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GHOUL STORIES IN ENGLISH (1706-1943)
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 30 March, 2018 10:57PM
A CHRONOLOGY OF GHOUL STORIES IN ENGLISH (1706-1943):

1706: “The Tale of the Vizier Who was Punished” in Antoine Galland’s Arabian Nights Entertainments, vol 1 (1706). (The hogres/ogress in this story is identified as a ghoul in later translations).

1712: “The Tale of Sidi Nouman”, in Galland’s Arabian Nights Entertainments, Vol. 10 (Introduction of the corpse-eating cemetery “goule” to the English language).

1786: The novel Vathek, by William Beckford, includes an encounter with corpse-eating cemetery “goules”.

1813: Lord Byron’s narrative poem “The Giaour” (1813) mentions “Gouls”.

1829: John Malcolm’s Sketches of Persia features an untitled story which might be called “Ameen Beg and the Ghool”.

1837: Frederick Marryatt’s gothic novel The Phantom Ship, contains a nested tale about a distinctly ghoul-like “werewolf”.

1844-49: Edgar Allan Poe mentions ghouls in 3 of his poems: “Dream-Land” (1844); “Ulalume” (1847); “The Bells” (1849).

1865: Sabine Baring-Gould’s History of Were-Wolves (1865), contains an untitled story that might be called “The tale of Hassan and Nadilla”. It can be traced to an earlier French text, Histoire des Sorciers (1820), by Collin de Plancy.

1867: Mrs. Paul’s new translation of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Wild Swans”, includes an encounter with corpse-eating ghouls in a cemetery. They are however lamias in the original Danish (1838).

1880: In “The Fiend”, a tale in W.R.S. Ralston’s Russian Folk-Tales (1880), Marusia, a village girl, finds out her suitor is a corpse-eating demon. Translated from an earlier Russian collection.

1885: Ser Richard Burton’s new version of Arabian Nights (a translation of the “Calcutta II” text), has new stories that mention ghuls. For example: “Hammad the Badawi”; “The Tale of Janshah”; “Prince Sayf... and Princess Badia...”. None however make the same impression as the Sidi Nouman tale.

1890: “What is a Ghoul?” in National Review, Vol. 4 (1890), a supposedly true story of a ghoul captured in County Meath, Ireland in 1868.

1892: “A Ghoul’s Accountant” by Stephen Crane.

1900: Andrew Lang’s “Udea and her Seven Brothers” The Grey Fairy Book, (1900) (The “man-eater” is in fact a ghoul in the original Arabic. The same may be true of other North African stories in this volume that feature “witches” or “ogres”).

1901: Andrew Lang’s “Story of the Halfman”, The Violet Fairy Book (1901) (The “ogres” in this story are in fact ghouls in the original Arabic).

1907: Edward Lucas White’s “Amina”, The Bellman (1907).

1912: Evangeline W. Blashfield’s “The Ghoul” (1912).

1926: H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Outsider” Weird Tales (1926).

1927: H.P. Lovecraft’s “Pickman’s Model” Weird Tales (1927).

1929: Seabury Quinn’s “Children of Ubasti”, Weird Tales (1929).

1932: Clark Ashton Smith’s “The Nameless Offspring,” Strange Tales of Mystery and Terror (1932).

1933: Henry S. Whitehead’s “The Chadbourne Episode”, Weird Tales (1933).

1934: Clark Ashton Smith’s “The Ghoul” The Fantasy Fan (January, 1934).

1934: Clark Ashton Smith’s “The Charnel God”, Weird Tales (March, 1934).

1934: Robert Bloch’s “The Laughter of a Ghoul”, The Fantasy Fan (1934).

1935: Robert Bloch’s “The Feast in the Abbey”, Weird Tales (January, 1935).

1935: Robert Bloch’s “The Suicide in the Study,” Weird Tales (1935) first mentions the occult tome Cultes des Goules.

1936: Robert E. Howard’s novel Hour of the Dragon, serialized in Weird Tales (1935-6).

