Gruesome Cargoes

Horror fiction 1925-1937: ‘Not At Nights’ & ‘Creeps’

Archive for the ‘More Not At Night’ Category

More Not At Night

Posted by demonik on August 15, 2007


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Many thanks to Robert Weinberg for kindly granting me permission to use his cover scans.

Christine Campbell Thomson (ed) – More Not At Night (Selwyn & Blount, Sept.1926)

Joel Martin Nichols, jr. – The Hooded Death
B. W. Sliney – The Man Who Was Saved
W. J. Stamper – Fidel Basin
Galen C. Colin – Teeth
Edith Lyle Ragsdale – Vials Of Wrath
Sewell Peaslee Wright – The Experiment Of Erich Weigert
Donald Edward Keyhoe – The Mystery Under The Sea
Seabury Quinn – The Horror On The Links
Stewart Van Der Veer – The Yellow Spectre
Will Smith & R. J. Robbins – Swamp Horror
Raoul Lenoir – The Dead Soul
Frank Belknap Long, jr. -The Sea Thing
H. Thompson Rich -The Black Box
August Derleth – Bat’s Belfry
A. W. Kapfer – The Phantom Drug

Frank Belknap Long – The Sea Thing: Told via the captain’s entries in the ship’s log. The Octopus has lost the majority of it’s crew through cholera. The seven survivors are starving to death when they come upon Francis de la Vega and his boat-load of provisions. He tells them that a hurricane did for his ship, The Princess. “Six or seven got away in the long boat”, records the captain, “but my friend (I call him that because he has saved us all) – my friend threw them overboard. They died first of course. Get that straight. they died from fright or from drinking salt water, and my friend didn’t like the company of corpses, so he just naturally disposed of them”.

All is well for the next few days until the tall, lean de Vega – who’s been around since the 17th century and whose cabin permanently smells of a charnel house – metamorphosis’s into the sea thing and drains the blood of the remaining crew members.

“Something was on top of Tommy. It covered him and seemed apparently about to absorb him. In its evil distorted features and long nailed hands I recognised a caricature of de Vega. But the evil in the man had sprouted. It had turned him into a jellyish, fishy monstrosity. His legs and arms actually gave. They were like nothing in this world under the sun and moon and stars. They lengthened and enveloped and choked Tommy. But the worst of all, the body of the thing was covered with greenish scales and pink suckers on its chest. The suckers were lustily at work on poor Tommy.”

A. F. Kapfer – The Phantom Drug: the narrator develops a serum which temporarily transfers the human mind into that of an animal. His friend, Rodney Caleb, crippled and miserable, begs to be injected so that he can once again experience movement in his limbs. They take the drug. The professor’s mind is transported into the body of an elephant, Caleb’s migrates into that of a tiger. All is well until another hostile elephant enters the clearing and a bloody fracas ensues. Caleb’s tiger is terribly wounded, and, as the effects of the serum wears off, the prof’s elephant collapses on top of him.
Reawakening in his human body, the sight that greets the professor’s eyes is enough to see him consigned to an asylum for the rest of his days.

Will Smith & R. J. Robbins – Swamp Horror: The narrator’s father has gone missing in mysterious circumstances so he moves back home to the farm to investigate. Exploring Marvin’s Swamp the following day, he discovers the corpse of his father – and those of several animals – lying in and around Dead River, entirely drained of blood. The loathsome creatures responsible soon reveal themselves: “Great, fat overgrown leeches; spawned of the filth and grown here to this morbid size by centuries of breeding and interbreeding in the lushness. Oh, the horror that swept me!”

August Derleth – Bat’s Belfry: “I made a new and shocking discovery today. I went down to the place where the tablet lay, and another rock below the cavity wherein the Book of Thoth had been lain gave way below me and I found myself in a vault with about a score of skeletons – all of little children. If the house is inhabited by vampires it is only too obvious that these skeletons are those of their unfortunate victims.”

Essentially, August Derleth’s Dracula. Sir Harry Barclay moves into Lohrville Manor, a Mansion on the fog-bound moors. The place has a sinister reputation on account of his predecessor, Baron Lohrville who dubbed it ‘Bats Belfry’ and a spate of disappearances of young women from a neighbouring village. Barclay learns to his cost that the Baron has set up headquarters in the cellar, with four dishy brides at his call. Sir Harry finds the experience suitably draining.

