Lori There does not seem to be any answer to this; the idea really goes nowhere which was another reason I was so disappointed in the book. Other reviewers seem confused by it as well. There is a line in the last couple of chapters where Holly wonders if all that was just her imagination; perhaps. I was also wondering if it was supposed to be some sort of weird, overwhelming result of the incredible tension, energy, this clique generated around themselves. Don't know; don't feel alone. If anyone else out there ever figures this out--please post. But after having read all of French's novels I felt like this was a disjointed/unclear attempt at magical realism that simply does not pay off or go anywhere. If you want one of her books that is spooky and consistent about it: "The Likeness."