Occult Detectives in the Wold Newton Universe

by Matthew Baugh

 


Jules de Grandin Chronology

by Matthew Baugh and Rick Lai

 

Few today remember Jules de Grandin and his creator Seabury Quinn. This seems odd, for during a twenty-six year period (1925-51), the de Grandin stories were consistently the most popular feature of the magazine Weird Tales. This is especially remarkable when you realize that this was the same period that such great fantasy writers as Robert E. Howard and H.P. Lovecraft were contributing some of their best stories to the same magazine.

Jules de Grandin was one of the smallest heroes in the fantasy literature of the time, standing only about 5'3" with a slender build. His indomitable spirit, combined with a knowledge of jujitsu, savate, fencing, firearms, medicine, science and the occult combined to make his a true nemesis of evil. Though not a sorcerer himself, de Grandin could be counted on to find a counter to any kind of monster, spirit or spell imaginable. He was assisted by the kindly Dr. Samuel Trowbridge, who resembled nothing so much as Nigel Bruce's version of Dr. Watson.

Nearly all of the stories transpire in the fictional community of Harrisonville, New Jersey. Like Sunnydale on the Buffy: the Vampire Slayer TV series, Harrisonville is always being visited by monsters and murderous individuals. Assisting De Grandin in his investigations was Sergeant (later Lieutenant) Jeremiah Costello of the Harrisonville Police Department. Other cases such as ”Satan’s Palimpsest” feature Captain Chenevert of the New Jersey State Police.

Many of the de Grandin stories involve non-supernatural adversaries including evil cultists, mad scientists and serial killers. Some of De Grandin’s adventures could easily have happened to Sir Denis Nayland Smith, Doc Savage, The Shadow or the Spider. One de Grandin adventure, “The Isle of Missing Ships,” may have heavily influenced Ian Fleming’s Doctor No.

The major criticism of the de Grandin stories by today standards is the their heavy reliance on non-Caucasian villains. Evil people of Asian or African descent were frequently battled by de Grandin. Perhaps the worse example of racism in the de Grandin series happens in “Black Moon” in which de Grandin solicits the help of unnamed white-sheeted vigilantes (clearly the Ku Klux Klan) to lynch black voodoo worshippers. Seabury Quinn probably regretted his reliance on non-white villain villains. Even before World War II, de Grandin did enlist the help of benevolent Asian and Arab occultists in “The Devil’s Rosary,” “A Gamble in Souls,” and “The Living Buddhess.” The creation or a recurring character, the heroic Ram Chitra Das, in the mid-forties may have been intended to compensate for the usage of Indian villains in previous stories. After World War II, Quinn wrote a de Grandin story that may have been an effort to atone for the excesses of “Black Moon.” In “Three In Chains,” de Grandin deals with a trio of benevolent ghosts, two whites and one black, who had been the victims of a New Jersey slave-owner. To grant the spirit eternal rest, de Grandin arranges for their burial in the local Episcopal Church, but must overcome racial prejudice to have a the remains of a black person buried there.

Despite his shortcoming in terms of racial prejudice in the bulk of the de Grandin series, Quinn was always an advocate of religious tolerance in the 1920’s and the 1930’s. During a period in which British mystery and espionage fiction was best by a plethora of Jewish villains, Quinn condemned anti-Semitism (see “The Dark Angel”) and presented positive Jewish characters in his fiction.

The following rules were applied when assigning chronological entries for these stories. A rather loose rule was applied to the original publication dates of the stories. Many of the stories are set in months that match the month of the magazine. A few extend into the early days of the month that followed the moth associated with the publication date. By the rules of magazine publication, a magazine dated October actually came out in September. The real-life rules of magazine publication are ignored in this article. If a story was published in the October 1928 issue of Weird Tales (such as Quinn’s Restless Souls”), and was set in October and early November of that year, the story was assigned to that time period. However, there was a different rule for stories indicating that significant time (e.g. months or a year) had passed after the story’s main storyline. For example, some stories had children being born to couple who married in their respective conclusions. In those cases, the passage of time to allow a significant event (such as the birth of a child) was taken into account when chronologically placing the stories.

 

CHRONOLOGY

1209: Ramon Nazara y de Grandin of Languedoc, ancestor of Jules de Grandin, witnesses Simon de Montfort’s brutal conquest of Bezieres (mentioned in “Fortune’s Fools”)

1213: Fighting alongside Raymond of Toulouse and King Pedro of Aragon, Ramon fights against de Montfort’s forces in the battle of Muret. The battle ends in a total victory for de Montfort (mentioned in “Fortune’s Fools”).

1214: “Fortune’s Fools” (Weird Tales, 07/1938). Ramon battles werewolves in Germany. It is prophesied that Ramon’s descendents will be champions against supernatural entities.

1572: On the fateful night of August 24 (the St. Bartholomew’s Massacre), a Huguenot ancestor of Jules de Grandin successfully fights for his life in Paris (mentioned in “The Curse of Everard Maundy,” and The Devil’s Bride (chap. 18))

c. 1638: Swedish settlers arrive in the area, which will eventually become Harrisonville, New Jersey.

c. Early 1640’s, in his late fifties, David Hume, English adventurer and buccaneer settles in the Harrisonville area. Hume arrives with a satanic talisman, the girdle of Melek Taos, that he had stolen from the Yezidee cult in Kurdistan. The girdle becomes known as “the Luck of the Humes,” and all female members will wear it when they marry (mentioned in “The Devil’s Bride”). It may be that the girdle is extremely unlucky for the future inhabitants of Harrisonville. Although there is no positive proof, the girdle may possess magical properties that attract supernatural entities and psychotic killers to Harrisonville.

c. Early 1650’s: The first known case of vampirism is reported in the Harrisonville vicinity, A female vampire, Sarah, is imprisoned in a graveyard by the Swedish settlers. Garlic is placed on her grave to prevent her from rising (mentioned in “The Man Who Cast No Shadow”).

1655: Dutch colonists conquer the Swedish settlers.

1657: At the age of eighty-one, David Hume dies in Harrisonville (mentioned in “The Devil’s Bride”).

1660: The Dutch colonists are conquered by the British. The town in which David Hume had died becomes known as “Harrisons village” (mentioned in “The Black Master”). The name later involves into Harrisonville.

1670 or 1671: A church called St. David’s is founded in Harrison (mentioned in “The Black Master”).

1672: Kristina Beacon, a young girl whose parents were executed for witchcraft in Portugal, is brought to Harrison.

c. 1670’s: The Black Master, an evil Turkish pirate, dies in Harrison. He is secretly buried with a treasure in St David’s. It is feared that he may somehow return to life, and mandrakes are put on his grave to prevent his resurrection (mentioned in “The Black Master”).

1692: At the time of the Salem witch trials, Kristina Beacon is accused of witchcraft and drowned by the inhabitants of Harrison (mentioned in “Witch-House”).

1867: Jules de Grandin’s grandfather, a lawyer-physician connected with the Prefect of Police in Paris, notices that an actress, Madelon Larose, has suddenly grown ten or twenty years older. She then regains her youth after the death of her secretary (mentioned in “Clair de Lune”).

c. 1868: Dr. Samuel Trowbridge is born. There is contradictory information about Trowbridge’s age. “The Curse of Everard Maundy” implied that Trowbridge was forty-five in 1927 since some forty years supposedly passed since an incident that transpired when the doctor was four or five. “Lotte” suggest that Trowbridge in his late fifties in 1946. However, references in “The Bleeding Mummy,” “The Ghost-Helper,” “The Brain-Thief” and “Hands of the Dead” show that Trowbridge was active as a doctor during 1894-1900 (these references are noted later in this chronology).

c. 1870: Jules de Grandin is born. He is the son of a Huguenot father and a Catholic mother (she is described as “convent-bred”). He is named after an uncle who was a close colleague of Darwin and Huxley (these biographical details are mentioned in “The Curse of Everard Maundy”).

c. 1873: When he is four or five years old, young Samuel Trowbridge accidentally kills a kitten. This incident is mentioned in “The Curse of Everard Maundy” (“The truth is, I was remembering something which happened when I was a lad four or five years old…”).

c. 1873: Samuel Trowbridge, five years old, is given a lamb for a pet by his parents during the summer. Unlike the kitten, the lamb is well taken care of by Trowbridge. Unfortunately, the lamb is killed for dinner in the autumn (mentioned in The Devil’s Bride).

