“Pickman’s Other Model (1929)”—A Tale of Lovecraftian Horror by Caitlín R. Kiernan

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Artwork inspired by both H. P. Lovecraft’s story “Pickman’s Model” and Kiernan’s “sequel”, “Pickman’s Other Model.” Artist unknown. (Goodreads forum).

Pickman’s Other Model (1929)

Caitlín R. Kiernan*, 2011

***

First published in Paula Guran’s 2011 Lovecraft Mythos anthology, New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird*, “Pickman’s Other Model” is a masterful continuation of H. P. Lovecraft’s original story “Pickman’s Model” that was first published in Weird Tales magazine in October 1927. [Read about the original here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pickman%27s_Model
Read the original Lovecraft story here: https://thesanguinewoods.wordpress.com/2016/05/12/pickmans-model-a-story-by-h-p-lovecraft-1927/]


I have never been much for movies, preferring, instead, to take my entertainment in the theater, always favoring living actors over those flickering, garish ghosts magnified and splashed across the walls of dark and smoky rooms at twenty-four frames per second. I’ve never seemed able to get past the knowledge that the apparent motion is merely an optical illusion, a clever procession of still images streaming past my eye at such a rate of speed that I only perceive motion where none actually exists. But in the months before I finally met Vera Endecott, I found myself drawn with increasing regularity to the Boston movie houses, despite this long-standing reservation.

I had been shocked to my core by Thurber’s suicide, though, with the unavailing curse of hindsight, it’s something I should certainly have had the presence of mind to have seen coming. Thurber was an infantryman during the war—La Guerre pour la Civilisation, as he so often called it. He was at the Battle of Saint Mihiel when Pershing failed in his campaign to seize Metz from the Germans, and he survived only to see the atrocities at the Battle of the Argonne Forest less than two weeks later. When he returned home from France early in 1919, Thurber was hardly more than a fading, nervous echo of the man I’d first met during our college years at the Rhode Island School of Design, and, on those increasingly rare occasions when we met and spoke, more often than not our conversations turned from painting and sculpture and matters of aesthetics to the things he’d seen in the muddy trenches and ruined cities of Europe.

And then there was his dogged fascination with that sick bastard Richard Upton Pickman, an obsession that would lead quickly to what I took to be no less than a sort of psychoneurotic fixation on the man and the blasphemies he committed to canvas. When, two years ago, Pickman vanished from the squalor of his North End “studio,” never to be seen again, this fixation only worsened, until Thurber finally came to me with an incredible, nightmarish tale which, at the time, I could only dismiss as the ravings of a mind left unhinged by the bloodshed and madness and countless wartime horrors he’d witnessed along the banks of the Meuse River and then in the wilds of the Argonne Forest.

But I am not the man I was then, that evening we sat together in a dingy tavern near Faneuil Hall (I don’t recall the name of the place, as it wasn’t one of my usual haunts). Even as William Thurber was changed by the war and by whatever it is he may have experienced in the company of Pickman, so too have I been changed, and changed utterly, first by Thurber’s sudden death at his own hands and then by a film actress named Vera Endecott. I do not believe that I have yet lost possession of my mental faculties, and if asked, I would attest before a judge of law that my mind remains sound, if quite shaken. But I cannot now see the world around me the way I once did, for having beheld certain things there can be no return to the unprofaned state of innocence or grace that prevailed before those sights. There can be no return to the sacred cradle of Eden, for the gates are guarded by the flaming swords of cherubim, and the mind may not—excepting in merciful cases of shock and hysterical amnesia—simply forget the weird and dismaying revelations visited upon men and women who choose to ask forbidden questions. And I would be lying if I were to claim that I failed to comprehend, to suspect, that the path I was setting myself upon when I began my investigations following Thurber’s inquest and funeral would lead me where they have. I knew, or I knew well enough. I am not yet so degraded that I am beyond taking responsibility for my own actions and the consequences of those actions.

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What’s on the Tube? Veronica—A Frightening Story of Demonic Possession!

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Tea—Earl Grey. Read—The Devil & Karen Kingston. A True Account of a 3-Day Battle to Rid a Young Girl of 13 Demons…

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Picked this 1977 paperback up this weekend at a little bookshop in Denver. I was 10 when this was published. That was of course way back during the Cretaceous period. 😉

Seriously, though, I’ve always been drawn to these nicely detailed dramatized accounts. While their veracity seems to be a favorite target for criticism, which can go on for decades (e.g., Sybil, & The Amityville Horror), I enjoy these types of documentaries; their prose style and approach to the subject matter is so “retro”—peaking during a time when the US was experiencing its own little “Heyday in Hell” (thank you William Peter Blaaty).

