We will attempt in this and ensuing columns to explore the world of the occult in all its forms: Witchcraft, Sorcery, Lycanthropy, Druidic lore, spells, enchantments, the 'Daily Strange. ' All manner of phenomena will be closely examined, including, perhaps, some that have not seen the light of day since the BOOK OF THOTH was supposedly tossed into the Nile River. . . Your questions, suggestions, and tid-bits of information (to add to our own) will be most welcome. Also you can send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org - email@example.com
The history of witches in the Western World is similar to the history of other more recent minorities in that the information available was usually written by others. Witches have been portrayed both as frolicking winsome creatures of joy, or as fulsome wretched old hags of defeat and despair depending on which 'expert' one reads. Little has been recorded on pre- Christian witches. And, unfortunately, data on Christian era witches has in the main been recorded by their persecutors who were anything but unbiased.
Witchcraft was and is an old-established cult, with its own rites, rules, devotions, hierarchy, and holidays, similar to any other organized religion. Anthropological study has traced witchcraft back to the ancient cult of the Horned God, which recurs historically throughout Western Europe, openly or under- ground, from Paleolithic man to the present time. Some of the feast days and rituals tend to identify witchcraft with the pagan fertility religion of Europe: the old religion. There is also a belief in Diane as the Goddess and her daughter as the female Messiah. Diane has always played an important role in fertility rites. Still others-more Catholic in their religion than in their attitudes-feel witchcraft was a blasphemous invention of the Devil to win Christians to his evil will and should be dealt with as a moral problem with a final solution.
The origins of witchcraft may be as buried as many of its practitioners, but its ancient claim to being a legitimate religion cannot be discredited. One needs to study the testimonies and confessions of countless men and women derived from the witch trials, the great period of persecution, to realize that they were serious in their devotion to their God. Throughout the trials the accused consistently referred to their leader as God or Grandmaster or some like name. The idea of the Devil as 'grandmaster' was purely a Christian tactic, with the name of the Devil being superimposed over any god who did not answer to a Christian name.
Although witch hunts began with Pope Gregory I in 600, it was not until the 13th and 14th centuries that church, state, and anyone else who stood to gain from it, organized frequent and serious attacks on witches. The Inquisition blamed witchcraft for anything it could get away with, condemning many innocent men and women as well as those who actually took part in secret rites. A few of the more important papal bulls against witches were Eugene IV, who stated witches who caused bad weather were to be punished, Gregory IV equating demon worship with debauchery, and Innocent VIII (Summis Desiderantes, 1484) which amounted to open warfare on witches. The recorders at the trials were of course court re- porters who had to constantly reassure the Church of their loyalty, therefore the records left are un- sympathetic to the religion of the people involved. Constant references to Devil, Demon, Evil One, Prince of Darkness, and especially Fiend, tend to damage the quality of the records. Today we would call such procedure yellow journalism. Despite the name-caMing, a clear idea of the cult can be recreated. Through the words of the victims one can obtain all the information needed to acquaint modern readers with a religion that was able to withstand so much.
In England, for example, the area with which we are best acquainted, each group of followers, or congregation, had a coven. Coven is the term used to identify the thirteen members of the elite who decided policy, attended all meetings, performed the ceremonies, and generally took the lead in all matters concerning the whole group. The coven consisted of twelve male or female witches, and their leader. The leader was the Devil or their god depending on your point of view. To his followers he was God incarnate and evidence records that he appeared as a man or a boy or a goat with horns. He either attended meetings in person or had a substitute who acted in his place depending on the nature of the meeting. The substitute was the officer of the coven whose duties included summoning members to meetings, and keeping attendance records, as well as aide- de-camp to the master. Every coven had a musician, sometimes two, as dancing and merrymaking were important parts of any meeting. The rest of the coven members could be considered as elders of the faith. More than one coven could exist in a district, depending on the size and needs of the area. Each coven was independent but not autonomous in that all covens were under the one master. A coven could sometimes unite with one or more other covens when a special effort was needed, as in the case of the witches who 'confessed' to participation in a plot to kill James VI of Scotland. Three covens combined their powers to raise a storm so that James would not complete his sea voyage from Oslo to Leith with his bride. There seems to have been a division of labor and talent, however, since one raised the storm by casting a properly prepared cat into the sea, while the others prepared a potion of toad poison, and worked on a wax image of the King. There are additional recorded instances of covens working together. As a rule, however, a single coven was able to work successfully, or unsuccessfully, alone.
