Monthly Archives: October 2019

THE MONKS OF MONK HALL (1844-1845): HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Happy Halloween! Balladeer’s Blog marks it with a neglected work of American horror.

Monks of Monk HallTHE MONKS OF MONK HALL aka THE QUAKER CITY (1844-1845) – Written by George Lippard, this strange and macabre story was originally serialized from 1844-1845 before being published in novel form. This bloody, horrific work was America’s best-selling novel before Uncle Tom’s Cabin

I always refer to this book as “Twin Peaks Goes To The 1840s.” On one level The Monks of Monk Hall deals with crime, corruption, drugs and sex-trafficking among many supposedly “respectable” citizens of Philadelphia the way Twin Peaks did with residents of the title town.

On another level the novel deals with supernatural horrors that lurk behind the Quaker City’s murders, vices and sexual perversions, again like the David Lynch series. The center of the darkness is Monk Hall, an old, sprawling mansion with an unsavory history and reputation. Many have disappeared into the bowels of the building, never to be seen again. The power players and criminals who mingle at the Hall in bizarre orgies, secret murders and drunken debauches are known as “Monks” – Monk Hall’s exclusive membership.

Think of Monk Hall as a combination of Twin Peaks establishments like the Black Lodge, One-Eyed Jacks and the Great Northern all rolled into one. The vast, multi-roomed Hall is honey-combed with secret passageways and trap doors. Beneath the mansion are a subterranean river plus several levels of labyrinthine catacombs filled with rats, refuse and the skeletal remains of the Monks’ many victims from the past century and a half.   

The sinister staff of Monk Hall are happy to provide their members with all the sex, opium and other diversions that they hunger for behind their public veil of respectability. Throw in the occult practices of the members and there’s a sort of “American version of Sir Francis Dashwood’s Hellfire Club” feel to it. Among the novel’s more horrific characters:

Monks of Monk Hall 2DEVIL-BUG – The deformed, depraved and deranged bastard offspring of one of Monk Hall’s members and one of the many prostitutes who are literally enslaved there. Devil-Bug has spent his entire life in the Hall and has no other name. He is squat, incredibly strong and grotesquely ugly with one large gaping eye and one small, withered, empty socket on his face.

This monstrosity works as Monk Hall’s combination door-man, bouncer and executioner, gleefully murdering on demand and secreting the corpses away in the sub-basements beneath the mansion. Just to make him even more unwholesome, Devil-Bug sleeps next to the corpse of one of his victims and uses occupied coffins as furniture in his creepy rooms.

RAVONI – Interchangeably referred to as a sorcerer, mad doctor, astrologer and anatomist, this handsome but sinister man pulls the strings behind the supernatural evils of Philadelphia and vicinity.

Monks of Monk Hall 3Master of an occult method of eternal youth, Ravoni has been alive for over two hundred years. (The novel repeatedly says just two hundred years, but the villain refers to having been present at the Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, which happened in 1572, so it has to be longer)

Ravoni has powers of mesmerism, prognostication and can even raise the dead. He was the original owner of Monk Hall under another name long ago. Readers eventually learn the kind of dark rituals the man performed at the Hall but don’t learn the full extent of his evil plans until the climax of the novel.          Continue reading

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THE WRAITH: HALLOWEEN SUPERHERO

Halloween month hurls toward its conclusion as Balladeer’s Blog takes a look at another vintage superhero ideal for the season.

Wraith rising picTHE WRAITH

Secret Identity: Gary Kennedy, dead policeman

First Appearance: Mystery Men # 27 (October 1941). His final Golden Age appearance came in 1942.

Origin: When police officer Gary Kennedy and his brother are shot to death by Silky Weaver and his subordinate gangsters, Gary dies swearing by Heaven above to avenge his and his brother’s deaths. He returns from the grave several nights later and makes good on his vow.

Afterward, the newly-christened Wraith continues to rise from his grave to deal out justice to evildoers on behalf of their dead victims, whose souls beg him to take action.

