‘A Philadelphia Story Teller’
A Couple of Stories From:
‘A Portentous Epoch of Sagacious Redolence and Epiphany’
Gregory V. Boulware
“Howl Of An Angel”: Pt. 2 ‘The Loch of Satanus’
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
~Robert Frost 1923~
Eddie and Isabelle were ill-greeted when the odious oaken doors opened. The six-foot nine inch Brother called ‘Lucious,’ stood directly in front of them. His stern and stoic glare created pause on the part of the invading pair.
“What do you want here?” snapped Lucious. “We have had our share of usurpers…desecrators! Go away, go home before you of the outside cause more grief, agony, and world disaster.”
“Please Brother… We have traveled long and far. It is cold and damp – we have no shelter for the night – would you turn us away? I have a young frail woman with me who is ill! Please grant us shelter for just one night?”
Brother Lucious bade them enter and immediately went into a ranting rave:
“A Protestant Physician, Casper Peucer, told of the full-blown conception of witches’ going to a Sabbat, led to the assumption of parallel gatherings of wolves.
The story was repeatedly told by demonologists with regard to ‘lycanthropy.’ The increase in trials for witchcraft at the end of the sixteenth century led people to believe a man could actually become a lycanthrope or werewolf [Germany: Wahr-Wolffe; French: Gerulf or Loup-garu; Italy: Lupo Manaro].”
Many people on the planet profess to know just about everything. There are those who know it all. There are those who know absolutely nothing but boast to the contrary. Haven’t you met people who know everything about anything and everything about everybody? Sure you have…
How many Philadelphians recall the summer of 2003 and the insertion of those beige and red double-decker buses running around in Philadelphia’s Center City District and Fairmount Park? Today they are owned and operated by a reputable local tour bus company. I’m sure many do remember the infusion of those novelty buses from England’s London Town, “The Big Bus!”
They were a bit old indeed, but fun nonetheless…
Now dig this… How many Philadelphian’s and its’ visitors recall that it was a Black Man Supervising its Corp. of Dedicated Driver Operators? Oh yes, the Driver Operations and Garage Housing was run and operated by none other than your neighboring author, Gregory V. Boulware! He was hired as the first lead driver to head up the company’s major campaign of a fleet of ‘Double Decker Tour Buses in Philadelphia’s touring industry and the major sites in and around the city including the ‘Art Museum’ area , “Let Us Storm The Bastille” – The Northeastern State Penitentiary, and The Philadelphia Zoological Gardens, ‘America’s First and Oldest Zoo!’
Two New Stories…GVB~ (2)
Announcing…a New Completed Book! – “The One Thing I Know Is…” on the way to the printers!
One story from: “Hallow II” ‘A Portentous Epoch of Sagacious Redolence and Epiphany’
“Howl Of An Angel”: Pt. 2 ‘The Loch of Satanus’…expected launch date – ‘Halloween 2014!
Leading them down a darkened corridor of musty aromas and candle-smoke, the Brother continued speaking, “I must tell you this because your life and the lives of all human-kind are threatened by the danger herein.”
The Brother could not disallow the need for shelter, especially on a cold, dark, and damp night such as this. The young frail woman did indeed appear to be ill, just as Eduardo described. However, the Brother vividly recalled what had happened a few short months ago. The tragic event reflected the deeds of another sick and weary traveler…one Mr. David Ellington.
“I will allow you both sanctuary, but it will come at a risk of your own. The evil one has been let loose upon the world. We of the ‘Keep’ expect his return…hopefully well-guarded by the warriors and warlords who are in the service of ‘Halle’ (Hebrew for Father/God) and not revenge seeking minions of the ‘Beelzebub.’”
Brother Kristophus looked this way and that way as he unlocked and opened another oversized double gate-like doors. He allowed them in and warned of the necessity of being interviewed by Brother Jerome. Brother Lucious had simply disappeared into the blackness of the castle. He explained to the intrepid yet spent duo how the Brothers of the ‘Keep’ would not oblige welcoming treats or gestures. Kristophus made it clear that they are perceived as the enemy, the usurpers; the violators of peace and harmony. Instructions on behavior and body language, was conveyed by the Brother, a history of sorts; concerning immediate and long awaited horrifying terror.