Much of the magic witches practiced, such as preparing potions, divining, healing, or cursing, was done in private. Favorite herbs were hemp, cardamon, chicory, flax, coriander, and anise. Other ingredients more familiar to modern readers of fairy tales or folklore were toads, spiders, and the innards of doves, hares, spar- rows, or swallows. The concoction used by the witches to fly to meetings were usually ointments made from belladonna and aconite. These drugs produced excitement and hallucinations.
Witches gatherings on a yearly basis were divided into weekly meetings (Esbats) attended by the members of the coven, and four great Sabbaths to which the entire congregation came. The business affairs of the coven were discussed and settled at the Esbats. The members gave a brief account of their week's activities to the Master or his substitute. He in turn gave advice or instruction to his followers. Information regarding new converts was also discussed at the Esbats. After the business was completed, the sacred dance was performed, then the feast, after which the meeting came to an end.
The Sabbaths began at dusk and ended at dawn. The business part of the Sabbaths was generally the same as it was for the Esbats with less detail since all of the members of the coven did not have to attend the Sabbaths, although most did. Since the whole congregation at- tended the Sabbaths, the after business part was more animated. The great quarterly Sabbaths were joyous occasions for the followers. They danced, feasting, paid homage to their master, admitted new members, and celebrated rites which included sacrifices and orgiastic ceremonies. The latter activity has made witches perhaps more interesting than they would have been.
As in the Esbats, dancing often began and ended the Sabbaths. The first dance performed was the processional, with the Master, or his substitute, leading the others in a kind of free-form follow-the-leader to the side of the more important sacred ring dance. Here they would form a circle with their backs to the center, hold hands, and dance to music supplied by flute, violin, and pipes. Whatever the religious significance of worship the dance symbolized, it did tend to relax every- one, to put them in the proper frenzied mood for the all night revelry that lay ahead.
The feast varied with either the master or the members supplying the food. When the members supplied the food it reflected the wealth of the particular congregation plus the culinary gifts of the ladies (an Iowa Methodist picnic?); the foods including the usual meat, cheese, cake, and wine.
The devotions to the master came at the beginning of the meeting. The master, dressed in a grand array, carried a lighted candle on his head which the congregation used in turn to light their candles. They would then offer their burning candles to the master singing hymns and chanting his praises. Children of members were admitted into the congregation while in infancy. This ceremony usually followed the devotion to the master.
The mother would simply dedicate her child to the master. When the child reached puberty, he had to re- peat his dedication to the master in his own words. At this time he received a mark as a symbol of his tie, and so that all could see he was now a full member. The marking seems to have been a form of tattooing since it was permanent.
When an adult was admitted to the congregation, the ceremony was more complex in that the initiate was questioned at length and then made to renounce the faith of his birth. After this the convert dedicated himself to his new master with words and a kiss wherever the master stipulated-which was not always, as the church would like us to believe "under the tail." The new member would then receive his mark. The mark could be made anywhere. The significance of the location is debatable; that their master was imaginative in his selection is certain. Sometimes the novice received a new name, but this depended on local custom and did not always occur. The member was also given an animal, designated by the master, to be his familiar. He then received full instructions for divination.
Sacrificial rites usually involved the shedding of blood. The followers often drew blood from themselves to offer the master as a private gift. Animals were used for conjuring, and casting but rarely killed as a sacrifice at a meeting, although they could be sacrificed in private. In certain areas the cult was accused by the Church of sacrificing infants and eating their flesh: the flesh of an infant being considered sacred, magical.
When the trails of the various inquisitions were at their peak, witches were said to have eaten the flesh of infants to obtain the secret of silence, since the infants had never spoken. The witches supposedly believed that they would also be able to withstand torture and not confess or betray if they ate the flesh. This ritual is called sympathetic magic.
Whether or not the children were actually killed, no one can truthfully say today. It is not our purpose to excuse a possibility of infanticide or, conversely, to hypocritically moralize as so many otherwise competent writers in the field have done. We deem it sufficient to the situation to say that the infant mortality rate of the times was such to have supplied the cultists with ample offerings.
Another example of sympathetic magic were the orgies. During these ceremonies the followers believed that the land and the animals were making it more fertile. The master took part in these ceremonies as either incubus or succubus depending upon which role he performed in the sexual experience.
