Supernatural Detectives Redux: Updates and News (With One-Stop Shopping!)

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Img0021_2A few posts ago I paid tribute to the memory and writing of C.J. Henderson who left this world July 4, 2014 after fighting cancer. Please send up a prayer for his family, and if you can and wish to, help them pay off his medical and funeral bills.

Since that post,  I have been learning more and more about Henderson’s work, and having a blast reading more. I also have some updates in general.

Updates to the Teddy London Agency Timeline

TeddyLondon4_cover

Henderson’s longest, best-known and most popular series is about supernatural detective Teddy London and his associates. I am including stories with any of the characters from the Agency. In addition to London stories, there are Paul Morcey, Lai Wan and Jhong Feng tales. There are also cross-overs with some of the author’s other series.

Here’s the Official description of the series from CJH’s website:

It tells the story of private detective Theodore London, an average man who, in the process of looking into a routine investigation stumbles across a world far beyond most people’s comprehension. As the facts add up to an unbelievable truth, London gathers weapons experts, scientists, occult practitioners, and others, to stand with him when the doorways are opened and the horrors beyond come spilling out into our universe.

So here’s how I think the Teddy London timeline works:

A Henderson novel Partners in Crime, with Joe Gentile, involves, among others, Kolchak: the Nightstalker, Boston Blackie, Johnny Dollar, Lai Wan, Candy Matson, Pat Novak, Blackshirt, Mr. Keen, and Jack Hagee. I haven’t read it yet, and so do not know if I will include it. Since it takes place at the end of World War II, it would be the first Lai Wan and Jack Hagee stories.

Other Henderson Supernatural Detective Series and Continuations

Henderson penned many other series of stories in this sub-genre. He was actually one of the masters of the field. He also loved to write new stories in older, existing series, with the respective author’s estate’s permission where necessary.

Here are the series I am familiar with…

Piers Knight:

 

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CJH’s site describes this series:

A curator at the renowned Brooklyn Museum, Piers Knight sits atop 10,000 years of recorded human history. Every magical shield or weapon created by any society or civilization from anywhere around the world is somewhere in that building. So, when New York City gets into supernatural trouble, what else can it do but turn to their own Indiana Jones to save the day?

Remember when we were discussing the Sub-Sub-Genre “Storehouses of the Weird“? This is a new addition to that list! Here are the stories:

Blakeley, Boles, and Donna Fargo:

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The Official Site describes this adventurous series, co-authored by Bruce Gehweiler, well:

Blakley and Boles are both distinguished professors working at Duke University. Both are highly regarded in their fields, Blakley a crypto-zoologist, Boles a parapsychologist. The pair, however, dislike each other, and have no respect for the other’s field. This causes them little in the way of hardship … that is … until the university gets a tremendously large grant, but only if the two will work together to investigate the bizarre and the supernatural. Along with local sheriff, Donna Fargo, the unruly pair find themselves caught up in a series of ever-more perilous adventures as they peel back the curtain masking the fascinating horrors of the world beyond the veil most never get the chance to witness.

The stories are all in Where Angels Fear.

Miskatonic Seal © Christian Lee

Miskatonic Seal © Christian Lee

The Nardi Agency (Arkham Security):

I’ve only read two stories in this series, and do not know the names of any others, but will keep looking. They concern retired NYC Detective Franklin Nardi and his Security Firm. Made up of retired NYC Detectives and aided by psychic Madame Renee, they keep the Lovecraftian city of Arkham, MA safe.

“The Idea of Fear” (Published in Arkham Tales and The Supernatural Investigators of C.J. Henderson)

“Cruelty” (Published in The Supernatural Investigators of C.J. Henderson)

 

Excursus: The Seal of Arkham’s Miskatonic University (Arkham and MU created by HLP):

In the ingenious seal created by Christian Lee for Arkham’s Miskatonic University above, we have the standard Inscription in the outer circle “Seal of Miskatonic University.” Unfortunately, Universitis is

Yale College Seal

Yale College Seal

misspelled. The Latin word Universitas (from  universus (all turned into one), from uni- (one), + versus (turned), perfect passive participle of vertō, vertere (turn) is a third declension noun whose genitive (possessive) case is universitatis. In many Academic Seals, such as the Yale College Seal, the Latin is abbreviated.  The Latin written out would be Sigilum Collegii Yalensis (in) Novo Portu (in) Nova Anglia here means “The Seal of Yale College in New Haven in New England.” Let’s give Lee the benefit of the doubt and say that his Universitis is an abbreviation!

