Tags: Facebook, juststop, sfw
CASE OF THE BLUE RAJAH
Inspector Grimsby called upon me one evening, wearing a great glumness of countenance.
“Look here,” said he, “I’m in a bit of a corner. You’ll have heard that a committee of commercial magnates has been formed to buy, and on behalf of the City of London to present to the Crown, the big Indian diamond?”
I nodded and pushed the box of cigarettes towards him.
“Well,” he continued, thoughtfully selecting one, “they are meeting in Moorgate Street to-morrow morning to complete the deal and formally take over the stone. Sir Michael Cayley, the Lord Mayor, will be present, and he’s received a letter, which has been passed on to me.”
He fumbled for his pocket-case. Grimsby is a man who will go far. He is the youngest detective-inspector in the service, and he has that priceless gift—the art of using other people for the furtherance of his own ends. I do not intend this criticism unkindly. Grimsby does nothing dishonourable and seeks to rob no man of the credit that may be due. There is nothing underhand about Grimsby, but he is exceedingly diplomatic. He imparts official secrets to me with an ingenuousness entirely disarming—but always for reasons of his own.
“Here you are,” he said, and passed a letter to me. It read as follows—
“To the Right Hon. the Lord Mayor of London.
“Beware that the Blue Rajah is not stolen on Wednesday the 13th inst. Do not lose sight of it for one moment.
“Your Lordship’s obedient servant,
“You see,” continued Grimsby, “Wednesday the thirteenth is to-morrow, when the thing is being brought to Moorgate Street. Naturally, Sir Michael communicated with the Yard, and as I’m in the know about Moris Klaw, I got the job of looking into the matter. I was at the Mansion House this morning.”
“I suppose Sir Michael regards this note with suspicion?”
“Well, he’s not silly enough to suppose that anybody who thought of stealing the diamond would drop him a line advising him of the matter! But he’d never heard of Moris Klaw until I explained about him. When I told him that Klaw had a theory about the Cycle of Crime, and his letter probably meant that, according to said theory, on Wednesday the thirteenth the Blue Rajah was due to be lifted, so to speak, he laughed. You’ll have noticed that people mostly laugh at first about Moris Klaw?”
“Certainly. You did, yourself!”
“I know it—and I’m suffering for it! Klaw won’t lift his little finger when I ask him; and as for his daughter, she giggles as though she was looking at a comedian when she looks at me! She thinks I’m properly funny!”
“You’ve been to Wapping, then?”
“Yes, this afternoon. The Lord Mayor wanted a lot of convincing that Moris Klaw was on the straight after I’d told him that the old gentleman was a dealer in curios in the East End. Finally, he suggested that I should find out what the warning meant exactly. But I couldn’t get to see Klaw; his daughter said he was out.”
“I suppose every precaution will be taken?”
“To-morrow morning we have arranged that I and two other C.I.D. men are to accompany the party to the Safe Deposit vaults to fetch the diamond and we shall guard it on the way back afterwards.”
“Who’s going to fetch it?”
“Sir John Carron, representing the India Office, Mr. Mark Anderson—the expert—representing the City, and Mr. Gautami Chinje, representing the Gaekwar of Nizam. I was wondering”— he surveyed the burning end of his cigarette—“if you had time to run down to Wapping yourself, and find out from what direction we ought to look for trouble?”
“Sorry, Grimsby,” I replied; “I would do it with pleasure, but my evening is fully taken up. Personally, it appears to me that Moris Klaw’s warning was a timely one. You seem to be watching the stone pretty closely.”
“Like a cat watches a mouse!” he rapped. “If any one steals the Blue Rajah to-morrow, he’ll be a clever fellow.”Public Domain, Sax Rohmer, sfw
CASE OF THE IVORY STATUE
Where a case did not touch his peculiar interest, appeals to Moris Klaw fell upon deaf ears. However dastardly a crime, if its details were of the sordid sort, he shrank within his Wapping curio-shop as closely as any tortoise within its shell.
“Of what use,” he said to me on one occasion, “are my acute psychic sensibilities to detect who it is with a chopper that has brained some unhappy washerwoman? Shall I bring to bear those delicate perceptions which it has taken me so many years to acquire in order that some ugly old fool shall learn what has become of his pretty young wife? I think not—no!”
Sometimes, however, when Inspector Grimsby of Scotland Yard was at a loss, he would induce me to intercede with the eccentric old dealer, and sometimes Moris Klaw would throw out a hint.
Beyond doubt the cases that really interested him were those that afforded scope for the exploiting of his pet theories; the Cycle of Crime, the criminal history of all valuable relics, the indestructibility of thought. Such a case came under my personal notice on one occasion, and my friend Coram was instrumental in enlisting the services of Moris Klaw. It was, I think, one of the most mysterious affairs with which I ever came in contact, and the better to understand it you must permit me to explain how Roger Paxton, the sculptor, came to have such a valuable thing in his studio as that which we all assumed had inspired the strange business.
