Halloween Month continues here at Balladeer’s Blog with two more overlooked tales.
YEGOR’S PORTRAIT (1897) – Written by George Hepworth. A well to do Russian named Yegor was killed in a horse riding accident. A portrait of the man haunts those who remember him. By night the Yegor of the portrait emerges from the work of art.
Stephan, Yegor’s cousin and closest friend in life befriends the apparition from the painting. As the pair spend a night drinking and gambling together, Yegor admits to Stephan that the reason his essence is bound to the material world is because he left behind him an illegitimate child with no financial support.
SPOILER: Stephan makes amends for the late Yegor, but is left saddened that he can spend no more nights in his dear friend’s company as Yegor’s spirit at last moves on.
This tale is more poetic and melancholy than scary but certainly still appropriate for Halloween time.
GEORGE DOBSON’S EXPEDITION TO HELL (1828) – Written by James Hogg. George Dobson is the driver of a horse-drawn cab in 1800s Edinburgh. A businessman customer of George’s wants the cabbie to drive him and his son to Hell. Yes, literally Hell.
Dobson insists he doesn’t know how to get there, but the enigmatic businessman draws upon his intimate knowledge of George’s life to make it clear that nobody knows the road to Hell better than he does, given assorted unspecified evils in the cab driver’s life. Dobson relents and agrees to drive the man and his son to their infernal destination.
The journey takes George and his fares downhill for a vague, indefinite amount of time, with the cab driver reflecting on how he has never seen his horses race faster. At length the darkness forces Dobson to stop.
The businessman and his son step out of the cab but the businessman refuses to pay George, claiming his credit should be good enough that Dobson will be content to get paid the next day when he picks up the pair at this same spot and drives them home. The cabbie and his regular customer exchange dialogue that makes it clear that the latter owes George a sizable amount from previous rides and promises full payment after the next day’s trip.
The cab driver vaguely perceives others of his former customers in this Netherworld and begins his horrific return journey to the world above, which will be far more difficult in the darkness. And thus begins the heart of the story.
Readers get treated to toll tickets written in human blood, black-clad servitors of Hell and huge, imposing walls. Dobson feels at times like he and his horses are traveling through a town on fire. The sinister, supernaturally strong Tollman of Hell refuses to let George pass, but allows his horses to race in a panic back to the world above.
The Tollman isn’t through with Dobson but I’ll avoid spoilers on this story, since it reads better than a mere synopsis could match.
I enjoyed this tale a little more than I did Yegor’s Portrait. Since I’m a fan of the Hellraiser series I couldn’t help but imagine Pinhead’s voice for the voice of the sinister Tollman at Hell’s Gate.
FOR ISABELLA OF EGYPT, FEATURING A GOLEM, A MANDRAGORE, A LIVING DEAD MAN, A GYPSY WITCH AND A JEWISH SORCEROR CLICK HERE
FOR MORE HALLOWEEN ITEMS CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/category/halloween-season/
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