The tragedy of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley is that, despite having one of the most famous horror stories of all time, her other work is virtually unknown. Her other two novels, aside from Frankenstein, were actually strange and unique in their own way—keep reading to learn more about the roads Mary Shelley paved for the literary community.
Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus (1818)
Shelley’s first and most notorious novel was started when she was still a teenager, in 1816, at age 18. Female writers around the world, myself included, are grateful for her contribution to literature, even though she published initial additions anonymously when she was twenty in London in 1818. Her name didn’t actually appear on the publication until the second edition was published in Paris in 1821.
What is incredible about this book is not just that it was written by a teenager, or that it was written by a woman, but that it was written by a woman from the perspective of a young male scientist. This story arose from her travels through Europe in 1815 while she traveled along the Rhine in Germany. Eleven miles away from what is considered Frankenstein Castle, where two centuries before her visit a mad alchemist conducted various experiments. She continued her travels across Geneva, Switzerland—which was also used as a setting for much of the novel. Shelley and her traveling companions had incredibly controversial conversations that ranged from the occult to galvanism—this of course was around the time that Luigi Galvani was conducting his experiments with his frog galvanoscope.
The legend of how Shelley came up with her idea of this particular novel tells us that Shelley and her traveling companions, most all of them writers, decided to have a contest amongst themselves. They wanted to challenge each other and see, who among them could create the most engaging, terrifying, and outrageous horror story. Initially stumped by the prompt, Shelly thought upon the topic for days until she finally had a dream that would inspire her to write the story of a scientist who created life, only to be horrified by his own creation.
The story of Victor Frankenstein was rather controversial due to the idea of Galvani’s technology and what his experiments meant for the scientific community at the time. So, Shelley portrays Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist as a man pursuing knowledge that lies in the unorthodox, blasphemous fields of secrets yet-to-be-told. Life and death are uncertainties in this story, when Victor creates a sapient creature, one constructed from the pilfered parts of those who have died.
Galvani’s experiments gave the scientific community a lot of ideas about reanimation after death and also launched experimental medical treatments using electricity to cure diseases that were incurable at the time. If you’re interested in learning a bit more about the process that Luigi Galvani used to achieve this ground-breaking discovery about electrical impulses and the nerve system, there are a few YouTubers who decided to replicate the experiment. Enjoy!
The Last Man (1826)
Shelley’s novel The Last Man is an unusual topic for the time during which it arose; originally published in 1826, this book envisions a future Earth—set in the late twenty-first century—that is ravaged by plague and unknown pandemic. It harbors the eery scene of a planet in the throes of apocalypse, where society has degraded to a dystopian nightmare, amidst the ravages of an unchecked and unknowable plague that blankets the globe.
In order to write this particular novel, Shelley spent time sitting in meetings of the House of Commons in order to have a deeper understanding of the inner workings of a Romantic Era political system. As such, she created another first in literature—dystopian apocalyptic visions of the future within the writing community. Due to the insanely new concept of a dystopic world, her novel was suppressed by the literary community at large, as it was a wholly nightmarish idea at the time. It was almost considered prophecy and it wasn’t until the 1960s that the novel resurfaced to the public where it was clearly understood to be a work of fiction.
Mathilda is one of those books that, if it had been published during Shelley’s lifetime, it might have created another scandal for Mary Shelley—as such her second long work, despite having been written between August 1819 and February 1820, wasn’t published until 1959, well after Shelley’s death. While this isn’t a horror novel, it does provide some insight into the dark and depressed mind of Shelley following the death of two of her children. Their deaths in 1818 and 1819 respectively caused Mary Shelley to distance herself emotionally and sexually from her husband which was an incredible hardship on their marriage.
The plot of this particular novel dealt with a common theme found in Romance Era novels—incest and suicide, this novel in particular was the narrative of a father’s incestuous love for his daughter. Now you may be thinking—that’s disgusting! And by today’s standards of familial relationships and romantic relationships, you would be correct.
Mathilda tells her story from her deathbed, having barely lived to her twenties, in order to tell the story of her darkest secrets that have led her to such a young demise. She confesses the truth of her isolated upbringing which leads to the ultimate begrudging truth of her emotional withdrawal and inevitable, secluded death. She never names her father, who confesses his incestuous love for her—his confession fuels his decision to commit suicide by drowning.
Author. Artist. A little bit Alaskan. Mary lives with her dog in a rural cabin outside of Fairbanks, Alaska. They explore the bounty of the Alaskan wilderness during the summer and cozy up in their log cabin during the winter.