Arkham © 2006 Joseph Morales

Arkham © 2006 Joseph Morales

To return to the Miskatonic Seal we have the Motto, In Libris Libertas, There is Liberty in Books. First of all, this certainly refers to the most famous part of the University, the Orne Library, which contains terrifying esoteric texts: “Miskatonic University is famous for its collection of occult books. The library holds one of the very few genuine copies of the Necronomicon. Other tomes include the Unaussprechlichen Kulten by Friedrich von Junzt and the fragmentary Book of Eibon.” These were created by H.P. Lovecraft and other Mythos authors.

miskatonic_university_map

Secondly, however, as the Romans, Greeks, and ancient Egyptians all felt that puns were the highest form of humor, it is a play on words.

6d90aca4b6da2b7f42ebfe8a01a5f9b5The adjective liber, libera, liberum is an adjective meaning free or at liberty. It comes from From Proto-Indo-European *h₁lewdʰ- (people). Cognates include: Ancient Greek ἐλεύθερος (eleútheros), Sanskrit रोधति (rodhati), German Leute, Russian люди (ljudipeople).

But the noun liber means a book, probably from an older form *luber, from Proto-Indo-European *leup- (to peel, break off). Cognate to Old Church Slavonic лѹбъ (lubŭbark of a tree) and Lithuanian lùpti (to peel, to shell). See also English leaflodgeAncient Greek λέπω (lépōto peel), λέπος (lépospeel), λεπτός (leptóspeel), since a book is made of “leaves,” and often from papyrus or trees.

So the founding fathers of Miskatonic were having a bit of Latinate fun.

c-d

© 2012 T-Shirt Bordello

In the interior of the seal, we have the typical form of an open book with its clasps to either side, with the Greek Letters Alpha and Omega, ΑΩ. Usually in the Christian world, this represents Christ being the Beginning and the End, but one wonders if Miskatonic is hinting at the vast ages of the Mythos, a beginning much older than the Earth and Humanity, when the Elder Gods ruled (Cthulhu, et al.) and the end when they will come again. Food for thought.

It is not unusual that iconography from one religion can be used for another, as a kind of disguise. For example, in the Coptic Textile Exhibit we mounted at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum some years ago, there were numerous examples of Christian and Pre-Christian symbolism woven into the ancient textiles, such as Grapes which could represent the Christian Eucharist, or the Mysteries of Dionysus.

vdIn today’s world, the most well known example of this is the use of Christian Holy Men and Women as symbols for the Loas, powerful spirits in Haitian Vodou and Louisiana Voodoo, which have their roots in African religion. Enslaved Fon and Ewe peoples made this syncretization in Haiti. Papa Legba is symbolized by with Saint PeterSaint Lazarus, and Saint AnthonyErzulie Dantor is derived from a variant of the sacred icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa.  St. PhilomenaSt. Michael the ArchangelSt. Jude, and St. John the Baptist, have become Loas as well.

"Bellbookandcandleposter" by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bellbookandcandleposter.jpg#/media/File:Bellbookandcandleposter.jpg

“Bellbookandcandleposter” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bellbookandcandleposter.jpg#/media/File:Bellbookandcandleposter.jpg

Finally, in the Miskatonic Seal, we have a bell above the book, and a candle beneath. This is the Bell, Book, and Candle, which are components of an ancient excommunication ritual of the Roman Catholic Church, no longer used:

 It is opened with “Ring the bell, open the book, light the candle,” and closed with “Ring the bell, close the book, quench the candle.”

Thanks to the delightful 1950 Play and 1958 Film, Bell, Book, and Candle, where it was misidentified as an Exorcism Ritual, we now use it in that way. Hence the symbolism on the Seal!

Little details like this are often of great importance. A great example of this is in the Disney film, Beauty and the Beast, animated by my Brophy College Prep classmate (Class of 72), Glen Keane, the model for Billy in his father, the cartoonist Bil Keane’s, The Family Circus,

At the beginning of the film, we “pan” over the Beast’s Castle and see this in the Stained Glass:

From Beauty and the Beast © Disney Films

From Beauty and the Beast © Disney Films

The motto of the Beast’s Family is Vincit qui se vincit, He/She conquers who conquers him/herself. Of course, this applies to both the Beast and Belle, the Beauty. What a tiny detail, but it tells the whole story, and could be stated otherwise as “Mastery of Life“!