1879: Ferdinand de Lesseps embarks on a unsuccessful attempt to build a Panama Canal.

c. 1886: Samuel Trowbridge is a freshman at Amherst (based on remarks in “The Devil-People”). A fellow freshman is Walker Swearingen (mentioned in “The Silver Countess”). When Trowbridge enters college, Richard Starkweather’s father is a junior (mentioned in “The Devil-People”), and James Balderson is a senior (mentioned in “Incense of Abomination”)

c. 1887: Now approximately seventeen, Jules de Grandin takes at trip to Panama (probably with his father) to visits the French engineers who are working on the Panama Canal. In “Creeping Shadows,” de Grandin claimed that he “was with de Lesseps when he strove to consummate the wedding of the Atlantic with the Pacific.”

c. 1888: De Grandin tries to become an artist by studying at the Ecole des Beaux- Arts in the University of Paris (mentioned in “Creeping Shadows”).

1889: The French Panama Canal project ends in bankruptcy.

c. Abandoning his art studies, 1889 Jules de Grandin transfers to the Sorbonne in the University of Paris. He falls in love with a young Catholic woman named Heloise. Jules’ mother forbids any possibility of marriage. This decision is somewhat ironic when we consider the Jules’ “convent-bred” mother could only be a Catholic. Jules refuses to convert to Catholicism in order to marry his beloved. Heloise becomes a Carmelite nun (mentioned in The Devils’ Bride).

1894: Samuel Trowbridge becomes a doctor (Trowbridge claims to have been a doctor for almost forty years in “The Bleeding Mummy” and “Hands of the Dead”) Dr. Trowbridge is the doctor who presides at the birth of Idris Breakstone (mentioned in “The Ghost-Helper”).

1897: De Grandin receives a medical degree from the University of Paris.

1898: While studying medical techniques at the Imperial Hospital in St. Petersburg in Russia, de Grandin hears rumors of a visitation of the Angel of Death to a young duchess (mentioned in “Trespassing Souls).”

1899: Birth of Ram Chitra Das (mentioned in “Kurban”).

1899-1903: After the Spanish-American War (1898) does not result in independence for the Philippines, a guerilla insurrection but the indigenous inhabitants is combated by the American soldiers. Jeremiah Costello, later of the Harrisonville police department, is probably one of these soldiers. Costello’s service in the Philippines is mentioned in “Stealthy Death” and “Children of the Bat.”

1900. American soldiers are dispatched to help put down the Boxer Rebellion in China. Costello may have been one of these soldiers. His service in China is cited in “Children of Ubasti.”

1900: Trowbridge is the doctor who delivers Christopher Norton (mentioned in “The Brain-Thief”).

c. 1902: Trowbridge becomes a vestryman in St. Chrystosom’s Episcopal Church (mentioned in “The Dark Angel”).

C. 1904: De Grandin receives a degree from the University of Vienna. This is probably not a medical degree since de Grandin utilizes the title of Professor in “Terror on the Links.”

1905: De Grandin sees a performance by youthful actress Madelon Larue in Paris. His grandfather informs him that Madelon Larue looks exactly like Madelon Larose of 1867 (mentioned in “Clair de Lune”). De Grandin becomes a doctor in the French army and is posted to the French Congo (this assertion based on the reference in The Devil’s Bride (chap.2) that he was a military doctor there over twenty years ago (“twenty years and more”)). In the French Congo, de Grandin learns of the strange poison called Bulala-Gwai (mentioned in The Devil’s Bride). Although not confirmed by Seabury Quinn, it is possible that de Grandin was connected with Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza’s 1905 mission to investigate charges of cruelty to natives brought against French officials in the Congo.

1905-1906: During his service with the French Army, de Grandin visits other area of Africa such as the Belgian Congo (mentioned in “The Curse of Everard Maundy,” and his knowledge of the Belgian Congo is demonstrated in “Terror on the Links” and “Suicide Chapel”). In Madagascar, de Grandin hers stories of a bizarre vampire plant (mentioned in “The Black Orchid”). In Senegal, de Grandin picks up a knife as a souvenir (mentioned in “The Brain-Thief”).

1907: De Grandin is transferred to the Caribbean by the French Army. He is “with the French engineers when Diaz drove the railway across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.” Diaz was President Porfiro Diaz of Mexico. Although work on this railway had been started in the late 1870’s, it finally opened in 1907. During his time in Mexico, de Grandin learns of a Mayan cults that possesses a strange poison (mentioned in “Creeping Shadows”). De Grandin’s presence in Mexico was probably part of a diplomatic mission.

1907-10: During his remaining military service, de Grandin visits many places in the Caribbean. He becomes familiar with Martinique and Haiti (mentioned in “The Curse of Everard Maundy”). In Haiti, he learns the secrets of many Voodoo practices (mentioned in “The Devil-People,” and this knowledge would later be utilized in “The Drums of Damballah,” “The Corpse-Master,” “Black Moon” and “Death’s Bookkeeper”). In French Guiana, de Grandin investigates robberies where perpetrators use the drug datura stratmonium (mentioned in “The Drums of Damballah”). De Grandin even travels beyond the Caribbean to Argentina. He witnesses a lurid “whipping dance” in a Buenos Aires (mentioned in “The House of Golden Masks”).

1910: Leaving the French Army, Jules de Grandin becomes a member of “la faculte de medicine legale” which assists in French police investigations and leads to his association with the Surete. When Madelon Larue’s masseuse dies, de Grandin assists the “judge d’instruction” investigating the death. De Grandin is unable to prove anything, but Larue flees to Buenos Aires (mentioned in Clair de Lune”).

1910-1914: In Paris, de Grandin assists in the arrest of Dr. Beneckendorff (mentioned in “The Terror on the Links”). In Marseilles, de Grandin participates in the case of a draper, formerly a resident of Lyons, whose memories and behavior were altered as the result of Asian mesmerism (mentioned in “The Brain Thief”). A murder done by a Hindu with a needle is investigated by de Grandin (mentioned in “The Heart of Siva”). He also chases after a Hindu gang that uses a poison called chocta maut (“little death”) (mentioned in “Incense of Abomination”). De Grandin investigates a case where a chip of a rafter from a house of great wickedness causes psychic visions, and a similar case in which the visions are caused by torture paraphernalia that once belonged to the Spanish Inquisition of Toledo (both mentioned in “The Door to Yesterday,” and the chip of a rafter story is repeated in “Three in Chains”). He wears a shirt of chain mail when battling the apaches (slang for French criminals) of his native country (mentioned in “The Chosen of Vishnu”). During these years, de Grandin becomes friendly with Inspector Georges Jean Joseph-Marie Renouard of the Surete.

c. 1911: Jeremiah Costello and Timothy O’Toole are policemen together in Harrisonville (mentioned in “The Dark Angel”).

1914: Although he is only fifteen years old, Ram Chitra Das joins an Indian regiment in order to fight for the British in World War I (mentioned in “Kurban”).

c. 1914-15: With the outbreak of war, Jules de Grandin rejoins the French Army and is utilized as an espionage operative. De Grandin is the leader of a firing squad that executes a traitor (mentioned in “The Mansion of Unholy Magic”). De Grandin helps catch the French traitor, Dr. Pierre Sessiles. The traitor is sentenced to Devil’s Island (he would eventually return to battle de Grandin in “Death’s Bookkeeper.”

1915: Dr. Trowbridge takes a vacation (mentioned in “The Tenants of Broussac”). He won’t take another vacation for ten years. This trip may be the Egyptian vacation mentioned in “Satan’s Stepson.”

c. 1915-1916. On the orders of his Allied Intelligence superiors, de Grandin poses as a French renegade to seek service with the Maharajah of Dhittapur, who is plotting in India against the British authorities. During this time, he observes the sadistic behavior of the Maharajah’s young son, Karowli Singh (mentioned in “The Chosen of Vishnu”). During his stay in India, de Grandin follows the trails of robbers (mentioned in “The House of Golden Masks”). He also learns of the strangulation methods of the Thags (or Thugs) and the practice of formally marrying young girls to the idols of Indian gods (mentioned in The Devil’s Bride). He learns how to handle a Gurkha knife (seen in The Devil’s Bride) as well as a Pathan throwing-knife (seen in “The Chosen of Vishnu”). He also learns of the Indian demons called bhuts (mentioned in “The Devil-People”). De Grandin also travels to neighboring Burma where he not only tangles with Thags based there (mentioned in “Flames of Vengeance”), but also dodges the knives of Dakaits (“dacoits”) (mentioned in “Stealthy Death”). De Grandin also visits the Malay Peninsula and the Malay Archipelago (mentioned in “Malay Horror”). There he comes into contact with rakhasas (mentioned in “The Devil-People”). In “a stinking trading town of Java,” de Grandin treats a “human wreck” whose lips had been bitten off by a sadistic woman (mentioned in “Daughter of the Moonlight”).