Seabury Quinn – The Horror On The Links: “Name of an old one-eyed tom-cat! It was the truth young Maitland told. It was an ape which accosted him in the bois. An ape in evening clothes!”

Harrisonville, New Jersey. In her youth Mrs. Comstock broke off her engagement to mad scientist Otto Beneckendorff when she learned of the sadistic pleasure he derived from vivisection. Beneckendorff swore vengeance. Nothing has been heard of him since he escaped from a Paris madhouse during the war.
Mr. Kalmer has recently taken over a gloomy old house on the Andover Road when a young woman is mutilated and two men injured on the golf course after a party at the Sedgemoor Country Club. One of the men, Manly, is the fiance of Mrs. Comstock’s daughter, Millicent. Thanks to Beneckendorff/ Kalmer and his infernal serum, he is also a were-gorilla who transforms to beast on the night of the full moon.

The first Jules De Grandin adventure (Dr. Trowbridge had featured in an earlier story, The Stone Image), and the first time Quinn was published in the UK.

W. J. Stamper – Fidel Basin: Haiti. having seen the squalor and starvation of the prisons where so many of the townsfolk are being unjustly held, Captain Vilnard is so disgusted at his army’s treatment of their own people that he resigns his commission and defects to the rebels, advising his lieutenant, Fidel Basin, to do likewise. But Basin only has eyes for promotion and is quite happy to carry out whatever barbaric orders are forthcoming from Port au Prince. Now the army have had enough, the soldiers mutiny and Michel meets a deservedly dreadful end – trussed to the festering corpse of an innocent prisoner who died of tropical dysentery.

Donald Edward Keyhoe – The Mystery Under The Sea: “Caught in a rotting rope, swayed the skeleton of a man, its bleached bones glowing with devilish luminosity, while the skull gave forth a ghastly grin that seemed to mock them in their helplessness.”

The crew of a US seaplane are captured, taken aboard a German submarine and forced to explore a sunken ship, The Cormorant. They find themselves caught up in a life or death struggle versus a giant cuttlefish.

Sewell Peaslee Wright – The Experiment Of Erich Weigert: “Perhaps the day is not too far off when we shall be able to broadcast moving pictures as well as the music to accompany them!”

After giving his lecture on Radio As It Used To Be, young Mr. Saylor is invited back to the laboratory of a wealthy recluse with an interest in science. Erich Weigert is especially interested in thought transference. Saylor is soon to regret his covert glances at Vera, the glamorous Mrs.Weigert …

Galen C. Colin – Teeth: Hai Waku, China. American Peter Vermain makes the fatal error of being caught holding hands with Ti Ling, the beautiful daughter of Professor Ling Fu. He is slipped a drug which paralyzes ever muscle but – crucially – leaves him entirely conscious of all that is going on around him and capable of feeling pain. The sadistic Chinese then sets his dental students loose on the ‘white devil’ …

B. W. Sliney – The Man Who Was Saved: The seven man schooner The Scudder is becalmed for days in the middle of the ocean. One evening, the crew are intrigued by some unseen thing that causes a great disturbance in the water. They realise they’re in trouble when it sucks down a huge whale, reducing it to a bloody pulp. The monster – “a horrible mess of pulsating green matter” – attacks The Scudder, oozing across the deck and decimating the crew.

The single survivor is picked up by The Pacific Belle where his story is met with a certain amount of incredulity, although some of the men mutter darkly that there are such things. And then they run across the stranded schooner …

Joel Martin Nichols, jr. – The Hooded Death: Stolen idol fun. As the savage Gohils descend on the house to reclaim their filched bowl, the evil thief Brinville, now insane, and his carer for ten months, Cunningham, fight it out in a room where two vicious cobra’s are loose …

H. Thompson Rich – The Black Box: Herrington tries to murder plantation owner Ainsworth in a jealous rage over his having won the beautiful Aline. In the struggle, Ainsworth plucks the would-be assassin’s eye from his socket and only allows him to live on condition that he leaves Alabama never to return. Herrington agrees but, as Ainsworth escorts him through the swamp, he swears he will be avenged for the loss of his eye. All is peaceful until Ainsworth and Aline’s wedding day, when a curiously carved box is found among the presents …

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