Women don’t get a lot of credit in any field that they may excel in, so why should the world of literature be any different? While, they get recognized by their peers, how many of you can name more than a handful of famous female horror authors off the top of your head? It’s unfortunate that most can’t, to say the least, but that’s something that we plan to remedy here today.
While we are asserting that all of the writers listed here are horror writers, a lot of these amazing women have actually produced written work that is outside of the horror genre–or, even more astoundingly, their main genre of work may not even be horror.
(08/30/1797 – 02/01/1851)
Born Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, Shelley is best known for her novel Frankenstein (1818) which is quite widely cited as the very first Science Fiction horror novel. Unfortunately, her career wasn’t quite as prolific as some modern writers, but her work seems to have been more about quality, rather than quantity. Unsurprisingly she wasn’t the first writer within the horror genre, but she was the first female horror writer and she did invent two completely different subgenres of horror. I do find it rather nice though, that all of her works are within the public domain and can be enjoyed by anyone who wishes to read her Gothic-styled genius.
Check out our coverage of Mary Shelley in her Dead Author Dedication we did earlier this year.
Daphne Du Maurier has generally been classed as a romantic novelist, but the stories she produced in her lifetime have been described as “moody and resonant,” and most if not all of them have paranormal and supernatural overtones. Critics never gave her a fair shot when her bestselling works were first published, but her exceptional talent with her voice in narrative changed their minds and earned her a persistently unparalleled reputation.
A few of her novels have been adapted into films—quite successfully in fact, including Rebecca (1938), adapted by Alfred Hitchcock to film in 1940—which starts off as such an innocent romance, but quickly turns into a story with such a haunting atmosphere, you can’t be sure if it’s a ghost story, or one of subterfuge. Don’t even get us started on his adaptation of her novel The Birds (1952) which was released in 1963!
Some Books to Read by Du Maurier
Jamaica Inn (1936)
My Cousin Rachel (1951)
The Birds (1952)
Not After Midnight and Other Stories (1971)
Unfortunately, we haven’t covered the life and times of Daphne Du Maurier as of yet, but believe us when we say that her style of writing is phenomenal–actually, don’t believe us, read some of them and decide for yourself! Since we’ve been trying to cover a single dead author per month, in memoriam during the month in which they passed, we won’t be visiting the life and achievements of Daphene Du Maurier in full until April of 2021.
(12/14/1916 – 08/08/1965)
Shirley Jackson is one of those writers that the weird, dark, and haunted can thoroughly relate to–personally, I believe that she is the one writer I can relate to the most. Not because she was insanely talented–I’m not self-centered enough to believe I rank on her level–it’s because she never made an attempt to pretend that she was in any way normal and I mean that in complete admiration.
If you’re interested in learning more about Shirley Jackson, take a look at the articles we did to honor her for August’s Dead Author Dedication:
Lois Duncan made a name for herself by writing for young adults–those transitioning from childhood to adulthood, who needed a voice to relate to that would help them understand what it was like to have to evolve into a responsible human being, even under the worst of circumstances. As a horror writer for the young and the young-at-heart, Duncan left a legacy, not only for her readers, but for those who were inspired to follow in her footsteps.
She paved the way for writers and creatives to finally be able to appeal to the younger audiences who, otherwise would only have had adult horror to turn to–because, let’s be honest, those among us who love horror now have loved horror for a long time and if it hadn’t been for Duncan’s books we might not have had age-appropriate content for our nerdy dark brains to dive into.
You can learn more about Lois Duncan through our exploration of her life, literary achievements, and legacy–Puzzle Box Horror style, in our Dead Author Dedication in July 2020.
She is a best-selling American author and having sold nearly 100 million copies of her books, is one of the most widely read authors in modern history. World-renowned, among her works the most well-known are the Vampire Chronicles, where she demonstrates her ability to convey love, death, immortality, existentialism, as well as the human condition under the umbrella of the gothic horror genre. One thing is certain, aside from Mary Shelley, Rice is possibly the most popular female author on this list!
Octavia E. Butler
(06/22/1947 – 02/24/2006)
Butler started her writing career in her twenties after studying at several universities and she blended elements of science fiction and African American spiritualism in her novels. Her first book, Patternmaster (1976) which would kick start her first series of books. It wouldn’t be her last series, however, as she continued to write and publish books up until her death in February of 2006. Although Butler was better known to be an author of science fiction, she often incorporated elements of our favorite genre, horror. Her most horror-inspired novel was published just a year before her death and told the story of a girl who discovers she’s a vampire. Often hailed as a genius, Butler worked to address racism from her vantage point as a writer and exposed the horrors of oppression in American history. When talking about one of her most popular books, she explained that, “[she] wanted to write a novel that would make others feel the history: the pain and fear that black people have had to live through in order to endure.”