A later addition to the Sabbath was the Black Mass. Before Christianity offered more interesting ceremonies to parody, the religious rites were actually less formal if not less important.
Modern witches have added four feast days to the yearly total to de- note the solstitial divisions of: autumn equinox, winter solstice, spring equinox, and the summer solstice. The tools of the cult remain basically the same. Each witch has an athame or sacred black-handled knife which they still make themselves. The circle, an ancient symbol of eternity, is used as the center of a serious activity. The idea of the circle is repeated in the round garter that the witches receive during initiation. The garter is worn around the waist and is similar to the belt in Judo in that color identifies rank. The women wear necklaces made of pearl or glass beads. The higher- ranking women have a silver bracelet (color of the moon) which they wear on their arms.
Other accessories include a silver chalice, candles, a wand of hazlewood, a small cauldron, a censer, a pentacle which is a flat piece of metal engraved with witch signs, a length of cord, a scourge, and a bowl filled with salt. Each item is symbolic. The cauldron represents water, the wind fire, the salt and scourge purification, the pentacle earth, the athames air, and the length of the cord, in a continuation of the circle symbol, is the spirit that unites all of the elements.
Through the years nature seems to have replaced the master as a direct worship figure. Members of modern covens still genuflect, however, to a god who represents fertility rather than a promise of eternal bliss. To quote a modern English witch: "We worship nature which does not change because of the atomic bomb or television. We believe in helping people and most of all we believe in joy." Most witches apparently were condemned to death for their faith rather than their acts. Today, their inheritors enjoy a semblance of acceptability. Unfortunately, however, this seems due more to a change in the nonbelievers among us rather than of the believers.
Updated: Jul 3, 2020
The literary werewolf took a very long time to crawl from the lower brain on the printed page. Strange survival, it had been born ages ago in the haze of ancient mythology, where every civilization had protean gods and shapeshifters that change in the district's most honored and feared animals. Now, the Russians still have were-bears, the Chinese were-tigers and were-foxes, the Africans and Quechuan Indians of Peru both have were-jaguars. The were-dog has a substantial body of literature, exemplified in a recent anthology, Michel Parry's The Hounds of Hell (1974), but this is outside the primary kingdom of lupine myth. The wolf is the Western world's ultimate symbol of pure evil; ruthless, cunning, swift, and ferocious. Really, it was a wolf-bitch who nursed Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, the huge empire which wolfed down the known world. In simplest terms, the werewolf in literature is a female or male character who presumes wolf form, either literally, psychically or symbolically. All are ideally suited to remorselessly ravaging the countryside with lust for gore. In more poetic terms, its food is chilly, night, and passing.
The amount of written works about werewolves is monumental. In text, the werewolf first appeared in the Roman age, as early as Ovid's Metamorphoses and Petronius's Satyricon (circa 60 A.D.). The frequent theme of someone into a wolf makes it's tough to say where mythology ends and fiction begins. Peter Haining anthologized a 12th century Irish account, The Man-Wolf by Giraldus Cambrensis, which reads like an acceptable but classic short story. Beyond the early legends, in fact, there are thousands of documented, factual instances of were-wolfism up to the present moment. The mass of signs Is so overpowering that H.R. Wakefield pointed out in "The Death of a Poacher" (1935), that there's more eVIdence to the existence of werewolves compared to the presence of Buddha, Christ, and Shakespeare combined. Repressed by a Christian civilization that condemned him as a diabolical monster, the modem analysis of werewolves didn't start till Sabine Baring-Gould's The Book of Werewolves [UK], 1856). Now, anthropologists, literary critics, and linguists continue to dissect the werewolf to show the qualities of the hidden part of the human mind. As complicated as the vampire, the werewolf has exceptional psychological, morale, and literary aspects.
Despite Its universality in legends, the werewolf made few appearances in Western fiction before the 20th Century. The werewolf's competitions in popular culture - the Frankenstein monster and the vampire - each has their seminal works - Frankenstein and Dracula - but a survey of this amazing literature reveals no equal for the werewolf. The only key work that approximates the werewolf theme is The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It's the familiar story of a Victorian medical man chemically transformed to a"wolf," but only in the vernacular sense of the term: a lustful, hairy, but still human, monster. For all its literary obscurity, the ancient werewolf tales span a broad assortment of psychological and supernatural phenomena.