Isabelle was comforted with warm compresses, the drying of her clothes, and a warm woolen blanket. She rested in one of the candle-lit rooms near the ‘Keep’s’ front entrance. Eduardo and Brother Kristophus sat close by.
The Brother continued on with preparing them for what’s possible to come. He told serious stories of malice and ill-will upon man by man, then and now.
“’Herman Loher’ fell into the hands of a witch judge, circa 1650 A.D. He wrote:
“Is it just, if a condemned person were forced to fight with lions, bears, and wolves for his life, and prevented from protecting himself, since he is deprived of weapons of every device?”
…Hochnotige Unterthanige Wemiitige Klageder Frommen Unschiiltigen (A Most Pressing Humble Complaint of the Pious Innocents).
Loher was not one who allowed his imagination to run wild Mr. Hushmanzata; he was in the thick of it – The Great and Un-holy Inquisitions!”
His book is a one-of-a-kind edition! It was the only one in existence. He had been an official of the law court at ‘Rheinbach,’ near Bonn, during the two fantastic waves of persecution in 1631 and 1636, which killed one person out of every two families. In the proceeding hundred years, the village had not known one case of imprisonment, let alone an execution. But things changed with the visitation of a special itinerant judge, Franz Buirmann.
Loher, as one of the court’s seven local assessors, saw terror grip the village, and contributed to a common bribe to get the judge to go elsewhere. Buirmann went, but returned in 1636. Loher then joined the mayor and one other official in opposing Buirmann, but they received little support; and Loher, having quietly liquidated as much of his property, real and personal, barely escaped with his family to Amsterdam. Buirmann brazenly confiscated the remainder of Loher’s property on August 3, 1636.
Loher became a Dutch Citizen, set up business again, and lived to be over eighty years of age. Loher felt compelled to record his experiences in order to enlighten the authorities for justice in a uniform criminal procedure among humble folk in small towns and villages.
Three points were stressed in Loher’s writings:
1) innocent people who are tried in the witch courts are tortured and die innocent; 2) victims lie when they are tortured; 3) all victims can be forced to confess anything, especially when the torture is repeated.
The author urged the local ‘Princes’ in Germany to scrutinize the court records, to reduce the high fees the officials received for trying each witch, and above all to stop the torture.
Loher vividly describes how a typical witch judge conducted a trial, raging at and cursing the accused – one such judge, Franz Buirmann:
“You apostate, you witch, you dumb dog! Confess your sin of witchery; reveal the names of your accomplices! You filthy whore, you devil’s wanton, you sack cloth-maker; you dumb toad, speak and confess in God’s name! Swallow the holy salt! Drink the holy water! Tell who it was that taught you witchcraft, and whom you saw and recognized at the witches’ Sabbat.
Then you will not be tortured any longer, but have eternal peace and life.”
According to the book and a recorded encyclopedia entry, Loher started collecting his materials when he came to Amsterdam, but did not publish his book until 1676, at eighty-one years of age. He delayed publication for fear of reprisals from the authorities. Upon his realization of the need to speak out, ‘The Hochnotige’ was illustrated with plates of witch torchers – the book was secretly entrusted to one of Loher’s illustrious colleagues and friend, Johannes Kelpius Senior, father of Johannes Kelpius, II; founder of the ‘Rosicrucians,’ forebearer to the ‘Kelpius Society.’ He was given the book for safe keeping before Loher agreed to publishing copies available for the public at large. Prior to that, it was later exposed for a wide Kelpian circulation. The original copy remained with the ‘Kelpians’ who migrated to America in the 1700s.
Some of the books content included several celebrated trials for lycanthropy.
~”Hallow” A Sojourn Into Now and Then”~
“Listen to me, my friends.” The candle light dimmed and the room appeared to further darken. “This story is very true and all too real… Believe it or not, once, there was an old ‘Nanny-goat’ who had seven kids. She was just as fond of them as any mother over her children. One day, she was going into the woods to fetch some food for them, so she called them all up to her and said:
“My dear children, I am going into the woods to fetch our food. Beware of the dastardly, sneak…the wolf!
If he gets into the house, he will kill you and eat you up, skin and hair, and all. That fiendish rascal often disguises himself, but you will know him by his rough voice and black feet.”
The kids replied, “Oh we will be very careful, Dear Mother. You can assuredly be quite happy about our awareness.”
Bleating tenderly, the old goat went off to her work.
Before long, someone knocked upon the door, and said:
“Open the door, sweet children. Your momma has come back and brought something for each of you.”
Now the kids knew full well whose voice it was. They knew it was the wolf.
“We will not open this door,” they answered. “You are not our mother. She possesses a soft gentle voice; while yours is rough and coarse and we are quite sure that you are the ‘Big Bad Wolf.’
With that, he went away to a shop and bought a lump of chalk, which he ate, and it made his voice quite soft. He then went back and knocked on the door of the goat’s house and said:
“Open the door sweet children. Your momma has returned home from the woods and has brought something for each of you.”
Slick as he thought he was, he put his paws on the window sill, right were the kids could see them. The said to him:
“We will not open the door. Our mother does not have black feet like you; you are the big bad wolf…slick and sly as you think you are!”
Then the wolf ran off to a baker, and said:
“I have bruised my feet; will you please put some cooling dough on them?”
When the baker fulfilled his request, the wolf ran off to the miller and said:
“Sprinkle some flour on my feet.”
The miller thought, “This slick ole wolf is up to no good. I wonder what he’s up to.” He refused to comply with his request.
The wolf then said to the miller, “If you don’t do it, I will kill you and eat you up!”
So the miller frightened as he was, complied with his requests and whitened the wolf’s paws.
For a third time, the wolf approached the door and said:
“Open the door, sweet children. Your dear mother has come home with something for each of you from the woods.”
The wary kids were overly cautious due to the last two visits. Show us your feet first, so that we may be sure you are our mother.”
The wolf did as they asked. He placed his paws on the window sill. When they saw that they were white, they believed all the things he said, and opened the door. Of course it was the big bad wolf that walked in. The kids were terrified and frightened out of their wits. They attempted to run and hide. One of the kids ran under the table, the second jumped into bed, the third jumped into the oven, the fourth ran into the kitchen, the fifth climbed into the cupboard, the sixth jumped into the washtub, and the seventh hid in the tall clock-case. The wolf found them all except the last. He made short work of them…he swallowed one behind the other except the youngest one who hid in the clock-case. The wolf did not find him.
When he had satisfied his appetite, he took himself out of the house and into the woods, where he laid down and fell fast asleep.
Not long after the deep slumbering, the old nanny-goat came back from the woods.
Oh what a horrifically terror-filled sight met her eyes! The door of the house was left standing wide open. The table, chairs, shelving, benches, and other furnishings were overturned, broken, and thrown about. The washing bowl was smashed to atoms. The covers and pillows were torn from the bed. The old nanny-goat screamed and searched all over the house while looking for her children. They were nowhere to be found.
One by one she called them by name, no one answered. When she called the youngest, a tiny voice answered:
“I am here Mother! I’m hiding in the clock-case!”
She ran to the grandfather clock and freed her youngest kid. He told her all that had transpired throughout the hideous occurrence. The mother goat cried and sobbed in unholy despair. In her grief, she went out, the youngest offspring ran alongside. When they arrived at the meadow, there lay the big bad wolf under a large shade-tree. The branches shook with his strong and powerfully loud snores. They examined him from every side, and they could plainly see movement within his distended belly.
“Ah, Heavens to Betsy!” thought the mother-goat. “Is it possible that my poor children are still alive after the wolfish feast?”
She sent the youngest kid running back to the house to fetch scissors, needles, and thread. She then cut a hole in the sleeping beasts’ side. Just as she had begun to cut, the hole in the wolf’s side was a bit larger than a button, a kid popped out its head, When the hole was big enough, all six kids jumped out of the wolf. They were all alive, and suffered not one injury. In his greed, the beast had swallowed without chewing or biting – he swallowed all of them whole.
