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


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:



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:


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.


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.


© 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 -

“Bellbookandcandleposter” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia –

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:


“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:


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:


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!


Kolchak The Night Stalker:


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:



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:


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.


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

The Teddy London Detective Agency: RIP C.J. Henderson. Detectives of the Strange.

Henderson at the November 2008 Big Apple Con in Manhattan. Photo by Luigi Novi.

Henderson at the November 2008 Big Apple Con in Manhattan. Photo by Luigi Novi.

I recently learned that one of my favorite authors passed away last July 4. C.J. Henderson succumbed to cancer after a courageous battle. If you can, send up a prayer for his family, and if you wish, help them pay off his medical bills.

He was a tremendously creative author, and quite prolific. Having grown up in the Mid-West, he came to New York for college, and lived there with his family. Over the years, he taught, worked a number of jobs, as aspiring authors always do, and finally was able to live from his writing.

And what writing it was! His genres were the hard-boiled crime stories, horror, and comic books. Not surprisingly, he gave the following as his favorite authors, many of whom you will know:  Robert E. HowardH.P. LovecraftPoul AndersonFrank MillerStan LeeAlan MooreClifford D. SimakJohn BrunnerPhilip K. DickJames ClavellLester DentJonathan SwiftEdgar Rice BurroughsC. J. CherryhSax RohmerRex StoutJack VanceBrett HallidayJack LondonC.L. Moore, and Percy Bysshe Shelley. As my friends know from that list, this was a man after my own heart!

Poetry Canon

His favorite poem was one of my short list of my all-time favorites: “Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelly (1818). I’ll share it with you in memoriam:

I met a traveller from an antique landtrunkless legs of stone
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

As I think I have mentioned before, my shortlist of favorite poems also includes “Ode on a Grecian Urn” (1819) by John Keats, “Sailing to Byzantium” (1926) by William Butler Yeats, “Kublai Khan” (1797) by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “Jerusalem” (from his Milton) (1804) by William Blake, “O God of Earth and Altar” (1906) by G.K. Chesterton, “The Waste Land” (1922) by T.S. Elliot, “La noche oscura del alma” (“The Dark Night of the Soul”) (1578-9) by San Juan de la Cruz, O.C.D., “God’s Grandeur” (1918) by Gerald Manley Hopkins, S.J., “Forma Bonum Fragile est” (“Beauty is a Fragile Good)” (2 CE) by Ovid in his Ars Amatoria (see my take on this poem in my chapbook Circles: Poems of Youth), and the Carmen 5 of Catullus (c. 84 – 54 BCE), if only for the one magnificent line: “… nox est perpetua una dormienda” (the phrase is so allusive, it defies any translation that would limit it: roughly: “… a night perpetual which must be slept”). The line has been the inspiration for a great deal in the modern world!

A couple of notes: “Jerusalem” and “O God of Earth and Altar” are best known as Hymns today. If we would but heed the message of these two poems, we would transform the world. Samuel Taylor Coleridge is one of the characters in Tim Power’s whopping good yarn, The Anubis Gates!

A linguistic note: throughout  this post I use the convention term, “Occult Detective,” to indicate someone who investigates phenomena having to do with the supernatural, etc. As we know, “Occult” only actually means hidden, from the Latin occulō (hide, cover), from ob + colō (tend, care for). Colo comes from the earlier *quelō, from Proto-Indo-European *kʷel- (to move; to turn (around)). Many cognates including Ancient Greek πέλω (pélō), πόλος (pólos), τέλλω (téllō), τέλος(télos), τῆλε (têle), πάλαι (pálai), κύκλος (kúklos). Occult Sciences are the study of hidden or esoteric matters in an organized fashion. Today, in our polarized society, Occult has taken on a connotation of evil, but that is not its only meaning.

C.J. Henderson’s Work

I am most familiar with his works in the Horror genre. He is best known for two of his series, The Jack Hagee series of parboiled detective stories, and the Teddy London series of Occult Detective novels and stories. He wrote many other series, including those devoted to Piers Knight (a curator at the Brooklyn Museum who fights supernatural horrors), Kolchak the Night Stalker and others. His full bibliography is quite extensive.