The three chief ways to be a werewolf are: 1) through the Black Arts, including the dependable, Satanic pact method, 2) by a werewolf bite, or 3) by inheritance from tainted ancestors who probably obtained it from among the former two approaches. The principal rule is that the human turns into a wolf, almost never the other way round. In his wolf form, his muteness utterly alienates him from everybody, and in human form, he seldom has a connection that may bear the entire understanding of his dark desires. His transformation is never seen or explained, even if others are present, along with the identity of the werewolf can't be confirmed until his passing. Werewolves can be tentatively identified by cruel eyes, hairy hands, odd palms, and the hostile reaction of different animals. Many werewolves can be killed by conventional means, although a vocal minority reproduces the Gypsies' silver-bullet theory.
Highly praised by Summers and Bieller, Dumas' book is largely forgotten now. It's only looked in the past 100 years were as a Weird Tales serial (8 components, start- ing in August, 1931), and as a Prime Press reprint (1950), edited by L. Sprague De Camp.
Not to be outdone by his European counterparts, American writer Menses "Hugues: the Wehr-Wolf" is notable because of its psychological study of the werewolf's internal conflicts. In his abject misanthropy, he finds himself in love with one of the city's maidens, Branda, the butcher's daughter. Extorting raw meat out of her dad to quell his sanguinary tastes, he finds that Branda returns his love, and this gives him the power to continue his lifetime. Branda loves him despite the lupine desires that threaten to overwhelm his individual soul. Apparently, a wolf-man could be saved if he's no longer alone with his dreadful secret. The very first werewolf tale that went past folklore was a story in a story, the often-anthologized chapter of Capt. Frederick Marryat's The Phantom Ship (1839), usually titled"A White Wolf of the Hartz Mountains' or some variant thereof. On a long cruise of the Far East, the narrator meets a young guy named Krantz who tells a tale of his father's marriage to an icy spirit of the Hartz Mountains, Christina that the werewolf. In her hidden transformation to wolf form, she kills Krantz's sister and brother and afterwards exhumes their mangled corpses for leftovers. When the love-blind dad final- ly understands what his wife is doing, he kills her and flows to the Low Countries where the avenging spirits ruin him leaving Krantz on his own. To escape the vengeance of the mountain spirits, Krantz goes to sea, but he's a dreadful precognition of his passing he relates to the Incredulous narrator. The character Christina with her cruel eyes, cold heart white coat, becomes the godmother of werewolves in print even maybe some vampires.
Not to be outdone by Dumas and Marryat, GWM Reynolds thriller, Wagner: The Wehr-Wolf (serial 1846-7, publication 1857), set the speed for werewolf lore for the remainder of the century. Analogous to Varney the Vampire, it is a sensational adventure narrative, serialized in a popular magazine with lurid examples. A werewolf Sion of the Faust legend--a motif Reynolds recycled in three other functions --the protagonist becomes a werewolf by making a pact with a strange man who promises riches and prolonged youth. Heavily influenced by Gothic tales, notably the episodic story in a story novel, Charles Maturin's Melmoth the Wanderer, the story follows the werewolf via an uncaring world seeking the person who will save him by taking his place, like Melmoth ahead of him. In the end, the werewolf is alone with the terror inside him where he goes.
The Black Forest, Spain, and Scandinavia were the varied backdrops of three of the strongest were- Werewolf stories of the 19th Century. These three novellas assault the Victorian tradition of frail womanhood, one being composed by Robert Louis Stevenson, the following by the French-writing group, Erckmann-Chatrian, and the third with a lesser-known young Englishwoman, Clemence Housman. The Erckmann-Chatrian narrative uses the background of a fictitious noble family to set up firm credibility with minimal usage of the supernatural. Stevenson's "Olalla" (1885) is a tightly constructed, realistic narrative. The ambiguity still leaves no room for doubt that wicked of the werewolf exists, even If you reject his supernatural component, In Housman's The Werewolf, the supernatural is a given, a puzzle concealed only by the density of flesh and worldly fire.
