Duncan raises the blade and watches the parcel squirm. He’s going to love the next few hours. The pain, the fear, the pleading. Not that the parcel can speak, of course – he always makes sure of that. But the eyes: he can tell from the state of the eyes. That’s why he leaves those till last. So they can watch him watching them. So they can watch his work.

Tess Makovesky
Raise the Blade

A Head

The wooden door burst open and a dark figure flew at them. The sword swung at Mike before he could turn, and it cut through the air toward his head.

Sarah screamed and froze to the spot. Everything funnelled in, like slow motion. The bearded man wearing a long black cloak turned to her. He leered, his manic eyes shining with glee. She looked at Mike and he staggered. His expression was fixed, wide-eyed. His head slowly slid from his neck and fell off onto the stone floor. It bounced, settled and he stared up at her, like a dead salmon. His jerking body crumpled beside her, blood spurting onto her legs from the gaping neck.

Catatonic, she couldn’t scream. Her legs wobbly, she turned to the stairs and clambered up. She instantly heard throaty laughter and felt sturdy hands gripping her ankles, as her bladder gave way. She was pulled back down, slowly, her chin buffeting the steps, one by one. At the bottom, he grabbed her by the hair and an excruciating pain ripped through her scalp as she was dragged past Mike’s head, those eyes still staring, helplessly…

Col Bury
The Writing on the Wall

They have done with this family, these creatures made by human hands. They have fed – gorged themselves on blood until the hosts became their playthings. They leave the crusts behind – paper-thin of skin and void of organs – and beat a strange retreat into the woods behind the house.

Lilly Childs
Smiling Cyrus

violently sexual

September 30, 2017

Sunday entertainment 3

Sex isn’t a subtext in “The Bloody Chamber,” but the text itself. (Angela Carter would explain that she was only making explicit a “latent content” that is “violently sexual.”) The title story is a version of “Bluebeard” in which a fin de siècle ingénue, the churchmouse-poor daughter of a widowed music teacher, weds an older, thrice-married marquis who is “the richest man in France.” He sweeps her off to his ancestral manse, where she gets a suite in a tower and where her curious wanderings unearth his collection of kinky books. Then he departs on a suspiciously timed business trip, leaving her with a ring of keys and permission to visit every room, except one.

Eroticism hangs heavy in the air here, as it does in much of “The Bloody Chamber,” like an expensive, drugging perfume. There is something vampiric about the marquis’ perversity, and about his “white, heavy flesh,” which the narrator repeated compares to lilies. Yet she is aroused to see him watching her in a mirror “with the assessing eye of a connoisseur inspecting horseflesh.” She believes he can see into her soul, perceiving “a potentiality for corruption that took my breath away.” It’s not so much his power that entraps her, as her own longing for surrender.

Laura Miller
Fairy tales, fantasy and dangerous female desire

wreakers-donald-macleod

Daniel Coppinger was an eighteenth-century smuggler, boys and girls. Not a very nice man. Cruel Coppinger, the locals called him, a Dane whose ship was wrecked on the north Cornish coast during a bad storm. The coast was lined with wreckers who had gone out to lure any ships in distress onto the rocks. All they got was Coppinger, which was perhaps even worse than they deserved.

A giant of a man, they saw him by lightning-flashes at the wheel of his ship, cursing his crew, until the vessel struck and sank, when he hurled himself into the sea. When he came out of the maelstrom, he snatched a cloak from an old woman, jumped up on a horse behind a young girl called Dinah Hamlyn and galloped to her home.

Coppinger made it his home as well. Farmer Hamlyn took a liking to him, and his daughter fell in love with him. They married, the farmer suddenly died, and Coppinger spent his wife’s inheritance on wild living and whores. The money gone he started a smuggling gang. His headquarters was at Steeple Brink, a precipitous cliff with a cave at its foot that could be reached by sea. He had a short way of dealing with revenue men, cutting their throats or disembowelling them before dumping them in the sea. He was a superb navigator, and one time led a revenue cutter into a death-trap channel that he knew and they did not; it struck the rocks and sank with all hands.

Cruel Coppinger terrorised the district. He was heard to boast ‘I rapes real good when I’ve a mind’; a boast he carried out with sickening frequency. He threatened to kill anyone outside his gang who used the cave or public paths leading to Steeple Brink. When the local parson demanded tithe-money, the huge Dane flayed him with a double-throng whip. He threatened the same treatment to his wife when her mother refused to tell him where she kept her money; Mrs Hamlyn gave in when she saw her Dinah tied naked to a bed-post and Coppinger with his sea-cat out. The people used to sing:

Will you hear of the cruel Coppinger?
He came from a foreign kind;
He was brought to us by salt water,
He’ll be carried away by the wind.

And so he was, on the stormiest night since his arrival. The wreckers were out as usual, and the last they saw of him, in a lightning-flash, was as they’d first seen him, holding the wheel and cursing his crew…

RIP

giovanni-boldini-the-divine-in-blue

A woman travels by train to Heidelberg. The year is 1934 and the woman (later to be called Mrs E in the German press, although at this precise moment she is Miss E) is on her way to consult a doctor about her stomach pains. She falls into hesitant conversation with a fellow passenger, a man who claims to be a natural healer, no less, and in whom she confides the purpose of her journey. The man’s name is Franz Walter, and he tells her he can cure her illness.

‘You can…?’

Walter invites her to join him for coffee when the train pulls into the station. She is most reluctant but allows him to persuade her. On the platform he grabs hold of her hand, and Mrs E feels abruptly lost, without a will of her own.

‘Come with me,’ he tells her.

He takes her to a room in the city, places her in a trance by touching her forehead, then rapes her. She tries to push him away, but can’t move. She strains more and more but it doesn’t help. He gently strokes her face.

