GUIDED TOURS OF FAMOUS SECRET PLACES
A guide leads a tour group around Paris as part of a magic working, beginning at the Rue Morgue. The members of the tour group are from Arkham, Brichester, Derry, Ingersham, Medicine Man, Mud Creek, and Harrisonville. The first stop is the L’Épi-Scié Tavern, followed by a mansion on the Rue Thérèse. De Castries taught the guide that silver and abstract designs kept his enemies away. The mansion was, and perhaps still is, the meeting place of the Habits Noirs, or the Black Coats in English. The guide lists secret societies that have manipulated humanity throughout history, including the Black Coats, the Si-Fan, the Illuminati, the Shin Tan, the Brotherhood of the Seven Kings, the Black Lodge, and the Power House. The Mona Lisa was stolen twice, the first time by Arsène Lupin, using a secret passageway also used by the notorious Belphégor, also known as the Phantom of the Louvre. Other secret passages in Paris include the room in the Dragon Volant and the passages used by Erik under the Opera House. The guide makes the Voorish Sign and takes the group through the Room of the Barbarous Gods, which includes giant stone statues of the Serpent-Men of Valusia and a black idol from the castle of Joiry. Escaping from the Louvre through the sewers, and feeling like Jean Valjean in the process, the guide and his group resurface not far from the Court of the Dragon. An imitator of Erik battled Lupin’s grandson in the '60s. The next stop after the Opera House is the Rue d’Auseil. The Hidden Places, parts of the world that have been separated from the normal world by powers unknown, include St. Beregonne’s Lane in Hamburg, the cities of Selene and Xebico, the land of Lilliput, and the parts of the Sargasso that Hodgson wrote about. They should not be confused with journeys to other worlds like those of Randolph Carter or the crew of the Mainz Psalter. Occasionally, a person like Erich Zann will find their way into the Rue d’Auseil. A gaping hole in the sky leads into the realm of Azathoth. The guide cries out words in the old tongue of R’lyeh. The man from Mud Creek invokes Cthulhu and Dagon, while the man from Derry sings of the Black Goat of the Wood with a Thousand Young.
Short story by Matthew Ilseman in Tales of the Shadowmen Volume 14: Coup de Grace, Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier, eds., Black Coat Press, 2017; reprinted in French in Les Compagnons de l’Ombre (Tome 24), Jean-Marc Lofficier, ed., Rivière Blanche, 2018. The Rue Morgue is from Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.” Arkham, Massachusetts is the setting of many of H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos tales. Brichester is a town in the Severn Valley in Ramsey Campbell’s contributions to the Mythos. Derry is a recurring setting in the works of Stephen King. Ingersham is from Jean Ray’s The City of Unspeakable Fear. The town of Medicine Man is from Gene Wolfe’s The Sorcerer’s House. Mud Creek, Texas is the setting of many works by Joe R. Lansdale. Harrisonville, New Jersey is the home of Seabury Quinn’s occult detective Dr. Jules de Grandin. The L’Épi-Scié tavern and the mansion on the Rue Thérèse are from Paul Féval’s novels about the crime cartel known as the Black Coats. Thibaut de Castries is from Fritz Leiber’s Our Lady of Darkness. The Si-Fan is the society controlled by Sax Rohmer’s Dr. Fu Manchu. The Illuminati is a historical group, but the reference here is specifically to Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson’s The Illuminatus! Trilogy. The Shin Tan is led by Monsieur Ming, the archenemy of Henri Vernes’ hero Bob Morane. The Brotherhood of the Seven Kings is from L. T. Meade and Robert Eustace’s book of the same name. The Black Lodge is from Talbot Mundy’s Jimgrim novel The Devil’s Guard, as well as the television series Twin Peaks and Twin Peaks: The Return. The Power House (aka Krafthaus) is from John Buchan’s The Power House. Arsène Lupin is Maurice Leblanc’s gentleman thief. Belphégor is from Arthur Bernède’s titular novel and serial, as is the Room of the Barbarous Gods. The Dragon Volant is from the story “The Room in the Dragon Volant,” included in J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s In a Glass Darkly. Erik is the title character of Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera. The Voorish Sign is from Lovecraft’s “The Dunwich Horror.” The Serpent-Men of Valusia are from Robert E. Howard’s Kull stories. Joiry is from C. L. Moore’s tales of Jirel of Joiry. Jean Valjean is from Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables. The Court of the Dragon is from Robert W. Chambers’ “In the Court of the Dragon,” included in The King in Yellow. Arsène Lupin’s grandson encountered an Erik-like villain in “Vissi d’arte, Vissi d’amore,” an episode of the anime Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine. The Rue d’Auseil and Erich Zann are from Lovecraft’s “The Music of Erich Zann.” St. Beregonne’s Lane is from Jean Ray’s “The Shadowy Street.” Selene is from Féval’s Vampire City. Xebico is from H. F. Arnold’s “The Night Wire.” Lilliput is from Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. The Sargasso reference is to William Hope Hodgson’s Sargasso Sea stories. Randolph Carter is from Lovecraft’s Dream Cycle. The Mainz Psalter is from Jean Ray’s titular story. Azathoth is one of Lovecraft’s Outer Gods. R’lyeh is the sunken city where a slumbering Cthulhu is imprisoned. Dagon is from Lovecraft’s “Dagon” and “The Shadow over Innsmouth.” The Black Goat of the Wood with a Thousand Young is Lovecraft’s Great Old One Shub-Niggurath.
This crossover writeup is one of hundreds included in my book Crossovers Expanded: A Secret Chronology of the World Volume 3, which will be published by Meteor House! All three volumes are AUTHORIZED companions to Win Scott Eckert's Crossovers: A Secret Chronology of the World Volumes 1 and 2!