Page 202. " 'My grandmother swore that she had seen an ifrit "

 Ifrit, also known as efreet, afreet, ifreet, are supernatural beings found in Arabic and Islamic culture.

Well known for their strength and cunning, they are infernal djinn (genies), spirits below angels. 

Djinn, humans and angels are the three sentient creations of Allah. In the Qur'an, it is said that humans and djinn have free will. Like humans, djinn can be benevolent or cruel.  Djinn are described as being made of 'the fire of a scorching wind.'

Page 207. " that last showing of It's a Wonderful Life, "

It's a Wonderful Life
Public Domain

It's a Wonderful Life

It's a Wonderful Life was made in 1946 and was based on a short story called 'The Greatest Gift,' by Philip Van Doren Stern.

It stars James Stewart as a man about to commit suicide on Christmas Eve but he is prevented by a guardian angel played by Henry Travers.

Although it wasn't a hit when originally released, it has since become a classic and is often shown of television around christmas time.

Page 208. " Mr Ibis picked and pecked at a slice of coffee cake. "

GNU Free Documentation LicenseThoth - Credit: Jeff Dahl
 Mr Ibis is a version of the Egyptian god Thoth and as Thoth is often depicted with the head of an ibis, Gaiman often describes Mr Ibis by using bird like terminology.

Page 209. " 'The lord gave my buisness partner dominion over the dead "

Mr Ibis refers to his partner Mr Jacquel who is a version of the Egyptian god Anubis.

Anubis is often shown with the head of a jackal and a human body or sometimes in the form of a jackal.

He is associated with the underworld and mummification, he is seen as a protector of the dead although he takes on different roles depending on the circumstances as is common with Egyptian deities.  

Page 213. " They had reached a large house, built in the style people called Queen Anne. "

Queen Anne
Public DomainQueen Anne - Credit: Michael Dahl (1659–1743)
The last monarch of the House of Stewart, Queen Anne ruled over England, Scotland and Ireland from 1702.  She reigned for 12 years and died leaving no surviving heirs.

Queen Anne style architecture became popular in the late 19th century and was associated with Old World elegance, extravagance and ornate detail.

Carson Mansion
GNU Free Documentation LicenseCarson Mansion - Credit: Cory Maylett
  American, British and Australian concepts of 'Queen Anne style,' are completely different from each other.

Page 216. " looked at him with dark brown eyes as cold and quizzical as a desert dog's "

Just as Gaiman described Mr Ibis as being bird like in his manner and movements as a nod to his alter ego Thoth, so Jacquel is depicted with dog like references, reminding us that he is a personification of Anubis.

Anubis Jackal
GNU Free Documentation LicenseAnubis Jackal - Credit: Jeff Dahl


Page 216. " 'You could bind the ka of a man to his body "

GNU Free Documentation LicenseMeskhenet - Credit: Jeff Dahl
Ancient Egyptians saw the human soul as having five parts, the Ren (name), the Ba (soul), the Ka (spirit), the Sheut (shadow) and the Ib (heart).

The Ka is the thing that marks the difference between the living and the dead, when you die the ka leaves the body.

Heket or Meskhenet is the creator of everyones ka, breathing it into them as they are born. Ka is sustained through food and drink and this is why they were often presented to the dead.

Page 217. " But Set left us to explore "
GNU Free Documentation LicenseSet - Credit: Jeff Dahl
Set or Seth is the Egyptian god of storms, the desert and foreigners.  He is also seen as a god of chaos and darkness due to his nefarious role in the Isis and Osiris legends where he murders his brother Osiris and becomes the enemy of Horus, the son of Isis and Osiris.

He is sometimes depicted with the head of an ass or as an fantastical mythical creature.

Page 222. " if your evil deeds outweighed a feather, we'd feed your soul and your heart to Ammet "

In the Egyptian Book of the Dead, a dead person's heart was weighed against the goddess Ma'at, who was represented by an ostrich feather. 

If the scales balanced, Anubis would take the dead person to Osiris. If they did not then the dead person would be given to Ammit the Devourer and they would not have an afterlife. 

Page 223. " He took it from Mithras "


GNU Free Documentation LicenseMithras - Credit: User:PHGCOM, 2006

The Romans practised the worship of the Mithraic Mysteries from the 1st to the 4th centuries AD.  It was a mystery religion based around the god Mithras, worshippers went to underground temples and there have been many archaeological finds associated with this cult.


Page 224. " You've seen Bast "

GNU Free Documentation LicenseBastet - Credit: Oxyman
Bast or Bastet is an Egyptian feline goddess who seems to have been originally depicted with the head of a lion but as the worship of similar goddess Sekhmet became ever popular, Bast was more often depicted with the head of a cat or as a cat and cats were considered sacred to her.