Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Interesting Shorts: the Story of Baelbrow

The Story of Baelbrow was a supernatural detective story that was part of a series featuring Flaxman Low by E. and H. Heron (the pen-names of Katherine and Hesketh Prichard). The series was printed in Pearson's Monthly Magazine and this particular story was published in 1898.

The story takes place at Baelbrow, ancestral home of the Swaffams. The mansion had been known to be haunted but the family were proud of their ghost and it was little more than a presence – until the time of this story that is.

The mansion had been loaned to professor Jungvort and suddenly the ghost became violent and able to touch the corporeal. The Professor had seen the ghost and it had grabbed his daughter Lena and several others. They are reported as being left weak but eventually a maid, Eliza Freeman, was found dead. “There was a little blood upon her sleeve but no mark upon her body except a small raised pustule under the ear. The doctor said the girl was extraordinarily anæmic…”

When Low meets Lena it is noted that she is pale and has a circular patch of pink behind her ear. She reports that it had a bandaged arm.

It eventually turns out that the Professor had taken possession of an Egyptian mummy and Low eventually rationalises that, "It is held by some authorities on these subjects that under certain conditions a vampire may be self-created. You tell me that this house is built upon an ancient barrow, in fact, on a spot where we might naturally expect to find such an elemental psychic germ. In those dead human systems were contained all the seeds for good and evil. The power which causes these psychic seeds or germs to grow is thought, and from being long dwelt on and indulged, a thought might finally gain a mysterious vitality, which could go increasing more and more by attracting to itself suitable and appropriate elements from its environment. For a long period this germ remained a helpless intelligence, awaiting the opportunity to assume some material form, by means of which to carry out its desires. The invisible is the real; the material only subserves its manifestation. The impalpable reality already existed, when you provided for it a physical medium for action by unwrapping the mummy's form. Now, we can only judge of the nature of the germ by its manifestation through matter. Here we have every indication of a vampire intelligence touching into life and energy the dead human frame. Hence the mark on the neck of its victims, and their bloodless and anæmic condition. For a vampire, as you know, sucks blood."

So the ghost, created through the psychic field of a barrow and belief, became an incorporeal entity and then took possession of the body of a mummy when it was unwrapped from its outer bandages and acted as a vampire.

The story wasn’t the best from that particular era but what was interesting was the combining of the ghost, vampire and mummy elements. You can read the story here.

No comments: