Sunday, February 18, 2007

Creepy Carvings in Wood

It Leapt towards Him upon The Instant
Something...rather someone...jogged my memory this week of raising the dead (don't ask), which in turn led to John Dee, which brought to mind that eerie engraving of him and the spectral woman in white in the English Churchyard. Chances are you may have seen the picture.  John Bellairs apparently did and described the engraving in a book read by Lewis Barnavelt [The House with a Clock in its Walls, 67-8].
This got us thinking about some of the other antique books John mentions (either in name or in passing) that have creepy illustrations: do copies of other artwork exist? Like the following:
  • The Witch of Endor: "the witch's back is to us and she is thrown into silhouette by the light of a fire. She holds a rod. The, spirits, which are crawling out of the fire, look like horribly emaciated men." [The Face in the Frost, 23].
  • A recently awakened man: "the face is away from us, for he looks toward a large open window. The light, of something about the drawing, is incredibly well done, making the window a terrifying black hole. Anything might crawl through it. Not there are shapes in the window. It seems absolutely dark." [The Face in the Frost, 23].
  • A copy of The Book of the Dead, which appears in Hoosac's Library, features "...a dark old woodcut that showed bearded men seated around a large table." [The Dark Secret of Weatherend, 58].
We think we've seen an illustration similar to the Witch of Endor but it's been a while. I'm sure Bellairs may have mentioned a few other eerie examples of art, but these came to mind first. And, of course, there's also the flowery artwork and script of the Voynich Manuscript, alluded to both in The Face in the Frost and The Wrath of the Grinning Ghost.

Likewise, have you ever come across examples of an illustration that, though it was not alluded to in the books, would have been a good candidate?

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