The mother hugged and kissed her babies while skipping and jumping all about full of joy and happiness. She momentarily stopped the fervent and eager joy. Realizing that this monster could awaken, she sent the kids for rocks and stones. The mother goat and her kids stuffed the wolf full of stones and rocks. She then quickly sewed him back up, without his having noticing anything at all.
Finally after several hours had passed, the wolf had enjoyed enough rest and sleep. When he tried to get up, he felt unusually heavy. He also felt very thirsty. He wanted to get a drink of fresh spring water to quell his thirst. As soon as he began to move, the stones began to rattle and roll on his insides. He cried aloud:
“What’s this rumbling and tumbling that sets my stomach grumbling? I thought it was the flesh and bones of the six kids inside. I find it to feel like nothing but rolling stones.”
Stumbling about, the wolf found it difficult to manage or maintain his stability. When he reached the spring, the unwary monster stooped over the water to drink. The heavy stones dragged him down faster than a weighted submariner. He drowned miserably. He felt as though he were cheated and robbed of something – his life maybe? He swore revenge from the watery grave.
When the she-goat and her seven kids saw what happened, they came running up and cried aloud – “The wolf is dead, the wolf is dead! Hooray!” And they danced and cheered with joy and happiness; they and their mother.”
“Even a man, who is pure of heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the Wolfsbane blooms and the Autumn Moon is bright.”
The Brother held fast the attention of Eduardo and Isabelle. “This story reminds me of an old tale my Grandmother used to read to my siblings and me at bedtime – it sounds like something from the ‘Brothers Grimm of Grimm’s Fairy Tales.”
“I’ve said to you once Mr. Hushmanzata, you may believe what you wish – but I advise you to take heed to the message…”
Brother Kristophus looked up into the eyes of the two travelers. He arose to his feet from the sitting position and reached for his six foot walking staff. Nodding to the figure standing behind them; Brother Joseph had entered the room unnoticed. After turning to see Brother Joseph, the pair turned back to Brother Kristophus. But he was gone. It was like he was never there at all – he simply vanished.
Brother Joseph began speaking while motioning the duo to follow him. “I am Brother Joseph, the Guide. I will prepare you and bring you to the door of Brother Jerome, The Guardian Watcher. During the audience, it is he who will decide whether or not your stay is welcomed or not.”
The Brother walked and talked without turning to look at them. He picked up right where Brother Kristophus left off…
“A fox was one day talking to a wolf about the strength of man. The wolf claimed the title for being stronger and smarter.
‘No animals, ‘he said, ‘could withstand man, and they were obliged to use cunning to hold their own against him.’
The wolf answered, ‘If ever I happened to see a man, I should attack him all the same.’
‘Well, I can help you do that,’ said the fox. ‘Come to me early tomorrow, and I will show you one.’
The wolf was early to rise, and the fox took him out to a road in the forest, traversed daily by a huntsman. First an old discharged soldier came.
‘Is that a man, asked the wolf?’
‘No, answered the fox. He has been a man.’
After that, a little boy appeared on his way to school.
‘Is that a man?’
‘No,’ he is going to be a man.’
At last the huntsman made his appearance, his gun on his back, and his hunting-knife at his side. The fox said to the wolf – ‘look! Here comes a man. You may attack him, but I will make off to my hole!’
The wolf set on the man, who said to himself when he saw him. ‘What a pity my gun isn’t loaded with a leaden-metal ball,’ and fired a charge of black powder in the wolf’s face. The wolf made a wry face, but was not frightened, and attacked him again.
The huntsman gave the wolf a second charge. The beast swallowed the pain, and rushed at the huntsman again. This time he drew his bright and shiny but large hunting-knife, and slashed out to the left and to the right with it. The blade struck home and smeared itself with streaming blood. The wolf ran back to the fox and said:
“Brother Fox, Brother Fox!”
…The fox turned to the wolf and asked, “How did you get on with the man?”
“Brother Fox. I’ll tell you this – I never thought the strength of man would be what it is. First, he took a stick from his shoulder, and blew into it, and something flew into my face, which tickled frightfully. Then he blew into it again, and it flew into my eyes and nose like lightning and hail – then he drew a shiny rib out of his body, and struck at me with it until I was more dead than alive!”
The fox looked up at the wolf and asked “why are you clutching your haunches with both hands?”