The oldest of the three, Erckmann-Chatrian "The Man-Wolf" (1864) is a realistic story of hereditary were-wolfism. As family chronicles record it, the nobleman Hugues-le-Loup's excitement for a female werewolf compels him to murder his wife, marry the werewolf, and father a race of werewolves. This becomes the House of Nideck, who for generations benignly satisfy their bloodlust by always hunting on their property. The werewolf mother bequeathed her claws. The true transformation from man to wolf just happens at Christmas and lasts fourteen days at the most. This shapeshifting is only slightly apparent once the doctor narrator spies the present master of Nideck from the nude, crouching on all fours and howling at the moon. He believes it is a strange medical issue. In the end, the werewolf curse ends with the past Nideck daughter who uncannily resembles the portrait of the murdered first wife of Hugues-le-Loup.
An ancestral taint and a mysterious portrait also play crucial parts in Stevenson's realistic story of a similar inherited curse. "Olalla" starts simply enough with an unnamed narrator, a soldier "wounded in a good cause," seeking recovery in the house of an unnamed, noble Spanish family. Forewarned of the reclusive nature, he meets only the son, Felipe, who shows little of his only two relatives, his sister and mother. As an Englishman, the convalescent narrator passively basks in the bright, Spanish climate, enjoying the quaint of the old villa, and he falls in love with a portrait of a long dead ancestor. Left on his own, she becomes "the heroine of his daydreams" with the comforting idea that she's "safe In the grave, her wand of beauty broken, her philter split."
All the while, Stevenson builds a picture of the once noble family in moral and psychological decay. Felipe's ignorance, the mother's lassitude and emptiness, and the daughter's complete absence suggest unspeakable keys combined with the awful animal cries in the night which takes the narrator to new depths of terror. Pictures of degeneration and mental disease eventually shatter when the narrator meets the incarnation of the individual in the portrait, Olalla. During their initial brief experiences, neither of them talk, but they're as helplessly mute as werewolves. Irresistibly attracted to him, Olalla breaks the silence to beg him to leave her home of corruption and evil. They admit their love for one another. He vows to Remain against all her persuasive speeches which frighten him against the poison in her blood:
Shall I bind another soul, reluctant as own, into this bewitched and tempest-broken tenement that I suffer in? Shall I hand this down cursed vessel of humankind, charge it with new life much like new poison, and dash it, like a fire, at the faces of posterity?
A minor episode reverses his vow to stay. He cuts himself and believing the mother will bind his wound, he offers her his hand, only to get her to sink her teeth into it. Like injury in real life, it appears unreal to him at the moment, dream-like, and in this manner, Stevenson avoids the transfor- mation issue. Blood-letting brings out the werewolf character without resorting to some awkward explanations. His love for Olalla survives but beneath a shroud, and he frequently has little resistance when Felipe finally carts him off to the village. He stays to discover more about the family, whose history is a story within the story, and he matches Olalla that admonishes him to leave another profoundly emotional speech. In the long run, he leaves her to her lonely doom and him.
From this sweltering Spanish play, we proceed to Clemence Housman's morality play. The Werewolf, which includes a woman of this suspended waste whose chilly kiss means death. Sitting at home through a blustery Norse day, Sweyn and his family await Sweyn's brother Christian to return. Ultimately, a woman appears at their door, briefly described as "living, beautiful, young" and having a "fair face." Known by a primitive name in her home territory, the natives appointed her "White Fell" for the white furs she wore. White Fell is a strong, independent woman, a prototype of the barbaric heroines of many epics to follow along with a form Hyperborea.
Hated by the resident wolfhound but adored by the intuitive humans, she strives to become a part of their family. Sweyn drops In love with her and thus blinded can't see what his brother Christian alone sees clearly; she's a werewolf. Two household members mysteriously die the same day following the White Fell kisses, which is sufficient to confirm Christian's suspicions. After White Fell provides Sweyn this deadly kiss, Christian doggedly hunts her down in a grueling chase round the frozen hills.
Housman shuns all the werewolf customs so fully replicated in several tales writ- ten before and afterwards. There are no silver bullets, no yelling, no slaughtered farm animals, no red-glowing eyes, no wounds received as wolves appear on the human kind, no feral breath, no returning to human form upon departure. Another strange twist is that of the half-blind Grandmother, Old Trella, who believes White Fell sounds and looks like her deceased daughter, Thora. White Fell is a revenant from Valhalla or perhaps only a fantastic girl gone lupine.
