wind up getting “eaten” by the older and meaner lemurs that have been here longer.

Theme or Threat



Former Marshal Big Jim Courtright is one of the most powerful Ghosts around. He still basically runs the same protection racket he ran when he was alive… except now the currency is ectoplasm and memories. Various Ghosts that don’t want to be “eaten” by Lemurs and turned into Wraiths come to Jim for protection. Which he provides for a fee.

That “Fee” goes to energize his own ghostly powers (best expressed by his “hellgun” revolvers that tend to blast Lemurs to pieces) or that of his lady. For over 120 years, Big Jim still “keeps the peace” (such as it exists) in Hell’s Half Acre. His “home” is the current location of the White Elephant Saloon (which he haunts).

His “lady” is Outhouse Sally. She’s absolutely gorgeous and they keep each other company. When Lemurs attack, Sally draws a “hellgun” derringer (Jim taughter her the trick of making “hellguns” from memories) from her ample bosom. Since none of their weapons ever run out of “ammo”… it tends to go badly for unprepared Lemurs trying to cause a fuss at the White Elephant Saloon.

The reason they’re still together after 120 years? Once, in life, they spent a pleasant evening together and both still violently protect and retain that shared memory. Memories are all ghosts have after all. Just about every other shade from their mortal days on earth have lost those memories or have been devoured by Lemurs.

It would almost be poetic if it wasn’t all so darn creepy… the ghost of a corrupt marshall shot down by a gunfighter that refused to be pushed, and the soiled dove that was killed before she ever got a chance to fly.

The Acre

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