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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.
"

Re: GHOUL STORIES IN ENGLISH (1706-1943)
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 1 April, 2019 02:25PM
"The Haunted 'Pampero'", by William Hope Hodgson, refers to the legend of a creature who the author characterizes as a sort of "sea-ghoul". It can pass for human, but its bite resembles that of a shark. This story is said to have been first published in THE PREMIER MAGAZINE in 1915.

Re: GHOUL STORIES IN ENGLISH (1706-1943)
Posted by: Minicthulhu (IP Logged)
Date: 2 April, 2019 02:23PM
You are right. I remember reading "The Haunted Pampero" some years ago. It´s about a being that can shift its shape. Of course, Mr. Hodgson did not omitted to incorporate in the story a quotation from a Medieval book with "ye" instead of "the". :-)

Re: GHOUL STORIES IN ENGLISH (1706-1943)
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 2 April, 2019 04:42PM
Minicthulhu Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> You are right. I remember reading "The Haunted
> Pampero" some years ago. It´s about a being that
> can shift its shape. Of course, Mr. Hodgson did
> not omitted to incorporate in the story a
> quotation from a Medieval book with "ye" instead
> of "the". :-)

"Medieval" covers a vast period.

The "eth" symbol fell out of use in the 13th century, being replaced by "th". At the time, the "eth" symbol did not much resemble "y".

In the 15th and 16th centuries, word abbreviations resembling "ye" for "the" and sometimes "yt" for "that" appeared in many documents, including an early printing of the King James Bible. The symbol that looks like a "y" is actually supposed to be the "eth" symbol, or a corruption of it, with the "e" or "t" sometimes written or printed just above it. Such usage could make sense if one tries to precisely imitate the appearance and spelling of a 15th or 16th century manuscript.

The Sigsand Manuscript is supposed to be 14th century, though. Hodgson got it more or less right right when he was alive, spelling out "the" just like Chaucer did.

The text quoted in "The Haunted Pampero" is apparently supposed to be 15th or 16th century. And the author tries to mimick the spelling of the period, just as HPL did in Curwen's letters. Because this is a spelling issue. Nobody actually went around saying "ye" instead of "the".



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2 Apr 19 | 05:19PM by Platypus.

Re: GHOUL STORIES IN ENGLISH (1706-1943)
Posted by: Minicthulhu (IP Logged)
Date: 6 April, 2019 11:12AM
Do you know a short story "Far Below" (1939) by Robert Barbour Johnosn that was published in a Weird Tales issue? It is about strange creatures living underground (daylight kills them in no time) who play havoc in a certain subway tunnel under Manhattan, derailing trains, dragging the dead bodies out or eating the victims alive. The narrator mentions some old Indian rituals that were made to guard their buried dead against the monsters. He also speaks about how there were patrols to guard the city cemetery in the old days. I am not sure if the creatures in question are qualified to be called "ghouls" (by the way, the main character says at one point that "even the Bible has references to the ghouls that burrow in the earth"; the narrator describes them as "some sort of giant, carrion-feeding, subterranean mole ... with canine and simian developments of members ... startlingly humanoid cranial development, and brain convolutions indicating a degree of intelligence ... vaguely anthropoid structure, and the blood corpuscles were almost human."

Re: GHOUL STORIES IN ENGLISH (1706-1943)
Posted by: Chipougne (IP Logged)
Date: 6 April, 2019 11:31AM
I first read «Far Below» as a teenager in this French anthology and was quite impressed by it. Back then it reminded me of Lovecraft’s «Pickman’s Model». It seems to me that these creatures qualify as ghouls, yes.

https://www.noosfere.org/livres/niourf.asp?numlivre=-1171438492

Re: GHOUL STORIES IN ENGLISH (1706-1943)
Posted by: Minicthulhu (IP Logged)
Date: 6 April, 2019 11:56AM
For the life of me, I cannot remember what Pickman´s Model is about, though its author belongs among my favourite writers, but the fact remains Lovecraft is explicitly mentioned in "Far Below". And not only Lovecraft, even Washington Irving, Nyarlathotep and cosmic horror are mentioned by the narrator. Simply a weird tale at its best. :-)

Re: GHOUL STORIES IN ENGLISH (1706-1943)
Posted by: Chipougne (IP Logged)
Date: 6 April, 2019 12:00PM
Minicthulhu Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> For the life of me, I cannot remember what
> Pickman´s Model is about, though its author
> the fact
> remains Lovecraft is explicitly mentioned in "Far
> Below". And not only Lovecraft, even Washington
> Irving, Nyarlathotep and cosmic horror are
> mentioned by the narrator.