It was Sir Melville Fennel, then, who commissioned Paxton to execute a chryselephantine statue. Sir Melville’s museum of works of art, ancient and modern, is admittedly the second finest private collection of the kind in the world. The late Mr. Pierpont Morgan’s alone took precedence.
The commission came as something of a surprise. The art of chryselephantine sculpture, save for one attempt at revival, in Belgium, has been dead for untold generations. By many modern critics, indeed, it is condemned, as being not art but a parody of art.
Given carte-blanche in the matter of cost, Paxton produced a piece of work which induced the critics to talk about a modern Phidias. Based upon designs furnished by the eccentric but wealthy baronet, the statue represented a slim and graceful girl reclining as in exhaustion upon an ebony throne. The ivory face, with its wearily closed eyes, was a veritable triumph, and was surmounted by a head-dress of gold intertwined among a mass of dishevelled hair. One ivory arm hung down so that the fingers almost touched the pedestal; the left hand was pressed to the breast as though against a throbbing heart. Gold bracelets and anklets, furnished by Sir Melville, were introduced into the composition; and, despite the artist’s protest, a heavy girdle, encrusted with gems and found in the tomb of some favourite of a long-dead Pharaoh, encircled the waist. When complete, the thing was, from a merely intrinsic point of view, worth several thousand pounds.
As the baronet had agreed to the exhibition of the statue prior to its removal to Fennel Hall, Paxton’s star was seemingly in the ascendant, when the singular event occurred that threatened to bring about his ruin.
The sculptor gave one of the pleasant little dinners for which he had gained a reputation. His task was practically completed, and his friends had all been enjoined to come early, so that the statue could be viewed before the light failed. We were quite a bachelor party, and I shall always remember the circle of admiring faces surrounding the figure of the reclining dancer—warmed in the soft light to an almost uncanny semblance of fair flesh and blood.
“You see,” explained Paxton, “this composite work although it has latterly fallen into disrepute, affords magnificent scope for decorative purposes; such a richness of colour can be obtained. The ornaments are genuine antiques and of great value—a fad of my patron’s.”
For some minutes we stood silently admiring the beautiful workmanship; then Harman inquired: “Of what is the hair composed?”
Paxton Smiled. “A little secret I borrowed from the Greeks!” he replied, with condonable vanity. “Polyclitus and his contemporaries excelled at the work.”
“That jewelled girdle looks detachable,” I said.
“It is firmly fastened to the waist of the figure,” answered the sculptor. “I defy any one to detach it inside an hour.”
“From a modern point of view the thing is an innovation,” remarked one of the others, thoughtfully.
Coram, curator of the Menzies Museum, who up to the present had stood in silent contemplation of the figure, now spoke for the first time. “The cost of materials is too great for this style of work ever to become popular,” he averred. “That girdle, by the way, represents a small fortune, and together with the anklets, armlets and head-dress, might well tempt any burglar. What precautions do you take, Paxton?”
“Sleep out here every night,” was the reply; “and there is always some one here in the daytime. Incidentally, a curious thing occurred last week. I had just fixed the girdle, which, I may explain, was once the property of Nicris, a favourite of Ramses III., and my model was alone here for a few minutes. As I was returning from the house I heard her cry out, and when I came to look for her she was crouching in a corner trembling. What do you suppose had frightened her?”
“Give it up,” said Harman.
“She swore that Nicris—for the statue is supposed to represent her—had moved!”
“Imagination,” replied Coram; “but easily to be understood. I could believe it, myself, if I were here alone long enough.”
“I fancy,” continued Paxton, “that she must have heard some of the tales that have been circulated concerning the girdle. The thing has a rather peculiar history. It was discovered in the tomb of the dancer by whom it had once been worn; and it is said that an inscription was unearthed at the same time containing an account of Nicris’s death under particularly horrible circumstances. Seton—you fellows know Seton—who was present at the opening of the sarcophagus, tells me that the Arabs, on catching sight of the girdle, all prostrated themselves and then took to their heels. Sir Melville Fennel’s agent sent it on to England, however, and Sir Melville conceived the idea of this statue.”
“Luckily for you,” added Coram.
“Quite so,” laughed the sculptor; and, carefully locking the studio door, he led the way up the short path to the house.
We were a very merry party, and the night was far advanced ere the gathering broke up. Coram and I were the last to depart; and having listened to the voices of Harman and the others dying away as they neared the end of the street, we also prepared to take our leave.
“Just come with me as far as the studio,” said Paxton, “and having seen that all’s well I’ll let you out by the garden door.”
Accordingly, we donned our coats and hats, and followed our host to the end of the garden, where his studio was situated. The door unlocked, we all three stepped inside the place and gazed upon the figure of Nicris—the pallid face and arms seeming almost unearthly in the cold moonlight, wherein each jewel of the girdle and head-dress glittered strangely.
“Of course,” muttered Coram, “the thing’s altogether irregular—a fact which the critics will not fail to impress upon you; but it is unquestionably very fine, Paxton. How uncannily human it is! I don’t entirely envy you your bedchamber, old man!”