1936: Henry Kutner’s “The Graveyard Rats”, Weird Tales (March, 1936) allegedly features a ghoul (I have not read it).

1936: Robert Bloch’s “The Grinning Ghoul”, Weird Tales (June, 1936).

1936: Henry Kutner’s “It Walks by Night”, Weird Tales (December, 1936).

1943: H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath”, Beyond the Wall of Sleep (1943).

NOT REALLY ABOUT GHOULS:

1885: The huge cannibal giant in “Gharib and his Brother Ajib” in Richard Burton’s Arabian Nights, is seemingly called a ghul because it is a cannibal, not because of the type of creature it is.

1915: Hugh Clifford’s “The Ghoul” is a genuine weird tale, but the title seems to refer mainly to grave-robbing.

1922: The “man-eating Ghouls” in E.R. Eddison’s The Worm Ouroboros (1922), are probably just cannibal humans.

1924: The “ghoul-queen Nitocris” mentioned in “Imprisoned with the Pharaohs”, “ by Houdini” (ghostwritten by H.P. Lovecraft), in Weird Tales (1924), probably refers to the ghoulish things she does with composite mummies.

1927: Basset Morgan’s “Gray Ghouls”, Weird Tales (1927) is really about apes.

1937: The creature in Robert Bloch’s “The Brood of Bubastis”, Weird Tales (March 1937) is a bit too far from the core concept of the ghoul, and is more a Franken-Cat, or Cat-Minotaur.

I have, however, counted ghoul stories with “Scooby-Doo” endings as genuine ghoul stories. A couple of such are included in the list above.

THAT SAID:

Please let me know what I left off the list. I have not tried to carry this past 1943, but feel free to mention anything notable, regardless of date.



Edited 6 time(s). Last edit at 30 Mar 18 | 11:10PM by Platypus.

Re: GHOUL STORIES IN ENGLISH (1706-1943)
Posted by: Minicthulhu (IP Logged)
Date: 31 March, 2018 04:07AM
It depends on what you consider to be a ghoul. A monster that haunts graveyards and consume dead bodies? Or a creature that eats human flesh in general?

Short stories about ghouls (some of them written before 1943)

The Ghoul Keepers
[www.goodreads.com]

You can find monsters eating human flesh in The Night Land (1912) by W.H.Hodgson
[www.goodreads.com]


There is a book called “Icons of Horror and the Supernatural: An Encyclopedia of Our Worst Nightmares vol. 1 and 2“ by T.S.Joshi in which one chapter is dedicated to ghouls, their origin, influence in literature etc.
[www.goodreads.com]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 31 Mar 18 | 04:28AM by Minicthulhu.

Re: GHOUL STORIES IN ENGLISH (1706-1943)
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 31 March, 2018 08:22PM
Minicthulhu Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> It depends on what you consider to be a ghoul. A
> monster that haunts graveyards and consume dead
> bodies? Or a creature that eats human flesh in
> general?

The first definition is too narrow. The second one obviously too broad (a tiger or vulture or even an ogre is not necessarily a ghoul); and several entries are already on my reject list above for this reason. I'll give you the definition that Sidi Nouman gave to Haroun Al Raschid:

"As Your Majesty knows, goules of both sexes are demons that wander in the countryside. They generally inhabit ruined buildings, from whence they leap out and surprise passers-by, whom they kill and whose flesh they eat. For lack of passers-by, they go into cemeteries at night, and feed on the flesh of corpses which they disinter."

A similar definition was provided earlier when the prince met the "ogress" [that is, the ghulah]: "a female of these wild demons, called ogres [that is, ghuls], who inhabit abandoned places, and use a thousand ruses to surprise and devour passers-by".

The original Arabian Nights stories establish that these creatures are intelligent and capable of conversation, and sometimes capable of impersonating humans (possibly with the aid of full body covering or veils, though this is not specified). Note that Amine, who is able to seem fully human even to her husband, is never actually identified as a goule in the story (though most readers reach this conclusion), and her graveyard companion, who is identified as a goule, is immediately recognized as one on sight.