Hence this "impression" I was under. :D Memory... Well, that was almost 40 years ago, time to read it again I guess.

Re: GHOUL STORIES IN ENGLISH (1706-1943)
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 6 April, 2019 10:24PM
Minicthulhu Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Do you know a short story "Far Below" (1939) by
> Robert Barbour Johnson that was published in a
> Weird Tales issue?

Thank you. I was able to find it on archive.org from your description (Weird Tales, June-July, 1939). It is pretty good.

Like you said, it references Lovecraft's name directly, as an author who knew about "the Things". I think there is also a more subtle reference to Lucas White's "Amina".

Re: GHOUL STORIES IN ENGLISH (1706-1943)
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 6 April, 2019 10:32PM
Minicthulhu Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> For the life of me, I cannot remember what
> Pickman´s Model is about, though its author
> belongs among my favourite writers, but the fact
> remains Lovecraft is explicitly mentioned in "Far
> Below". And not only Lovecraft, even Washington
> Irving, Nyarlathotep and cosmic horror are
> mentioned by the narrator. Simply a weird tale at
> its best. :-)

Pickman is an morbid artist painting ghouls, and other horrific subjects, in Boston, who offers to show his friend, the narrator, his private studio where he does his best work. Eventually, the narrator realizes that the paintings are not fiction.

One of his paintings is called "Subway Accident", and depicts ghouls attacking subway passengers. This is the direct inspiration for "Far Below".

Re: GHOUL STORIES IN ENGLISH (1706-1943)
Posted by: Minicthulhu (IP Logged)
Date: 7 April, 2019 04:08AM
Archive.org is great, I used to visit the site to get stuff from there but now I visit www.luminist.org/archives/SF/WT.htm that Jeff Gilleland recommended in one of his posts on this forum some time ago. They have complete Weird Tales issues and other magazines.

By the way, why ghoul stories? Are you fond of this subgenre?

Re: GHOUL STORIES IN ENGLISH (1706-1943)
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 8 April, 2019 09:26AM
Minicthulhu Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> By the way, why ghoul stories? Are you fond of
> this subgenre?

I cannot recall any particular reason. After doing a certain amount of reading of certain authors, I found I knew a bit about ghoul fiction and folklore, and its origins. On a whim, I decided to see if could find out more. I decided to post my results here, since Clark Ashton Smith, morbid fellow that he was, has written more than the usual share of ghoul stories.

Re: GHOUL STORIES IN ENGLISH (1706-1943)
Posted by: Minicthulhu (IP Logged)
Date: 17 October, 2019 02:43AM
The Chuckler ... In The Tomb (Fantasy Magazine, September 1934) - Donald Wandrei. Another one with a ghoul.

Re: GHOUL STORIES IN ENGLISH (1706-1943)
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 24 October, 2019 11:36AM
Definition?

Let me cite the book that Abdul Alhazred himself would have consulted about such matters, if he had been able.

The book in question is Barbara Ninde Byfield's self-illustrated tome The Glass Harmonica: A Lexicon of the Fantastical (1967) -- formerly a fannish favorite.

'GHOULS, whose food is the flesh of the dead and whose homes are the graveyards and burial places of the world, are at times mistaken for Vampires. However, they are easily distinguishable: Ghouls, if clothed at all, wear clotted and stained ragas; Vampires are much more elegantly attired. Ghouls are not liquivores, as are Vampires, and far prefer human carrion to any other diet. It is only occasionally that they take the meat of a living child or the egg of a vulture.
"Ghouls can work during daylight if necessary; they are often blind since their senses of hearing and smell are highly developed and they can find what they need without sight. They are desiccated, with cracked lips, chapped knees, and fingers cakes with dried meats. Clever, swift, and wily, they are seldom caught at their practices and their presence is affirmed only by the discovery of untidily opened graves.
"Ghouls do not disturb Vampires, who in turn have no interest in Ghouls.
"There is no known cure."


The Glass Harmonica was reprinted in paperback as The Book of Weird, but my understanding is that the latter volume is cursed by a notably bad binding.

Re: GHOUL STORIES IN ENGLISH (1706-1943)
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 24 October, 2019 11:39AM
Minicthulhu Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The Chuckler ... In The Tomb (Fantasy Magazine,
> September 1934) - Donald Wandrei. Another one with
> a ghoul.