Standing besides this bunch of novellas, the final of the 19th century werewolf novels is a significant production. The historical romancer Samuel R. Crockett's The Black Douglas (1899) features a real monster of the French chronicles, Gilles de Retz. He was a genuine 15th centuryMarshall of France, who had been burnt at the stake for offender necromancy. He became associated with werewolfism because of his alleged cannibalism of young children and is frequently cited in occult fiction such as Alfred Bill's book described below. The narrative begins in Scotland in the dark season 1439. De Retz, a werewolf by virtue of a Satanic pact, visits the Douglas clan on a diplomatic mission and child - naps their two brothers. He takes them to his French estate where he rules a bunch of werewolves with his female companion, Astarte, who prefers to lounge about in her wolf form. Undaunted, the Douglas clan rush to France to rescue their own and slaughter that the Satanic wolf pack beneath a black, lightning veined skies, greatly decreasing the sorcerer inhabitants of France. Astarte is stabbed to death in her wolf form and converts to die a person with the horrible stigmata on her torso. This leaves de Retz alone, as all unrepentant werewolves end, the final of the Satanic breed began by Reynolds with his drifting Wagner. More modem views of the werewolf have started loping about.
Strangely enough, one of the better werewolf tales was written by Bram Stoker, known to the world as the author of Dracula. "Dracula's Guest" is the lost first chapter of the famous novel that was published separately as the title piece of his 1914-story collection. It's Jonathan Harker naively drifting through the misty, unhallowed Transylvanian forests on Walpurgis Night. Of course he's savagely attacked by creatures which are wolves and not wolves. They have the standard white, gleaming fangs, the gaping red mouth, the hot breath of a wild creature, but again there's no observed transformation. In weird fiction, the proposal is superior to vision. Dracula itself is filled with references to wolves, including the Count's famous reference to them as the children of the night.
Stoker's modern Count Eric' Stenbock wrote a dream fugue of were-wolfism in "The Other Side: A Breton Legend" (1893). An adolescent named Gabriel crosses a Stygian brook, tempted to pick a mysterious blue flower in the witch- haunted woods, called "the other side" The good French Catholic environment is wasted on him as the Biblical seeds scattered among the thorns.
Contrary to the Christian viewpoint, the werewolf is not always evil. In Scottish occultist Algernon Blackwood's "The Camp of the Dog" (1908), primitive blood, and unrequited love create a psychic werewolf. Like the classical werewolf, it only manifests itself at night. A group of five campers on a deserted island in the Baltic off the Swedish coast is nightly visited by a large dog or wolf. Its tracks have a range limited to the camp and an intense search of the tiny Island reveals nothing. As in many Blackwood tales. Dr. John Silence, occult detective, is summoned to sort things out. It seems that Peter, a Canadian with a good measure of "red Indian" blood has an amorous, but primitive soul that takes the form of a wolf at night to approach his loved one, a fellow camper who shuns him by day. Dr. Silence demonstrates that his soul or etheric fluid leaves his body at night in a wolf form only visible to the psychically sensitive. While his lupinoid soul is on the prowl, his sleeping body is left behind as a shrunken husk in his tent. Motivated by love and not blood lust, he does not harm anyone beyond causing a bit of a fright. When his beloved finally surrenders to the call of his savage soul, the wolf appears no more.
Also dwelling on the etheric, Oliver Onion's jumpy tale, "The Master of the House '' (1929) has a British family gradually discover that their reclusive landlord's servant has acquired some bad habits in India. He "went native" with his membership in a revolting Kali cult where he learned ancient secrets, among them the power to trans- form himself into a large clay-coloured Alsatian dog. The transformation is purely a psychic projection and like Blackwood and his predecessors, he avoids the description of the man to wolf conversion, a mere matter of metaphysics. An English cousin of Stenbock's naive young Gabriel, Saki's"Gabriel-Ernest'' (1910) is an intriguing portrait of an adolescent werewolf. Gabriel-Emest lives an idyllic life basking in the woodland sunshine and swimming in the lake by day, hunting wild prey at night. His transformation into a wolf is instantaneous. The boy disappears in 1 spot and the wolf appears in another. Contrary to the moralistic horror stories of the 19th Century, the reader is attracted to young Gabriel-Emest and feels no sorrow when he escapes those who try to end his natural way of life. He complains that his isolated lifestyle gives him little chance to eat his favorite dish, young kids, but he contents himself on wild game. The freedom of living outside culture is worth the sacrifice.