It helps if the word "ghoul" is actually used. But obviously that cannot be the be all and end all. I would distinguish them from most "vampires" (as well as from flesh-eating zombies) in that they are not undead humans. Pickman was able to become a ghoul, but that was because he was a changeling. He had really been a ghoul all along.

> Short stories about ghouls (some of them written
> before 1943)
>
> The Ghoul Keepers
> [www.goodreads.com]
> ul_Keepers?ac=1&from_search=true

I would not assume that an anthology is primarily about ghouls merely because the title of the anthology (or even a specific story) contains the word "ghoul".

For instance, I just read one of the tales from that anthology: Henry Kutner's "Spawn of Dagon", Weird Tales (July 1938). It's not about ghouls, but alien sea monsters, with beaks and tentacles. They don't eat people, either. They only thing they have in common with ghouls is that they have language and can impersonate humans (using robes and masks). A zombie, created by necromancy, also appears in the story, but he does not eat people either. He's just a zombie.

Not a bad story though.

> You can find monsters eating human flesh in The
> Night Land (1912) by W.H.Hodgson
> [www.goodreads.com]
> ht_Land?from_search=true

The hero met many hostile beings in the Night Land, but I don't recall that he ever gave them an opportunity to demonstrate what they wished to do with him after they defeated him. When the people of the Lesser Redoubt flee into the Night Lands, they are merely described as being "slain". I can't recall a single example of monsters eating human flesh. The really creepy thing about the Night Lands and its monsters is that they threatened the soul, not the body.

> There is a book called “Icons of Horror and the
> Supernatural: An Encyclopedia of Our Worst
> Nightmares vol. 1 and 2“ by T.S.Joshi in which
> one chapter is dedicated to ghouls, their origin,
> influence in literature etc.
> [www.goodreads.com]
> f_Horror_and_the_Supernatural

This might not have anything that I don't have already. I already have much data on the origin of ghouls, some of it posted above. I also have a much longer chronology of ghouls (from which the above list is summarized), with some commentary on each of the stories, and other non-story sources of ghoul-lore. I could post the longer chronology anyone is interest. But it is very long.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 31 Mar 18 | 08:26PM by Platypus.

Re: GHOUL STORIES IN ENGLISH (1706-1943)
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 1 April, 2018 04:23AM
Definition in Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend:

ghoul (Arabic ghul; feminine ghulah) A demonic being that feeds on human bodies, either corpses stolen from graves or young children. Ghouls inhabit lonely places, especially graveyards: the Arabic ghul of the wasteland seems to be a personification of the terror of the desert. The ghoul may be compared with other cannibalistic vampirelike creatures: the Lilith, Lamia, Yogini, Baba Yaga, etc. Generally the whole of the Moslem world, from India to Africa, knows the ghoul.

Clark Ashton Smith's "The Black Abbot of Puthuum" gives a magnificient portrait of, what seems to be, a definite ghoul.

Re: GHOUL STORIES IN ENGLISH (1706-1943)
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 1 April, 2018 08:42PM
Knygatin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Definition in Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary
> of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend:
>
> ghoul (Arabic ghul; feminine ghulah) A demonic
> being that feeds on human bodies, either corpses
> stolen from graves or young children. Ghouls
> inhabit lonely places, especially graveyards: the
> Arabic ghul of the wasteland seems to be a
> personification of the terror of the desert. The
> ghoul may be compared with other cannibalistic
> vampirelike creatures: the Lilith, Lamia, Yogini,
> Baba Yaga, etc.
Generally the whole of the Moslem
> world, from India to Africa, knows the ghoul.

The parts I've underlined are paraphrased from Richard Burton's commentary on his translation of the Calcutta II version of Arabian Nights (1885).

The emphasis on living in graveyards and eating corpses is derived from the example in the "Tale of Sidi Nouman" from Galland's Mille et Une Nuits. In the tale itself, Galland goes out of his way to tell us that this is not how goules generally prefer to feed, but everyone ignores that part.

