Sunday, March 16, 2014

Crossover of the Week

October 31, 1911
            Sâr Dubnotal and John Silence view a house that is said in Kraighten to be built by the Devil. Silence refers to two other psychic sensitives, a young girl in the Highlands named Crerar and a fellow named Vance in London. Dubnotal says that Count Magnus is no Crowley or Karswell, to be taunted. An Oxford don of Silence’s acquaintance has theorized that Magnus is a 17th century mystic of ill-repute, while an elderly theatre owner in London claims that Magnus is the same individual who led the Tong of the Black Scorpion to its destruction in Queen Victoria’s day. Magnus’ Brotherhood of Gerasene has abducted Thomas Carnacki, the Ghost-Finder, who rescued a man named Baines from their dark plans. Magnus tells the assembled Brotherhood that they will bring their master, the Hog, over the border on which the house sits. Magnus says that he has made the Black Pilgrimage. A group of swine-things attack Dubnotal and Silence; the latter counters one with the Voorish Sign. Dubnotal possesses a cane that conceals a silver blade, inspired by his meeting with an American named Pursuivant. Dubnotal says that Doctor Omega warned him about Magnus, whom he calls “Greel.” Silence suggests using the the Incantation of Raaaee or the Saaamaaa Ritual against the Hog. Dubnotal takes out a sliver of the gem known as the Blood of Belshazzar, which was retrieved from the fire column of Kor. Dubnotal says that the flames of the Faltine lurk within the sliver.
            Short story by Josh Reynolds in Tales of the Shadowmen Volume 10: Esprit de Corps, Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier, eds., Black Coat Press, 2013. The Sâr Dubnotal was the title character of a French pulp series by an anonymous author. John Silence is from Algernon Blackwood’s titular collection of stories. The house, Kraighten, and the swine-things are from William Hope Hodgson’s The House on the Borderland. Thomas Carnacki, Baines, the Hog, the Incantation of Raaaee, and the Saaamaa Ritual are from Hodgson’s collection Carnacki the Ghost-Finder. Sheila Crerar appeared in stories by Ella Scrymsour, while Aylmer Vance is an occult detective created by Alice and Claude Askew. Count Magnus is from M.R. James’ short story of the same name, as are the Oxford don (Mr. Wraxall) and the Black Pilgrimage. Reynolds conflates Magnus with Magnus Greel from the Doctor Who episode “The Talons of Weng-Chiang,” which is also the source of the elderly theatre owner (Henry Gordon Jago) and the Tong of the Black Scorpion. Although most of the Doctor’s exploits take place in an alternate reality to the Crossover Universe, Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier’s translation and adaptation of Arnould Galopin’s Doctor Omega implies that Omega is the Doctor’s CU counterpart. Greel most likely assumed the identity of the real Count Magnus de la Gardie, who may be distantly related to the Delagardie branch of the Wold Newton Family. Karswell is the villain of another M.R. James story, “Casting the Runes.” The Voorish Sign is from Lovecraft’s “The Dunwich Horror.” Judge Keith Hilary Pursuivant is from the works of Manly Wade Wellman. The Blood of Belshazzar is from Robert E. Howard’s Cormac Fitzgeoffrey story of the same name. Kor is the homeland of H. Rider Haggard’s Ayesha, She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed. The Faltine are from the tales of Marvel Comics’ Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange.


  1. One of my personal favourite tales in this year's Shadowmen collection, after Rouletabille vs. The Cat.

    One of the references in the story that confused me was the line "…a medium in Berkshire claimed [Magnus] was an antediluvian sorcerer king…”. Is that a reference to anything? Tolkien, maybe?

    1. I'm not sure whether that was a reference to anyone specific or not.

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. Maybe the reference is to something from Robert E. Howard?

    This I guess would bring House on the Borderland. Though I believe it was reference in one of the Traveler's Almanacs from The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

    I also think this confirms Cormac Fitzgeoffrey who I think has a reference in a previous Shadowmen story.