One of his best techniques was to further the adventures of heroes created by previous authors (such as Lin Carter’s Dr. Anton Zarnak and H. P. Lovecraft’s Inspector Legrasse), or otherwise weave other literary themes, horrors, and ideas into his fiction. Far from being derivative, he used his materials deftly, always respectful of the sources, but using creative license to flesh out and extend the original characters and ideas. It’s not an easy trick to pull off, but he did it with humor and panache!

The Teddy London Detective Agency

51egX19CWSL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_In many ways, his longest series showcases his particular talents spectacularly. It’s my favorite of his works, and I have just completed reading every bit of Teddy London that I know of. In The Teddy London series, he combines the Hardboiled detective genre with the horror genre (both traditional and Lovecraftian) with very engaging and enjoyable results. I won’t spoil the fun of your discovering what horrors Detective London, his Agency and his friends have to contend with, but I’ll share a bit to entice you!

Teddy is a hardworking, hardboiled PI in New York City, good at what he does. In the first novel, The Things that are not There, he encounters a horror out of Lovecraft that changes his life, and his vocation, forever. Along the way, he gains new allies, and we meet some of his old friends. Characterization was one of Henderson’s strong suits, and the reader really comes to like, love, and care about the characters. Slowly, we get to know them as real people, with strengths and foibles. You will come to feel very close to Teddy, Lisa, Paul Morcey, Lai Wan, Cat, Doc Goward, Pa’sha, Father Bain, Jhong and the rest.

51O4TzZFfIL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_On the riotous ride through the novels and short stories, he also utilizes a great deal of the world’s mythologies, and re-purposes myths in a most creative way. Often, I am annoyed by authors who use mythologies too cavalierly, but not with Henderson. His variations make good sense, and they even clarify the materials he works with.  It fits in to the cosmos that he is creating. He brought many a smile to my lips with his humor and sound philosophy. Since Robert Parker’s Spenser and Hawk are some of my favorite fictional sleuths and tough guys, I see Teddy London and his partners much as esoteric versions of them.

Some of these stories are still in print, others you have to search for at places like Amazon and It’s worth the work.

After having completed the whole Teddy London canon, I believe I have come up with the order of the Novels and Short Stories based on their internal chronology. Their publishing order is rather different. He first published five novels in the 1990s as Robert Morgan as Berkeley Prime Crime paperbacks. He continued with numerous short stories and two additional Novels. However most of the later tales are inserted earlier into the internal timeline. When you read them in order, you will understand why. It was a good decision by Henderson, and I am grateful he did so.

I remember picking the original five up many years ago at the storied Berkeley SF/Fantasy/Horror bookstore, Dark Carnival, named for Ray Bradbury’s Dark Carnival, a short story collection published in 1947 by Arkham House, the publishing house founded by August Derleth and Donald Wandrei to publish the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Arkham House became one of the most important horror publishers in the U.S., and inspired generations of like-minded horror publishing houses.


Borderlands Books (SF)

UnknownDark Carnival Bookstore is one of the survivors in the dwindling population of SF/Fantasy/Horror bookstores, alongside Borderlands on Valencia in San Francisco (now SADLY CLOSING in March 2015!) and Forbidden Planet in NYC. Gone are such wonderful oases of fantasy such as The Change of Hobbit in Westwood/Santa Monica which withdrew into myth in 1991. Its offspring The Other Change of Hobbit, held on in Berkeley/El Cerrito until 2014 and might be back. While I was in Regency (teaching) at Loyola High in Los Angeles 1981-1984, the wonderful old house that was Change of Hobbit’s home was one of my places of Zen, along with the late, lamented Bodhi Tree Bookstore on Melrose. (A new Bodhi Tree Online store is in the offing. Sign up now!) The SF/F/H Bookstores, which began in the 1970s were a result of the overwhelming popularity of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, and the revival of interest in the Heroic Fantasy and Horror genres during the 1960s onward.

See how it all ties together!

The Teddy London Timeline

Henderson had a nack for experimenting with his storylines in short stories, and then expanding them into Novels. He also alludes to other adventures that we don’t have in the canon. Perhaps one day another author with similar skills will fill in the fascinating gaps!