Thank you. I shall have to track that one down.

Re: GHOUL STORIES IN ENGLISH (1706-1943)
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 24 October, 2019 12:41PM
Dale Nelson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Definition?

Basically a ghoul is a demon or evil genie who haunts desolate places (including graveyards) and devours human flesh (including corpses found in graveyards).

I would prefer to distinguish them from flesh-eating zombies, which are sometimes called "ghouls".

HPL's "Pickman's Model" had some influence on the idea that humans can become ghouls. But this may be a misunderstanding. Pickman was a changeling. He was never human. At the very least, he was never fully human.

CAS's ghouls seem to be partly human in some cases. They are often born to human mothers who have had unfortunate encounters.

But I don't want to be too narrow about the term. I just want to trace ghoul fiction down to HPL's time, and a bit beyond.

> Let me cite the book that Abdul Alhazred himself
> would have consulted about such matters, if he had
> been able.
>
> The book in question is Barbara Ninde Byfield's
> self-illustrated tome The Glass Harmonica: A
> Lexicon of the Fantastical (1967) -- formerly a
> fannish favorite.

Thank you for the quote. It may have had some influence. The ghouls of the "Dungeons and Dragons" manuals, by Gary Gygax, for instance, which date back to the early 70s, seem to have followed this portrait. Gygax classified Ghouls as "undead", which seems to fit with this source.

> 'GHOULS, whose food is the flesh of the dead and
> whose homes are the graveyards and burial places
> of the world, are at times mistaken for Vampires.
> However, they are easily distinguishable: Ghouls,
> if clothed at all, wear clotted and stained ragas;
> Vampires are much more elegantly attired.

Personally, I would not say that clothing has anything to do with the distinction between ghoul and vampire.

> Ghouls
> are not liquivores, as are Vampires, and far
> prefer human carrion to any other diet.

This is more to the point (as far as I would tend to define ghouls). But I would also say that Vampires are undead humans; and that Ghouls, at least in original conception, are essentially inhuman and demonic in origin.

> "There is no known cure."

Suggesting the idea that ghouls are transformed humans in the opinion of this author.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 24 Oct 19 | 12:43PM by Platypus.

Re: GHOUL STORIES IN ENGLISH (1706-1943)
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 24 October, 2019 04:26PM
Byfield's book is a tongue-in-cheek thing that appealed to me a lot as a library user at about age 12, and that I remembered fondly enough eventually to get a copy of my own.

Re: GHOUL STORIES IN ENGLISH (1706-1943)
Posted by: Yluos (IP Logged)
Date: 25 October, 2019 01:14AM
Soon as I find it I'll link it here, but I recall a folkloric book which was either dedicated to ghoul folklore or had a chapter full of ghoul folk stories. It seems the Arabian definition of ghoul was a lot looser than most people would think. They, like genies, possessed many different forms and temperaments. In this particular book they're often described as strange chimeras with elements of horses, birds, and other animals. They also seem to eat the living as much as they eat the dead, possibly even preferring the living since most of the stories didn't even mention them eating the dead. But there are many benign examples of ghouls too. There's a story of a ghoul who adopts a girl and grants her magical knowledge, a story of a mother ghoul who adopts a human as her son and orders her ghoul children fly him to Heaven, and a story of an elderly ghoul who helps the kind protagonist overcome magical obstacles with his knowledge.

I'm not especially dedicated to Arabian culture and folklore, so I could easily be wrong, but it sounds to me like they're an example of the classic bogeyman, taking any shape and quality necessary for a particular story. I'm guessing that western writers eventually cemented the idea that ghouls are dedicated grave-diggers.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 25 Oct 19 | 01:18AM by Yluos.

Re: GHOUL STORIES IN ENGLISH (1706-1943)
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 25 October, 2019 09:46PM
Yluos Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Soon as I find it I'll link it here, but I recall
> a folkloric book which was either dedicated to
> ghoul folklore or had a chapter full of ghoul folk
> stories.

If you can identify it, I would be grateful.


> I'm guessing
> that western writers eventually cemented the idea
> that ghouls are dedicated grave-diggers.

This is mainly due to the "Tale of Sidi Nouman" from a later volume of Galland's Arabian Nights. This is the story whose English translation introduced the "goule" to the English language in the early 1700s. But in that story, the goule does not do much more than dig up and eat a corpse, in the company of a sorceress who shares his/her/its repast.

In "Sidi Nouman", Galland helpfully provides a definition of "goule" (which I provided near the beginning of this thread). The definition makes clear that they do not actually inhabit graveyards, and tend to prefer freshly killed humans. But I guess people tended to remember only what actually occurred in the tale.

A she-ghoul (or "ghullah") actually appeared earlier in the very first volume of Galland's Arabian Nights, but in that early volume he translated it as "ogress". I guess this accident of translation helped prevent a more balanced idea of the ghoul.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 25 Oct 19 | 09:50PM by Platypus.

Re: GHOUL STORIES IN ENGLISH (1706-1943)
Posted by: Yluos (IP Logged)
Date: 27 October, 2019 02:48AM
I'm having a difficult time finding that book, but I'm keeping my promise of posting a link to it as soon as I can. Last time I read it was a little over a year ago on a website I don't remember. It offered a good handful of ghoul folk stories, each story accompanied by notes about their relevance to ancient Arabic culture.

I did however find this segment of an article which discusses the folkloric origin of ghouls.

[science.howstuffworks.com]

It's very brief and there aren't so many sources, but the author confidently states that the original Arabic ghuls were not grave-diggers, confirming some of what you shared. William Beckford may have also played a role in further cementing the relatively recent belief that ghouls are scavengers. Hope this helps; I'm gonna look even deeper into this.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 27 Oct 19 | 02:50AM by Yluos.

Re: GHOUL STORIES IN ENGLISH (1706-1943)
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 27 October, 2019 08:41PM
Yluos Wrote:

> [science.howstuffworks.com]
> strange-creatures/ghoul4.htm
>
> It's very brief and there aren't so many sources,
> but the author confidently states that the
> original Arabic ghuls were not grave-diggers,
> confirming some of what you shared.

Mr. Lamb, the author of your article, is way off base.

Galland did not invent the "Tale of Sidi Nouman". He collected it (and wrote it up) from a Syriac-Christian storyteller named Hanna Diab, who also provided him with "Aladdin" and "Ali-Baba".

Hence "Sidi Nouman" is at least 300 years old, if not older, and from a genuinely mid-eastern source (Hanna Diab). You would be hard pressed to find many mid-eastern tales about "ghouls" that you could prove are older and more authentic than "Sidi Nouman".

Moreover, Mr. Lamb admits that ghouls are associated with hyenas, in those sources he regards as genuine. But striped hyenas -- the kind of hyenas that are found in the same areas as ghoul legends -- are nocturnal burrowing scavengers that dig up and eat corpses. If ghouls are associated with hyenas (as Mr. Lamb admits) then how could they NOT be associated with digging up corpses???

Moreover, Mr. Lamb writes as if the original [i]Thousand and One Nights[/i] contains a large number of ghoul legends that are more authentic than "Sidi Nouman". However, there is only one such story: "The Tale of the Vizier Who Was Punished", which is "more authentic" in the sense that it can be proved to be 300 years older than Sidi Nouman and part of the oldest known texts of 1001 Nights.

Other ghoul legends were added to the 1001 Nights, after Galland, and in response to the demand for mid-east legends created by the success of Galland. But I am not aware that these legends, collected more recently, are more genuine than "Sidi Nouman".

Moreover, the part of "Sidi Nouman" which is almost certainly an insertion by Galland is the part where he explains, for the benefit of European readers, that ghouls' normal habit is to haunt desolate places and ambush travelers for fresh meat (a reference back to the she-ghoul from "The Vizier Who Was Punished"). So blaming him for the misconception that ghouls are exclusively associated with corpses and graveyards does not seem fair at all.

Re: GHOUL STORIES IN ENGLISH (1706-1943)
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 27 October, 2019 10:04PM
Moreover, although Galland's translation of the Thousand and One Nights has been accused of inaccuracy, these inaccuracies had nothing to do with altering those "weird" elements of the tales (like ghouls) that had to do with magic, mystery and folklore. Rather (1) he cut out, or made less explicit, the pornographic interludes; (2) cut out, or reworked into prose, the untranslatable poetry; (3) inserted things, like the definition of a "goule", that would help European readers understand the story.