Beauty and the Beast is directly based on the 1756 French fairy tale by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont. Variants of this story have been told throughout European history, going back to the Myth of Cupid and Psyche (Love and the Soul) in Apuleius’s Metamorphoses (The Golden Ass). Written toward the end of the 2nd Century, it is the only surviving complete Roman Novel.

 

51gmXqDEZvLChallenge of the Unknown:

This series follows the misadventures of Marv Richards and the crew of the TV show, Challenge of the Unknown. The unscripted reality series began by interviewing guests involved with the Unknown, Eerie and Supernatural, but evolves into full blown (and often disastrous) encounters with Outer Horrors. All the stories have been collected in one volume, aptly titled, Challenge of the Unknown. Even the cover is hilarious!

 

 

 

NSA Agent Jack Dixon:

© Chaosium, or the cover artist, David Lee Ingersoll.

© Chaosium, or the cover artist, David Lee Ingersoll.

“Not What One Does” (A Lai Wan story. Published in Lai Wan: Tales of the Dreamwalker, written with John Sunseri, and featuring NSA Agent Jack Dixon. Dixon and Harrison Peel are featured in a series of stories by Sunseri. For The Spiraling Worm in this serieshe collaborated with David Conyers. The stories involve modern Lovecraftian horror set in the world of espionage and government conspiracies.

Bianca Jones:

Here

“Innocent Monsters” with John L. French. (Published in Lai Wan: Tales of the Dreamwalker). Bianca Jones is a Baltimore Occult Police Detective with her own series by French which I look forward to reading.

Here is the Bianca Jones lineup by John L. French:

All of these are found in the Collection,  Here There Be Monsters

Lin Carter’s Anton Zarnak:

zarnak

Henderson, with the permission of the Lin Carter Estate (administered by his friend, Mythos author, editor, scholar, and New Testament scholar and Theologian, Robert M. Price who calls himself a “Christian Atheist,” is a man of huge erudition), worked to continue the stories of the wonderful character, Anton Karnak, created by the late and truly great Lin Carter! I am forever in Lin Carter’s debt for the incredible “Ballantine Adult Fantasy” Series which he edited. These were a mainstay of my youth, and are works I will re-read at a moment’s notice. That series will be the subject of a Post in preparation.

In 1988 and 1989 Carter wrote three novellas featuring his Supernatural Sleuth. These so impressed the public and other authors that more stories have been written over the years.

Karnak himself is an experienced “Master of the Mystic Arts,” who lives at 13 China Alley, a residence that is sometimes in New York City and sometimes in San Francisco. His mood is often sour, but he is ultimately a hero, battling supernatural evil.

All of the stories about Dr. Zarnak by Lin Carter, Robert M. Price, Joseph S. Pulver, Sr., Pierre Comtois, C.J. Henderson, John L. French, James Chambers, and the team of James Ambuehl & Simon Bucher-Jones are contained in the awesome volume, Lin Carter’s Anton Karnak: Supernatural Sleuth (2002), edited by Robert M. Price, except three I have found so far:

H.P. Lovecraft’s Inspector Legrasse:

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In 1928 H.P. Lovecraft published his Mythos creating Novella “The Call of Cthulhu” in Weird Tales magazine. Lovecraft’s influence on the modern horror story cannot be exaggerated. From Wikipedia:

Stephen King called Lovecraft “the twentieth century’s greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale.” King has made it clear in his semi-autobiographical non-fiction book Danse Macabre that Lovecraft was responsible for King’s own fascination with horror and the macabre, and was the single largest figure to influence his fiction writing.

Not only is his influence tremendous, his creation of what some call The Cthulhu Mythos and others The Lovecraft Mythos has spawned generations of creativity in horror authors.

Cthulhu Rising with his City of R'lyeh from "The Call of Cthulhu"

Cthulhu Rising with his City of R’lyeh from “The Call of Cthulhu”

In the seminal novella “The Call of Cthulhu,” the second section is “The Tale of Inspector Legrasse.” The eponymous New Orleans police Detective Inspector investigates a Cthulhu devil cult in the Louisiana bayou connected with the Cthulhoid figurine found in part one of the novella. C.J. Henderson picks up the Inspector’s work from there, and created six more short stories about his exploits. These are collected, along with HPL’s original, in The Tales of Inspector Legrasse, with an Introduction by Robert M. Price.