C. 1917-18: During missions to Hungary, Rumania and Russia, de Grandin comes into contact with “dracus” (Rumanian demons), werewolves and vampires (mentioned in “The Devil-People). Near the Transylvanian Alps, de Grandin visits the town of Kerovitch. There he discovers blood-flowers, which can be used to transform human into werewolves (mentioned in “The Blood Flower”). Years later in “The Poltergeist,” de Grandin would be informed that the word “Dracu” was written by an evil spirit. He would then pointedly asked if there was any extra letters. It is possible that de Grandin’s may have encountered not only “dracus,” but also a Dracula during his wartime missions to Eastern Europe. 

1918: September-November. “The Stone Image” (The Thrill Book, 05/01/1919) The purchase of an apparently cursed Chinese idol by a wealthy couple causes their cook, Nora MacGinnis, to resign. Although de Grandin does not appear in this story, it features a doctor called Dr. Towbridge (no “r” after the “T”) who may be the same person as Dr. Trowbridge. The strongest evidence for this identification is that Trowbridge has a housekeeper/cook named Nora MacGinnis in the de Grandin stories. We can assume that Nora went to work for Dr. Trowbridge after terminating her service with the couple. The story takes place in an unnamed town that could be Harrisonville.

1918: Early November. Shortly before the signing of the European Armistice (November 11), Dr. Sun Ah Poy, a pro-French Chinese merchant prince, is injured by a mad elephant in Indochina. His injuries result in him becoming a hunchback who insanely commits crimes (mentioned in “The Lost Lady”). This origin story is very similar to that of the hunchbacked Hanoi Shan, a supposedly real-life master criminal whose criminal exploits in Paris during 1906-1908 as told by H. Ashton Wolfe in Warped in the Making: Crimes of Love and Hate (1928) and The Thrill of Evil (1930). It could be speculated that Ashton-Wolfe really didn’t know the origins of Hanoi Shan, later heard a garbled account of Sun Ah Poy’s accident, and grafted the origin story on to Hanoi Shan.

1919: De Grandin performs plastic surgery on the faces of wounded French soldiers (mentioned in “A House Without a Mirror”).

1920-21: De Grandin undertakes various missions for French Intelligence in the Far East. He infiltrates Tibetan monasteries where he witnesses the magic of devil lamas (mentioned in “The Devil’s Rosary”). During this mission, de Grandin was probably assisted by Dr. Feng Yuin-han, who had known de Grandin at the Sorbonne (mentioned in “The Devil’s Rosary”), and Dr. Wong Kim Tien (who appears in “The Living Buddhess”). De Grandin also visits the coast of Japan where there is thick quicksand (mentioned in "Mephistopheles and Company, Ltd."). He also learns a little jiu-jitsu in Japan (“Incense of Abomination”). In Papua, New Guinea, he encounters headhunters (mentioned in “The Devil’s Rosary”). In Annam, Cambodia, de Grandin investigates the activities of anti-French activists (mentioned in “The Lost Lady”)

1921: During de Grandin’s mission to Cambodia, Inspector Renouard goes undercover among the Riff rebels in Morocco (mentioned in “The Lost Lady”). The Riffs had rebelled against the Spanish portion of Morocco in 1920, and the rebellion would extend to French Morocco in 1925 before ending in 1926.

1922: De Grandin has various adventures in North Africa and the Middle East. In Tunis (Tunisia), he disguises himself by shaving off his mustache in order to investigate a possible uprising against the French. He learns of the djinns who haunt the ruins of Carthage and the cat-like ghouls of Ubasti (mentioned in “Children of Ubasti;” battles with djinns are also cited in “The Devil-People”). In the Djebel Druse (mountains in Syria), de Grandin witnesses an incredible miracle involving a prisoner. The miracle is performed by Dr. Hussein Obeyid, “one of the world’s ten greatest philosophers” (mentioned in “A Gamble in Souls”). Traveling across Deir-er-Zor, Anah, and Baghdad (in Iraq), de Grandin arrives in Kurdistan where he penetrates Mount Lalesh, the headquarters of the Yezidee cultists (mentioned in The Devil’s Bride). During his journeys in the Middle East, de Grandin comes into conflict with efreets (mentioned in “The Devil-People”).

1923-1924: De Grandin teaches courses at the Ecole de Medicine at the University of Paris (mentioned in “Terror at the Links” and “the Tenants of Broussac”). The Ecol de Medicine is called the Ecole de Medical de Paris in “The Living Buddhess” He also works for St. Lazaire Hospital during this period (mentioned in “Terror on the Links”).

1924: De Grandin’s book, Accelerated Evolution (mentioned in “Terror on the Links”), is published in both French and English editions.

Early 1925: At the request of the Surete, De Grandin travels to the United States to assist the police of Harrisonville in an investigation. There is a sharp increase in bizarre activity in Harrisonville in the 1920’s. It may be due to the Spiritualist craze in the United States following the end of World War I. De Grandin believes that elemental and evil spirits can be drawn to sťances. Perhaps the sťances enhance the power of the Luck of the Humes” in Harrisonville to attract evil.

1925: Probably spring. "Terror on the Links" (also known as “Horror on the Links,” Weird Tales, 10/1925)

1925: Probably late spring or early summer, "The Tenants of Broussac" (Weird Tales, 12/1925).

1925: Summer. "Isle of Missing Ships" (Weird Tales, 02/1926).

1925-26: De Grandin (without Trowbridge) has unrecorded adventures in Brazil (mentioned in ”The Vengeance of India”). These adventures took de Grandin to the Amazon River (mentioned in “The Devil’s Rosary”).

1926: March. "The Vengeance of India" (Weird Tales, 04/1926).

1926: Probably March (two weeks have passed since the previous adventure). “The Dead Hand” (Weird Tales, 05/1926).

1926: Probably early April (“springtime”). "The House of Horror" (Weird Tales, 07/1926).

1926: Probably mid-April (“early spring”). "Ancient Fires" (Weird Tales, 09/1926).

1926: Probably late April (“early spring”) "The Man Who Cast No Shadow" (Weird Tales, 03/1927).

1926: Probably July (“summer-evening”) "The Great God Pan" (Weird Tales, 10/1926).

1926: October 18-19. “The Grinning Mummy” (Weird Tales, 12/1926).

1926: Early December. “The Doom of the House of Phipps” (originally published as “The Curse of the House of Phipps,” Weird Tales, 01/1930). At the conclusion of this story, Edwin Phipps marries. Sometime later, de Grandin and Trowbridge serve as godfathers to Phipps’ son, then six month old. At least fifteen months would have passed since Phipps’ marriage and the baptism of his son. This fact would normally have led to the placement of this story in December 1927, but de Grandin’s heavy involvement in “The Jewel of the Seven Stones” in that month causes the story to be assigned to 1926. In the original pulp version of this story, Edwin was born in the 1890’s. The revised version in The Phantom Fighter (Arkham House, 1966) and The Skeleton Closet of Jules de Grandin (Paperback Library, 1976) moved Edwin’s birth into 1918. Bootleggers in story were also transformed into counterfeiters in the revised version.

1926: December 22-23. “The Lost Lady” (Weird Tales, 01/1931). This story is moved way out of publication order because The Devil’s Bride, a novel whose references place it in 1931, indicates there is a gap of years (chap. 7), between that adventure and “The Lost Lady.” Inspector Georges Jean Joseph-Marie Renouard of the Surete comes to live with de Grandin and Trowbridge in “The Lost Lady” for a brief period. Both “The Lost Lady” and “Satan’s Stepson” (see the February entries) feature Inspector Renouard and his nemesis, Dr. Sun Ah Poy.

1927: Probably January (references to snow). “The Blood Flower” (Weird Tales, 03/1927).

1927: Probably February (“winter evening”). “The Veiled Prophetess” (Weird Tales, 05/1927). This story may reference to Mrs. Norman from “The Man Who Cast No Shadow.”