The Devil & Karen Kingston

Robert W. Pelton

Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books, December 1977

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The Vivid Account of an Authentic Exorcism!

At the age of seven, Karen Kingston witnessed the brutal murder of her father by her own mother. By the age of 13, she barely seemed like a human being. Leading an almost catatonic existence in a home for handicapped children, the once pretty, happy young girl, had transformed into a hideous creature. Doctors tried everything; but Karen’s case seemed hopeless—she was suffering mentally, emotionally, and physically, and no one knew why. Finally, a priest was called in—Reverend Richard Rogers, a man of God by faith, and an exorcist by trade.

In one of the most horrific cases of demon-possssion on record, one by one, Reverend Rogers exorcised a total of 13 demons said to have been inhabiting the young body of Karen Kingston. This is that story. After three excruciating days, Karen was set free. And now (at the time of the writing of this book, which was in 1977) at age 16, she is living a happy, healthy life. (from the back cover)

Current Read: An Exorcist Tells His Story by Father Gabriele Amorth

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Photo Source: churchpop.com/2015/03/13/why-are-demons-so-afraid-of-mary/

A wealth of information about an often misunderstood, very important, even dangerous job…

While I usually shy away from a biased reading of any type on any topic–this seems fair enough: start here, at the Church’s perspective, since it invented the rite of exorcism, and it is the entity in charge of the official ritual; the when, where, and whether it is performed–and by whom. A mysterious and often frightening topic for many of us, I figured this one is worth the read. – SW

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From Amazon:

“In this powerful book, Father (Fr.) Gabriele Amorth–the Roman Catholic Church’s Chief Exorcist having performed hundreds of exorcisms over the years–tells of his many experiences doing battle with “Satan” to relieve the great suffering of people in the “grip of evil”. According to Fr. Amorth, the importance of the ministry to “expel demons” is clearly seen in the biblical gospels (the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the Catholic Bible)–from the actions of Jesus Christ’s Apostles; and from the history of the Church itself. Father Amorth allows the reader to witness the activities of the exorcist, to experience what an exorcist sees and does. He also reveals how little modern science, psychology, and medicine can do to help those under the “devil’s influence”, and that only the power of Jesus Christ can release them from this kind of mental, spiritual or physical suffering. An Exorcist Tells His Story has been a European best-seller that has gone through numerous printings and editions. No other book today so thoroughly and concisely discusses the topic of exorcism.”

“This is a very important book. Every pastoral leader, clergy and lay, should read it. The ministry of exorcism badly needs to be restored and Fr. Amorth’s book is a significant contribution in this direction.” – Ralph Martin

“Fr. Amorth tells us about his personal confrontations with the devil on hundreds of occasions. Those who deny or doubt the power of the devil will be shocked at what they find in this book.” – Fr. Kenneth Baker, S.J.

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Father Amworth and his books about Exorcism.

Get the book (and other books by the author) here, in hard copy and ebook formats:

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Reblog: Low in cost, high in bone-chilling terror! 11 Seriously Scary Found Footage Horror Movies

EB8DB2B7-32B9-4D92-B06C-3A05763600DBI love these horror lists! This one is a reblog from The Lineup, at…

https://the-line-up.com/found-footage…

Found footage is the perfect way for filmmakers to terrorize audiences without terrorizing their own wallets. These films combine raw performances with tense, first-person filmmaking to deliver their chills, all shot on a shoestring budget. Many surprised viewers with their fear-factor despite the slim resources available.

Part of why these films are successful? Viewers already know the ending. Those in the found footage are either dead or missing. The real interest is in discovering just how that happened. The technique has spanned genres too, reaching into the realms of fantasy and science fiction.

So dim the lights, pop a Dramamine, and settle in for a night of bone-chilling terror. Here are 11 of the best found footage flicks that horror has to offer. (Click images to enlarge.)

1. The Blair Witch Project

Is there any other way to kick off this list? Eduardo Sánchez and Daniel Myrick delivered one of the scariest films of the 90s with TBWP and quickly became the flag-bearer for the found footage subgenre. It trails three film students as they venture into the woods hunting the legendary Blair Witch. The original script, completed in 1993, left actors the ability to improvise much of the film. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was an immediate hit. What’s more, the director’s $11,000 project terrorized enough people to churn out $248.6 million at the box office, making it one of the most successful independent films of the time. The mysterious and long-awaited Blair Witch reboot hit theaters in 2016.