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

“You can’t take it with you” (“Mirrors of the Soul”)–the Jack Hagee novel that eventually became the first novel, with a new Teddy London replacing Hagee) (Published in The Occult Detectives of C.J. Henderson.)

The Things That Are Not There (as Robert Morgan)

Some Things Never Die  (as Robert Morgan: republished as The Stench of Fresh Air as CJH)

The Sleep That Rescues

“Glory and Fame” published with The Sleep that Rescues.

“Two Great Pleasures” (a Lai Wan story, but other characters are also included) (published in Lai Wan: Tales of the Dreamwalker)

“The Horror at Columbia Terrace” (a Paul Morcey story, published in The Occult Detectives of C.J. Henderson. It is a sequel to H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Horror at Red Hook.” The HPL story is not one that critics generally like, and is full of Lovecraft’s nativist prejudices and a (sometimes inaccurate) jumble of magic and demonology based on the eponymous articles in the 1902 Britannica by Edward Burnett Tylor, LL.D., D.C.L., F.R.S., Professor of Anthropology, Oxford University. Both Tylor and HPL incorrectly call the Middle-Eastern Yazidi devil-worshippers. These flaws are absent from the Henderson sequel.)

“The Fleas of the Dragon” (published in The Occult Detectives of C.J. Henderson and also Tales out of Innsmouth)

“Family Ties” with Patrick Thomas (this Lai Wan story would be in this general time period) (published in Lai Wan: Tales of the Dreamwalker)

“The Darkness of Nightmare” (this Lai Wan story would be in this general time period) (published in Lai Wan: Tales of the Dreamwalker)

“Innocent Monsters” with John L. French (this Lai Wan / Bianca Jones story might be in this general time period) (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.

“The Burning Touch of Gratitude” (this Lai Wan story would be in this general time period) (published in Lai Wan: Tales of the Dreamwalker)

“The Soul’s Right Hand” (probable location) (Published in The Occult Detectives of C.J. Henderson)

“Juggernaut” (probable location) (Published in The Occult Detectives of C.J. Henderson)

“The Door” (Genesis of the next novel)  (Published in The Occult Detectives of C.J. Henderson)

An Eternity of Self (CJH’s last published London novel. Hard to come by. I bought my copy from Amazon-France. WorldCat shows it in only one Library. Hey Marietta Publishing, how about republishing it!

“A Perfect Moment” (in An Eternity of Self)

The Thing That Darkness Hides (as Robert Morgan)

“On All the Snow Around” (Genesis of the next novel) (Published in The Occult Detectives of C.J. Henderson.)

All Things Under The Moon (as Robert Morgan)

The Only Thing To Fear  (as Robert Morgan)

Some Things Come Back  (as Robert Morgan)

Misery and Pity” (probable location–from the official CJH Website)

Lai Wan Stories I cannot place in the Timeline, all published in Lai Wan: Tales of the Dreamwalker):

“A Happy Mother Takes Away Pain”


“One Night in Chinatown” (with Bruce Gewheiler) (Lai Wan teams up with Donna Fargo. Fargo, Blakley and Boles are psychic investigators in Henderson and Gewheiler’s Where Angels Fear to Tread.

“Not What One Does” (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.

“The Curse of Eternity”

“The Moment After Death”

(As these could take place at any place in the timeline, I suggest sprinkling them in between the London Novels. They really are good!)

You might also enjoy The Supernatural Investigators of C.J. Henderson!

All-in-all, C.J. Henderson delighted and intrigued his readers, and kept them on their toes. He will most certainly be missed. As one of the editorial descriptions mentioned, he single handedly revived a great sub-genre: Occult Investigations.


A Delightful Sub-Genre

Stories, films, and TV shows about investigators looking into the supernatural or eerie have always been a favorite of mine. I’m a fan of horror and tales of the Supernatural, and also a big Mystery/Detective/Cop story fan. my weekly viewing in that genre currently includes:

  • Blue Bloods
  • Law and Order: SVU
  • CSI
  • (soon): CSI Cyber
  • NCIS (all iterations)
  • Criminal Minds
  • Stalker
  • Chicago PD

I’ve wanted to put this list together for a long time, and it seems like a fitting memorial to C.J. Henderson! It’s a venerable sub-genre, an intersection of several genres. The list below is not in any particular order, it’s just as I found them or remembered them. I’ve tried to provide as many links as I could. When you are in Language Arts Division of Armstrong Tutoring, Editing, and Consulting, go back and forth a page, as there are often additional books linked there.