1927: Late February (references to Washington’s birthday and St. Walburga’s feast (February 25)). “Satan’s Stepson” (Weird Tales, 09/1931). Inspector Renouard reappears. His absence from the adventures placed in the gap between “The Lost Lady” and “Satan’s Stepson” is rationalized by the theory that he must have gone to Washington D. C. to attempt to arrange the extradition of Dr. Sun Ah Poy, who had been captured in Harrisonville at the conclusion of the previous story. Despite Renouard’s efforts, Dr. Sun had been tried in New Jersey, judged insane, and confined to an asylum from which he escapes in “Satan’s Stepson.”

1927: March. "The Curse of Everard Maundy" (Weird Tales, 07/1927).

1927: May. “Creeping Shadows” (Weird Tales, 08/1927).

1927: September. “The Jewel of Seven Stones” (entry #1, chapters 1-3, Weird Tales, 04/1928). There is a gap of two months in this story. The story resumes in November.

1927: Probably October (“early autumn”). “The White Lady of the Orphanage” (Weird Tales, 09/1927). Willis Richards from “The Dead Hand” hires de Grandin to investigate this case.

1927: Probably November or (references to “this fall,” “sleet” and “icy old” weather). "The Poltergeist" (Weird Tales, 10/1927). In the original pulp version, Julia Loudon, twenty-nine years old, was born shortly before the Spanish-American war. In the revised version of this story printed in The Phantom Fighter (Arkham House, 1966) and The Horror Chambers of Jules de Grandin (Paperback Library, 1977), Julia was born shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution (1917). This chronological entry is based on the original version of “The Poltergeist.” It should also be noted that Seabury Quinn made the sexual themes of the story more explicit when he revised it. The original Weird Tales version contains no reference to “the women of ancient Lesbos.”

1927: Apparently Mid-November (Mrs. Chetwynde has been ill for three months since mid-August). "The Gods of East and West" (Weird Tales, 01/1928)

1927-1928: November to January. “The Jewel of Seven Stones” (entry #2, chapters 4-7, Weird Tales, 04/1928). The length of this story shifts it out of publication order.

1928: January 17. Dr. Trowbridge delivers the infant Norman Northrop (mentioned in “The Body Snatchers”)

1928: Probably January. "Mephistopheles and Company, Ltd." (Weird Tales, 02/1928).

1928: April. “The Devil’s Rosary” (Weird Tales, 04/1929). A reference to 1928 shifts this story out of the publication order.

1928: Probably June (Summer is mentioned). "The Serpent Woman" (Weird Tales, 06/1928)

1928: September. “Body and Soul” (Weird Tales, 09/1928).

1928: Early October. The principal events of “The House Without as Mirror” (entry #1) Weird Tales, 11/1929). There is a sequel to these events in January 1929. The length of this story (there is a gap of three months) shifted the story of publication order).

1928: October 31-November 2 (story begins on Halloween) "Restless Souls" (Weird Tales, 10/1928). In the origin al pulp version of the story and the version reprinted in The Hellfire Files of Jules de Grandin (Paperback Library, 1976), the tombstone for Alice Heatherton gives her date of birth as 1906 and her year of death as 1928, but the version in The Phantom Fighter gives these dates respectively as 1926 or 1948.

1928: Late November (Thanksgiving is mentioned) "The Chapel of Mystic Horror" (Weird Tales, 12/1928).

1928: December 22-24. “The Black Master” (Weird Tales, 01/1929).

1929: January. The conclusion of “A House without a Mirror.” Bandages are removed from the face of a girl on whom de Grandin performed plastic surgery. The major events of this story happened in October 1928.

1929: February. “The Devil-People” (Weird Tales, 02/1929).

1929: March. “The House of Golden Masks” (Weird Tales, 06/1929).

1929: Probably spring. "The Corpse-Master" (Weird Tales, 07/1929).

1929: Mid-August. “Trespassing Souls” (Weird Tales, 09/1927).

1929: Probably early September (Summer is mentioned). "The Silver Countess" (Weird Tales, 10/1929)

1929 Probably October (the “first formal affair of the autumn”). "Children of Ubasti" (Weird Tales, 12/1929).

1929: December 31 to January 2: 1930. "The Drums of Damballah" (Weird Tales, 03/1930). De Grandin mentions “the apes of Tarzan” in this adventure in a context that suggests that the French occultist was co-existent with Edgar Rice Burroughs’ jungle adventurer. De Grandin probably heard rumors of the mangani, the apes that raised Tarzan, during his 1905-7 experiences in Africa.

1930: February. "The Dust of Egypt" (Weird Tales, 04/1930)

1930: March. "The Brain Thief" (Weird Tales, 05/1930).

1930: Probably March (An apartment is claimed to be “as cold as ice”). “The Priestess of the Ivory Feet” (Weird Tales, 06/1930).

1930: June. "The Bride of Dewer" (Weird Tales, 07/1930). This story features Dr. Armand Jacoby, who had appeared earlier in “The Silver Countess.”

1930: July to August 1. "Daughter of the Moonlight" (Weird Tales, 08/1930).

1930: September. “The Druid’s Shadow” (Weird Tales, 10/1930).

1930: October. "Stealthy Death" (Weird Tales, 11/1930).

1930: November 26 to early December. "The Wolf of St. Bonnet" (Weird Tales, 12/1930). It has been five years since the death of Sarah Humphreys in “The Terror on the Links.”

1930: December (the story ends on New Year’s Eve). “The Ghost-Helper” (Weird Tales, 02-03/1931).

1931: Probably January-March (It’s snowing). The Devil’s Bride (serialized in Weird Tales from 02/1931 until 07/1932) De Grandin mentions that he has been living in the United States “for upward of five years” (chap. 5). This statement is accurate in that de Grandin had been residing in America since 1926. Although he first came to Harrisonville in 1925 (in “Terror on the Links”), it wasn’t until 1926 (“The Vengeance of India”) that he settled in with Trowbridge). Trowbridge later mentioned that he had known de Grandin for five years (chap. 18), but he has really known the French sleuth for six years. Since this statement was probably made in January, it can be argued that Trowbridge hadn’t gotten use to the transition to a new year. Officer Hornsby, who appeared earlier in “The Lost Lady,” Satan’s Stepson and “The Ghost-Helper,” is killed in The Devil’s Bride. Dr. Donovan from “Children of Ubasti” reappears in The Devil’s Bride. This novel also is the first appearance of British agent Haddingway Ingraham Jameson Ingraham, better known as Hiji.

After rescuing Alice Davisson from the Satanists, De Grandin throws the “Luck of the Humes” into the Atlantic Ocean. Despite this action, Harrisonville continues to be a center of horrible crimes. Perhaps the long presence of the talisman in Harrisonville has left a psychic residue.

1931: Probably early September (“late summer”). The principal events of “A Gamble in Souls” (Weird Tales, 03/1933). There is a minor sequel to this case in late September 1932.

1932: Probably February (“mid-winter”). “The Bleeding Mummy” (Weird Tales, 11/1932). Trowbridge claims to have been a doctor for “almost forty years.” Based on this chronological structure, he would have been a doctor for thirty-eight years.

c. 1932: February. The baptism of Renouard de Grandin Davisson, and his twin brother Trowbridge Ingraham Davisson (mentioned in the conclusion of The Devil’s Bride).

1932: Late March. “The Dark Angel” (Weird Tales, 08/1932).

1932: “The Heart of Siva” (Weird Tales, 10/1932)

1932: Probably July (“mid-summer heat”). “The Door to Yesterday” (Weird Tales, 10/1932).

1932: Late September. At “the final hop” at the Sedgemoor Country Club, de Grandin and Trowbridge see Mr. And Mrs. Cardener (mentioned at the conclusion of "A Gamble in Souls," see the earlier entry for September 1931).

1932-33: Probably November to February (It’s either the end of autumn or the beginning of winter in the opening scenes. Later, a couple goes on a lengthy honeymoon, and returns in “midwinter”). “The Thing in the Fog” (Weird Tales, 03/1933).

1933: Late April (story ends on April 30). "The Hand of Glory" (Weird Tales, 07/1933). In this story, a meteor known as the Magna Mater was brought to Harrisonville. This was an incredibly powerful talisman of black magic. Although de Grandin destroyed the Magna Mater, it was used in a powerful rite of sorcery that could have further cursed Harrisonville and left psychic residue that would take decades to dissipate.