“Oh, I sleep well enough,” laughed Paxton. “No luxury, though; just this corner curtained off and a camp bedstead.”
“A truly Spartan couch!” I said. “Well, goodnight, Paxton. We shall probably see you to-morrow—I mean later to-day!”
With that we parted, leaving the sculptor to his lonely vigil at the shrine of Nicris, and as my rooms were no great distance away, some half-hour later I was in bed and asleep.
I little suspected that I had actually witnessed the commencement of one of the most amazing mysteries which ever cried out for the presence of Moris Klaw.Public Domain, Sax Rohmer, sfw
CASE OF THE CRUSADER’S AXE
I have heard people speak of Moris Klaw’s failures. So far as my information bears me, he never experienced any. “What,” I have been asked, “of the Cresping murder case? He certainly failed there.”
Respecting this question of his failure or success in the sensational case which first acquainted the entire country with the existence of Crespie Hall, and that brought the old world village of Cresping into such unwonted prominence, I shall now invite your opinion.
The investigation—the crime having baffled the local men—ultimately was placed in the hands of Detective-Inspector Grimsby; and through Grimsby I was brought into close touch with the matter. I had met Grimsby during the course of the mysterious happenings at the Menzies Museum, and at that time I also had made the acquaintance of Moris Klaw.
Thus, as I sat over my breakfast one morning reading an account of the Cresping murder case, I was no more than moderately surprised to see Inspector Grimsby walk into my rooms.
He declined my offer of a really good Egyptian cigarette. “Thanks all the same,” he said; “but there’s only one smoke I can think on.”
With that he lighted one of the cheroots of which he smoked an incredible quantity, and got up from his chair, restlessly.
“I’ve just run up from Cresping by the early train,” he began abruptly. “You’ve heard all about the murder, of course?”
I pointed to my newspaper, conspicuous upon the front page of which was—
THE MURDER AT CRESPIE HALL
“Ah, yes,” he said, absently. “Well, I’ve been sent down, and to tell you the white and unsullied truth I’m in a knot!”
I passed him a cup of coffee.
“What are the difficulties?” I asked.
“There’s only one,” he rapped back: “who did it!”
“It looks to me a very clear case against Ryder, the ex-butler.”
“So it did to me,” he agreed—“until I got down there! I’d got a warrant in my pocket all ready. Then I began to have doubts!”
“What do you propose to do?”
“Well,” he replied, “it wouldn’t do any good to make a mistake in a murder case; so what I should like to do would be to get another opinion—not official, of course!”
I glanced across at him.
“Mr. Moris Klaw?”
“You’ve changed your opinion respecting him?”
“Mr. Searles, his investigation of the Menzies Museum outrages completely stood me on my head! I’m not joking. I’d always thought him a crank, and in some ways I think so still; but at seeing through a brick wall I’d put all I’ve got on Moris Klaw any day!”
“But surely you are wasting time by coming to me?”
“No, I’m not,” said Grimsby, confidently. “Moris Klaw, for all his retiring habits, is not a man that wants his light hidden under a bushel! He knows that you are collecting material about his methods, and he’s more likely to move for you than for me.”
I saw through Grimsby’s plan. He wanted me to invite Moris Klaw to look into the Crespie murder case, in order that he (Grimsby) might reap any official benefit accruing without loss of self-esteem! I laughed.
“All right, Grimsby!” I said. “Since he has made no move, voluntarily, it may be that the case does not interest him; but we can try.”
Accordingly, having consulted an A.B.C. we presently entrained for Wapping, and as a laggard sun began to show up the dinginess and the dirtiness of that locality, sought out a certain shop, whose locale I shall no more closely describe than in saying that it is close to Wapping Old Stairs.
One turns down a narrow court, with a blank wall on the right and a nailed-up doorway and boarded-up window on the left. Through the cracks of the latter boarding, the inquiring visitor may catch a glimpse, beyond a cavernous place which once was some kind of warehouse, of Old Thames tiding muddily.
The court is a cul de sac. The shop of Moris Klaw occupies the blind end. Some broken marble pedestals stand upon the footway, among seatless chairs, dilapidated chests and a litter of books, stuffed birds, cameos, ink-stands, swords, lamps, and other unclassifiable rubbish. A black doorway yawns amid the litter.
Imagine Inspector Grimsby and I as entering into this singular Cumean cave.
Our eyes, at first, failed to penetrate the gloom. All about moved rustling suggestions of animal activity. The indescribable odour of old furniture assailed our nostrils together with an equally indescribable smell of avian, reptilian, and rodent life.
“Moris Klaw! Moris Klaw! the devil’s come for you!”Public Domain, Sax Rohmer, sfw
CASE OF THE POTSHERD OF ANUBIS
In examining the mass of material which I have collated respecting Moris Klaw, several outstanding facts strike me, as being worthy of some special notice.
For instance, an unusual number of the cases in which he was concerned centred about curios and relics of various kinds. His personal tastes (he was, I think, primarily, an antiquarian) may have led him to examine such cases in preference to others. Then again, no two of his acquaintances agree upon the point of Moris Klaw’s actual identity and personality. He was a master of disguise; and the grand secret of his life was one which he jealously guarded from all.