Many thanks to Wikipedia for many of these listings and descriptions!

Occult Detectives, Amateurs and PIs:

To Sura by Pliny the Younger’s (ca. 62-ca 113 CE) Letter 83 investigating ghosts.

Fitz James O’Brien’s Harry Escott. A specialist in supernatural phenomena, Escott investigates a ghost in “The Pot of Tulips” (1855) and an invisible entity in “What Was It? A Mystery” (1859).

The narrator of Robert Bulwer-Lytton’s novella “The Haunted and the Haunters; or, The House and the Brain” (1859) is another student of the supernatural who probes a mystery involving a culprit with paranormal abilities.

Sheridan Le Fanu‘s Dr. Martin Hesselius appeared in “Green Tea” (1869) and later became a framing device for Le Fanu’s short story collection In a Glass Darkly (1872).

Dr. Abraham Van Helsing in Bram Stoker‘s Dracula (1897), and in countless sequels and adaptations, including the Film Van Helsing.

E. and H. Heron‘s Flaxman Low, featured in a series of stories in Pearson’s Magazine (1898–99).

Algernon Blackwood‘s Dr. John Silence.

William Hope Hodgson‘s Carnacki the Ghost Finder. The adventures of Carnacki have been continued by A. F. Kidd in collaboration with Rick Kennett in 472 Cheyne Walk: Carnacki, the Untold Stories (2000) and by William Meikle in Carnacki: Heaven and Hell (Colusa, CA: Ghost House Press, 2011), and Carnacki: The New Adventures (2013).

Alice & Claude Askew‘s Aylmer Vance.

Rose Champion de Crespigny’s Norton Vyse.

And see also: The Ash Tree Press Occult Detective Series. Ash Tree Press is a great Weird Publishing House.

Sax Rohmer‘s collection The Dream Detective features the occult detective Moris Klaw, who utilises “odic force” in his investigations.

The occultist Dion Fortune made her contribution to the genre with The Secrets of Dr Taverner (1926), consisting of psychic adventures of the Sherlock Holmes–like Taverner as narrated by his assistant, Dr Rhodes.

Aleister Crowley‘s Simon Iff featured in a series of stories, some of which have been collected in book form. Crowley was a strange man.

Dennis Wheatley‘s occult detective were Neils Orsen and Duc de Richleau series by Dennis Whately, including  The Devil Rides OutStrange Conflict and Gateway to Hell (1930s to 1970s). Investigating Satanic Cults.

Seabury QuinnJules de Grandin defends New Jersey from monsters and mad scientists.

Manly Wade Wellman, whose character John Thunstone investigated occult events through short stories in the pulps, collected in The Third Cry to Legba and Other Invocations (2000) and in the novels What Dreams May Come (1983) and The School of Darkness (1985); He also has another investigator, Silver John: for his stories, click here, and here. He also is mentioned in Brian Keane’s Dark Hollow and even on a CD: Who Fears the Devil by Joe Bethancourt.

“Jack Mann” (E. C. Vivian), who chronicled the adventure of his occult detective Gregory Gordon George Green, known as “Gees”, in a series of novels: here and here.

Margery Lawrence created the character Miles Pennoyer in her occult detective stories collected in Number Seven, Queer Street.

The Ghosts in Baker Street pits Sherlock against supernatural horrors.

Peter Saxon (The Guardians series)

John Burke (Dr Alex Caspian)

Frank Lauria (Dr Owen Orient)

Joseph Payne Brennan (Lucius Leffing).

Other Detectives with Weird themes include:

Douglas Adams (Dirk Gently)

Steve Rasnic Tem (Charlie Goode)

Jessica Amanda Salmonson (Miss Penelope Pettiweather)

David Rowlands (Father O’Connor)

Rick Kennett (Ernie Pine)

Robert Weinberg (Sydney Taine)

Simon R. Green (John Taylor–Nightside Tales; The Carnacki Institute–Ghost Finders Series)

Steve Niles (Cal McDonald)

Mercedes Lackey (Diana Tregarde)

Laurell K. Hamilton (Anita Blake) WARNING: Contains Erotica

Jonathan L. Howard (Johannes Cabal)

Arthur Connan Doyle’s Professor Challenger’s The Land of Mist.