Join us in February of 2021, for when we honor Butler’s contribution to horror.
(01/06/1960 – Present)
As a writer, director, and independent producer, Kathe Koja is a multiple platform powerhouse of a woman—her talent allows her to work within several different genres, from Young Adult, to contemporary, to historical, as well as horror fiction genres. Several of her novels have won awards and have also been translated into multiple different languages and her work has also been optioned for film and performance pieces.
Caitlín R. Kiernan
(05/26/1964 – Present)
As an Irish-born American, Caitlín R. Kiernan is a published paleontologist and author of both science fiction and dark/horror fantasy. An accomplished author in her own right, Kiernan has published ten novels, a series of comic books, and over two hundred fifty short stories, novellas, and vignettes—for all of her hard work she has received both the World Fantasy and Bram Stoker awards twice!
(01/05/1966 – Present)
Tananarive is an all-around wonder when it comes to the horror community, not only is she an award-winning author, she also teaches about Black Horror and Afrofuturism at the University of California Los Angeles. But wait, there’s more—as a prominent figure in black speculative fiction over the last twenty years, she and her husband collaborated to write “A Small Town” for the second season of the reboot of The Twilight Zone. This is by no means a complete biography for Due but we hope it’s enough to interest you in her incredible literature and work for equality as she helps to educate in the exclusionary history of not just American history, but horror history.
For a more in-depth look at the history of horror and the role that black people have historically played within the genre, keep an eye out for Shudder’s Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror. Tananarive Due is listed as an executive producer for this highly anticipated documentary and it’s coming out in February 2021, just in time for Black History month!
(04/04/1968 – Present)
London-born, Gemma Files is a Canadian horror writer, journalist, and film critic—but she had quite a meager start as a freelance writer until she landed a continuing gig with an entertainment periodical called Eye Weekly. It was this position that led to her gaining local traction, as she began critiquing horror, independent, and Canadian films. In 1999 Gemma won the International Horror Guild Award for Best Short Story, with The Emperor’s Old Bones. Since then, five of her short stories have been adapted to television for The Hunger series. She’s been nominated for countless awards, including the Shirley Jackson Award in 2009 and 2010 for a short story and novelette respectively.
(01/01/1972 – Present)
Another elegant African American horror author, Jemiah Jefferson toes the line between horror and erotica through her gift to horror-loving women everywhere—her Voice of the Blood series about the famous creatures of the night has been called “smart, beautiful, sexy, and vicious.” (I’m not going to lie, I may have purchased all four of them the very same day I discovered her.) Jemiah has a lot more to offer in the way of novels and short stories, however, and we’re exceptionally excited to share her with you all.
Helen Olajumoke Oyeyemi
(12/10/1984 – Present)
Oyeyemi and her writing are equally unique, her writing transcends any genre that attempts to confine or define her, so the best way we can describe her work is a blend of horror, fantasy, fairy tales, and folklore. While not a dedicated horror writer, her work is often unsettling (just the way we like it), frightening, and she often explores the paranormal, bizarre, and supernatural elements of fiction. When she was a young woman, just twenty years of age, she published her first novel The Icarus Girl (2005), which mixed the paranormal with Gothic horror themes and Nigerian folklore. In 2009, her novel White is For Witching, was published and is considered one of the great modern cosmic horror novels—we personally loved it!
(09/14/19** – Present)
As a modern-day writer in a genre dominated by a more masculine influence, Kat Howard is a refreshing change of pace–since the best writing is when you are allowed to immerse yourself in the story and are otherwise unaware of the writer’s gender, skin color, sexuality, or how they otherwise identify themselves.
We were lucky enough to be able to speak to Kat Howard recently—so, check out the interview that we did with Kat Howard, where she speaks about her novel The End of the Sentence (2014), horror, and what it’s like to be a writer. You can check out that interview here if you’d like to know more!
We reserve the right to update this list in the future to further represent female writers of the horror genre that we may currently be unfamiliar with–an exclusion of an amazing female horror author here only means that we have yet to be introduced to her work! Let us know if you believe someone should be included here!