So far, I've seen little evidence in folklore of ghouls preferring to prey on children, (though this is definitely a feature of the lamia). For instance, in the "Tale of the Vizier who was Punished" (which is as old and as authentic a ghoul tale as you are ever likely to find) the ghulah intends to feed on an armed adult male ... and is evidently perfectly capable of carrying out her intent, as he is saved only by prayer.

It is worth mentioning that the ghul is not merely Arabic, but also Persian. It also has no necessary connection with the religion of Islam.

> Clark Ashton Smith's "The Black Abbot of Puthuum"
> gives a magnificient portrait of, what seems to
> be, a definite ghoul.

Excellent catch. I notice he incorporates a version of the Azif phenomenon, which some lore associates with ghuls.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 1 Apr 18 | 08:45PM by Platypus.

Re: GHOUL STORIES IN ENGLISH (1706-1943)
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 2 April, 2018 11:34AM
The oldest (1712) definition of a ghoul, that I have been able to find, is Galland's 300+ year old definition, which I supplied above.

The next oldest (1774) I could find was that a “Ghūl” means “a species of monster supposed to haunt woods, church-yards, and other lonely places; and not only to tear the living to pieces, but to dig up and devour the bodies of the dead.” John Richardson, A Dissertation on the Languages Literature and Manners of Eastern Nations (1774), on pp. 174, 276. It is unclear to what extent this confirms Galland, or to what exent Galland is one of the sources.

The next (1786) is Samuel Henley's definition in his notes to Vathek (1786). Basically, he just uses Richardson's definition, citing Richardson.

Next (1797), Charles Fox, in a note to Poems ... by Achmed Ardabeili (1797) explains “The imaginary being which Persians call Goule or Ghool is pictured by superstitious fear; gigantic, hideously misshapen, and breathing noisome vapour, having the malignity of a demon united to the voracity of a hungry wolf. It is supposed first to approach the lonely wanderer of the desert with a low voice, like very distant thunder heard amidst the hiss of serpents (sounds which they call ... zeezem, zehraj, or aazeef), but soon assuming his most terrific appearance, the Ghool darts on his victim, whom tearing limb from limb he greedily devours.

Note the connection between "ghools" and the Azif phenomenon. This is the same phenomenon referred to by HPL in his "History of the Necronomicon", where he ascribes it to nocturnal insects (an idea he got from Vathek, where the Azif is mentioned in a note added to the 1834 edition).

Next (1815) Mountstuart Elphinstone, in Account of the Kingdom of Caubul (1815), notes: “The Afghauns believe each of the numerous solitudes and desarts of their country to be inhabited by a lonely daemon whom they call the Ghoollie Beeabaun (the Goule or spirit of the waste); ... a gigantic and frightful spectre, who devours any passenger who chance may bring within his haunts.” He also mentions that mirages are believed to be lures created by such monsters.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 2 Apr 18 | 11:53AM by Platypus.

Re: GHOUL STORIES IN ENGLISH (1706-1943)
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 7 April, 2018 09:48AM
Platypus Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
> 1706: “The Tale of the Vizier Who was
> Punished” in Antoine Galland’s Arabian Nights
> Entertainments, vol 1 (1706). (The hogres/ogress
> in this story is identified as a ghoul in later
> translations).
>
> 1712: “The Tale of Sidi Nouman”, in
> Galland’s Arabian Nights Entertainments, Vol. 10
> (Introduction of the corpse-eating cemetery
> “goule” to the English language).
>


Do these two stories also appear in Richard Burton's translation? (They ought to.) I can not find them. Perhaps they surface under different titles, or in other volumes?

