The Curse of the Wendigo
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Or what I expected of him. We were indeed a pitiful pair, the monstrumologist and I, bound to each other in ways inexplicable to both of us. In the Monstrumarium the beast had forced me to turn and behold “the true face” of love. But love has more than one face, and the Yellow Eye is not the only eye. There can be no desolation without abundance. And the voice of the beast is not the only voice that rides upon the high wind. It was there in every weary step the doctor took in the wilderness. It was there the night he gathered me into his arms to keep me from freezing to death. It was there in Muriel’s eyes the night their shadows met and became one. It is always there, like the hunger that can’t be satisfied, though the tiniest sip is more satisfying than the most sumptuous of feasts.
I reached across the space that separated us—no farther than a foot and wider than the universe—and gathered the monstrumologist’s hand into mine.
None of the famous personages mentioned in the journals (Thomas Edison, Algernon Blackwood, Bram Stoker, Henry Irving, John Pemberton, Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, Thomas Byrnes, and Jacob Riis) ever wrote or spoke publicly of anyone named Pellinore Warthrop or anything remotely resembling the science of monstrumology. This fact, of course, doesn’t prove that these real people from the era did not know Warthrop; however, if they did, it is very odd that they never mentioned him or his esoteric “philosophy.” For example, nowhere have I found any indication that Stoker based his Van Helsing character upon a “real” doctor named von Helrung.
It was Blackwood’s story, published in 1910, that put the Wendigo on the map and established Blackwood as a popular writer of the horror genre. I have found no evidence that the story was inspired or in any way derived from Will Henry’s account in the fourth folio, but that interpretation is clearly intended, based on the meeting at the Zeno Club, which I could find no record of having existed either.
A careful search of newspaper archives yielded nothing from the time period beyond the articles reproduced at the beginning of this book. I was unable to find any mention, under Blackwood’s byline or anyone else’s, of the murders described in the sixth folio. No mention of the name Chanler and no stories about an American Ripper running amok on the streets of New York. This part of Will Henry’s story—the scene where he mentions the newspaper clippings in the von Helrung library—is undeniably fictional. A scandal involving a prominent New York family certainly would have been covered by the newspapers of the day. And if that isn’t true, the entire record must be called into question . . . but did I ever really have any doubt the journals were a work of fiction?
Frustrated in my efforts to corroborate their contents, I turned to the journals themselves. I contacted an expert in handwriting analysis based in Gainesville at the University of Florida, who was kind enough to take a look at the material. His report contained the following observations:
Author has received formal schooling, at least through secondary schools, perhaps some college . . .