Powers: Continue reading

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RAPPACCINI’S DAUGHTER (1844): HALLOWEEN STORY

Halloween Month continues with this neglected femme fatale from Nathaniel Hawthorne. FOR THE OTHER CREATURES IN THIS MONSTER RALLY CLICK HERE 

Rappaccini's Daughter 2BEATRICE RAPPACCINI

First Appearance: Rappaccini’s Daughter (1844)

Cryptid Category: Human-plant hybrid.

Lore: Beatrice Rappaccini, also called the Poison Woman, had been experimented on by her mad scientist father since infancy. Some dark rumors even held that the father – Doctor Giacomo Rappaccini – had spawned her from a seed-pod and that his tales of a wife were lies.

Beatrice was so toxic that she was the only one alive who could come into contact with the monstrous and deadly plants in her father’s courtyard garden. The Poison Woman’s beauty drove men wild, tempting many admirers to brave the dangers of her father’s mutated plant life.

The dark beauty’s flesh was a toxic poison and her breath could kill insects, snakes, rats and small children. Dead creatures made the ideal fertilizer for the creations of Beatrice’s father. It was hinted that Beatrice fed on the vermin killed by her breath, just like Venus Flytraps and other carnivorous plant-life. Continue reading

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KILLRAVEN THIRTEEN: THE DAY THE MONUMENTS SHATTERED

FOR PART ONE OF BALLADEER’S BLOG’S EXAMINATION OF THIS OLD, OLD MARVEL COMICS STORYLINE CLICK HERE  The revisions I would make are scattered throughout the synopsis below.

Killraven day monuments shatteredAMAZING ADVENTURES Vol 2 #31 (July 1975)

Title: The Day The Monuments Shattered 

Freemen: Killraven, M’Shulla, Old Skull, Carmilla Frost, Hawk, Volcana Ash, Adam 3031 and Eve 3031 and Carmilla’s creation Grok (Deathlok in my revisions)

Synopsis: This is the 4th and final part of the Death-Birth storyline. It is April, 44 years from now. Killraven and his Freemen, a band of rebels fighting Earth’s alien conquerors, have arrived in the ruins of Gary, IN, along the southern shore of Lake Michigan.

It is nighttime and Killraven has chosen to set up camp in a cave on a nearby hill. This will give him and his Freemen the high ground and a defensible position as they await the final battle with their pursuers.

sacrificerThose pursuers: Atalon – white-shirted human quisling administrator of Death-Birth, the now-destroyed alien fortress where they raised humans like cattle since they eat human flesh – and the Sacrificer, green-clad medical madman who used to prepare those cannibal meals for the aliens, including their favorite delicacy – human infants carved out of their mother’s body shortly before they are due to deliver.

Backing up Atalon and the Sacrificer are dozens of Death Breeders, their armed troops in uniforms resembling skeleton outlines. 

Eve 3031, one of the human “breeding stock” liberated by our heroes last issue, is about to give birth, so the aforementioned cave will help shelter her and her baby as her mate, Adam 3031, attends her.

NOTE: Writer Don McGregor would later recycle this tableau of a final battle taking place around a woman giving birth in his post-apocalypse comic book Sabre. In that book the villainous Joyful Slaughter (real subtle, eh) and his troops attacked the rebel settlement where Sabre’s wife Melissa Siren was giving birth. Continue reading

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PRESIDENT TRUMP PRAISED BY KAYLA MUELLER’S PARENTS

Kayla Mueller memorialDe facto Third Party President Donald Trump received praise from the parents of Kayla Mueller, the international humanitarian worker raped and killed by Islamic State officials when Obama was in office. They praised the president for the recent raid in which Abu bakr al Baghdadi, current head of ISIS and one of Mueller’s rapists, was killed. Al Baghdadi’s likely replacement was also killed over the weekend.

Marsha Mueller expressed gratitude that their daughter and the others who were tortured and killed by ISIS have not been forgotten.

“I still say Kayla should be here, and if Obama had been as decisive as President Trump, maybe she would have been,” Marsha Mueller said.