2. Cannibal Holocaust

Even though the previous entry is credited with launching the found footage phenomenon, it’s Ruggero Deodato’s brutal Cannibal Holocaust that actually gave birth to the subgenre. Released in 1980, the film follows a professor as he searches for his film crew protégés who’ve gone missing. He doesn’t find them–alive–but what he does find is their footage, with scenes of human brutality you’ll wish had never been caught on tape. The film was inspired by Italian media reporting of Red Brigade terrorism and gained its fame thanks to its controversial use of incredibly graphic imagery and violence. In fact, after its premiere in Italy, the film was confiscated by a local magistrate, and Deodato was arrested for obscenity.

3. Lovely Molly

We bet you can’t make it through the night without shuddering after watching this chiller, which follows an unstable newlywed and her four-legged demon suitor.

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The Best Witch Books Ever: Part One—Here Are MY Faves…

“A witch is a magician, who, either by open or secret league, is wittingly or unwillingly contenteth to use the aid and assistance of the devil in the working of wonders or misery to those about, both friend and enemy alike.”

– William Perkins, A Discourse on the Damned Art of Witchcraft, 1608

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Illustration/Design: Sanguine Woods.

Here they are…my faves–well part of them, anyway (stay tuned for Parts Two and Three); and they’re not in any type of order. I purposely refrained from giving them any kind of rating–ratings are biased by nature; this way, you can judge for yourself.

To me, they just have to be scary (adult scary–although I am a big fan of Roald Dahl). If you were burned to death tied to a stake, you’d be scary, too.

I also enjoy an eerie old-fashioned gothic atmosphere, which can add a complexity if written well that doesn’t always need scares to be effective. (The scary part usually rules out YA and Teen fiction for me; if you know of one I’ve missed, please send me a note!) Other than that just give me thoughtful characterization and good prose.

“By the Pricking of my Thumbs, something wicked this way comes.”  Witches, Macbeth

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White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi, 2009

white“White is for witching, a colour to be worn so that all other colours can enter you, so that you may use them. At a pinch, cream will do.”

There’s something strange about the Silver family house in the closed-off town of Dover, England. Grand and cavernous with hidden passages and buried secrets, it’s been home to four generations of Silver women—Anna, Jennifer, Lily, and now Miranda, who has lived in the house with her twin brother, Eliot, ever since their father converted it to a bed-and-breakfast. The Silver women have always had a strong connection, a pull over one another that reaches across time and space, and when Lily, Miranda’s mother, passes away suddenly while on a trip abroad, Miranda begins suffering strange ailments. An eating disorder starves her. She begins hearing voices. When she brings a friend home, Dover’s hostility toward outsiders physically manifests within the four walls of the Silver house, and the lives of everyone inside are irrevocably changed. And of course there is the house itself, 29 Barton Road, whose lines in the novel are grotesque, chilling and beautiful. At once an unforgettable mystery and a meditation on race, nationality, and family legacies, White is for Witching is a boldly original, terrifying, and elegant novel by a prodigious talent.

Winner of the Somerset Maugham Award
One of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists
From the acclaimed author of Mr. Fox; & Boy, Snow, Bird

“Be prepared to be enchanted…” – Fantasy Book Critic

Review: https://fantasybookcritic.blogspot.com/2009/07/white-is-for-witching-by-helen-oyeyemi.html

Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt, 2016

43A9512F-1E89-4E0C-B400-4016531660A4The greats of genre fiction, Stephen King and George R. R. Martin (Game of Thrones), lead the fanfare for HEX–a good sign that Dutch author Thomas Olde Heuvelt’s debut English novel is both terrifying and unputdownable in equal measure.

Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay until death. Whoever comes to stay here, never leaves. 

Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town that is haunted by the Black Rock Witch—a 17th-century woman whose eyes and mouth have been sewn shut. Blind and silenced, she walks the streets, entering homes at will. She’s been known to stand next to a child’s bed for nights on end–and no one knows why. So accustomed, in fact, to have her about, the townsfolk have almost grown to forget she’s there…or threat she poses a threat. According to the legend: if the Black Rock Witch’s stitches are ever cut open, the whole town will perish.

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