“Well Brother Fox, I don’t think I’ll be able to sit or make a discharge from my rectum again. I do believe that I will be dead momentarily. Not only did the shiny broad and sharp rib cut at me real good, I heard the man scream out:
‘If I do not have at the ready, a leaden-metal ball, I sure as hell have these silver ones. I then heard and saw the black powder explosion from the stick he carried. I turned to run but fell down when the shiny orb struck and pierced my behind. The pain that I felt was indescribable. It felt nothing like the orbs thrown at me before. They only itched after contact and caused me to scratch. But this one has caused me to bleed and feel pain – this pain along with the pain and bleeding caused by his big shiny and sharpened rib. I feel my strength and consciousness ebbing Brother Fox. I am dying while man is stronger than we…’
“Now you see,” said the fox, “what a braggart you are. You’ve thrown your toothy face out so far that you can’t get it back again.”
Eddie and Isabelle were left standing there, facing each other. They turned to question Brother Joseph. He was gone.
The broad oaken door in front of them slowly, very slowly opened along with the sound of an eerie groaning creek.
“Come in, enter and be seated my children.” The loud and strongly masterful commanding voice frightened them. Seated behind a large desk of wooden antiquity was the tall and sinister figure of Brother Jerome.
The sound of a howl and a loud strong bone-chilling growl emanated from the shadows and aided the two in hurrying into the quarters and presence of the ‘Keeps’ number one occupant.
‘You have no doubt been educated of our world perplexing dilemma and responsibilities by the good Brothers; have you not?”
The uneasy travelers trembled slightly in his presence.
“Yes Brother Jerome,” Eduardo answered. Isabelle shook her head in agreement.
“Good,” said Brother Jerome. “I can’t emphasize enough the gravest of dangers awaiting the world have been securely suppressed and confined within the walls of this Keep. Recently the father of all evil escaped from imprisonment due to the interaction with an outsider. His invasive and damaging intervention allowed for such an atrocity to occur. We’ve warned him in every way possible…to no avail. We have pleaded with him while we aided in his healing! All we wanted him to do was leave us in peace…leave us in our world of solitude; our business. We entertained and enlightened him. How did he re-pay our indulgences and hospitable generosities? He did not take heed of our warnings! It was he who aided in re-releasing of that horrible man-killing entity upon the vulnerable existence of mankind! The goodness of it all is his intrepid search and tracking of the beast. Along with the aid of sanctuary Brothers across the globe, we will soon have him back inside, with the grace and will of God.
And now we have you two… Can you not wonder why we do not offer or accept hospitality or sanctuary from or to outsiders?”
Brother Jerome held their full attention. When Eduardo and Isabelle attempted to explain their reasons for the intrusion, the holy-man shrugged and waved for them to stop talking.
“I am fully aware of why you are here and how you have come upon us. So that we fully understand what it is you intend to do from this point forward, remains to be seen.
In order for us to properly protect you while you are here, we must provide you with as much pertinent information as heavenly possible. You will need to arm yourselves – prepare yourselves, should we fail to do so; no man-made weapons will defeat this evil. The only salvation is guidance from the ‘Most-High’ and his humble but vigilant disciples.
Brother Jerome reached for a book high up on the highest of shelves in the northwest wall of his office. The volume was old and dusty but firm and fully intact. The thickness of it readily suggested an abundance of recorded knowledge.
The holy-man sat back down behind his opulent oaken desk while motioning the travelers to do the same. He then fumbled about the inside of his robes and produced a small pair of reading spectacles. The brother proceeded in further espoused enlightenment. He leafed through a few pages before reading to them samples of the text therein:
“It is said that once a lion planned to go live in another land. Then all the beasts held a convention. He told them all of his intention, and they ‘should select a king.’” He thought he’d not be back again. The beasts requested that he provide another lion. He answered that he had no heir. He had not raised one – he did not dare. Among themselves must be their guest to find the one who’d govern best. And thus it was they who chose the wolf, for no one else was bold enough to dare take anyone but he (even though all of them thought the wolf was a villain).