Other examples include The Norliss Tapes (1973) with Roy Thinnes as a reporter investigating the supernatural.

Fear No Evil (1969) and its sequel, Ritual of Evil (1970), starring Louis Jourdan as psychologist David Sorrell.

Spectre (1977), starring Robert Culp and Gig Young as criminologists turned demonologists.

The World of Darkness (1977) and its sequel, The World Beyond (1978), starring Granville Van Dusen as a man who battles the supernatural following his own near death experience.

A British production, Baffled! (1973), starring Leonard Nimoy and Susan Hampshire as a pair of ghost-hunters.

Lord of Illusions.

Penny Dreadful.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The Scoobies hunt evil.

Angel (TV). Buffy’s love as a Vampire Detective.

Indiana Jones series of films, etc. Archaeologist finds legendary artifacts such as the Ark of the Covenant.

Supernatural (TV). Two brothers investigate and battle evil.

Constantine (Comics–Hellblazer, Film and TV). Occult Sorcerer/PI battles evil forces.

The Dresden Files: Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden’s series by Jim Butcher. Wizard/PI Dresden fights evil in Chicago.

The Titus Crow series of books by Brian Lumley, in which the protagonist enters the world of H.P.Lovecraft.

“Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!

Eerie Indiana and its sequel, Eerie, Indiana: The Other Dimension (TV and books). Bizarre happenings in a small Indiana town, popularion 16,661!

Eureka (TV). Weird Science in the Company Town of Eureka, OR. More Science Fiction than Horror/Fantasy, but it has ties to Warehouse 13.

Carnivàle (TV). Sadly truncated series about mystery and magic in a traveling carnival during the dustbowl era. Shame on HBO for cutting its run!

Blood Ties is a Canadian television series based on the Blood Books by Tanya Huff. PI Vicki Nelson sleuths in Toronto with Vampire Henry Fitzroy, finding supernatural challenges.

Devil’s Advocate (Film). A young attorney discovers that the head of his firm is other than he seems!

Teddy London Series by C. J. Henderson (see sections above)

Lin Carter’s Dr. Anton Zarnak

The Occult Detectives of C.J. Henderson

The Supernatural Investigators of C.J. Henderson

H.P. Lovecraft’s Dream Cycle Books

H. Phillip Lovecraft as an occult PI in Richard Lupoff‘s TV Movies Cast a Deadly Spell (1991) and Witch Hunt (1994)

666 Park Avenue (TV and books).

Several of the Ghost Stories of M.R. James include investigation and detection.

Much of the Weird Fiction of Russell Kirk. I love his supernatural stories, I disagreed with his politics and social views.

The Novels of Charles Williams. His 7 Novels are written in the style of 1930s-40s detective novels and involve the supernatural. The first three chapters of his 8th novel, The Noises That Weren’t There were published in Mythlore 6, 7, 8.

Dean Koontz‘s The Haunted Earth and Randall Garrett’s Lord Darcy, a modern-day investigator in an alternate universe where magic works, and the Angevin Empire still rules, are examples in which occult detectives operate in a world where the occult is simply an accepted part of mundane life.

Derrick Ferguson (Dillon and here). A harboiled PI battles evil. “He’s a soldier of fortune gifted with an astonishing range of remarkable talents and skills that make him respected and feared in the secret world of mercenaries, spies and adventurers. A world inhabited by amazing men and women of fabulous abilities that most of us are unaware even exists.”

Josh Reynolds: A revival of Pulp Hero Super-Detective Jim Anthony.

Alan Moore. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Also check the following page at the store).

Lester Dent, Henry Ralston, John Nanovic: Doc Savage (Also check the following page at the store).

And here’s more Occult Detectives in Comics!


Mark Valentine, ed., The Black Veil & Other Tales of Supernatural Sleuths.

Stephen Jones, ed., Dark Detectives: Adventures of the Supernatural Sleuths

Peter Haining, ed., Supernatural Sleuths: Stories of Occult Investigators

Joel Jenkins, Josh Reynolds, Jim Beard, Ron Fortier, Occult Detectives Vol 1.