“For me what matters most I’m hoping now we will finally get the answers we have been asking for all along,” Marsha Mueller said. “I think this administration truly might help us. I don’t think they are as closed about what happened.”

trump smilingThe Democrats at the Washington Post (Motto: Democracy dies at our hands) eulogized al Baghdadi as “an austere religious scholar” who “dies at 48.” The Democrats in Congress – all of them white-collar criminals – bemoaned the fact that President Trump wisely did not inform them of the raid beforehand, thus blocking them from leaking the information prematurely.

If they had, the raid would likely have to be called off and then the Democrats would be complaining that the administration was “inept.”

Russia and Turkey were wisely informed of the raid beforehand to prevent confusion and mixed signals. The Democrats keep acting as if ONLY Russia was informed ahead of time in accordance with their paranoid fantasy that Trump is a “Russian agent.”  

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THE “RIGHT SIDE OF HISTORY” NONSENSE

masc graveyard newI’m a non-believer but I love exploring the mythology behind the world’s various belief systems.

America’s Democrats have regressed into a faith-based belief system that’s every bit as irrational as any other religion, but since Democrats – or “Democrat Fundamentalists” – are such pompous, hypocritical and close-minded fools it’s A LOT of fun to describe their myths as sarcastically as possible.

THE RIGHT SIDE OF HISTORY – The Democrat Party’s version of an afterlife. Narcissistic Democrats strive to live their lives in such a way that people every bit as pretentious and snobbish as they are will sit around in the future sipping wine and pompously expressing approval of the worldview and political opinions that today’s Democrat Fundamentalists held while alive.

This notion of an afterlife is every bit as flawed and fantastic as any other religion’s tales about what happens after human beings die. No one alive today knows how the people of the future will feel about any of us or about our worldview.

SnobIf anything history has shown that people – ESPECIALLY the self-congratulatory asses called Democrats – take great delight in loudly and repeatedly condemning people of the past for (GASP) having opinions that differ from their own. It takes no courage and little effort to put on an air of moral superiority toward long-dead human beings.

That being said it’s more likely that American Democrats of the future will look down on even the most self-consciously “progressive” Puritans of today as hopelessly misguided or simply ignorant.

Those future Democrat Fundamentalists very well may just sit around sipping wine and reassuring each other that they are morally superior to every Democrat of this era for not having THE EXACT SAME opinions as they do regarding race, gender, etc. Exactly like pompous Democrat Fundamentalists of today do with people of the past. 

#WalkAwayThe obsessive conformity, status-anxiety and insecurities of Democrats prevent them from questioning their faith and thereby realizing that their own condemnation of figures from long ago is every bit as much of a shallow, meaningless pose as the attitude that may be shown by Democrat Fundamentalists of the future.

Especially on their assumption that THEY are on “the right side of history” while the Democrats of the present were on “the wrong side of history.”   Continue reading

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL RESULTS FROM OCTOBER 26th

HEADLINES

Siena Heights SaintsKNOCKING OFF NUMBER SIX – In the NAIA the 18th ranked SIENA HEIGHTS UNIVERSITY SAINTS took it on the road against the number 6 team in the nation – the UNIVERSITY OF SAINT FRANCIS (IN) COUGARS. The Saints stunned the Cougars and the prognosticators by toppling USF by a final score of 24-14.

Nichols Bison helmetMARATHON GAME OF THE DAY – This distinction goes to the clash between the NICHOLS COLLEGE BISON and their hosts the UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND NOR’EASTERS. The 4th Quarter ended in a 38-38 tie. One Overtime wasn’t enough. Two weren’t enough. Three weren’t enough. In the FOURTH OVERTIME the Bison emerged with a 51-48 triumph.

Williamson Trade HelmetUSCAA SPOTLIGHT GAME – USCAA stands for United States Collegiate Athletic Association. The WILLIAMSON COLLEGE OF THE TRADES MECHANICS took the field against the visiting NEW JERSEY WARRIORS yesterday. The Mechanics led 7-3 at the Half before going on to win the game 14-3. Continue reading

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