‘You sleep quite deeply, you can’t call out, and you can’t do anything else.’ He presses her arms behind her. ‘You can’t move anymore,’ he says. ‘When you wake up you’ll remember nothing of what has happened.’ He also tells her, her stomach pains are gone and will never return.

Then he rapes her again; finally he sodomises her, before helping her to readjust her clothing. He leads her back to the street after emptying her purse of the money she’s saved to pay for her doctor’s visit…

Walter had, during their conversation on the train, hypnotised the highly susceptible Mrs E. On their parting in Heidelberg that day, Walter, using a ‘control word’, instructs Mrs E to return to him the following week. Her ordeal is only just beginning.
#

Over the course of the next few years, Walter prostituted Mrs E. He gave her to other men, or to friends – often telling these friends the ‘control word’ that would leave her helpless for them. In return he earned hundreds of thousands of marks. Time and again he would meet her at either Karlsruhe, or Heidelberg railway stations, take her to rooms where he could have his way with her before the arrival of her first ‘customers’ of the day.

Walter would also, using hypnotic suggestion, give Mrs E muscle cramps and even, on one occasion, paralysed her left hand. He would only remove these terrible afflictions on receipt of sums of money from Mrs E.

During the course of Walter’s criminal depredations, Mrs E, his young victim, married. Her husband became another source of wealth for Walter. Allowances made by Mr E to his wife, soon ended up in Walter’s greedy pockets.

But, as with all the best laid plans, Mr E became suspicious of his wife’s behavior. He began to make awkward inquiries. Walter, fearing discovery, instructed Mrs E to kill her husband.

He, poor man, after her sixth failed attempt on his life, decided to involve the police. They in their turn decided Mrs E must have been mad, and called on the services of a psychiatrist, Dr Ludwig Mayer, who succeeded in releasing the suppressed memories of Walter’s hypnotic sessions by re-hypnotising her. After a somewhat sensational court case, Walter received a sentence of ten years penal servitude.

Read Mrs E’s own words in Hammerschlag, Hypnotism and Crime, pp. 120-121:

‘I’m no longer the same person as before. Something different controls me. I don’t want to do something, but I do it. Or I want to do something, and yet I don’t do it…in the end I thought of nothing more than doing what Walter wanted. If I obeyed I always felt more at ease. Within me I was never free there was always something oppressing me….I can’t struggle against these pressures…the pressure vanishes when I obey the commands of the inner voice.’

Mayer wrote a post verdict book on the subject of Mrs E and the criminal uses of hypnosis. Here he described how it works:

“…a person in somnambulic hypnosis is not able to take up a critical attitude on his own behalf … subordination to the hypnotiser, and dulling of his consciousness takes place, regardless of whether he is the subject of a legitimate experiment or is being hypnotised for other purposes … Just as suggestions can be employed therapeutically … they can equally well be used for criminal purposes.”

So there we have it, boys and girls. Strange but true – although I have a strong suspicion, Mrs E’s story would NOT be accepted in a courtroom today; she, I suspect, would find herself charged with theft and attempted murder. However, an interesting if very bizarre case.

jennifers-body-2009

I lay down on the bed and then I was sleeping, really sleeping for the first time in weeks, sleeping so the scissors wouldn’t hurt my eyes, the way George hurt me inside when he wanted to shut me up in the asylum so he and Miss Higgins could make love on my bed and laugh at me the way they all laughed at me except Lucy and she would take care of me she knew what to do now I could trust her when George came and I must sleep and sleep and nobody can blame you for what you think in your sleep or do in your sleep…

Robert Bloch
Lucy Comes To Town

face your own wickedness…

September 17, 2016

reading2

“Back, devil! Return thee to Hell!”

The beast rolled its eyes. “I am not a devil, fool. Do you ever wonder why you seek the Devil with such vigour? I shall tell you. Because you cannot face your own wickedness. The truth is there is no Devil making you torture, rape, murder, and sodomize one another, or making you destroy the very land that feeds you. There is only you. So look at yourself, for you are the only devil in this room.”

Brom
Krampus: The Yule Lord

THE GHOSTS’ MOONSHINE

September 16, 2016

a-ghosts-moonshine

It is midnight, my wedded;
Let us lie under
The tempest bright undreaded,
In the warm thunder:
(Tremble and weep not! What can you fear?)
My heart’s best wish is thine, –
That thou wert white, and bedded
On the softest bier,
In the ghost’s moonshine.
Is that the wind? No, no;
Only two devils, that blow
Through the murderer’s ribs to and fro,
In the ghosts’ moonshine.

Who is there, she said afraid, yet
Stirring and awaking
The poor old dead? His spade, it
Is only making, –
(Tremble and weep not! What do you crave?)
Where yonder grasses twine,
A pleasant bed, my maid, that
Children call a grave,
In the cold moonshine.
Is that the wind? No, no;
Only two devils, that blow
Through the murderer’s ribs to and fro,
In the ghosts’ moonshine.

What doest thou strain above her
Lovely throat’s whiteness?
A silken Chain, to cover
Her bosom’s brightness?
(Tremble and weep not: what dost thou fear?)
– My blood is spilt like wine,
Thou hast strangled and slain me, lover,
Thou hast stabbed me dear,
In the ghosts’ moonshine.
Is that the wind? No, no;
Only her goblin doth blow
Through the murderer’s ribs to and fro,
In its own moonshine.

Thomas Lovell Beddoes

Do I love killing?

January 26, 2016

Monsters-the-dark-hour

A short while later, as I stare down at the bodies of the six men I have just killed, I cannot help but wonder: Do I love killing? Of a certainty, I love the way my body and weapons move as one; I revel in the knowledge of where to strike for maximum impact. And of a certainty, I am good at it.

Robin LaFevers
Dark Triumph