Author. Artist. A little bit Alaskan. Mary lives with her dog in a rural cabin outside of Fairbanks, Alaska. They explore the bounty of the Alaskan wilderness during the summer and cozy up in their log cabin during the winter.
Many of Richard Matheson’s works went from page to screen pretty successfully–perhaps that’s part of the reason why so many people are familiar with work that he originally penned, but are unaware of the source of the story. After such a long career, one might hope that people would come to recognize your name, but it didn’t seem to bother Matheson, who seemed to only write for the love of writing.
The Films Based on Matheson’s Novels
I Am Legend (1954) is Richard Matheson’s most talked-about novel–it was such a success and inspiration to creatives everywhere that it was even adapted to film three separate times. The Last Man On Earth (1964), The Omega Man (1971), and I Am Legend (2007) all wonderful movies in their own right, just never seemed to capture the concept behind the original novel.
The Last Man On Earth (1964)
The dark tale of The Last Man On Earth takes place in a post-epidemic nightmare world, where a scientist by the name of Robert Morgan–played by Vincent Price–is the only man immune to a vampire plague which has transformed the entire population on Earth. This vampire society comes to fear Morgan, as he turns into a monster slayer. As a scientist, he studies the plague and ends up being able to cure one of them, by transfusing his blood into her. This upsets the vampire race and they end up killing him for what he has done to Ruth.
Considered the second adaptation of I Am Legend to film, Charlton Heston plays Robert Neville, a man who is the only recipient of a serum that made him immune to the germ warfare between Russia and China. This caused him to be the only known normal human left alive and he lives in a gaudy, antique-decorated penthouse in Los Angeles where he roams the vacant city by day and fends off bloodthirsty (read: vampire) mutant scavengers. Eventually, Neville comes across a young group of healthy non-vampires, which destroys the idea of him being the last remaining normal human being.
The third adaptation of Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend, this attempt at the film follows Robert Neville–played by Will Smith–as the last man on Earth struggling to survive and fend off the infected victims of the vampiric plague. He’s a brilliant scientist who is meant to find the cure to a highly contagious superbug–something he is inexplicably immune to, as we find out later in the film. By day, Neville searches high and low for supplies, sends out desperate radio messages with the hope to find other survivors, and by night he hunkers down in his fortress of a home while attempting to find the cure to the virus by using his own blood in experiments on vampires he has captured. The horde of vampires is more intelligent than Neville realizes, however, and they take vengeance upon him after he captures a vampire woman who the alpha vampire is bonded to.
Adapted from Hell House by Matheson, into a screenplay by Matheson himself, four people with supposed extrasensory powers are hired to spend the weekend in a haunted house in order to gather evidence of the haunting.
Tom Witzky lives a fairly normal life, he works in Chicago and lives with his wife and son, not believing in anything out of the ordinary. One night, while at a party, Tom and his sister-in-law, Lisa, get into a verbal debate about psychic communication and the power of hypnosis–he challenges Lisa to hypnotize him, so she does. She plants a post-hypnotic suggestion for Tom to be more open-minded and things begin to happen.
Matheson wrote several screenplays, including sixteen episodes of The Twilight Zone, where he could simply pitch an idea and spur an entire episode.
Nightmare at 20,000 Feet (2002)
A salesman is traveling via plane after a recent nervous breakdown–after being told that he’s recovered from his issues–while flying, he begins to believe he’s seeing a monster climbing on the wing of the plane and damaging the engine. The only problem is, is that he’s the only one who sees it.
Author. Artist. A little bit Alaskan. Mary lives with her dog in a rural cabin outside of Fairbanks, Alaska. They explore the bounty of the Alaskan wilderness during the summer and cozy up in their log cabin during the winter.
Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him- Genesis 5:24
Noah raised the fruit to eye level. Its translucent color sparkled like a diamond in the sun. It’s shape, oval, fitting in the palm of his hand. Its skin was smooth and mellifluous. “What is this,” Noah asked, his sun worn face scrunched in curiosity. A loud thunderclap echoed across the black sky. Michael the archangel glanced up at the menacing clouds, then back at Noah. “It’s the only surviving fruit of the tree of life. You must guard it, and guard it with your life.” Noah’s eyes widened. “So, the legend is true? But I thought Shamsiel destroyed all the fruit?” “Ah yes, Shamsiel,” Michael nodded in remembrance as his face soured. “The guardian cherub.” His eyes met Noah’s. “We thought he did. His rage over Lilith being cast out knew no bounds. If it hadn’t been for Seth,” Michael’s voice trailed off as he stared at the ark. “What, Michael?” Noah lowered the fruit and cupped it in both hands. “If it hadn’t been for Seth rummaging through the rubble, we wouldn’t have known either.” Noah sat on the ground watching Shem struggle to get a sheep up the ramp to the ark. “Tell me more, Michael.” Michael sat down by Noah. “Your ancestor Seth found it. He passed it down and eventually Enoch, the man of God, took the fruit.” “Yes, and legend says God took him up to the heavens.” “Indeed, he did. Do you know why?” Noah shook his head.