1933: Probably spring or early summer. The events of “The Jest of Warburg Tantavul” (Weird Tales, 09/1933) up until the marriage of the Tantavul heirs. The events of this story continue in May 1934.

1933: “The Chosen of Vishnu” Weird Tales, 08/1933)

1933: “Malay Horror” (Weird Tales, 09/1933).

1933: Probably early October (autumn) “The Mansion of Unholy Magic” (Weird Tales, 10/1933). At the conclusion of this case, de Grandin mentions his intention to eventually track down a dangerous sorcerer, von Meyer of Leipzig. If de Grandin even did this, it was an unrecorded adventure.

1933: Probably October (it was “intolerably hot” a month ago). “Red Gauntlets of Czerni” (Weird Tales, 12/1933)

1934: Probably early January (“early winter”) "The Red Blade of Hassan" (Weird Tales, 01/1934).

1934: May to August. The events of “The Jest of Warburg Tantavul” (Weird Tales, 09/1933) following on the birth of the Tantavul child. The earlier portion of this story happened in the spring or summer of 1933.

1934: September (the story ends with Trowbridge reading a newspaper dated “September 30”). “Hands of the Dead” (Weird Tales, 01/1935). The plot of this story is similar to “The Dead Hand,” and both stories feature totally different villainous hypnotists known as Professor Mysterio. Perhaps the second Mysterio was a student of the first. Trowbridge mentions that he has been a doctor for almost forty years. It is actually forty years because references in “The Ghost-Helper” indicate that he delivered a baby in 1894.

1935: “The Black Orchid” (Weird Tales, 08/1935).

1935: April. “The Dead-Alive Mummy” (Weird Tales, 10/1935). The plot of this story is similar to the second half of an earlier story, “The Bleeding Mummy,” and the plot of a later story, “Lords of the Ghostlands.”

1935: Autumn. “A Rival From the Grave” (Weird Tales, 01/1936).

1936: Late June (the story ends on “the twenty-third of June”). “Witch House” (Weird Tales, 11/1936).

1936: “Children of the Bat” (Weird Tales, 01/1937).

1937: “Satan’s Palimpsest” (Weird Tales, 09/1937).

1937: Probably summer (rhododendrons are in bloom) “Flames of Vengeance” (Weird Tales 12/1937).

1937: Probably August-September (the story begins in summer and a month passes). “Frozen Beauty” (Weird Tales, 12/1937)

1937: Late October to early November (references to “autumn” and All Saint’s Day (November 1)). “Pledged to the Dead” (Weird Tales, 10/1937).

1937: Probably November (based on the placement of the previous entry). “Living Buddha” (Weird Tales, 11/1937).

1938: Probably February (reference to “winter days”). “Incense of Abomination” (Weird Tales, 03/1938).

1938: Late May. “Suicide Chapel” (Weird Tales, 06/1938).

1938: August. “The Venomed Breath of Vengeance (Weird Tales, 08/1938).

1938: August. “Black Moon” (Weird Tales, 10/1938). Hiji from The Devil’s Bride returns. He is now married with kids. No longer associated with the British Frontier Police and British army Intelligence, but is now working for His Majesty’s Consular Service.

1939: Probably January (winter). “The Poltergeist of Swan Upping” (Weird Tales, 02/1939). De Grandin consults Judge Keith Hilary Puirsuivant’s The Unknown That Terrifies concerning the use of silver against the supernatural. Puirsuivant was the creation of fellow Weird Tales writer Manly Wade Wellman, and the Judge’s book is mentioned in Wellman’s “The Black Drama.” Wellman had references to de Grandin and Trowbridge in the Puirsuivant stories as well as the tales about fellow occult detective John Thunstone. There will be references to Thunstone in later de Grandin stories. In fact, Manly Wade Wellman himself would also be treated as a friend of de Grandin and Trowbridge.

1939: February 11-12. “The House Where Time Stood Still” (Weird Tales, 03/1939). Hiji is in the adventure and still a consular official.

c. March. Hiji returns to British West Central Africa to resume the role of captain of Houssa policeman (this statement is based on the introduction to “Stoneman’s Memorial”).

1939: Probably spring. “Mansions in the Sky” (Weird Tales, 06-07/1939). When Sergeant Costello arrests the crook at the story’s conclusion, the policeman mentions that he hopes to see the felon in the electric chair before the firecrackers pop. The fourth of July is probably a few months ahead.

1939: Mid-June. “The House of the Three Corpses” (Weird Tales, 08/1939). Dr. Donovan from “Children of Ubasti” and The Devil’s Bride reappears in this story.

1939: September. Hitler causes World War II by invading Poland. De Grandin immediately travels to France to become an intelligence officer. Hiji leaves his post in British Central Africa to become a major in the British Expeditionary Force in France (based on the introduction to “Stoneman’s Memorial”).

1940: May. In the Dunkirk retreat, Hiji’s right femur is shattered. This injury would cause him to be reassigned to the British Consulate General at New York. His wife remained in Britain as a member of the Woman’s Territorial Auxiliary (based on the introduction to “Stoneman’s Memorial”).

1940: June: Marshal Petain concludes an armistice with the Nazis. Charles de Gaulle journeys to London to organize the Free French. Stationed in Syria, De Grandin denounces Petain’s Vichy regime leaves for Africa in order to join a Free French garrison (based on the introduction to “Stoneman’s Memorial”).

1940: September. A combined invasion force consisting of Free French and British troops unsuccessfully attacks the Vichy forces controlling Dakar in French West Africa. Now a captain and military surgeon in the Free French, de Grandin contracts a sever case of enteritis (based on the introduction to “Stoneman’s Memorial”).

1940: Late September. "Some Day I'll Kill You!" (Strange Stories, 02/1941).  In the course of this tale of supernatural revenge beyond the grave, the ailing Mrs. Marilyn Jeffers consults a bearded general practitioner with a fondness for cigars. This man is identified as Dr. Trowbridge.  The evidence indicates that this is indeed Dr. Samuel Trowbridge of Harrisonville. Although the town and state in which this story is set are not specifically identified, a reference to Watertown implies that the story transpired somewhere in New Jersey.  Trowbridge's role in the story is minor.

Late 1940: Due to his illness as well as the realization that de Grandin is more valuable as an intelligence and liaison office, the Free French post de Grandin to England (based on the introduction to “Stoneman’s Memorial”).

Early 1942: “Stoneman’s Memorial” (Weird Tales, 05/1942). The Free French transfer de Grandin back to the United States. He immediately returns to Harrisonville where he is reunited with Trowbridge, Hiji and Costello.

1943: De Grandin is promoted to the rank of major in the Free French.

1944: Probably January or February (reference to “zero weather”). “Death’s Bookkeeper.” (Weird Tales, 07/1944). De Grandin reads a book on the power of suggestion by Manly Wade Wellman in this story.

1944: Summer. “The Green God’s Ring” (Weird Tales, 01/1945). De Grandin consults John Thunstone’s The Darkness Out of the East for information about the Hindu god Siva. None of Manly Wade Wellman’s Thunstone stories mention this book.

Late 1944 or early 1945: “Lords of the Ghostlands” (Weird Tales, 03/1945). De Grandin calls John Thunstone in New York for help, but discovers that his fellow occult detective has been called away from New York.

c. 1945: Jeremiah Costello is promoted from Detective-Sergeant to Detective-Lieutenant.

1945: “Kurban” (Weird Tales, 01/1946). This the first appearance of Ram Chitra Das, who reappears in “Catspaws” and “Eyes in the Dark.”

1945: October. “The Man in Crescent Terrace” (Weird Tales, 03/1946). De Grandin mentions that his adversary, Grafton Loftus was once an associate of Rowley Thorne, the archenemy of John Thunstone. De Grandin also calls Manly Wade Wellman on the telephone to discuss Egyptian magic.

1945: “Three in Chains” (Weird Tales, 05/1946). A poem by Manly Wade Wellman is mentioned.

Early 1946: Winter (snow is mentioned). “Catspaws” (Weird Tales, 07/1946). This story discusses the contacts between the Leopard Men of Sierra Leone and the Thugs of India, a plot element that also appears in The Devil’s Bride.

1946: “Lotte” (Weird Tales, 09/1946).

1946: Mid-September. “Eyes in the Dark” (Weird Tales, 11/1946).

