In the spirit of the season, here’s a sneak-peek at a thing the redoubtable John Linwood Grant and I have been discussing, of late. Something may come of it, or it may simply be a shadow of what might have been. Either way, enjoy John’s take on what might be…
It may have been a Tuesday when the worlds parted. A chill Tuesday morning in London, when Dr John Dee, astronomer and occultist, knelt before Elizabeth Gloriana, Queen of England and Ireland. In the taking of his new oath, and the confirmation of the Queen’s Conjurer, it is possible that some ‘Subtille Darke Power’ chose to cleave the planes of being and isolate such an injurious office in one dimension only.
Or was it on a Sunday in 1795, when the Wold Newton meteorite thundered through the storm clouds and stuck the Yorkshire Wolds? An event with such force that it “alarmed the surrounding countryside and created so distinctly the sensation that something very singular had happened.” Was reality cut by star-iron that day, and shivered into two, or more, parallel creations?
We do not know. And somehow we are adrift and unsure as to which creation is ours. We sit and pick at our kedgeree; we stare suspiciously at the devilled kidneys. The morning paper is choked with talk of German re-armament. In five years, or ten, we expect war, and we have to consider – is there other weaponry which might meet the threat? Not tanks or planes, but the products of stranger sciences – mentality, colours, vibrations, even the unashamed disciplines of the occult.
We know that Dee continued his work in one clouded parallel, and that the Queen’s Conjurer became a position, known later as the Royal Occultist, which was passed down through the centuries. In that parallel, Thomas Merton Carnacki, the Ghost Finder, undertook the role until his death in 1918, during the Great War. His replacement was the dashing Charles St Cyprian. Before the decade was out, he was joined by a redoubtable young woman, Ebe Gallowglass, and these two discharged their duties against the Dark in fine fashion, even with a certain derring-do.
Yet in another parallel or splinter, Carnacki fell far earlier, with neither post nor post-holder to succeed him. No plans had been made, no resources laid by for times of need. With initial reluctance, the Ghost Finder’s confidante Henry Dodgson took up Carnacki’s mantle. A dour line this one, as Dodgson and the rare psychic Abigail Jessop went further into the darkness, not always well equipped, and let the ab-natural know that it could not act unchallenged. Here the turning of the decade after the war brought a loss, not a gain. Dodgson was left to fight alone, embittered at a world which had not paid his heart well for its services.
Two pairings, two strands, but each in the shadow of the Ghost Finder, and each a weapon against spiritual, even physical, catastrophe. We do not think that the Germans will hesitate to gather every resource they can. In this troubled time, it may be that we must seek advice from the whispering corners of our land, and find which world is ours, to whom we can turn…
The Last Edwardian or the Royal Occultist…
If you’re interested in finding out more about the Last Edwardian, I encourage you to check out John’s site, greydogtales. And if you’d like to learn more about the Royal Occultist, be sure to stop by the Royal Occultist site.
Too, why not head over to my Patreon, where you can read not one, not two, but four absolutely free Royal Occultist stories, in celebration of Halloween? The most recent, “The Riders of St. George”, finds St. Cyprian and Gallowglass locking horns with a cabal of murderous ghosts in Hertfordshire.