Yet he assured them all, and swore he’d love them best forever. They went to the lion next and stated the wolf had now been designated as king. He said to doubt not in the least. That they had picked a clever beast, extremely fast and versatile, provided that his heart and will were as they ought to be – sincere.
But one thing caused the lion fear – that the wolf for counselor would pick the fox who knew well how to trick; both are insidious and base.
If from the wolf they wanted peace, on holy relics he must swear that he’d touch no beast anywhere and that forever he would not eat any meat, no matter what.
The wolf then most willingly swore to more than what was asked of him. But when he had been bound by oath, and whether lion set out, the wolf had a vicious craving for some meat. He made plans for deceitful purposes. He intended to get the beasts to all agree and give him leave accordingly.
The wolf them summoned a ‘Doe Deer,’ and secretly questioned her. If for his love of truth, she would tell about wolf’s breath – how did it smell?
She said it smelled terrible, almost unbearable. The wolf was very angry then. He sent a summons to his men. He questioned all those who had come. He asked them what kind of sentence would be given when someone spoke such things to his Lord’s face, such words of shame, slur, and disgrace. Should this one die, they all attested. The wolf then had the deer arrested. While they all watched, he killed the deer and ate the better part of her.
To help cover his crime, he proclaimed that he’d share portions of the kill, what remained, with them.
After his hunger pangs had ceased, he called for yet another beast. He questioned her in the same way as the first. How smelled his breath – what would she say? The poor thing would much rather lie than tell the truth for fear of suffering and death. So she replied that she knew of and smelled no scent. It was fragrant and very excellent.
The wolf summoned his cabinet and asked his barons, when they met, what punishment he should decree to one who would lie so deceitfully. They all judged that she must die. When they caught her, they brought her before the wolf. He killed her, tearing her limb-from-limb, and ate her all up right in front of them.
Time passed. The wolf observed a monkey. He was fat and quite well fed. Oh how he had coveted that monkey. He desperately wanted to eat him, to devour him.
One day, the wolf went to him. He inquired about his breath – did it stink or smell quite sweat – “what do you think?”
The monkey was extremely sly. He was in no way intending to die. So he replied that he didn’t know. The wolf didn’t know what to do. The monkey could not be condemned because no intended harm was done.
The wolf went to bed feigning illness. He complained to all the beasts. He thought he would never get well. They all came in turn, paying him a call. They sent out for doctors so that they may know if he’d be well again. The doctors were all at a loss to know. None of them found or saw a thing wrong nor could they find a cause. There was no injury to cause such a mood. If only he would desire some food!
“I have desired food, good doctors. I have entertained no other wish for some time now. I have had no other wish except to eat some monkey flesh. Of course you know of my oath, where I loath to touch another beast unless I can justify it very well; my barons could ratify it!”
They all gathered together and gave this view:
“That is what he must do. There is no cure for what ails his heart’s desire, no cure.”
Their remedies could not be sure. When the wolf king heard of what they advocated, he seized the monkey, killed him, and ate him. On all in turn, one-by-one, sentence was passed:
His oath to none of them was fast or sure.
Thus by the wise man we are taught that we, no matter what, must not ever make a wicked man ‘seignior,’ nor show to such a one honor.
His loyalty is as much a pretense with strangers as it is with his close friends. And toward his people he will at as did the wolf, with his sworn pact.
Brother Jerome closed the book and stared at the man and woman for what seemed like a long moment.
“They say there is no sin in killing a beast, only in killing a man… But where does one begin and the other end?”
Isabelle and Eduardo looked at one another and then back at Brother Jerome in bewilderment. They had no answer to give.
Brother Jerome smiled and rose to his feet. He walked over to the bookshelf and returned the big book to its proper place. Breaking the silence, he asked, “Why is it, the so-called educated, do not have or acquire the good sense of knowing better?”
Brother Jerome walked over to the window and peered at the full moon. It provided a brilliant light against the blackened nighttime sky. It cast a broad spectrum of white, silver, and grey light over all that was touched by its glow. He motioned for the pair to come over and join his gaze. Once they arrived, he pointed to a field of shrubbery. It appeared like a field of black foliage in the night. The Brother explained to them in the day light, the plants are a brilliant green with small and vividly white blossoms when I bloom. They only bloom in the light of the full moon.