But was the Moris Klaw who kept the curio-shop in Wapping the real Moris Klaw? And to what extent did he believe in those psychical phenomena upon which professedly his methods were based? As particularly bearing upon this phase of the matter, I have selected, for narration here, the story of the potsherd.
Since the Boswell, in records of this kind, has often appeared, to my mind, to overshadow the Johnson, I have decided to present this episode in the words of Mr. J.E. Wilson Clifford, electrical engineer, of Copthall House, Copthall Avenue, E.C., to whom I am indebted for a full and careful account. I do not think I could improve upon his paper, and my own views might unduly intrude upon the story; therefore, with your permission, I will vacate the rostrum in favour of Mr. Clifford, for whom I solicit your attention.
MR. CLIFFORD’S STORY OF THE EGYPTIAN POTSHERD
During the autumn of 19__, I was sharing a pleasant set of rooms with Mark Lesty, who was shortly taking up an appointment at a London hospital, and it was, I think, about the middle of that month, that the extraordinary affair of Halesowen and his Egyptian potsherd came under our notice.
Our rooms (they were in a south-west suburb) overlooked a fine expanse of Common. Halesowen rented a flat commanding a similar prospect; and, at the time of which I write, he had but recently returned from a protracted visit to Egypt.
Halesowen was a tall, fair man, clean-shaven, very fresh coloured and wearing his hair cropped close to his head. He was well travelled, and no mean antiquary. He lived entirely by himself; and Lesty and I frequently spent the evening at his place, which was a veritable museum of curiosities. I distinctly recall the first time that he showed us his latest acquisitions.
Both the windows were wide open and the awning fluttered in the slight breeze. Dusk was just descending, and we sat looking out over the Common and puffing silently at our briars. We had been examining the relics that Halesowen had brought back from the land of the Pharaohs, the one, I remember, which had most impressed me, tyro that I was, being the mummy of a sacred cat from Bubastis.
“It wouldn’t have been worth bringing back only for the wrapping,” Halesowen assured me. “This, now, is really unique.”
The object referred to was a broken pot or vase, upon which he pointed out a number of hieroglyphics and a figure with the head of a jackal. “A potsherd inscribed with the figure of Anubis,” he explained. “Very valuable.”
“Why?” Lesty inquired, in his lazy way.
“Well,” Halesowen replied, “the characters of the inscription are of a kind entirely unfamiliar to me. I believe them to be a sort of secret writing, possibly peculiar to some brotherhood. I am risking expert opinion, although in every sense, I stole the thing!”
“How’s that?” I asked.
“Well, Professor Sheraton—you’ll see his name on a row of cases in the B.M.—excavated it. But it’s a moral certainty he didn’t intend to advise the authorities of his find. He was going to smuggle it out of Egypt into his private collection. I had marked the spot where he found it for inquiries of my own. This dishonest old fossil—”
“Oh! my own motives weren’t above suspicion! But any way the Professor anticipated me. Accordingly, I employed one Ali, a distinguished member of a family of thieves, to visit the learned gentleman’s tent! Cutting the story—there’s the pot!”
“Here! I say!” drawled Lesty. “You’ll come to a bad end, young fellow!”
“The position is a peculiar one,” replied Halesowen, smiling. “Neither of us had any legal claim to the sherd—whilst we were upon Egyptian territory. Therefore, even if the Professor learnt that I had the thing—and he may suspect—he couldn’t prosecute me!”
“Devilish high-handed!” commented Lesty.
“Yes. But remember we were well off the map—miles away from Cook’s route. The possession of this potsherd ought to make a man’s reputation—any man who knows a bit about the subject. Curiously enough, a third party had had his eye upon the place where this much-sought sherd was found. And in some mysterious fashion he tumbled to the fact that it had fallen into my hands. He made a sort of veiled offer of a hundred pounds for it. I refused, but ran across him again, a week or so later, in Cairo, and he raised his price to two hundred.”
“That’s strange,” I said. “Who was he?”
“Called himself Zeda—Dr. Louis Zeda. He quite lost his temper when I declined to sell, and I’ve not set eyes on him since.”
He relocked the fragment in his cabinet, and we lapsed into silence, to sit gazing meditatively across the Common, picturesque in the dim autumn twilight.
“By the way, Halesowen,” I said, “I see that the flat next door, same floor as this, is to let.”
“That’s so,” he replied. “Why don’t you men take it?”
“We’ll think about it,” yawned Lesty, stretching his long limbs. “Might look over it in the morning.”
The following day we viewed the vacant flat, but found, upon inquiry of the agent, that it had already been let. However, as our own rooms suited us very well, we were not greatly concerned. Just as we finished dinner the same evening, Halesowen came in, and, without preamble, plunged into a surprising tale of uncanny happenings at his place.
“Take it slow,” said Lesty. “You say it was after we came away?”
