Friday, May 22, 2015

RAVEN MOCKER

RAVEN MOCKER
"Amongst those anisgina things, I should offer that the Raven Mockers can be put down for near about the worst of all. They were given that name because they can fly if they want to, and when they fly, they make a noise like a raven. Reuben Manco imitated it for me, kraa-kraa, a pure down ugly noise. They make it their chief business to help a man to die,  you might could say. If somebody gets down flat on his back, bad sick or wounded, the Raven Mockers fly in and crowd all round and over him like a bunch of, well, like ravens. Most times they make themselves right hard to see by air real man or woman except maybe a wise old Cherokee medicine man. And the medicine man has got to pray his strongest prayers and work his best and fastest and sensiblest with  all the magic he knows, so as to keep those Raven Mockers off from one they're out to kill."

"They're heads were round and dark, with a knobby look all over them, and the heads and those wrappings were the same sooty-looking color that, in the sunlight, might could have been a deep diry brown. They'd come on out and spread this-a-way and that to surround us, and they stood and looked on us with eyes like coals of fire that had died 
down to a scummy pink."

"It had a monkeyish look to it, only not just monkey, either. Monkeys are funny, and this wasn't funny. I mean, the skull was squashed low and shallow above and its jaw was wide and shallow below. Its mouth hung loose and ugly and went all the way across, and its two pink-shining eyes hung deep back in it, in hollows like pits under two big bony brows like jackknife handles. But not funny like a monkey, or either with that sad monkey look. It was pure poison mean. And, I reckoned, hungry."

"That stuff was a kind of skin. It grew downward from the wrists and elbows of the long arms, it ws fast to the two sides of the squatty body, all the way down to the ankles of the short, chunky legs. It was like the spread of an umbrella, or of the wings of a bat. Only it had no ribs to it, just the wide-pulled stretch of it you could see the moonlight through."
Manly Wade Wellman, The Old Gods Waken

"Of all the Cherokee wizards or witches the most dreaded is the Raven Mocker (Kâ'lanû Ahkyeli'skï), the one that robs the dying man of life. They are of either sex and there is no sure way to know one, though they usually look withered and old, because they have added so many lives to their own."

"Every little while as he flies he makes a cry like the cry of a raven when it "dives" in the air--not like the common raven cry--and those who hear are afraid, because they know that some man's life will soon go out. When the Raven Mocker comes to the house he finds others of his kind waiting there, and unless there is a doctor on guard who knows bow to drive them away they go inside, all invisible, and frighten and torment the sick man until they kill him. Sometimes to do this they even lift him from the bed and throw him on the floor, but his friends who are with him think he is 
only struggling for breath."
James Mooney, Myths Of the Cherokee

 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

ONE OTHER

ONE OTHER
"The firelight had risen high, and as she spoke something hiked up behind the rocks on the pool's edge. It hiked up like a wet black leech, but much bigger by a thousand times. It slid and oozed to the top of a rock and as it waited a second, wet and shiny in the firelight, it looked as if somebody had flung down a wet coat. Then it hunched and swelled, and its edges came apart.
It was a hand, as broad in the back as a shovel, with fingers as long as a hayfork's tines." 

"The shoulder was a cypress root humping out of water, and the head was a dark pumpkin, round and smooth and bald, with no face, only two eyes. They were green, not bright green like cat eyes or dog eyes in the night. They were stale rotten green, like something spoiled."

"One Other was twice as tall as a tall man, and it was sure enough true that he had only one arm and one leg. The arm would be his left arm, and the leg his left leg. Maybe that's why the mountain folks named him One Other. But his stale green eyes were two, and both of them looked down at us. He made a sure hop toward us on his big single foot, big and flat as a table top, and he put out his hand to touch or to grab."
Manly Wade Wellman, One Other


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

UGLY BIRD

UGLY BIRD
"First out I saw it was dark, heavy-winged, bigger than a buzzard. Then I saw the shiny gray-black of the body, like wet slate, and how it seemed to have feathers only on its wide wings. Then I made out the thin snaky neck, the bulgy head and long stork beak, the eyes set in front of its head—man-fashion in front, not to each side. The feet that taloned onto the sack showed pink and smooth with five graspy toes. The wings snapped like a tablecloth in a wind, and it churned away over the 
 trees with the meal sack."

"I saw teeth, sharp and mean, like a garpike's teeth. It swooped for me, and the wind of its wings was colder than a winter storm."