The puzzled man and woman looked at each one another with frightful bewilderment and astonishment. Somehow, the explanation had contained…a familiar ring to it; an eerie memory. They heard a growl. It was an intensely loud growl and not too far away. It, the growl, was followed by a ferociously sinister howl-like that of a wolf.
Shaken with fright and ice-cold fear, they turned to see Brother Jerome standing behind them, clutching tightly to his walking staff. He stared at them intently and began to speak – almost trance-like…
“Even a man, who is pure of heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolf-bane blooms and the Autumn Moon is bright!”
Brother Jerome’s frightful yet stoic during his trance-like look broke the silence once again…
“Well now my dear, you cannot leave here tonight even though we do not want you.”
Eddie questioned his statement and the meaning of why they couldn’t leave.
“Eduardo,” the Brother took him aside so that Isabelle could not hear his words. “You and your companion cannot leave because she bears the mark of death…”
“Bullshit Mr. Holy Man!” Isabelle could clearly see that whatever the holy man said to Eddie surely shook him up – and she knew the conversation was about her as well. “She hasn’t got a mark on her! She only felt a little sick and feverish because we were caught out in the elements… What damned mark of death? Man, you all must be crazy or high on something in here – you’re all full of shit! We’ve got enough for our research and story. Come on ‘Izzy,’ we’re getting the hell out of this Looney bin!”
Eduardo reached for the tearfully and frightened woman. They started for the door.
“STOP!” shouted the monk, STOP Mr. Hushmanzata – should you and she leave here tonight you will surely meet your deaths!”
The horror-filled pair kept moving toward the door.
“STOP Mr. Hushmanzata – look at the right palm of her hand!”
They stopped moving and stepped back away from the door. Eduardo turned Isabelle’s hands over, palms up. Shock, spine tingling horror, and blood curdling terror would not be strong enough words to describe their current demeanor or disposition. The shadowy image of the five-pointed pentagram – the five pointed star that disappeared and re-appeared on the entire palm of her hand gave them blue vein cold fright. It brought them to a high level of indescribable fear and graveyard-cold terror that no one has ever been able to present to a living soul. They backed away from the door, fumbling for the chairs they recently occupied as Brother Jerome attempted to provide some form of comfort.
View the continuing saga:
Expected Launch Date…
… I’ve decided to go back to the Philadelphia Library, the local branches, and then the main building on ‘Vine Street.’ That particular branch is well known for its humungous compilation of literary facts from damn near the beginning of time.
I’ve also managed to dig up several interview and essays on our illustrious if not notorious Kelpian Society. The new and current president is known by the name of Thomas Carroll.
“When There’s No More Room In Hell”
‘The Mystery and Quest for The Monks of the Wissahickon’
(End of Part One): Next
“And The Darkness Comes”
“I’m not at all averse to the idea or belief that Kelpius may have been murdered,” said Rafael Piccalleo. He makes the statement while glancing back at me in a mischievous manner.
“He managed to bring quite a few valuables and artifacts with him from Europe. One of which, I might add, is a fascinating refractive sundial. When filled with water, time appears to be moving backwards, or in reverse. This reference of Biblical proportions is highly significant to the Rosicrucians. A piece like that would, I believe, drive a person to murder for its possession. Many of these irreplaceable treasures are still in circulation today.”
I’ve managed to secure an interview with a Mr. Rafael Piccaleo, a former docent for the Wissahickon Wildlife Association. He granted the interview based on his curiosity of what I intended to write. He assured me of the Rosicrucian desire for complete and utter privacy, but would assist me in telling the truth about the order. His wiry physic and intense yet comforting charming mannerism complemented his long greying hair allowed me to feel quite at ease with him. This settling behavior opened a comfort zone while listening to his raptured recitation. He was highly excited to spread the word of goodness, like that of a religious missionary discovering the new world and a horde of people waiting to be saved. I knew him to be a stone mason by trade. Mr. Piccaleo considered the past-time of treasure hunting enjoyable.
“I seek the greatest treasure that the world has ever known, and that is the truth.”