The 1920s and'30s saw a surge of werewolf books that widened the scope of the theme. Werewolfery appeared in Leonard Cline's The Dark Chamber (1927), a publication much admired by H.P. Lovecraft. Even poet Robert Service obtained at a werewolf yarn. The House of Fear (1927), followed closely by Charles Lee Swem's The Werewolf (1928) and mystery writer John Dickson Cart's It Walks by Night (Harper, 1930). The most notable was Jesse Kerrulsh's The Undying Monster (1922). The title character is an unseen monster that has tormented and murdered various members of the Hammond family for centuries. With two exceptions in the 16th Century, all who see the creature get killed by it or go insane and commit suicide. Prominent psychic experts are enlisted to fight the monster but with no success. The last ones called in were Madame Blavatsky and Professor Crookes in 1890. Now Oliver and his sister Swanhild would be the sole remaining Hammonds to confront the monster. As the story opens, she rescues him from the monster and decides to call in more psychic assistance.
Passing over the titles of Arthur Conan Doyle and Oliver Lodge, she decides on Luna Bartendale, an unorthodox occult detective, to help them save the day. The narrative unfolds Into a narrative of therlomorphy, racial memory, and Nordic gods
In a more traditional vein, Alfred H. Bill's experience The Wolf in the Garden Longmans, 1931; Centaur 1972) occurs in early American. Weeks later, his ferocious dog arrives. The dog is named De Retz, whom Saint Loup maintains Is named after Cardinal De Retz, not the infamous blood-drinking sorcerer, Gilles de Retz, who was the antagonist in The Black Douglas. Bill establishes a few intriguing conventions: Saint Loup Is never seen with his doppelganger dog/wolf; and an injured werewolf instantly returns to his human form. Saint Loup is a delightfully wicked werewolf, filled with lust and spite for humanity. He steals the hero's girlfriend, Felicity, and torments both of them together with his planned marriage of convenience that will save Felicity's uncle out of financial ruin. Another eccentric character is Vashti the Voodoo conjure-woman, who will help to save the hero from the dreaded werewolf bite. He briefly experiences "the perverted hunger and foul thirst" for the tendons and blood of a freshly killed game. The writer also notes that to take a bit of a dedicated host is defense against werewolves, but his clergyman character, Sackville, the neighborhood occultist and werewolf specialist, is so staunchly Protestant he won't allow these hosts to leave the church building, even to offer protection against the forces of evil.
Guy Endore's popular novel The Werewolf Of Paris (Farrar and Rinehard, 1933; Avon 19S0 [abridged/expurgated]) is still another example of a story in a story, for the narrator transcribes the case of Bertrand Caillet, a French werewolf active throughout the Franco-Prussian war. Based on Rumanian lore, extensively studied by Harry Senn at The Werewolf and Vampire in Romania (1982), a child conceived or born on Christmas or Easter is wicked. Great wives shun their husbands's beds through times that might lead to such a wicked birthday. Bertrand also matches the werewolf stereotype with his hairy hands, strange fingers, and yelling rather than crying as a baby. Bertrand dreams he's a four-footed monster that kills little game and kids and runs out of heavily-armed pursuers. He wakes with a strange appetite. When Bertrand goes to Paris to take the medical school examination, his friends drag him into a brothel where he commits his first key atrocity. A contributor to this Oedipus theory. He seduces and kills his half-willing mother In a grisly scene of creature depravity. To escape prosecution, he flees to the countryside for Paris In the middle of a war, where his actions are less conspicuous.
They've lurid romantic scenes where Bertrand wounds various elements of her anatomy with a knife, which satisfies his crazy cravings for some time. Like Hugues Wulfric In Menzies early narrative, the werewolf could be redeemed by the love of an understanding girl. Though she enjoys their sanguine encounters, Sophia abandons Bertrand and he returns to his nocturnal outings. His atrocities appear minor, however, in comparison to the honors of the Paris Commune and man's savage survival instincts In warfare. He spends the remainder of his days cutting off from the rest of the world. Aymar visited him on those days I carefully drugged him so he can't speak. Without the love of a woman, a werewolf is finally alone, and the wolf interior leaves him hushed.
As a last and more contemporary note, Geoffrey Household's "Taboo" (1940) is a gritty tale with numerous werewolf components that Its ambiguity and lack of supernatural phenomena are insignificant. In still another story within the story, a wolf is taken with a silver bullet which turns up in one of the villager's gut. The werewolf Is a living, breathing concrete creature, and the dilemma of the genuine man-to-wolf transformation is insignificant. The werewolf is actual.