1947: Probably July (the time is summer, and August is mentioned as a month in the future). “Clair de Lune: (Weird Tales, 11/1947).

1949: “Vampire Kith and Kin” (Weird Tales, 09/1949).

1949: September. “Conscience Maketh Cowards” (Weird Tales, 11/1949).

1950: “The Body Snatchers” (Weird Tales, 11/1950).

1951: Probably March (snow changes to rain). “The Ring of Bastet” (Weird Tales, 09/1951).

 

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The Judge Pursuivant Chronology

by Matthew Baugh

 

Judge Keith Hilary Pursuivant was the first of Manly Wade Wellman's occult detectives. After a brief career in law, and a stint in Military Intelligence in the Great War, Judge Pursuivant retired to devote himself to the study of the occult. A massive man with a slow, genial manner, Pursuivant was deceptively quick of mind and body. His most potent weapon against the menaces he met was a sword cane with a keen silver blade. The sword was one of several identical blades said to have been forged by St. Dunstan (patron of silver-smiths and noted as an enemy of the Devil. The blade was inscribed with a Latin prayer taken from the biblical book of Judges: "Sic pereant omnes inimici tui, Domine" or "Thus perish all your enemies O Lord."

 

1891 Keith Hilary Pursuivant born in Pursuivant Landing, KY.

1908 Bachelor's degree from Yale.

1911 Law degree from Columbia.

1912 Admitted to the Virginia bar.

1914 Elected to district court judgeship.

1917-1919 Serves in the U.S. Army Intelligence, gaining the rank of major.

1919 Retires from law.

1922 Ph.D. from Oxford

1938 "The Hairy Ones Shall Dance" (Weird Tales - January, February & March 1938)

1938 "The Black Drama" (Weird Tales - June, July & August 1938)

1940 "The Dreadful Rabbits" (Weird Tales - July 1940)

1941 "The Half-Haunted" (Weird Tales - September 1941)

 

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John Thunstone Chronology

by Matthew Baugh

 

John Thunstone was a tall man, of immense strength and physical ability. He was also a renowned scholar, especially of the occult, and a good friend of Jules de Grandin and Judge Pursuivant. Like Pursuivant, he was a creation of Manly Wade Wellman, and owed several attributes to the Judge, including the identical silver-bladed sword cane he carried. Thunstone's greatest enemy was a sorcerer/con man named Rowley Thorne, who resembles the real diabolist Alistair Crowley more than a little.

 

c. 1911 John Thunstone is born.

1943 "The Third Cry of Legba" (Weird Tales - 11/1943)

1943 "The Golden Goblins" (Weird Tales - 01/1944)

1943 "Hoofs" (Weird Tales - 03/1944)

1944 "The Letters of Cold Fire" (Weird Tales - 05/1944)

1944 "John Thunstone's Inheritance" (Weird Tales - 07/1944)

1944 "Sorcery From Thule" (Weird Tales - 09/1944)

1944 "Thorne on the Threshold" (Weird Tales - 01/1945)

1944 "The Shonokins" (Weird Tales - 05/1945)

1945 "Blood From a Stone" (Weird Tales - 05/1945)

1945 "The Dai Sword" (Weird Tales - 07/1945)

1945 "Twice Cursed" (Weird Tales - 03/1946)

1946 "Shonokin Town" (Weird Tales - 07/1946)

1947 "The Leonardo Rondache" (Weird Tales - 03/1948)

1951 "The Last Grave of Lill Warren" (Weird Tales - 05/1951)

c. 1962 "Rouse Him Not" (Kadath#5, 1982)

1963 What Dreams May Come (Doubleday, 1983) By the time of this story, Thunstone is getting silver streaks in his hair. This also must occur after After Dark, because that is the earliest point at which Thunstone could have met Silver John.

1964 School of Darkness

 

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Silver John Chronology

by Matthew Baugh

 

The origins of the man known as John are somewhat mysterious. Author Manly Wade Wellman tells us that he was born in Moore County, NC., and raised by an "old maid" aunt, but we never learn his last name. He is often referred to as "Silver John" because of the guitar he carries, strung with silver wires, and sometimes he is called "John the Balladeer," though he refers to himself simply as "John." He is about six feet tall, with a lean build, broad shoulders, dark hair and a passing resemblance to a young Johnny Cash. He is quiet, honest, sincere, and deeply devoted to the lovely Evadare, who he marries at the end of the story "Trill Coster's Burden."

John is also expert at understanding the magical traditions of the mountain people of the American South, where his adventures take place. In that tradition he is called a "witch master," a person who knows how to counter the malign supernatural forces that threaten ordinary people. His stories are all chronicled by Manly Wade Wellman, and appear in the collection John the Balladeer and in six novels.

 

C. 1927 John is born in Moore County, NC. The identity and fate of his parents is unknown but he is raised by an aunt.

1942 John is fifteen when he is given as a servant to Ranson Cuff by his aunt in payment of a debt.

1944 "Frogfather" (Weird Tales - 11/1946) By the end of the story young John is free from his servitude to Cuff and has begun his wandering existence.

1945 "Sin's Doorway" (Weird Tales - 01/1946) In this tale and in "Frogfather" the character is not explicitly said to be John, but author Wellman has said that he considered them stories of the young John before he received his guitar.

c.1945 John learns to play the guitar and eventually gains one with silver wires for strings. (Date is conjecture based on the fact that John has the guitar and is quite proficient with it by the events of "O Ugly Bird").

c. 1949 "O Ugly Bird" (Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction - 12/1951) Date is conjecture based on the fact that John served a tour of duty in the Korean War, and was probably out of the country in 1950-51.

1950-1951 John serves a tour of duty in the Korean War. From the vignette "Nary Spell" we learn that he was the foremost rifle shot in his regiment, brigade and division.

1952 "The Desrick on Yandro" (Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction - 06/1952)

1953 "Vandy Vandy" (Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction - 03/1953)

1953 "One Other" (Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction - 08/1953)

1954 "Call Me From the Valley" (Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction - 03/1954)

1954 "The Little Black Train" (Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction - 08/1954)

1954 "Shiver in the Pines" (Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction - 02/1955)

1955 "Walk Like A Mountain" (Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction - 12/1951)

1956 "On the Hills and Everywhere" (Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction - 01/1956)

1957 "Old Devlins Was A-Waiting" (Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction - 02/1957)

1958 "Nine Yards of Other Cloth" (Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction - 11/1958) In this story John first meets his true love, Evadare.

1958 "Trill Coster's Burden" (Whispers II - 1979) Though the story was written twenty one years after "Nine Yards of Other Cloth" it immediately follows the events of that story. The rest of the chronology assumes a similar delay between the events of the stories and their publication dates, and is consistent with John's apparent age in them. At the end of this story John weds Evadare.

1958 "The Spring" (Shadows 2 - 1979)

1958 The Old Gods Waken (Baen, 1979)

1959 "Owls Hoot in Daytime" (Dark Forces 1980)

1960 After Dark (Baen, 1980) In this novel John is assisted by Jackson Warren, Thunstone's ally from the story "Twice Cursed." Jackson is about John's age, and is "...twelve or fifteen years..." older than young Callie Gray, or about 32-35 years old.

1961 "Can These Bones Live?" (Sorcerer's Apprentice - 1981)

1961 "Nobody Ever Goes There" (Weird Tales 3 - 1981)

1961 The Lost and the Lurking (Baen, 1981)

1963 The Hanging Stones (Baen, 1982) Esdras Hogue is in his forties and is older than John. Judge Pursuivant plays an important part in the story, and is "past eighty."

1964 The Voice of the Mountain (Baen, 1984)

1967 "Where Did She Wander?" (Whispers 4 - 1987)

 

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Anton Zarnak Chronology

by Matthew Baugh

 

 

Probably the most mysterious of all the occult detectives, Anton Zarnak was the hero of Lin Carter's first attempt at a novel, Curse of the Black Pharaoh. Years later Carter resurrected Zarnak, revising him considerably for three short stories. Following Carter's death, Robert Price and other contributors to "Crypt of Cthulhu" magazine have added to the sorcerous detective’s adventures. This sporadic publication history has served to deepen the mystery around this occult hero, who has been compared to Jules de Grandin, Professor Van Helsing, and Marvel Comics' Dr. Strange. While it may not be correct in all details, the following attempt at a biographical timeline is consistent with the clues provided by the stories.  All of the Zarnak stories to date have been collected in Lin Carter’s Anton Zarnak, Supernatural Sleuth edited by Robert Price and printed by Marietta Publishing.

