TalkTHE DEEP ONES: "No. 252 Rue M. le Prince" by Ralph Adams Cram
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Discussion begins on October 9, 2019.
First published in Black Spirits and White: A Book of Ghost Stories (1895).
SELECTED PRINT VERSIONS
The Mammoth Book of Haunted House Stories
Masterpieces of Terror and the Supernatural
Hauntings and Horrors, Ten Grisly Tales
I have to wonder why Sar Torrevieja wasn't wanted for theft since he emptied the house of all it’s belongings.
The major, seemingly supernatural, event - the narrator's encounter with some kind of sinister entity during his living death, reminded me of David Gray's funeral and paralyzed encounter with the ancient life-draining crone in Dreyer's 1932 film, VAMPYR.
I don't know for what historical reasons the occult seems to have been more about satanism, than theosophy or spirit mediums in France, but it's present and correct here and forming an essential part of the atmosphere of the story.
The paralysing effect of the entity reminded me of Vampyr as well, although the text draws attention to (or owns up to?) a possible source of inspiration in Edward Bulwer-Lytton's "The Haunted and The Haunters".
Sar Torreviaja wouldn't be troubled by the authorities because he is "The old Spanish sorcerer to whom Mllle. de Tartas had left her personal property".
Presumably he conjured up the entity - no more motive required than that he is a bad man who wanted the house as well - but the ghostly Walpurgisnacht revellers reportedly heard in the empty house are left unexplained (or at least, I don't have an explanation).
"The old Spanish sorcerer to whom Mllle. de Tartas had left her personal property".
I'll add "The Haunted and The Haunters" to the brainstorming thread.
In addition, one of the rooms in the house was described as having been painted with deep blue distemper with gold stars sipersed across the ceiling and walls.
Yes, I was rather disappointed by the hares Cram started and did not follow up. Felt a little cheated.
About that naked woman looming over that room: I'm fairly sure I hadn't previously read this, but she rings bells--is she used in someone else's story, or perhaps an actual feature of late-Victorian Satanism, or a feature in some ancient religion, perhaps?*
ETA - * It's probably more likely that I've read it decades ago and forgotten.
>5 housefulofpaper: I hadn't considered the possibility the "succubus" is conjured up by Sar.
>9 housefulofpaper: I also had a feeling of familiarity with the red woman, and I think you've nailed it. She is rather like Nuut.
I wonder if Cram, a spiritual man it seems, was making a point that evil can appear in simple surroundings. It's in the plain room that the narrator is threatened, not any of the bizarre rooms his companions keep watch in.
Incidentally, I see, from Cram's wiki entry, that I pass by one of his churches fairly frequently.
He's got to be the only author we've covered who has his own feast day.
I see, from Cram's wiki entry, that I pass by one of his churches fairly frequently.
It's a surprisingly satisfying thing when you find you have a connection to one of these stories, no matter how faint that connection might be. I've enjoyed the coincidence of the last three stories being set in Paris all the more for having been there (albeit I've only walked the short distance between the train stations Gare du Nord and Gare de L'est each time!)
As architecturally sensitive as Chicago is, I didn't recognise the name nor his very visible work on the Magnificent Mile, the Fourth Presbyterian Church. It is a satisfying thing to find a living link to my own world.
I also thought it was kind of funny (but doubtless realistic) that the "couple of rake-hell fellows" who were Eugene's accomplices were medical men. It put me in mind of Machen's doctors.