In the heart of a second-growth piney-woods jungle of southern Alabama, a region sparsely settled by backwoods blacks and Cajuns—that queer, half-wild people descended from Acadian exiles of the middle eighteenth century—stands a strange, enormous ruin....

Did you know that, once introduced to routine, our brains are capable of accepting it to the extent that when something changes, it doesn’t notice? The change could be small and harmless, an object there that wasn’t, or something moved to another room that you...