“Because Enoch took a bite of the fruit.” Noah’s hand felt the indention on the backside of the fruit. He flipped it over and his mouth gaped. “Indeed, he did.” Noah looked at Michael, his face begging him to continue. “God had to take Enoch. Enoch wasn’t supposed to happen. A fallen man from Adam’s race now endued with eternal life in his sinful state.” “Was God angry,” Noah asked. Michael smirked, “No, he wasn’t angry. He loves Enoch. He enacted a plan.” Noah raised his eyebrows. “What kind of a plan?” “Well, “Michael pursed his lips in thought. “Enoch dug up Eve’s grave and buried the fruit with her.” He gave Noah a sly smile. “Proved to be a remarkable hiding spot.” Noah nodded in agreement. Michael said, “After Enoch hid the fruit, Yahweh took Enoch to heaven. Enoch has now been placed as guardian over the fruit. If the fruit is in danger of falling into the wrong hands, Enoch will come, ready to fight and ensure the fruit remains safe.” “So, you’re giving it to me? So, it will not be lost in the grand deluge?” “You catch on fast, old man,” Michael patted Noah on the back. Noah gave a half-smile then studied the fruit. “I will guard it well, Michael.” Noah’s gaze met Michael’s. “I make an oath to Yahweh on my very life.” “Very good. I know you will not fail us.” A deafening thunder shook the heavens, and Noah felt the first drop of rain graze the top of his ear.
In the years following the flood, as Noah’s descendants spread across the land, the secret of the fruit remained with Noah. Before he died, Noah entrusted this knowledge to his sons, Ham, Shem, and Japeth. The three brothers guarded the fruit well, and as they aged, the trio sought a prudent man to entrust with their family’s secret.
But none could be found.
Nimrod thrust his dagger into the stomach of the lion. He had killed the beast not even five minutes ago. The cold months were approaching, and he needed warm hide to cover his massive frame. He slid the dagger down and the blood ran. He pushed his hand into the warm liquid and the copper smell hit is nostrils. He grabbed a chunk of innards and began to gut the lion. As he worked, he thought about Ham, the head of the clan. He was on his deathbed. Maybe he should make the hide into a covering for him? No, he thought. Let the old bastard die.
Nimrod dragged the carcass back to his clan’s camp. He walked in and heard Ham’s faint voice calling for him from within his tent. Nimrod sighed, dropped the lion, and stepped into Ham’s tent. “Yes, my lord.” “Come see, my son.” Ham’s voice was a wheezing whisper. Nimrod eased over to Ham’s bed and knelt beside him. “Take my hand,” Ham demanded. Nimrod reached out and held Ham’s hand. It was cold and slick. The hand of a dying man. “I’m here, my lord.” “Nimrod, my time on this earth is about to expire. I need you to gather my brothers and my sons and daughters.” Nimrod went to release Ham’s hand and obey his orders, but Ham squeezed tighter. “Wait my child. Before I die, there is something I need to tell you. It’s a secret. A secret of grave importance. I’ve held this secret because there has been no one worthy to pass it on to. But you,” Ham coughed and wheezed. “But you are a great warrior, and a great warrior is needed to protect,” Ham’s words were cut short with more coughing.