In the case of "The Tale of Sidi Nouman" we don't have Hanna Diab's original to compare it to. But there is no reason to assume his approach was any different. I would imagine, though, that Hanna Diab spared him the poetry and the porn, so there was probably less for him to adapt.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 27 Oct 19 | 10:07PM by Platypus.

Re: GHOUL STORIES IN ENGLISH (1706-1943)
Posted by: Yluos (IP Logged)
Date: 28 October, 2019 02:54PM
I wondered about the mention of hyenas myself, and because of the near lack of sources I didn't take this article too seriously, especially since the rest of it seems more concerned with ghouls in modern pop culture. I hope I wasn't too exasperating for your good sense, but I enjoyed seeing a true expert manhandle a less sophisticated article.

I still haven't found that book (it seems downright nonexistent so far), but here is a truly folkloristic essay on the history of ghouls. Whether or not it's accurate I can't say for sure, because Arabic history has never been my prime interest, but at least it's written with greater depth and with more references to other sources, and it even comes with a critical response from another scholar. I assume you'll know better than I; perhaps you even know most of this already, but at least it might interest some people here with less ghoul knowledge.

[www.ocf.berkeley.edu]

It would be nice to see more authors handling ghouls in their original Arabic context. The snarling grave-diggers which even Smith wrote about are fun and have their own symbolic strength, but I'd really like to see those shape-shifting tricksters of the desert again.



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 28 Oct 19 | 03:21PM by Yluos.

Re: GHOUL STORIES IN ENGLISH (1706-1943)
Posted by: Minicthulhu (IP Logged)
Date: 31 October, 2019 08:56AM
Fresh Guy (1958) by Edwin Charles Tubb, a scifi story, more funny than horror, about a werewolf, a ghoul and two vampires sitting at a log-fire and remembering nostalgically the good old days, before the nuclear war, when Earth was populated by people (who are living underground now, because the surface is full of radiation etc.). To be honest, I did not like it much ...

[www.isfdb.org]

Re: GHOUL STORIES IN ENGLISH (1706-1943)
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 31 October, 2019 12:17PM
Yluos Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I still haven't found that book (it seems
> downright nonexistent so far), but here is a truly
> folkloristic essay on the history of ghouls.
> Whether or not it's accurate I can't say for sure,
> because Arabic history has never been my prime
> interest, but at least it's written with greater
> depth and with more references to other sources,
> and it even comes with a critical response from
> another scholar. I assume you'll know better than
> I; perhaps you even know most of this already, but
> at least it might interest some people here with
> less ghoul knowledge.
>
> [www.ocf.berkeley.edu]
> ume8/vol8_article3.html

In case the link stops working, this refers to "The Mythical Ghoul in Arabic Culture", by Ahmed Al-Rawi.

The article contains what I suppose must be a decent survey of ghoul-references in ancient Arabic literature. Apart from that, I don't think much of it.

Firstly, he obviously assumes that ghouls must be Arabic in order to be genuine, and never mentions Persia or Syria at all. But ghouls are as much Persian monster as they are an Arabic monster, and 1001 Nights is, in origin at least, as much a Persian text as an Arabic one.

Then Al-Rawi goes on to assume that anything not recorded in his brief survey of ancient Arabic sources cannot be authentic; and concludes from this that Galland must have made up the Sidi Nouman tale.

But this is pure nonsense. Folkore is a predominently oral phenomenon. Very little of it gets written down, and I suppose very little of what does get written down ends up being preserved for future generations. The idea of writing down and preserving folk legends for posterity, seems to be a mainly European idea, and Galland might be considered one of the pioneers of that field. Even the 1001 Nights was not particularly respected in Arab culture, AFAIK. It is probably not a co-incidence that the oldest surviving text of the 1001 Nights is the copy obtained by Galland, and now preserved in a Paris library.

Toward the end of the 19th century, the German folklorist Hans Stummer collected a set of folk-tales from North Africa, which he published in Arabic and German. These included at least 2 tales about ghouls (Udea and her Brothers; and The Story of Halfman). These tales also have their own unique elements and details about ghouls, which are likewise unreflected in Al-Rawi's survey of older Arabic literature, and some of which might be regional. Must I assume that these stories are also fraudulent? According to Al-Rawi's logic, they must be.

Al-Rawi actually mentions Hanna Diab, but seeks to downplay Diab's role, saying Diab may have "inspired" those parts of The Tale of Sidi Nouman that might be authentic. What parts, if not the whole thing? Then, having belatedly credited Diab, he feels compelled to label Diab an "Arab", which is sort-of true, but which is rather like calling Sinead O'Connor an "Englishwoman" merely because she speaks English. But what should matter is that Diab (a Syriac-Christian from the Arabic-speaking city of Aleppo in Syria) is a native of those regions from whence ghoul legends come.