“About an hour after,” replied Halesowen. “I had brought out the potsherd, and had it in the wooden stand on the table before me. I was copying the hieroglyphics, which are unusual, and had my reading-lamp burning only, the rest of the room being consequently in shadow. I was sitting with my back to the windows, facing the door, so no one could possibly have entered the room unseen by me. It was as I bent down to scrutinise a badly defaced character that I felt a queer sensation stealing over me, as though some one were standing close behind my chair, watching me!”
“Very common,” explained Lesty; “merely nerves.”
“Yes, I know; but not what followed. The sensation became so pronounced, that I stood up. No one was in the room. I determined to take a stroll, concluding that the fresh air would clear these uncanny cobwebs out of my brain. Accordingly, I extinguished the lamp and went out. I was just putting my cap on, when something prompted me to return and lock up the potsherd.”
He fixed his eyes upon us with an expression of doubt.
“There was some one, or something, in the room!”Public Domain, Sax Rohmer, sfw
Here’s your listicle.
1. Hey! Sign Up For Our Fucking Mailing List!
It’s a popup ad. In 2016. It’s a fucking popup ad, in fucking 2016. I mean, it’s… fuck. Just fuck.
What is the matter with you people? I don’t fucking want that. If I did I’d fucking find it–probably in the fucking sidebar, where I still don’t fucking want it. I’ve been on your site for three seconds and now you think I want fucking email updates? Aren’t we getting along nicely. I don’t even know what your fucking site is about yet.
Oh, did she say that–that it’d increase engagement, or some equally vague drivel? You need to turn the firehose on your SEO person. She needs to feel that pain that we have felt.
I mean… In 2016… Just fuck!
(And yes, I realize your SEO person hadn’t even been born when we won the first holy war against popups, but… just…)
2. Fuck Your Back Button
We live in a Dark Age of the back button. Shitty things happen when AJAX is given to children.
To wit: Ooh, that looks interesting. Click. Oh, no, it isn’t. Click back.
Wait, why am I at the top of the page again? I just scrolled through half a mile of posts! How am I supposed to find where I was again? Why am I supposed to find where I was again? If only I had a computer to automate this sort of manual labor for me.
It’s one thing when a Tumblr skin does it, because we don’t expect much from MySpace 2.0 (and we probably shouldn’t be looking at porn at work anyway) but the official WordPress themes gallery? Get it together.
And on a related note…
3. IJSF — It Just Scrolls Forever
Hyperlinks are so Gopher. OMG. So is saying OMG. (I’m just doing it ironically. I’m also being ironic totally ironically. So grunge!)
And the best part is, since everyone will expect the different pages to be on, like, different pages, I’ll put a little animated “down” arrow in, so that they know they have to scroll down. And I’ll slow down the scrolling with acceleration/deceleration animation for no good reason. It’ll be so klinkenborg!
What, you don’t know what klinkenborg means?
Gawd, Dad! This is why Mom left you.
4. Parallax Scrolling
This was cute for about 5 minutes. Along with the whole neat little razor nicks in the nylons thing. For about the same length of time. In about the same year.
5. The Hamburger Menu
Yes, we have devised an entirely self-referential skeuomorph. It’s a menu that references… a menu. Clap for we. One more thing for your mom not to understand to click on. One more thing for you to click on, because some waxed beard didn’t want his precious 10th free stock photo cluttered with anything even remotely useful. Web design for people with their heads entirely up their asses.
6. Video Ads/Background Video/Autoplaying Video
I’m wasting your bandwidth, la lala la lala! Woo! Oh, you’re on your phone? I’m grandfathered into Verizon! I’m in Europe! I’m an overpaid marketing prick–I don’t care how much I spend on mobile data! Peons gonna peon!
7. Image Rotators
Face it: The web is a pull technology, like a book, not a push technology, like television. Pithier? The web is not tv. A website is a place that invites a visitor to explore it, not an active entity that pushes the experience at her. (Hence “site.”) I know you want to highlight more content in the same space but–and this is very hard to accept–the image rotator simply makes the site busier and more distracting, discouraging the user from exploring it. Counter-intuitive? Welcome to reality.
Try it yourself, as an end-user. You’ll understand. I’m not even swearing at you.
8. It Must Be Flatter!
By 2020 will come victory. Every website will be a single bold, subtle, surprising, retro, professional, unusual or dick pic-sampled color. You will read sites by copying at random and pasting into a text editor.
Find a half-decent WordPress theme that doesn’t commit any, or indeed most of these sins. Feel free to make a rudimentary Bingo card. The relaunched STP runs on Lavish, which is the closest I could get.Tags: hate, nsfw?, SEO
CASE OF THE TRAGEDIES IN THE GREEK ROOM
When did Moris Klaw first appear in London? It is a question which I am asked sometimes and to which I reply: To the best of my knowledge, shortly before the commencement of the strange happenings at the Menzies Museum.
