The Amateur’s Amateur

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Today’s look at the world of the Royal Occultist centres on one of Charles St. Cyprian’s better-known associates, the amateur occultist, Philip Wendy-Smythe…


Philip Wendy-Smythe is the last of a once-proud line. Avowed orientalist and amateur occultist, he amassed a substantial collection of mostly fake, but occasionally extremely dangerous artefacts, grimoires and statuary.

Wendy-Smythe’s abiding obsession was the exploration of reality’s darkest corners. This obsession often led him into dangerous situations, such as the incident with Gussie Winkers and the Cult of Anubis. This necessitated his rescue on more than one occasion by the Royal Occultist and his plucky-yet-vicious assistant.

Over the course of his life, he joined and was subsequently expelled from over a dozen secret societies, prior to (and after) meeting St. Cyprian and Gallowglass, including the Cult of Gla’aki, the Order of the Cosmic Ram, the Starry Wisdom, the Golden Dawn, and a heretofore unnamed sect of cultists inhabited by brain-eating insects.

He was also the only man to be expelled from the Voyagers Club on three separate occasions, most recently after accidentally unleashing a phantom clowder of ancient Egyptian cat-ghosts in the communal billiards room.

Wendy-Smythe was mostly created to give St. Cyprian and Gallowglass an excuse to become entangled in various events. An amateur occultist and collector of eldritch kitsch, he’s at once a foil and a macguffin, dragging the heroes into one problem after another. I’ve toyed with the idea of spinning him off into his own stories, as he fits the Wodehousian aesthetic a lot better than St. Cyprian, and would be a natural protagonist for a series of occult comedies.

You can see Wendy-Smythe in action in “The d’Erlette Configuration”, available for free on my Patreon, or in “The Black Brotherhood”, which you grab for the Kindle.

Philip Wendy-Smythe has appeared in the following stories:

  • THE JADE SUIT OF DEATH
  • “Squatter’s Rights”
  • “The Black Brotherhood”
  • “The d’Erlette Configuration”
  • “Wendy-Smythe’s Worm”
  • “The Necromancer’s Drum”

For more on the adventures of St. Cyprian and Gallowglass, as well as past and future holders of the office, take a look at the Royal Occultist chronology on this site, as well as a number of free short stories, available only on Patreon. And be sure to ‘Like’ the Royal Occultist Facebook page, in order to keep up with all the latest news and info on the series!