Al-Rawi accuses Galland of making ghouls male, in contrast to Arabic ghouls who tended to be female. Where does he get this from? There are only 2 ghouls in Galland's text, and both are female. The first is explicitly female, and the mother of a brood of little ghouls; and the other, Amina's goule-friend, is strongly implied to be female by the genders used in Galland's French text. Nor does Galland ever tell his readers that goules are "male monsters", as Al-Rawi claims. Rather Galland tells his readers that goules may be of either sex. Which is surely accurate enough.

I did however enjoy some of the anecdotes, such as the fellows who killed a "ghoul" which on examination by the less ignorant turned out to be a hyena; and also the fellow who consulted the Prophet Mohammed about the ghouls who were breaking into his storehouse and eating his dates. It is perhaps worth mentioning that striped hyenas like to supplement their carrion diet with fruit. Al-Rawi may be on to something when he suggests these particular ghoul anecdotes are more "authentic". But his article purports to be about the "mythical ghoul"; not the "authentic" ghoul who is probably a hyena.

Re: GHOUL STORIES IN ENGLISH (1706-1943)
Posted by: Minicthulhu (IP Logged)
Date: 4 April, 2021 08:36AM
Hello.

Does anybody know if there are any ghouls in the stories by Washington Irving? I am asking because there is a passage in the short story "Far Below" by Robert Barbour Johnson that reads as follows:

"And ask him to show you that skull, half human and half canine, that came out of an Indian mound as far away as Albany, and those ceremonial robes of aboriginal shamans plainly traced with drawings of whitish spidery Things burrowing through conventionalized tunnels; and doing other things, too, that show the Indian artists must have known Them and Their habits. Oh yes, it's all down there in black and white, once we had the sense to read it!
" AND even after white men came—what about the early writings of the old Dutch settlers, what about Jan Van der Rhees and Woulter Van Twiller? Even some of Washington Irving's writings have a nasty twist to them, if you once realize it! And there are some mighty queer passages in 'The History of the City of New York'—mention of guard patrols kept for no rational purpose in early streets at night, particularly in the region of cemeteries; of forays and excursions in the lightless dark, and flintlocks popping, and graves hastily dug and filled in before dawn woke the city to life. . . ."

Re: GHOUL STORIES IN ENGLISH (1706-1943)
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 7 April, 2021 09:41AM
Minicthulhu Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Hello.
>
> Does anybody know if there are any ghouls in the
> stories by Washington Irving? I am asking because
> there is a passage in the short story "Far Below"
> by Robert Barbour Johnson that reads as follows:
>
> "And ask him to show you that skull, half human
> and half canine, that came out of an Indian mound
> as far away as Albany, and those ceremonial robes
> of aboriginal shamans plainly traced with drawings
> of whitish spidery Things burrowing through
> conventionalized tunnels; and doing other things,
> too, that show the Indian artists must have known
> Them and Their habits. Oh yes, it's all down there
> in black and white, once we had the sense to read
> it!
> " AND even after white men came—what about the
> early writings of the old Dutch settlers, what
> about Jan Van der Rhees and Woulter Van Twiller?
> Even some of Washington Irving's writings have a
> nasty twist to them, if you once realize it! And
> there are some mighty queer passages in 'The
> History of the City of New York'—mention of
> guard patrols kept for no rational purpose in
> early streets at night, particularly in the region
> of cemeteries; of forays and excursions in the
> lightless dark, and flintlocks popping, and graves
> hastily dug and filled in before dawn woke the
> city to life. . . ."

I've read most of Irving's stuff, and recall no creature I would call a ghoul. In "The Adventure of the German Student", the title character is called a "literary ghoul, feeding on the corpses of decayed literature", which is only a metaphor. But it does foreshadow a pretty ghoulish story, involving a corpse, which may or may not have been animated by an evil spirit.

But I have not yet read Diedrich Knickerbocker's THE HISTORY OF NEW-YORK, which I will have to do.

Re: GHOUL STORIES IN ENGLISH (1706-1943)
Posted by: Minicthulhu (IP Logged)
Date: 8 April, 2021 11:38AM
Thank you very much for answering me.



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