What I know of him I have gathered from various sources; and in these papers, which represent an attempt to justify the methods of one frequently accused of being an insane theorist, I propose to recount all the facts which have come to my knowledge. In some few of the cases I was personally though slightly concerned; but regard me merely as the historian and on no account as the principal or even minor character in the story. My friendship with Martin Coram led, then, to my first meeting with Moris Klaw—a meeting which resulted in my becoming his biographer, inadequate though my information unfortunately remains.
It was some three months after the appointment of Coram to the curatorship of the Menzies Museum that the first of a series of singular occurrences took place there.
This occurrence befell one night in August, and the matter was brought to my ears by Coram himself on the following morning. I had, in fact, just taken my seat at the breakfast table, when he walked in unexpectedly and sank into an armchair. His dark, cleanshaven face looked more gaunt than usual and I saw, as he lighted the cigarette which I proffered, that his hand shook nervously.
“There’s trouble at the Museum!” he said abruptly. “I want you to run around.”
I looked at him for a moment without replying, and, knowing the responsibility of his position, feared that he referred to a theft from the collection.
“Something gone?” I asked.
“No; worse!” was his reply.
“What do you mean, Coram?”
He threw the cigarette, unsmoked, into the hearth. “You know Conway?” he said; “Conway, the night attendant. Well—he’s dead!”
I stood up from the table, my breakfast forgotten, and stared incredulously. “Do you mean that he died in the night?” I inquired.
“Yes. Done for, poor devil!”
“Without a doubt, Searles! He’s had his neck broken!”
I waited for no further explanations, but, hastily dressing, accompanied Coram to the Museum. It consists, I should mention, of four long, rectangular rooms, the windows of two overlooking South Grafton Square, those of the third giving upon the court that leads to the curator’s private entrance, and the fourth adjoining an enclosed garden attached to the building. This fourth room is on the ground floor and is entered through the hall from the Square, the other three, containing the principal and more valuable exhibits, are upon the first floor and are reached by a flight of stairs from the hall. The remainder of the building is occupied by an office and the curator’s private apartments, and is completely shut off from that portion open to the public, the only communicating door—an iron one—being kept locked.
The room described in the catalogue as the “Greek Room” proved to be the scene of the tragedy. This room is one of the two overlooking the Square and contains some of the finest items of the collection. The Museum is not open to the public until ten o’clock, and I found, upon arriving there, that the only occupants of the Greek Room were the commissionaire on duty, two constables, a plain-clothes officer and an inspector—that is, if I except the body of poor Conway.
He had not been touched, but lay as he was found by Beale, the commissionaire who took charge of the upper rooms during the day, and, indeed, it was patent that he was beyond medical aid. In fact, the position of his body was so extraordinary as almost to defy description.
There are three windows in the Greek Room, with wall-cases between, and, in the gap corresponding to the east window and just by the door opening into the next room, is a chair for the attendant. Conway lay downward on the polished floor with his limbs partly under this chair and his clenched fists thrust straight out before him. His head, turned partially to one side, was doubled underneath his breast in a most dreadful manner, indisputably pointing to a broken neck, and his commissionaire’s cap lay some distance away, under a table supporting a heavy case of vases.
So much was revealed at a glance, and I immediately turned blankly to Coram.
“What do you make of it?” he said.
I shook my head in silence. I could scarce grasp the reality of the thing; indeed, I was still staring at the huddled figure when the doctor arrived. At his request we laid the dead man flat upon the floor, to facilitate an examination, and we then saw that he was greatly cut and bruised about the head and face, and that his features were distorted in a most extraordinary manner, almost as though he had been suffocated.Public Domain, Sax Rohmer, sfw
The Dream-Detective by Sax Rohmer
Published by Jerrods, London 1920
1. THE TRAGEDIES IN THE GREEK ROOM
2. THE POTSHERD OF ANUBIS
3. THE CRUSADER’S AXE
4. THE IVORY STATUE
5. THE BLUE RAJAH
6. THE WHISPERING POPLARS
7. THE HEADLESS MUMMIES
8. THE HAUNTING OF GRANGE
9. THE VEIL OF ISIS
Beginning tonight, and for the following nine weeks, Sax Rohmer’s The Dream-Detective will be republished here. To my knowledge, this is the first time these out of copyright stories have been made available on the internet. Written between 1913-1914, revised and collected in book form in 1920, these stories follow the exploits of Moris Klaw, antiquarian and occult detective, as well as his accomplished daughter Isis, and their various hangers-on and haliographers.
Briefly, my own involvement begins in the attic of my “Aunt Ginny’s” house. (Virginia McElwee, then gold cane holder for oldest resident of Union, ME, passed in 1999. The house is now occupied by my cousin, but for some reason houses in small towns are known by the name of their former occupant.) I recovered the volume herein from a box of badly water-damaged books destined for the library book sale–or, more likely, the dump. It’s in (most of) two pieces, in terrible shape. Unable to lay them flat on a scanner, a year or so ago while researching a short film, I undertook the process of photographing the pages with my phone, feeding the photos into Google Docs for OCR, and reassembling the text. A first editing pass with extensive retyping took a few months, on-and-off. For the next several weeks, watch this space as I complete a more detailed edit, story by story. Once the volume is complete, a printable PDF will also be released.Tags: Public Domain, Sax Rohmer, sfw
I’ve compiled a grid of all of Robert Aickman’s works, published both living and posthumously, and in which volumes they may be found.