Zarnak is a slender man whose black hair is adorned with a streak of silver which runs from his temple to the base of his skull. His age and origins are unguessable, though his heavy-lidded eyes and exotic features have been described as Eurasian. By all accounts, Zarnak is a genius. He has studied extensively at the Sorbonne, speaks 11 languages fluently, and holds degrees in medicine from Edinburgh University, in theology from Heidelberg, in psychology from Vienna, and in metaphysics from Miskatonic University. His apartment is sumptuously decorated in a profusion of exotic rugs, and objets d'art from across the world, and he has what is possibly the finest private collection of occult tomes in existence.

Years ago, Zarnak was a practicing physician with a wife and a baby son. Many of his associates believe that it was the murder of his wife and child by a werewolf that sparked his obsession with the occult. Zarnak himself hints at a darker history. He is intimately familiar with the ways of the dreaded Tcho Tcho people of Asia, and claims to have been the high priest for their twin gods, Zhar and Lloigor, at one point in his life. The very name Zarnak, he says, is derived from the title 'Zhar-nak' or 'mouthpiece of Zhar.'

Despite this sinister beginning, Zarnak is meant for a high destiny.  His studies in the far places of the world prepare him to become the guardian of humanity against the occult forces that threaten it.  He becomes the latest in a series of guardians to live in the strange house at number 13 China Alley, the setting for most of his adventures.  Through the years we see him age and change.  He grows in wisdom but his struggles against the darkness also take their toll on him.  In the end he leaves the world, not through death but with the assumption of a new struggle. 

Unknown date

The man who will be known as Zarnak is born, possibly somewhere in Asia.

Unknown date

As an adult the man becomes high priest of the Tcho Tcho people and is given the title 'Zhar-nak.' (It is hinted that this may have been in the distant past, before the Tcho Tcho's lapsed into their current, depraved society.)

Unknown

Zhar-nak leaves the Tcho Tchos and travels in Europe.

c. 1888-1895

Zhar-nak takes the name Anton Zarnak, and earns degrees at Europe's finest universities.

c. 1896

Zarnak marries (his wife's name is never given) and begins a medical practice in a Central European country, possibly Transylvania. (Mentioned in “Curse of the Black Pharaoh.”)

c. 1897

A baby boy is born to the Zarnaks.  (Mentioned in “Curse of the Black Pharaoh.”)

c. 1900

Zarnak's wife and young son are slain by a werewolf. Zarnak finds and destroys the beast in turn, and dedicates his life to protecting humanity from such abominations.  (Mentioned in “Curse of the Black Pharaoh.”)

c. 1901-1922

Seeking deeper knowledge into the occult, and methods to combat it, Zarnak travels to the 'far and cold East'.  (This reference is almost certainly to Tibet.) There he is instructed by the masters of A'alshirie for several decades.  (Zarnak’s studies are mentioned in “Curse of the Black Pharaoh.”  The A’alshirie reference comes from the stories of C.J. Henderson, notably “Admission of Weakness.”)

1922

"Admission of Weakness" by C.J. Henderson.  Zarnak arrives at 13 China Alley to replace the recently deceased Professor Guicet as a guardian of the world against dark forces. He meets his servant, Akbar Singh (also referred to as Akbar Ram Singh) for the first time, but fails to win the brawny Hindu’s respect.  In this first adventure, Zarnak also foils an attempt to raise the demon king Yama (or Yamoth.)  He will keep the demon’s wooden mask on his wall for the rest of his adventures. Number 13 sits between Chinatown and the docks, in the same locale frequented by Robert E. Howard's detective Steve Harrison. Accounts vary as to whether this is in New York City, San Francisco, or both.

(The date is given in the story.  In the Lin Carter stories Zarnak’s servant was a Sikh or Rajput named Ram Singh.  This name is probably Carter’s tribute to the Spider stories.  Richard Wentworth aka the Spider also had a servant called ‘Ram Singh.’  When Robert Price wrote “Dope War of the Black Tong” he changed the name to Akbar Singh as a tribute to the characters of Robert E. Howard.  In “Admission of Weakness” C.J. Henderson attempted to resolve this discrepancy by making the name Akbar Ram Singh.  Between the different authors the details about the character’s appearance (slender or brawny) and his religion (Sikh of Hindu) became muddled.  Henderson’s story also gives a very different version of the first meeting between Zarnak and Singh than Lin Carter had suggested.  For the purposes of this timeline we will assume that Zarnak had two servants over the years.  Akbar Singh was the muscular Hindu who had been Professor Guicet’s servant before Zarnak came to the house.  He remained in Zarnak’s service until his death.  Eventually a tall, lean Sikh named Ram Singh cane to replace Akbar as Zarnak’s manservant.)

“To Cast Out Fear” by C. J. Henderson.  Inspector Legrasse of New Orleans seeks Zarnak’s help in overcoming a supernatural menace.  (The story is set immediately following the events of “Admission of weakness.”  Inspector Legrasse originally appeared in the story “The Call of Cthulhu” by H.P. Lovecraft.)

1927

“The Case of the Curiously Competent Conjurer” by James Ambuehl and Simon Bucher-Jones.  Zarnak consults the spirit of Dr. Anton Phibes, an old medical school colleague to solve an occult mystery.  (Dr. Phibes was portrayed by Vincent Price in a series of movies.  This adventure must come between his seeming death in 1925, as seen in “The Abominable Dr. Phibes” and his return to life in 1928 as seen in “Dr. Phibes Rises Again.”  Dr. Lancelot Spratt from Richard Gordon’s “Doctor in the House” series of novels is mentioned as are the events of the novel (later a movie) The Hands of Orlac by Maurice Renard.)

c. 1933

“Keeper of Beasts” by James Chambers.  (The date is conjecture based on the statement that Archer Marlow had lost his fortune in the stock market crash of 1929, spent several years in reckless living, and finally committed suicide a year before the events of the story.)

c. 1936

"The Best Solution" by John L. French.  Zarnak must consult Dr. Seward’s book The Undead to deal with a vampire.  (The date is approximate.  Lieutenant Thorner {Zarnak's ally on the police force in "Admission of Weakness"} has retired.  Dr. Seward is on of the characters from the novel Dracula.  Zarnak also mentions two vampires called Tepes and Ruthven.  Vlad Tepes is the historical character who provided the basis for Dracula and Lord Ruthven is the vampire in john Polidori’s story The Vampyre.

1937

"Soul of the Devil Bought" by Robert M. Price.  This is a sequel to Lin Carter's Cthulhu mythos story "The Winfield Inheritance."   (The date is given.)

c. 1937

“In the House of the Never Slumbering Demons” by Joseph S. Pulver Sr.  Zarnak meets John O’Dare and helps him return to the magical world of Astdaparl.  Unfortunately, Zarnak loses one of his eyes in combat with other-dimensional demons.  (The date is speculative.  John O’Dare is from an unfinished story by Robert E. Howard.  Jules de Grandin is also mentioned in this story.  Mention of O’Dare and de Grandin suggests a date in the 1930’s.  The only other time Zarnak’s missing eye is mentioned is in “Zarnak’s Guest” so this story must come immediately before that one.)

c. 1938

 “Zarnak’s Guest”  A young man named Htoo becomes Zarnak’s apprentice.  (The date is speculative, based on the fact that Akbar Singh is still the Doctor’s servant.  There is mention of the Black Tong, so this story must pre-date “Dope War of the Black Tong.”  Since Htoo is never mentioned anywhere else, I have placed this immediately before that story.)

In an unrecorded adventure Anton Zarnak has his destroyed eye replaced.  We don’t know whether the eye is healed through magical means, or replaced with a magical artifact, but in all later adventures the Doctor has two good eyes.

