In today’s look at the Royal Occultist universe, we examine one of Charles St. Cyprian’s deadliest foes…the monstrous Hound of Mons.
The first recorded appearance of the gigantic canine known as the Hound of Mons was in Belgium in 1914, when it reportedly stalked No Man’s Land. An enormous black mastiff, driven mad by the death of its master, mauled a number of unlucky British soldiers before it perished in an artillery barrage. Or so the official reports claimed.
In reality, the Hound was anything but a normal dog. Dr. Gottlieb Hochmuller, vivisectionist, alchemist and member of the sinister Thule Society, created the beast by implanting a specially bred dog with the brain of a madman. When he unleashed his abominable weapon on the British forces at Mons, he attracted the attentions of then-Royal Occultist, Thomas Carnacki, and his apprentice, Charles St. Cyprian. In the ensuing confrontation, Hochmuller was seemingly killed his own creation, and the Hound itself was thought slain by a well-placed bullet.
But seven years later, the Hound returned to bedevil St. Cyprian and his own apprentice, Ebe Gallowglass. Despite a fiery plunge into the Thames, the bestial killer returned once more, this time allying with another old foe of St. Cyprian’s to threaten the life of Hochmuller’s estranged daughter.
Again, the creature was thought to have perished, only to reappear – albeit in an altered state – and attempt to take his revenge on the Royal Occultist at a fancy dress party in Myrdstone, in a scheme involving a mysterious cult and a secretive race of corpse-eaters.
While St. Cyprian and Gallowglass have a number of reoccurring foes, the Hound is possibly my favourite of the bunch – so much so that I’ve returned to him four times now. The initial premise behind the character was to be an homage to the Universal Monsters. A creature created to return again and again, regardless of how it was dispatched in the previous story. And as with those old films, I added a new wrinkle to things every time the Hound reappeared – a slight change to the formula, in order to keep the concept fresh.
I hope to write another Hound story at some point. Initially, I wanted to write one a year, and give them increasingly bizarre titles – “The Hound’s Tomb”, “Curse of the Hound”, “The Hound Strikes”, “The Cult of the Hound”, “The Hound Walks Among Us”, etc. – but only time will tell if he’ll rise from the grave to bedevil the Royal Occultist once more.