Justin Gustainis: Those Who Fight Monsters. This will introduce you to even more Occult Detectives:

See also the Occult Detective Megapack.


Jill Vassilakos-Long, Paul Vassilakos-Long: Strange Cases: A Selective Guide to Speculative Mystery Fiction

For French readers, there are two studies of Occult Detectives by Lauric Guillaud: Les détectives de l’étrange, Volumes 1 and 2.

Newspapers Investigating the Weird:

Kolchak the Night Stalker (TV and Book Series) — Newspaper reporter investigates evil.

The Chronicle (TV), based on the News from the Edge series of novels by Mark Sumner. A writer takes a job at a weird-news, sensationalist tabloid and discovers that their stories are all true!

Law Enforcement Agencies Investigating the Weird:

Pulp writer Robert E. Howard created stories about Steve Harrison, an occult police detective, in the Strange Detective Stories magazine.

The Section 13 Case Files has an entire secret division of NYPD officers to investigate the supernatural. Some members of their ranks aren’t even human. WARNING: contains erotica.

Nick Pollotta‘s Bureau 13 universe, in which an FBI division investigates Supernatural occurrences. Based on a Role Playing Game (RPG):

Men in Black (Comic Book and Film Series). Keeping tabs on Aliens.

The X-Files (TV and Film). FBI investigating the Weird.

Special Unit 2 (TV) Chicago PD Division keeping tabs on “Links.”

Fringe. (TV) FBI unit investigating the Weird.

Grimm (TV). Police procedural in Portland investigating activities of the evil among the Wesen (Mythological creatures).

Haven (TV) (From Stephen King’s The Colorado Kid). FBI and Police investigate “The Troubles” in Haven, ME.

Moonlight (TV). Vampire PI in Los Angeles.

Twin Peaks (TV).  FBI Agent investigates the strange goings-on in Twin Peaks, WA.

Forever Knight (TV) Vampire Police Detective in Toronto.

Torchwood (TV). Really Science Fiction, but with Weird touches. It follows the investigations of Captain Jack, a friend of Doctor Who, heading a branch of the Occult agency founded by Queen Victoria after she encounters a Werewolf in Doctor Who episode “Tooth and Claw.” Both Torchwood and Doctor Who are covered by Arthur C. Clarke’s third law: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” which follows the sentiments in a 1942 story, “The Sorcerer of Rhiannon,” by Leigh Brackett: “Witchcraft to the ignorant, … simple science to the learned,” and in Wild Talents (1932) where Charles Fort states”…a performance that may some day be considered understandable, but that, in these primitive times, so transcends what is said to be the known that it is what I mean by magic.”

Sleepy Hollow (TV). A resurrected Ichabod Crane investigates evil doings along with Police Lt. Abbie Mills.

Angel Heart (Film and Book). NY PI Harry Angel encounters the Occult in the course of an investigation.

Hellboy Series (Comics and Film). Adventures of the  Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD).

H.P. Lovecraft’s Inspector Legrasse

Erica Lindquist, Aron Christensen: The Dead Beat Series. An occult noir series. “The dead really aren’t that different from the rest of us. Some work honest jobs and pay rent on their host bodies every month, right on time. But some of them refuse to play by the rules. Police Exorcist Arphallo Sirus and his murdered partner, Sam Trent, hunt down the ghosts that break the laws of the living and the dead.”

Deliver us from Evil. The memoirs of real-life NYC Police Sgt. Ralph Sarchie document his encounters with the Weird.

Storehouses of the Weird:

Warehouse 13 (TV). Secret Service Agents guard the depository of all magic items, and investigate artifacts that have gone rogue.

The Librarian Film Series and The Librarians (TV). Guardians of the depository of all magical items go on quests to solve esoteric mysteries and find additional magical artifacts.

Friday the 13th: The Series (TV). Inheritors of an occult store must retrieve all of the cursed artifacts that had been sold.


I know there’s more out there, and I am sure I have omitted a few classics. Please leave comments at the Blog with additional authors/stories in this sub-genre!

In tribute to C.J. Henderson: Keep Reading!

Steven A. Armstrong
Tutor, Editor, Consultant