Rapidly falling out of memory, Robert Aickman (1914-1981) was a World Fantasy Award-winning writer representing a distinct third branch of horror–neither the Poe-descended grotesque nor Lovecraft’s cosmic horror, but a more psychological, inward version of the weird. Peter Straub wrote: “From the first I understood that he was a deeply original artist. This in no way implies that I understood Aickman immediately, because I didn’t. Sometimes I would look up at the end of a story, feeling that the whole thing had just twisted itself inside out and turned into smoke–I had blinked, and missed it all.”
Based on the above survey, I’ve ordered for myself good-condition used copies of The Unsettled Dust, Cold Hand in Mine and The Wine Dark Sea for about $50 total. These seem to represent a strong sampling of his work, with little overlap, and their print runs are recent enough to be available. Most of Aickman’s older collections have long since fallen out of print, and been culled from libraries. The Boston Public Library’s Copley Square branch offers only a single copy of Night Voices for circulation, available at the delivery desk. His stories have been anthologized in numerous collections, mostly out of print. CBC radio did a respectable half-hour dramatisation of “Ringing the Changes,” which is available on YouTube. Ideal would of course be to obtain the two volume Collected Strange Stories, but with only a 500-copy limited run in 1999, one would need to be somewhat more obsessive and far wealthier than me–to the tune of $500 plus–to secure one.Tags: robert aickman, sfw, tabulation
1914-1981. Struggling to understand Robert Aickman’s third-way psychological horror. Three used books on their way.
1080p (vertical) shot of 1 teaspoon of cornstarch blown into the air near a flame source about 30x. Filmed at 120fps, playback at 30fps. As much fun as you’ll have doing this yourself, these pyro elements are released into the public domain for any and all usage, commercial or otherwise.
These elements were created for Troy Minkowsky’s “The Garden 1910” a Rhino Crate production currently in post.
To the extent possible under law, Matthew I. Rasmussen has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to 30+ Cornstarch Fireballs. This work is published from: United States.
Tags: Public Domain, Pyro, sfw, smoke
Academic Art: The Adult Contemporary of fine art.
Note the awkward, static poses of Academic art. Any pretext for nudity. There’s a reason this movement fell out of favor. (But are Schiele‘s sneering portraits of his own corrupted harem any more pure as art for having their beauty removed?)
Note Bouguereau’s almost paternal use of the same models sometimes for decades: the same faces appearing on children, youths, mothers, lending his work a hint of something deeper than critic-pleasing cheesecake.
How hard do you come down on Orientalism? No matter how bubbled the glass, it remains a looking outward, a fascination with Otherness. Darkly will be glimpsed our dreams–sweet, cruel, lascivious, and all three–but we look only to be looked back upon. Gleyre’s Persian girl still fixes us in the gaze of an undeniable humanity.
Is there an opposite to Orientalism? Peasant fascination in Academic Art tends to represent only the dream of Arcadia, not any deeper social conscience. (But then there’s Makovsky’s gypsy.)
You know Arcadia. It’s there behind the bluetooth headphones Starbucks paperboard the stab of parking car headlights 69 megapascals of compressive force darkened glass bad music discount raincoat soap as an offensive perfume and cologne as an offensive weapon some girl life moving around you where are you going why have you been that person you should text her you should text her blue asshole lights in the rain darkness glistening like surgical instruments and the dream of Arcadia.
Imagine Peel’s juvenile shepherdess as a photograph leaked onto the internet. Is it any wonder that the soft simplicity of the dream still speaks to us?Tags: academic art, boobies, nsfw?
Or, What Happens When a Facebook Thread Gets Out of Control
- The woodchuck is unique among the animals in that it has 14 different gizzards.
- Every woodchuck has a 1963 Ford Fairlane on blocks out back.
- Counter to popular belief, Woodchuck Cider is not named after the well-known rodentia, but rather after the accident that left founder William Turkle incapable of making a beer worth a damn.
- Traditionally, a woodchuck is required to pump the bilge and prepare light snacks on all seagoing Inuit kayaks. This is the origin of Washington state’s motto.
- Al Gore stole the plans for the Internet from a woodchuck he was roommates with at Harvard.
- Woodchucks are the only animals who do their own taxes.
- After a woodchuck is mature, they are expected to give three years of their life to their King in military service with the hopes that one day, there will be an end to the Great Beaver War.
- No woodchuck has ever been convicted of serious fraud. All such trials have resulted in a hung jury.
- Chuck Norris was named after the respected and feared creature.
- Woodchucks live in the deepest corners of the Serengeti, and not the bottoms of the oceans as we once thought.
- Instagram is now 90% woodchucks.
- There’s a new drug plaguing our streets derived from woodchuck droppings that has similar addictive qualities to heroin and Sunny D. The depraved youth ensnared in its smelly grasp refer to the act of taking the drug as “chucking” or “doing the chuck”.