A word of warning. In “The Call of Cthulhu,” Lovecraft indulges in his offhand Nativist views, and is definitely not sensitive to diversity. He was prejudiced even for his own time. If you can overlook these faults, his stories are extraordinary. Henderson addresses this and Legrasse changes in the Inspector Legrasse / Anton Zarnak crossover story, “To Cast Out Fear,” which is the sequel to his “Patiently Waiting,” which in turn follows the action in “The Call of Cthulhu.”

Stephen King

Stephen King

As an aside, in the aforementioned Danse Macabre, King makes an interesting distinction. He says that Science Fiction is essentially a Liberal and Progressive genre, as it explores going beyond our limits. Horror, on the other hand, he considers to be essentially a Conservative genre. It warns us of those “different from ourselves,” and what happens when the monsters get loose.

Danse Macabre, which I read many years ago back in the 80s, is a great book. It is for adults, but it is a wonderful glimpse into the mind of one of the 20th and 21st Centuries greatest storytellers and authors.

C.J. Henderson did not stop with The Tales of Inspector Legrasse. In December 2014, To Battle Beyond was posthumously published, in which Inspector Legrasse teams up with Pulp heroes The Black Bat and The Domino Lady to hold back the Axis’s Supernatural Powers! Here is a description of the book from the publisher:

In the opening days of WWII, the free world sat in dread anticipation as the Axis turned its deadly attentions on one country after another. With an ocean to protect her on either side, the United States hoped to be spared participation in the apocalyptic confrontation to come. But such was not to be. Knowing their only chance was a sneak attack, the Japanese high command settled on a dark and terrible plan, one involving damnable sorceries and horrors from beyond to cripple the American colossus. Obscenely cruel, if unstopped it would mean the death of millions. Join us as three of the Pulp Era’s greatest heroes — primary Batman inspiration, The Black Bat; The Domino Lady, greatest of the female detectives; and H.P. Lovecraft’s immortal creation, Inspector Legrasse — band together to battle nightmare and ninjas in one of the wildest, most exciting adventure novels of all time!

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Kolchak The Night Stalker:

kolchak

In 1972 a popular TV Movie was broadcast, based on an unpublished novel by Jeff Rice. In the movie, Karel “Carl” Kolchak, a reporter, trails and kills a serial killer the vampire Janos Skorzeny. Another kolchak-the-night-stalkerTV Movie followed the next year, The Night Stranglerand then a one-season TV Series, Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1974-75). Darren McGavin played the reporter Kolchak, and it became his best known role, after perhaps the memorable Dad in A Christmas Story, one

"The Old Man" admiring the prized Leg Lamp from A Christmas Story

“The Old Man” admiring the prized Leg Lamp from A Christmas Story

of my family’s cherished Christmas traditions, along with National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation! We even have a Leg Lamp from A Christmas Story which we put in the window each year!

As for Kolchak’s lasting influence, Wikipedia sums it up well:

Though Kolchak was short-lived as a series, its impact on popular culture has been substantial. In particular the series has been described as a predecessor to The X-Files (1993–2002). The X-Files creator, Chris Carter, has acknowledged that the show had influenced him greatly in his own work. In one interview when mentioned that the majority of the viewing public considered the success of The X-Files series as being inspired by other such past shows such as The Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits, Carter mentions that while those shows were indeed an influence on Files, it was only about ten-percent, with another thirty-percent coming from the Kolchak series, with the rest derived as being based upon original ‘pure inspiration’. Carter paid tribute to Kolchak in a number of ways in the show. A character named “Richard Matheson”, named for the screenwriter of the pilot films, appeared in several episodes. Carter also wanted McGavin to appear as Kolchak in one or more episodes of The X-Files, but McGavin was unwilling to reprise the character for the show. He did eventually appear in several episodes as Arthur Dales, a retired FBI agent described as the “father of the X-Files.”

Darrin McGavin as Arthur Dales, the "father of the X-Files with Agent Mulder (David Duchovny).

Darrin McGavin as Arthur Dales, the “Father of the X-Files with Agent Mulder (David Duchovny).

Richard Matheson, by the way, was a very important author:

He may be known best as the author of I Am Legend, a 1954 horror novel that has been adapted for the screen four times, although six more of his novels or short stories have been adapted as major motion pictures: The Shrinking ManHell HouseWhat Dreams May ComeBid Time Return (filmed as Somewhere in Time)A Stir of Echoes and Button, Button. Matheson also wrote numerous television episodes of The Twilight Zone for Rod Serling, including “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” and “Steel“. He later adapted his 1971 short story “Duel” as a screenplay which was promptly directed by a young Steven Spielberg, for the television movieof the same name.