He motioned for me to gather my things. We then packed our belongings into a waiting SUV. We arrived, sooner than I thought, to the parking area on ‘Forbidden Drive.’
We spent several hours clambering around and through mounds of shrubbery and thickets. Piccaleo talked while we walked and climbed. He recounted several different facets of Kelpius’ history. He accredits Kelpius with astounding alchemical abilities as well as being the first teacher in the ‘New World’ to offer free education to all, regardless of race or ethnicity.
Piccaleo is enraptured as much by the Kelpius legend as he is about history. He has extensively researched both obsessively while being unable to resist adding his own flourished by tangentially connecting Kelpius to everything from ancient Egyptians to the Holy Grail.
Many of the German artifacts that arrived in America with Kelpius and his followers, Piccaleo believes are still scattered around Philadelphia’s vast park lands.
We came upon a rock outcropping that Rafael believes the monks used for astrological observations and the possible site of their worship hall. It’s located directly under the ‘Henry Ave. Bridge.’ While observing these stones and prayer locations, Piccaleo produces a book from his hiking pack. It’s a local history book relating the legend of Kelpius’ death.
Piccaleo cited Alan Holm, an architect, founded the Kelpius Society in 1986. He became fascinated with the story and legend after a chance encounter with a group of Rosicrucians who happened to be worshipping near the Kelpius cave in the Wissahickon Valley Green location.
“We’re not a bunch of people walking around in robes chanting through the woods,” states Holm in Rafael’s book. “We want to be taken seriously as an organization – maybe some of our members do that sort of thing, and that’s fine…but both sides have a place here.
We approach a portal to one of the caves and Piccaleo cautioned me to step carefully because sometimes people use that cave as a toilet.
I wondered why he pointed out that particular cave. We continued walking. The cave was dank, dark, and deep. Examining evidence along the way, our battery powered lanterns and torches allowed excellent if not limited illumination; the ruins of a cottage appeared at the exit outside the tunnel/cave into a complete patch of green life – a complete circle! In the middle of this large circle was a cottage. It was the ruins of a 19th century cottage that may have been built on the foundation of Kelpius’ house in the woods.
Arriving here, we – I was extremely excited. Piccaleo had been here before. Despite his most grandiose claims, Piccaleo makes it clear the “cave” was probably a spring house or root cellar of unknown origins and that Kelpius, given his illness, would probably not have chosen to mediate in this place – a damp pit. Piccaleo pointed to a slope in the hillside, near a spring that was actually used by the monks. He speculated that Kelpius’ secret library and alchemical lab are buried somewhere underneath that ground.
We were now standing in a little stone grotto, the current stone entranceway into the Kelpius cave. A marker honoring the monks stands erected and installed by Rosicrucians, complete with cartouches and other obscure glyphs sits nearby.
I could resist asking Piccaleo the same question that I asked the friendly neighbor. I resisted…but the dead or missing kids were now vividly upon my mind.
“Mr. Piccaleo, what do you know of the man; also from Transylvania, and possibly a passenger onboard that sailing vessel who could also be a ‘Kelpian’’ or ‘Rosicrucian’; named ‘Vlad Teppes,’ member of the order ‘Dracul?’
His face suddenly went stoic and white as marble. His manner changed abruptly. All evidence of cordiality and color was dismissed from him. Hid gaze was suddenly and allusively defiant.
“I know of no such man – no such person!”
“Then why sir,” I badgered, “why do these stone slabs, these alters, if you will, show evidence of a recent cleaning…remnants of soap and dried blood along the sides?”
A Viral Epidemic:
The medical examiner was at a loss to explain the two puncture wounds on the rear left side of the dead boys’ neck.
My notes and research show the probability of a failed murder attempt on the head monk of the Rosicrucians – it did not specifically identify Kelpius as being the target. Two spikes of oaken wood were found in one of the caves in the Wissahickon Valley. One was on the floor, the other caked in blood, laid vertically atop the alter of cool marble.
To my horror…in my mind, fingers began to point in the direction of the hermits in the Wissahickon Valley Green. The missing children in the northeast region of the city of Philadelphia began as an accusation – as it did with the ‘Dungeon Queen.’
“And The Darkness Comes”
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