Sunday, March 17, 2024

Crossover of the Week

Summer 1920


Charles St. Cyprian and Ebe Gallowglass meet Harry Houdini and Arthur Conan Doyle, the latter of whom says Holmes used to talk to himself. Holmes and Carnacki worked together on a case in 1899 involving a man named James Phillimore. Doyle says Watson spoke of that affair once or twice. After the case, Carnacki became Edwin Drood’s apprentice. Supposedly, the King of Ruritania lives at Claridge’s when he isn’t serving as the doorman at Barribault’s. Colonel Bobdillo is taking Houdini, his wife, and Doyle to dinner. St. Cyprian draws the odd angles of the Voorish Sign and has a vision involving the three-lobed burning eye. An old man called Captain James Basil helps St. Cyprian and company out of a spot. St. Cyprian knew a man during the war who knew a little something about clouding men’s minds and had the most eerie laugh. Gallowglass refers to a previous case involving Bellingham and his mummy. Ten years ago, a cult in Cairo sealed Houdini into a pyramid. St. Cyprian tries to use a move on his opponent the Thin Man that Captain Drummond had shown him one night in Marseille. The Thin Man is St. Cyprian’s old foe, the mummy Nephren-Ka. If it hadn’t been for the debacle in Seven Dials, Bellingham’s influence among the subtly inclined might have grown to outstrip that of Crowley or Mocata. Doyle wonders if Bellingham is the same man a surgeon of his acquaintance named Abercrombie Smith spoke of. The Starry Wisdom is an offshoot of the Cult of the Great Pyramid Bat. Bobdillo knows the night-music of Khem. Houdini, recognizing Bobdillo from Egypt, asks him whatever happened to Abdul Reis. Captain Basil, who is really Sherlock Holmes, says Colonel Bobdillo was not a real Colonel, but took up the rank when the late, unlamented Colonel Sebastian Moran was locked away. 

Novella by Josh Reynolds, 18thWall Productions, 2016, reprinted in Casefiles of the Royal Occultist Volume One: Monmouth’s Giants, 18thWall Productions, 2019. James Phillimore is the subject of an untold Sherlock Holmes case mentioned in Doyle and Watson’s “The Problem of Thor Bridge.” This Phillimore is a distinct individual from the shape-changing alien who used that name in Farmer and Manders’ “The Problem of the Sore Bridge – Among Others.” Holmes used the alias of Captain Basil in “The Adventure of Black Peter.” Colonel Sebastian Moran is from “The Adventure of the Empty House.” Holmes’ description of Moran as “late” should not be taken literally, as the Colonel will not meet his end until 1935, as described in Kim Newman’s “The Man Who Got Off the Ghost Train.” Thomas Carnacki is from William Hope Hodgson’s Carnacki, the Ghost-Finder. Edwin Drood is from Charles Dickens’ unfinished novel The Mystery of Edwin Drood. The ex-King of Ruritania and Barribault’s are from the works of P. G. Wodehouse. Ruritania itself is originally from Anthony Hope’s The Prisoner of Zenda. Colonel Bobdillo is from Elliott O’Donnell’s “The Mummy Worshippers.” The Voorish Sign is from H. P. Lovecraft’s “The Dunwich Horror.” The three-lobed burning eye is an avatar of Nyarlathotep from Lovecraft’s “The Haunter of the Dark.” Nephren-Ka and the Starry Wisdom Church are also from that story. Houdini’s interment in a Cairo pyramid and Abdul Reis are from “Imprisoned with the Pharaohs,” supposedly a factual account by Houdini himself, but a fictional story penned by Lovecraft. Khem is from both stories. The man St. Cyprian knew during the Great War is the future pulp hero of the shadows. Edward Bellingham and Abercrombie Smith are from Doyle’s “Lot No. 249.” Captain Hugh “Bulldog” Drummond is H. C. “Sapper” McNeile’s hero. Mocata is from Dennis Wheatley’s The Devil Rides Out. The pyramid bat is a fictional species seen in Sax Rohmer’s Brood of the Witch-Queen. The bat is also mentioned in Lin Carter’s Anton Zarnak story “Curse of the Black Pharaoh.” Nephren-Ka appears in that tale under the name Khotep, and as Kephren in “Imprisoned with the Pharaohs.”

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!

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