"I looked quick, and saw two long, dark wings flop away from the door. 
The Ugly Bird had spied."
Manly Wade Wellman, O, Ugly Bird!



Tuesday, May 19, 2015

FLAT

 FLAT
"And there's the Flat. It lies level with the ground, and not much higher. It can wrap you like a blanket."

"I could see, but he couldn't, as around from behind the corner of the desrick flowed something. It lay out on the ground like a broad, black, short-furred carpet rug. But it moved, humping and then flattening out, the way a measuring worm moves. It moved pretty fast, right toward Mr. Yandro from behind and to one side."

"The crawling carpet brushed its edge against his foot. He looked down at it, and his eyes stuck out all of a sudden, like two door knobs. He knew what it was, and named it at the top of his voice. 'The Flat!' Humping against him, it tried to wrap around his foot and leg."
Manly Wade Wellman, The Desrick On Yandro

Monday, May 18, 2015

SKIM


 
SKIM
"And there's the Skim—it kites through the air"

"And above the treetops sailed a round, flat thing, like a big plate being pitched high. 
A Skim. Then another Skim."
Manly Wade Wellman, The Desrick On Yandro

 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Happy Birthday Manly Wade Wellman!

This coming Thursday is Manly Wade Wellman's birthday. To celebrate I'll be posting a full week's worth of monsters starting Monday.

Wellman's fiction is a blend of folk magic, adventure and horror. Most importantly though, it's really fun. His main recurring characters are the occult detectives Judge Persuivant and John Thunderstone. My favorite, however, is his character John the Balladeer or Silver John. He's a wandering singer that walks through the Appalachian mountains (armed with a guitar with silver strings) and does battle with supernatural monsters and evil men. Kind of like a rural folk A-Team but just one guy. In fact, Mike Mignola's Hellboy story The Crooked Man was largely influence by Silver John.

I usually do a mini-bio for these birthday posts but Wellman's life is too insane to summarize. However HE did it himself in this piece that appeared in Thrilling Wonder Tales:

"There have been Wellmans in Virginia back to 1660, and before that in Devonshire back to, say 660... modest gentlefolk all, but of poor judgment in battle, having graced the losing factions at Hastings, Otterburn, Bosworth Field, Princeton, Gettysburg...I was born in Portuguese West Africa, where my father was doing medical research...sketchily educated in London, Washington, Wichita, Salt Lake City New York...poor student, mediocre footballer...since graduation, have toiled as bookseller, bouncer, farm hand, house painter, reporter, and, finally, writer...other less savory employments I shall not mention...first appeared in Wonder in 1931 and hope to go on appearing...am thirtyish, dark, untidy, married, and huge...probably the biggest, or second or third biggest, of all science fiction authors...

My home is the Watchung Mountains...and, in response to inquiries, that's my real name...if I were going to take a nom de plume, I'd call myself something successful, like Jules Verne or Edgar Rice Burroughs."

That's not all! Wellman also wrote for comics. Not just any comics but Captain Marvel and The Spirit! When DC sued Fawcett Publishers claiming that Captain Marvel was plagiarized from Superman, Wellman was instrumental in helping DC win.

Anyway, the monsters I'll be posting are all from John the Balladeer stories and were super fun to draw. Don't be surprised if more of his creatures work their way onto this blog.


Thursday, April 30, 2015

CYÄEGHA

 CYÄEGHA
"The moon split. He realized then that the sky was not a sky, and that the illuminated green thing was not the moon but the eye of an enormous dark shadow which spread as a dark blot between Earth and the real sky. The eye looked down at him with horrible contempt, and for a short moment he obtained a realization of the enormity of the being which hung watching above him."



"The air began moving around the moon, and they saw that it was a gigantic eye staring down at them. Around the eye, the sky split, deep clefts opened through which darkness began to ooze, a darkness blacker than the night, which crawled down as a set of slimy tentacles, taking on more form, more definite shape."

"It turned Its attention to the waiting village now, and from Its outer body a rain of dark shivering tentacles went down to the houses, crushing them and those still inside them, ripping open the roofs and walls, exposing the houses' innards as It even went down into the cellars, hunting for the huddling survivors. Its tentacles found them, as It cracked the houses open like eggshells, and absorbed them and Herbert tasted their small essences in his own extensions, parts of the tentacles of darkness. It melted their bones and fed on the remaining shapeless mess, leaving only wet slimy skins behind."
Eddy C. Bertin, Darkness, My Name Is