Re: GHOUL STORIES IN ENGLISH (1706-1943)
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 8 April, 2018 12:51AM
Platypus Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> 1706: “The Tale of the Vizier Who was
> Punished” in Antoine Galland’s Arabian Nights
> Entertainments, vol 1 (1706). (The hogres/ogress
> in this story is identified as a ghoul in later
> translations).
>
> 1712: “The Tale of Sidi Nouman”, in
> Galland’s Arabian Nights Entertainments, Vol. 10
> (Introduction of the corpse-eating cemetery
> “goule” to the English language).
>

After some more search through Burton's translation, I noticed "Tale of the prince and the ogress" in Vol. 1, which is the same story as the first above. And I found "History of Sidi Nouman" in Vol. XIII (Supplemental Nights Vol. III).

Re: GHOUL STORIES IN ENGLISH (1706-1943)
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 11 April, 2018 07:50PM
Knygatin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Platypus Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
>
> > 1706: “The Tale of the Vizier Who was
> > Punished” in Antoine Galland’s Arabian
> Nights
> > Entertainments, vol 1 (1706). (The
> hogres/ogress
> > in this story is identified as a ghoul in later
> > translations).
> >
> > 1712: “The Tale of Sidi Nouman”, in
> > Galland’s Arabian Nights Entertainments, Vol.
> 10
> > (Introduction of the corpse-eating cemetery
> > “goule” to the English language).
> >
>
> After some more search through Burton's
> translation, I noticed "Tale of the prince and the
> ogress" in Vol. 1, which is the same story as the
> first above. And I found "History of Sidi Nouman"
> in Vol. XIII (Supplemental Nights Vol. III).

Yes. The "Vizier who was Punished" is one of the "core" stories, and is present in pretty much all versions, though not necessarily under that title. It occurs early on, and I think it is always part of "the 5th Night". I suspect the story titles are not present in source texts, and are provided by translators. For instance, in Haddawy's translation of the Leiden text (derived from the same ancient manuscript Galland used), it is called "the King's Son and the She-Ghoul". The Penguin edition translates the Calcutta II text (Burton's source) and I think gives it no title at all except "Night 5".

"Sidi Nouman" is not part of the Calcutta II text, and therefore was not part of Burton's main 10-volume series, but Burton does include it in his Supplemental series. Burton's version of "Sidi Nouman" purports to be independent of Galland. However, his source is rather obviously merely an Arabic back-translation of Galland's version. By accident, I found startling evidence of this in the fact that Burton's version has a counterpart to Galland's explanation of the word "goule", which was almost certainly added by Galland for the benefit of European readers.


"Sidi Nouman" tends to get left out of modern versions of the Arabian Nights. Galland's classic version does not get nearly the respect it deserves, and many people have the dumb idea that the oral tales collected by Galland (via his assistant Hanna Diab), when he ran out of core tales, are less "authentic" than the tales added by Calcutta II a century later, when Calcutta II ran out of core tales. But Calcutta II and other printed Arabic editions were merely responding to the demand created by the success of Galland's version.

And when modern editors compromise with their rather dumb idea of purity, they go for the most well known of Galland's "orphan" tales, "Ali Baba" and "Aladdin" (because their readers expect it); leaving out "Sidi Nouman" and others. The Penguin editions do this, as does Haddawy in his 2d Volume. It is a rather shameful treatment of the classic story that introduced the word and concept of "goule" to the English language.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11 Apr 18 | 07:58PM by Platypus.

Re: GHOUL STORIES IN ENGLISH (1706-1943)
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 13 July, 2018 10:51AM
"The Tomb-Spawn" (1934), by Clark Ashton Smith, features the ghoul-like Ghorii, as pack-hunters who haunt certain deserts of Zothique. These seem like ghouls in all-but name. Perhaps the reason they are given another name is that other "ghouls", who are apparently more cunning and less savage, were already featured in Zothique in "The Charnel God" (1934), two months earlier.

Re: GHOUL STORIES IN ENGLISH (1706-1943)
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 11 December, 2018 12:25AM
In Robert E. Howard's "Red Nails", the creature called the "ghost of Tolkemec", who was formerly human, or, at least (like Pickman) more human than it has become, has many of the characteristics of a ghoul. He's not hairless, though.
"



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