He is the dark heart of culture. Alone, not able to breathe freely in human society, his desires are unsatisfied, and he revolts In orgiastic bloodletting or perishes without having lived. His literary picture is so diffuse it can be argued to include Lovecraft's "The Outsider" or half of the works of Jack "Wolf" London from the werewolf canon. He's an enemy of man, since he's an outsider with the call of the wild as his secret sin. His animal bloodlust is well documented, and known, but his love life is another issue. Erckmann and Cbatrian don't record whether Hugues-le-Loup eventually got his werewolf bride In line, nor Is it known what would have happened if Christian hadn't interfered between his brother and White Fell. Manyat's Christina is another thing, married but fully unrepentant.
After 1940, the werewolf went beyond literature to combine the vampire as an icon of damnation in popular culture. By the start of World War II, this monster touched a wound that soon turned all too real. It Is no little irony that Hitler dubbed his strategy for the continuation of hostilities following the war Operation Werewolf. Up from the primal mass of man's lower instincts, the werewolf resides on.
The two-lane blacktop meanders back and forth throughout the Sierra Foothills, after old gold mining roads all the way from Grass Valley to Yosemite. On the way, at roadside markers and historic sites, tribute is paid to those intrepid 49'ers who worked the hills and hills, hoping to strike it rich. What the signs don't tell is that a few of those old-timers may still be hangin' on, still walking the halls of the wooden buildings in which they lived.
In order to make a living, Louise was forced to take on borders and even rented out the cellar as a jail. Two prisoners, who spent the night in her cellar before being hung in the front yard, are sometimes seen still roaming the grounds. One was a robber who performed a dance on the scaffold - just before the noose was put around his neck. The other was a school teacher who murdered one of his students and ended up reciting poetry to those who came to watch his execution. Louise died in 1913 and was buried with her husband Robert, in a small public cemetery across the street from their home.
Subsequent residents of Vineyard House reported seeing shimmering apparitions walking in the halls or hearing the rattling of chains at all hours of the night. Eventually, no one wanted to live in the house and it fell into disrepair. In 1956 the house was renovated and turned into a hotel. The cellar jail became a cheerful bar, but that did not stop the hauntings. Occasionally, the rattling of chains could still be heard and one evening, two wine glasses were pushed across the bar by unseen hands. In one of the rooms, a maid saw a freshly made bed become undone, leaving the impression of a body in the sheets; and witness Dave Vanbuskirk saw a doorknob turn with no one on the other side of the door. Later, a San Francisco couple reported seeing three men dressed in Victorian clothes disappear as they ascended a stairway.
In 1974 the hotel was purchased by Frank and Darlene Herrera, who are trying to dispel the rumors of ghosts. However, three years ago, a Sacramento couple ran from the hotel in the middle of the night, saying they heard someone being murdered in the next room. Investigators from the County Sheriff's Department could find nothing out of the ordinary.
If you are traveling down Highway 49 and decide to stop for a bite to eat at Nonno's Italian Restaurant in the Hotel Leger ( 8304 Main St., Mokelumne Hill, CA), be sure to take a good look at the old portrait on the north wall of the dining room. It is a picture of the founder of the century-old hotel, George Leger. George was an aristocratic French immigrant who lived out most of his life in Room 7 of the hotel. Some say he never left his hotel; several people have reported his specter silently gliding through the halls. Others have complained of rowdy laughter and ladies giggling behind the door of Room 7, only to find the room empty. The management has even hung pictures of Victorian pin-up girls in George's room, in deference to his reputation for womanizing.
Manager Ronald Miller says the hotel personnel accept George's presence as a normal part of their jobs. Just a few miles north on Highway 49 lies the Sutter Creek Inn (75 Main St., Sutter Creek, CA. 95685). When Jane Way bought the Inn in 1966, it was already over one-hundred years old, although she had no idea it came with its own ghost. Two weeks after moving in, an apparition appeared in her doorway and said softly:"I will guard your Inn".
Later she identified the soul as State Senator Edward Voorhies, who took ownership of the home in 1880 and lived there with his wife and family for several years. The Inn is still the spectacle of unusual events, like the hidden force that picked up a kitty from a chair and threw it across the room. Or the look in broad daylight of a ghost, who entered the front office and immediately dropped his pants. By all reports, this well-endowed spectral flasher took it with him.