I’m continuing my look at Manly Wade Wellman’s pulp hero Silver John, the roaming singer and guitarist who fights supernatural forces in the Appalachian Mountains of long ago, sort of like a countrified Orpheus meets Kolchak. He’s called Silver John because of the silver strings on his guitar and the silver coins he carries in his pockets. For more details click here: https://glitternight.com/pulp-heroes/
OLD DEVLINS WAS A-WAITING – Silver John becomes a participant in an experiment combining witchcraft, telepathy and time travel. The object is to allow a contemporary person to conjure up the spirits of their ancestors, but naturally it turns out these particular ancestors should not have been disturbed. The whole affair culminates in an eerie but touching tie-in to a footnote in American History. (To say more would be a spoiler)
THE STARS DOWN THERE – In this Silver John vignette a brooding young woman leads our wandering balladeer to an isolated mountain peak that she claims is the literal end-point of the world. John’s skepticism soon turns to astonishment and then to horror in what may be the most haunting ending to any Silver John tale. I can imagine this really stunning readers back when this was first published.
20 responses to “PULP HEROES: SILVER JOHN – DEVLINS AND THE STARS DOWN THERE”
I never heard of these stories but they sound awesome! I read your whole story about Silver John on your pulp hero page. This is so awesome!
Thanks! I often say I can’t believe in this time where every cable channel starts their own original series that somebody hasn’t started a Silver John show. With computer effects the things in the stories would be fairly economical to depict. Thanks again for commenting.
Hey your only giving us teasers. Thats not fair! 🙂
Ha! Well, I don’t want to spoil the twists in the stories, Sara.
.There’s something almost gothic about these stories, at least the way you describe them. I’m almost afraid to buy them for fear they won’t live up to your fun descriptions of them.
Thank you very much! You can usually get all or most of the short stories and vignettes collected in one volume these days so that might be the best thing to try before tackling the five Silver John novels.
Timely now with the Hatfields and McCoys movie being hot.
Yes, the movie might stimulate interest in the topic!
The Stars down there sounds really creepy the way you described it there.
Thanks! I’m sure readers back then found it VERY disturbing.
Hatfields and McCoys stuff is hot! The Stars Down there sounds creepy.
It’s disturbing, that’s for sure.
Awesome! Very creepy and scary.
Your a pussy for writing about these stories.
It’s “you’re” not “your.”
The last time I saw the Milky Way was one summer in the 1950s while visiting my sister in Sacramento during summer vacation. She and my ex-brother-in-law, who was in the Air Force at the time, were living in a small rural enclave NE of Sacto near (if I recall correctly) Mather Air Force Base. One evening we went for a walk down the nearby country road. I was in my late teens at the time, in high school. I saw the Milky Way for the first time in my life (and the last!). Have been living in the SF Bay Area most of my life and not being much of a traveler haven’t had many other such opportunities to observe the Milky Way. The original “rural enclave”, which I vaguely recall consisted of a couple houses and a grocery store (and maybe a gas station) has been totally suburbanized. I doubt I could even locate the locale or road where my sister and I walked that night—and even if I could, I doubt the Milky Way would even be visible now—or much else in the night sky. Instead of looking up at the stars the next time you are in an area where the night sky hasn’t been obliterated, pretend you are looking down at them—perhaps even falling.
I once heard of an old Appalachian legend about a young girl who jumped off the edge of the world and disappeared into “the stars down there”—actually it was a vignette by Wellman—but it could have been a folk legend (or a Native-American legend) Wellman may have heard of at one time or another. I prefer to think of it as such.
Moderation? Whasamatter? Too long?
No, it wasn’t too long a comment, I just have all comments set for moderation. Thanks again for commenting!
You may very well be right, he got a lot of inspiration from Native American and hillfolk legends. Thanks for the comment!