Halloween Month continues here at Balladeer’s Blog. This time around I take a look at Algernon Blackwood’s occult physician Doctor John Silence.

John SilenceJOHN SILENCE, PHYSICIAN EXTRAORDINARY (1908) – A selection of short stories about Blackwood’s fictional neurologist Doctor Silence and his encounters with the supernatural. 

THE PSYCHICAL INVASION – A professional writer who specializes in humorous stories becomes a patient of Doctor Silence when he suddenly finds himself unable to write anything except grotesque horror tales. Silence discovers that on an occasion when the author’s psychic defenses were neutralized during a hashish jag the spirit of a 19th Century sorceress possessed him. The vile entity ended its life being hanged at Newgate. Doctor Silence must do psychic battle with the spirit to save his patient.

ANCIENT SORCERIES – A French town once known for its once-prominent, now disused cathedral, is populated exclusively by very sinister people who are guarding a dark secret. It turns out all of the denizens are practitioners of witchcraft and on the Black Sabbath they transform into black cats and winged monstrosities to gather at their Satanic majesty’s request. Think of this as a forerunner of Salem’s Lot but with witches instead of vampires. The fate of Doctor Silence’s friend Vezin is at stake as the horror mounts.  

THE NEMESIS OF FIRE – Colonel Wragge calls in the good doctor when his household comes under assault by something which induces intense psychic and physical heat to prey on its victims. Silence discovers that an Egyptian fire elemental has come to England from its usual haunts. The being was drawn westward by an ancient Egyptian mummy which Wragge’s archaeologist brother brought home from an excavation.   

SECRET WORSHIP – Doctor Silence must save a patient from a ghostly school in Germany’s Black Forest. The patient attended the school in his youth but is disquieted to find his old acquaintances at the place unchanged despite the years which have passed. Were the teachers and students all preyed upon by a supernatural evil? An evil which wants to claim Silence’s patient in order to complete its tally of victims?

THE CAMP OF THE DOG – This tale definitely seems to have partially inspired a few movies and episodes of anthology shows. A hunting and camping expedition in Sweden must deal with an “and then there were none” situation. The cause? The fact that one of the party is secretly a werewolf.

A sixth Doctor Silence story – A VICTIM OF HIGHER SPACE – was published years later but is more science fiction than horror. One of our hero’s patients suddenly finds himself teleporting to different dimensions. 


© Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.





Filed under Halloween Season


  1. Pingback: BEST OF OCTOBER 2018 | Balladeer's Blog

  2. Vince

    Did Alan Moore rip off Dr Silence yet?

  3. Sumd00d

    yes. him and Carnacki – Silence is referenced and I think he appears in the background at an Occult club in Century, or similar

  4. Sharlene

    Mister Silence I presume?

  5. Jules

    I love than name Dr Silence!

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