The vast majority of my time is spent writing. And the vast majority of that writing is fiction. However, occasionally,  I try my hand at non-fiction. Normally that takes the form of book reviews, but sometimes it’s essays about a favourite subject of mine.

Namely, occult detectives. 

What is an occult detective, I hear you ask? Well, Occult detective fiction has been around for a good long while, and like ever sub-sub-genre, it’s had its peaks and valleys of popularity. Combining the tropes of detective fiction with that of supernatural fiction (though often it has more of one than the other), the stories generally (though not always) revolve around a central, reoccurring investigator as well as the occasional side-kick or three. Sometimes it’s monsters or ghosts or ghost-monsters or Old Man Ferguson in his ghost-monster costume, but the implication of a supernatural occurrence always looms large in the investigation.

I’ve always enjoyed reading it, and I enjoy writing it, so I thought why not write about it? Hence, ‘The Nightmare Men’, an irregular series of essays, each focusing on a different occult detective in literature, hosted by the good folks at the Black Gate Magazine blog. The current essays are listed below and individually linked for your edu-tainment, with more to follow in the near future:

‘A Doctor, Darkly’-Dr. Martin Hesselius

‘Physician Extraordinary’-John Silence

‘The Diehard’-Shiela Crerar

‘The Ghost-Finder’-Thomas Carnacki

‘The Ghost-Seer’-Aylmer Vance

‘The Judge’-Judge Keith Hilary Pursuivant

‘The Supernatural Sleuth’-Anton Zarnak

‘The Haunted Wanderer’-John Kirowan

‘The Enemy of Evil’-John Thunstone

‘God’s Madman’-Abraham Van Helsing

‘The Good Inspector’-Inspector Legrasse

If you enjoy them, why not drop a comment or three, either here or at BGM? And if you really enjoyed them, feel free to RT, Share and or Google + them to your heart’s content.


  1. Very cool!

    If this project is ongoing, I’d love to see what you have to say about Harry Escott, a character who belongs in the occult detective legion, but who predates Dr. Martin Hesselius by over a decade.

    At least, I argue that he belong there at http://timprasil.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/who-was-it-is-the-first-occult-detective-an-american/ . I’ve been hunting down other early occult detectives ever since, and I discuss some of my discoveries elsewhere on my blog.

    1. Glad you like it!

      And Escott’s on the list (such as it is), never fear. I read your write-up on him a month or so back, and I think folks’d be quite interested to read about him. Your blog’s become one of my favorites, btw…I love the Vera Van Slyke stories!

Comments are closed.