 

Our beloved Robin Williams in the 1998 Film version of What Dreams May Come. By all means see the movie, but read the book. It's much more detailed.

Our beloved Robin Williams in the 1998 Film version of What Dreams May Come. By all means see the movie, but read the book. It’s much more detailed and true.

What Dreams May Come is a wonderful and deeply important Novel. Please read it!

In 2005, a new Kolchak series, Night Stalker was broadcast on the SciFi Channel for six weeks, with a night_stalker-show-thumb-330x247-46821new cast, including Stuart Townsend as the reporter himself. It did not fare well, and was cancelled. The final episodes, 7-10 were finally aired on the SciFi Channel during the summer of 2008, and are now available on iTunes.

C.J. Henderson continued the adventures of Carl Kolchak in stories and comic books. Here are some of them:

Thank you to Henderson for keeping Kolchak alive!

Robert E. Howard’s Solomon Kane:

 

roman04

C.J. Henderson wrote one short story, “Death’s Black Riders” continuing Robert E. Howard’s hero, Solomon Kane, which was published in Robert M. Price’s Crypt of Cthulhu, #105 Lammas 2000. Kane is a dour 16th/17th Century Puritan who fights evil around the world. “Death’s Black Riders” was a fragment of a story left by REH after his death, and Henderson completed it.

Quantum Leap:

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With Laura Anne Gilman, Henderson penned one novel based on the very popular Quantum Leap TV Series. Quantum Leap: Double or Nothing‘s back cover tells us: “Leaping into two different bodies at Enterprise-Castonce, Sam finds himself in the lives of twins, a financially troubled trucker and a successful university professor, an assignment that is complicated when Ziggy calls out sick. Sam is on a collision course with himself as he is trapped in the twin brothers who are mortal enemies.”

Besides playing Sam Beckett in Quantum Leap, Scott Bakula has had many successes in television, as well as stage and screen. On TV, after Quantum Leap, he famously played Captain Archer in Star Trek: Enterprise, Terry Eliott in Men of a Certain Age, and Stephen Bartowski in Chuck. He is currently in Looking as Lynn, an Entrepreneur, and Special Agent Dwayne Cassius Pride in NCIS: New Orleans. Good work, Mr. Bakula!

Cast of NCIS: New Orleans

Cast of NCIS: New Orleans

So, there is still SO much to read from the much missed C.J. Henderson! Thank you!

Seabury Quinn’s Work

Seabury Quinn

Seabury Quinn

Before finishing today, however, also wanted to add a note to emphasize the importance to the Occult Detective genre of the work of Seabury Quinn. His Occult Detective stories might not have been great literature, but they inspired generations of writers!

Seabury Grandin Quinn (also known as Jerome Burke) (1889-1969) was a WWI Veteran and an attorney who taught Medical Jurisprudence and specialized in Mortuary Law. On the side he wrote quite a lot, and his best known creation is the Supernatural Detective Jules de Grandin. A contemporary of Robert E. HowardH. P. LovecraftClark Ashton Smith, and Quinn’s friend Mary Elizabeth Counselman, he published much of his fiction in the very popular magazine, Weird Tales.

Jules de Grandin was assisted by Dr. Trowbridge (serving the same narrative purpose as Dr. Watson), in ninety stories published from 1925-1951. They fought evil from their Harrisonville, New Jersey headquarters. The detective was a French physician and a former member of the French Sûreté.

degrandintrow

The de Grandin stories are not easily purchased, but Philippe Ward has begun a new series with his Grandson Arnaud. Here is a fine run-down of the de Grandin stories by G.W. Thomas. There are three available online at Wikisource.

Thank you very much for reading this Blog, and I hope you find some additional reading materials from our links!

And Happy St. Patrick’s Day: the Holy Hierarch Patrick, Archbishop of Éire, Equal to the Apostles, Evangelizer of the Irish.

Naomh Pádraig in Gaelige, the language of Ireland, is St. Patrick. Icon © Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline MA

Naomh Pádraig in Gaelige, the language of Ireland, is St. Patrick. Icon © Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline MA

Steven A. Armstrong
Tutor, Editor, Consultant

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