- Woodchucks are circumcised in utereo.
- Of course, in the ancient tongues, ‘woodchuck’ means ‘one who seeks vengence upon his enemies…’
- Woodchuck urine is used as a coagulating agent in chewing gum and hot dogs.
- No human has ever photographed a woodchuck in the wild. All such photographs are of cardboard cutouts. The photographs used to produce the cardboard cutouts are taken by marsupials.
- While many woodchucks died in the Polish uprising, the Tomb of the Unknown Woodchuck in Warsaw is believed to be the result of a spelling error.
- If you see a woodchuck in the wild, you should not approach it. It will “friend zone” you.
- At least two woodchucks are required to initiate critical mass in a sphere of U-238.
- Woodchucks are known for their sharp wit and unparalleled literary prose. They are actually behind great works, such as “Henry IV Part 2” and “The Little Engine That Could.”
- A woodchuck can metabolize wood cellulose into AIDS. But only the bad kind.
- The first woodchuck was discovered during the Crusades. The second during the roaring twenties
- In a rare artistic move, Michael Bay has cast only woodchucks in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”.
- The woodchuck is the only animal mentioned favorably in Leviticus.
- Spontaneous generation was disproven when a jar of spoiled meat was covered with cheesecloth and no woodchucks were present after several days
- In Japan, the woodchuck is known as “The Silent Fang Devious Fighter Monster”.
- The woodchuck cannot actually chuck wood.
- Being in possession of one or less woodchucks is only a civil offense in Massachusetts now.
- What is thought to be a plesiosaurus in Loch Ness is actually just a really fat woodchuck.
- During WWII, woodchucks were used as transport for ammunition and cigarettes for Allied forces.
- I did not have sexual relations with that woodchuck.
- A homeopathic remedy prepared by a woodchuck will in fact work.
- Before reaching terminal velocity, one should apply a salve of two parts woodchuck excretia, one part egg, and one part pine sap to exposed flesh to prevent chapping
- A murder of crows. A gaggle of geese. An overbooking of woodchucks.
- Don’t pour salt on a woodchuck.
- Modern woodchucks use lasers to accomplish in minutes what, only a few decades ago, would have taken months.
- The “sleep of the woodchuck” and “woodchuck’s bane” are fighting styles studied in the countrysides of France, England and Belgium.
- Woodchucks do not get cancer. They give it.
- That which does not kill you, makes you a woodchuck
- Not only can a woodchuck divide by zero, they will brag about it to anyone that will listen.
- It is a 19th Century misconception that people in Columbus’s time considered the woodchuck flat, or good at baseball.
- The woodchuck will build a time machine and then travel back in time to a point before the machine was turned on. They will then use their knowledge of the future to make life difficult for the beavers.
- Be careful not to confuse the major categories! Some woodchucks are doric, others are ionic, but all woodchucks are corinthian. This can be remembered with the mnemonic “SPECKLEFLAB.”
- Did you know I was raised by woodchucks? My mother, though a bit bitey, would lovingly send me off to school with a bag of homemade toothpicks for lunch. School was difficult though. Kids would pelt me with their cruel taunts like, “Want some wood chips, up chuck?” and “Hey, look at the naked kid who thinks he’s a woodchuck!” One day, my mother, after trying to gnaw my face off with care, said I’d have to go live amongst the humans and never know true woodland joy again. To this day, when see a stump carved by a chainsaw sculptor or smell the saw dust on a bar room floor, a tear comes to my eye. I miss you mom.
- The popular slogan, “Just give me a woodchuck and I’ll show you who’s cock of this motherfucker!” is attributed to American founding father Benjamin Franklin. He is known to have screamed it during an orgy with 14 aristocratic French women, and was probably high at the time. Steven Foster’s 1889 song has been recorded by such luminaries as Artie Shaw, Janis Joplin, and A-Ha.
- The classic film, “The Wizard of Oz”, originally had woodchucks instead of munchkins. The original Tin Woodsman had to bow out not because of an allergic reaction to metal paint, but rather violent facial and ass attacks by woodchucks.
- Everyone’s spirit animal is a woodchuck.
- Alan Ginsberg wrote an unpublished poem called “A Furry Fanfare Ferociously Fandangoing” describing the plight of the woodchuck in Man’s world. Ginsberg’s mistress was a woodchuck.
- Conceptually brilliant but uneven in execution, woodchucks are known as the Joel Hodgson of the animal kingdom.
- The famous woodchuck scene from “Bambi” is the longest orgy in any Disney movie.
The blog is back online. Older posts will return as soon as I find a way to rescue them from my broken copy of Blosxom…
This poster is the result of a call for art for my best friend’s baby room. She had her first, a girl, the precise day in August after I dropped a framed copy of this off. The process started back in June, when I commissioned illustrator Kristin Palach to design and ink the characters. I loaded her down with a novella’s worth of notes, but Kristin was fantastic to work with, and her art is utterly squee-worthy. Colors and layout are my own.
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