"Dope War of the Black Tong" (collected in Disciples of Cthulhu, 1997) (This story must take place in the 1930's for it features Steve Harrison in his prime. Zarnak is presumed dead at the end of this story, but eventually reappears.)

c. 1938-1940

This may encompass Zarnak's activities during the period in which he is presumed dead. It is interesting to speculate whether he is involved in undoing some of the occult schemes of the Third Reich.  It seems likely that Zarnak’s apprentice, young Htoo takes over his duties during his absence.

c. 1941

Around this time Zarnak sets up shop in London where his landlady is Mrs. Hecht, '. . . perhaps the greatest unconscious medium in Europe.'

c. 1941-1946

Zarnak consults frequently with Scotland Yard, and is instrumental in defeating the "Vampire of London," the "Myrdstone Witches" and other occult menaces.  (Mentioned in “Curse of the Black Pharaoh.)

c. 1947-1950

This seems to be a period of relative inactivity for Zarnak. (In "Curse of the Black Pharaoh," Mrs. Hecht alludes to the fact that it has been several years since Zarnak has been on a case.)

c. 1950

"Curse of the Black Pharaoh" by Lin Carter.  (This was Zarnak's first published adventure, and is collected in The Nyarlathotep Cycle, 1997.)

c. 1960

Under unknown circumstances Zarnak moves back to Number 13 China Alley. (Presumably Htoo has been killed or incapacitated since there is no further mention of him in the series.)

1961

“The Pain We Desire” by C.J. Henderson.  Zarnak faces a street gang called the Yellow Kings and the dread entity Nyarlathotep.  This story also reveals that the house at number 13 China Alley shifts in space, sometimes appearing in New York and others in San Francisco.  (The date of “April 12, 1961” is given in the story.   The Yellow Kings are an illusion to the King in yellow, an alias for the Lovecraftian entity Hastur.  Both Hastur and Nyarlathotep are prominent in the Cthulhu mythos.)

Shortly after this adventure Akbar Singh dies and Zarnak leaves 13 China Alley.  (In “The Deep Cellars” Zarnak refers to the death of Akbar “…  some years ago.”)

1963  

“The Deep Cellars” by Pierre Comtois.  Zarnak is called on to solve another occult case and consults both Jules de Grandin and a specialist named Dr. Stephen Strange.  Zarnak is now living in the penthouse suite of “The Towers” an ill-omened high rise residence building in New York.  (References to Zarnak’s BMW roadster, the computer age, and the death of Singh “…some years ago.”  The mention of Marvel Comics’ character Stephen Strange also helps to date the story.  Dr. Strange debuted in 1961.)

c. 1964

In an unrecorded adventure Zarnak travels to northern India, where he saves a man named Ram Singh from a were-tiger. In gratitude the fierce Rajput pledges his life in service to him.

c. 1966

"Dead of Night" by Lin Carter.  (This story occurs long after the time of Steve Harrison. Assuming Harrison retired in the mid-1950's, this would be one of the earliest possible dates.)

c. 1967

"Perchance to Dream" by Lin Carter.  Zarnak's old friend, Jules de Grandin appears in this story. (Dr. de Grandin would have been approximately 98 years old in 1967, so it seems unlikely that the story could have occurred in any later year.)

1997

“A Wandering Blackness” by James Chambers.  (Zarnak is showing his age in this story.  He looks like a man of eighty, though he is actually far older.  References to voice mail and 401K retirement plans place this story in the modern era.  Though written in 2002 it must come before the events of “The Door.”

1998

“The Door” by C.J. Henderson.  Zarnak leaves this world to become the guardian of a magical door to keeps an occult evil from entering our world.  This final adventure of Anton Zarnak passes the torch of occult guardianship to Henderson’s own character, Private Investigator Teddy London.

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John Kirowan Chronology

by Matthew Baugh

 

A biography of Kirowan is difficult because his biographer, the prolific Robert E. Howard, apparently liked his name and used it often in his stories.  As a result, it is unclear from one story to the next whether the Kirowan involved is actually the noted occultist and adventurer or someone else.  This article takes a somewhat different interpretation of the historical data than the biographical sketch found in the excellent Encyclopedia Cthulhiana.  With such a mysterious individual such controversies are inevitable.

John Kirowan is a tall man, slender yet very strong, with dark eyes and hair and a pale complexion.  He is also a man who carries a grim aura of sorrow around him.  Those who know him best know it stems from the tragedy that has haunted him for much of his adult life.  Even those who know him best, however, do not know much about this enigmatic and driven man.

John was born the younger son of a titled family from Galway Ireland.  His strange passion for dark secrets made him the black sheep of the family and his only real tie to them seems to have been through his twin sister Moira.  She was a laughing gray-eyed girl who was Kirowan's other half, bringing light and joy to his brooding darkness.  In "Dermod's Bane" he says she is the one, "...whom I loved as I had never loved anyone else..." and in "The Haunter of the Ring" he calls her "...the only woman I ever loved."

As a young man, Kirowan's interest in the occult brought him to Hungary where he met a fellow dabbler named Yosef Vrolok.  When Kirowan refused to follow Vrolok into the darker rituals of diabolism and the occult he earned the other man's hatred.  Vrolok sought his revenge by using his arts to seduce and debauch Moira.  She had presumably come to Hungary to persuade John to abandon his occult studies but, under Vrolok's influence, she turned against her beloved brother.

Kirowan tried to kill Vrolok then, but was unable to prevail against the dark powers he commanded.  Vrolok then abandoned Moira and she died shortly thereafter.  The cause of her sudden and unexpected death has not been revealed, but suicide following the horrible shame of what had happened to her seems likely.

John was desolated by the loss of his sister.  His only consolation came from his grim old grandmother who bade him go to the family's ancestral homelands of Galway in Connaught.  Her hope was that the family's strong ties to the land would somehow heal John's suffering heart.

It worked, albeit in an unexpected way.  John was assaulted and nearly killed by what he believed to be the ghost of Dermod O'Connor, a terrible enemy of his ancestors.  He was saved by another spectral presence, one he believed to be the shade of his beloved Moira, an experience which gave him the will to live again.

Still craving vengeance on Vrolok, Kirowan wandered the world seeking the secrets of occult power in such far-flung places as Zimbabwe, inner Mongolia, and the islands of the South Seas.  What he learned sickened his soul, and he renounced his study of the occult forever.

Kirowan returned to America, where he became a member of the Wanderer's Club, a collection of eccentrics and explorers where he felt he belonged more than in society at large.  It has been largely through his connections in the club that his recorded adventures have taken place.  Though he has forsaken the occult, Kirowan has a deeper knowledge of it than most in the world, and this expertise has helped to save many afflicted by dark forces. It has even brought him full circle, to a poetic revenge of Yosef Vrolok who, under the alias of Joseph Roelocke, had been playing his games of manipulation in America.

 

1895 

John and Moira Kirowan are born.  (Date is conjecture)

1913

John's adventures in Hungary and his first meeting with Yosef Vrolok (Date is conjecture, though the outbreak of the Great War would have made Kirowan's studies in Hungary unlikely at any time between 1914-1919)

1913 

Moira Kirowan's death and the events of "Dermod's Bane"  (Date is conjecture)

1913-1920 

John travels the world in search of occult secrets.  (Date is conjecture)

1920 

Having renounced the occult, John Kirowan settles in America and joins the Wanderer's Club (Date is conjecture.  Kirowan's residence is also subject to some uncertainty.  The story "Dig Me No Grave" puts him in the same city as occultist John Grimlan, and "Dope War of the Black Tong" states that Grimlan lived in the same city as Anton Zarnak.  This would put Kirowan in the same city as Zarnak, which is either San Francisco or New York.)

1929 

The events of "The Children of the Night"  Kirowan is present at a gathering in Conrad's home when his friend O'Donnell reverts to the barbaric personality of an earlier incarnation named ‘Aryara, the Aryan' and attempts to kill a fellow guest named Ketrick.  (This comes some time after the 1928 publication of H.P. Lovecraft's "The Call of Cthulhu" as Conrad has a copy in his collection.  The inclusion of the character Taverel also seems to place it sometime before Howard's story "Taverel Manor" which is set in 1930.  It is interesting to note that, at this early point in his career Kirowan scoffs at the existence of ancient cults still existing.  Perhaps he is faking his disbelief to try to protect his friends from dangerous knowledge.)

1930

March 10 - Kirowan is present with his friend Conrad at the strange and horrible death of John Grimlan.  "Dig Me No Grave"  (This date can be fixed with certainty, for the dates of Grimlan's unnatural life were 3/10/1630-3/10/1930)

1934       

The events of "The Haunter of the Ring" and Kirowan's final meeting with Vrolok.  (This story features Kirowan's friend O'Donnel, and I had originally thought that it must take place before O'Donnel's tragic insanity in "The Children of the Night".  On closer reading though it seems that the O'Donnel in "Children" is John O'Donnel while the character in this story is Michael O'Donnel.  Possibly the men are brothers.)

 

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