Nimrod’s brow furrowed in confusion. “My lord, I don’t understand.” “Come closer my child, and I will tell you.” Nimrod leaned in and Ham revealed to him the knowledge of the fruit. Shem and Japeth entered the tent. Shem held a bowl of stew, ready to feed Ham his lunch. “And the fruit is buried in the mountains of Ararat, where Noah built the first altar to Yahweh after the flood.” Shem’s hands grew weak and the bowl of stew fell to the ground with a sloshing thud. “Dear God, Ham. What have you done?” Nimrod smiled over his shoulder at Shem and Japeth, an insidious gleam in his eye. Ham breathed his last breath and his spirit left to join his ancestors in the bosom of Yahweh. Japeth licked his lips and swallowed hard. Cold chills twisted up his spine. “Nimrod…no.” Shem and Japeth knew what kind of man Nimrod was. Ham had always refused to see. Nimrod stood to his feet. “Well, brothers. I think it would be wise of you to tell me where this altar is.” Shem’s wrinkled, old face contorted with anger. “I would rather go to Sheol than tell you where the fruit is buried!” “Very well, “Nimrod nodded. He drew his sword which was attached to his waist. With one fluid motion, he lopped Shem’s head off. A blood rainbow geysered from his neck, decorating the inside of the tent. Shem’s body toppled to the floor and Nimrod turned his attention to Japeth. The old man went down on both knees and shook his head. “I will not tell you either.” “So be it!” Nimrod swung and decapitated Japeth. As his headless body hit the dirt, blood flowed around Nimrod’s feet. Nimrod stepped over the body and poked his head out of the tent. When he was sure no one had heard the commotion, he sneaked out the camp, leaving the lion carcass, and traveled to the mountains of Ararat. Lucifer sat in the shadows, watching the entire scene, a sinister plan stirring in his dark heart.
Enoch approached Yahweh’s throne, his face shrouded in the darkness of his gray, hooded cloak. His body burned with the fire of Yahweh. He drew his sword and knelt before God. “Yes, My Lord.” “The secret of the fruit has been jeopardized.” Enoch lifted his head. “I know. I felt it.” “And Lucifer prowls about.” “Lucifer…” Enoch growled. “Go,” Yahweh commanded. “Release Azazel and the other watchers from prison- Amazarak, Baraqel, and Suriel. They will aid you in your quest.” “It will be as you will,” Enoch said, then rose to his feet to go to Tartarus and release the watchers.
A cool breeze flowed through the mountains. It entered a cave and rolled over the sleeping body of Nimrod, awakening him with a shiver. “I should have kept the lion,” he mumbled to himself. Nimrod sat up to stoke the fire he had built. His eyes detected movement in the corner. Nimrod drew his dagger. As the embers of the fire danced up in the air, he saw a figure in the shadows. The entities eyes glowed orange. Its skin was onyx, with a sapphire breastplate covering its chest. The figure extended charcoal wings with singed feathers, gleaming like the embers of Nimrod’s fire. “Put the blade down, Nimrod,” the being said and stepped out of the shadows. “It won’t do you any good.” It had been years, but Nimrod recognized the creature. “Lucifer?” Lucifer smiled, revealing jagged, opaque teeth which also reflected the dim light of the fire. “Yes. And I’m sure you can guess why I am here.” Nimrod returned his dagger to its sheath. “Oh, I can take a wild guess. The fruit.”
Lucifer gave a slow nod. “I’ve been waiting all these years for Noah and his family to stumble,” Lucifer chuckled. “I always knew it would be Ham.” “What do you want with the fruit, Lucifer, “Nimrod asked, his voice lacking amusement. “To make you like the mighty men of renown. The mighty men of old. The Nephilim. Then you shall devour the fruit, and we shall live forever, and be the rightful rulers of this creation.” Nimrod smirked. “Tell me more, brother.” Plans were made, and Lucifer entered Nimrod. Nimrod’s body twisted and contorted, his features taking on those of Lucifer’s, except his skin remained its olive color. His torso expanded and his limbs elongated. A pair of singed wings emerged from his back. Nimrod grew so large, he had to get on all fours to crawl out the entrance of the cave. “Go,” Nimrod heard a voice in his head saying. “I know where the altar used to be.”
Enoch sank his sword into the rocky ground of the mountain. It split open, and he saw the shimmering of the fruit of the tree of life. His emerald eyes glowed under the darkness of his hood as he glanced over his shoulder at Azazel, Amazarak, Baraqel, and Suriel. “The fruit is still here. We are not too late,” Enoch said Azazel threw off his cloak. His wine-colored scales refracted the light, causing it to sparkle like a gem. Eight tales like a scorpion aligned his back- four on each side running vertically. The tails outstretched like wings, hovering over his body. Powerful reptilian legs supported the frame, and one of its massive arms formed into a blade at the hand. Azazel’s face had been peeled back, revealing bulging eyes and a black skull with the red sinews still attached. He breathed in deep. “He is close,” Azazel turned to the other watchers. “Prepare yourselves.” The other watchers removed their cloaks. They resembled Azazel in appearance except Amazarak was a light blue, Baraqel a golden yellow, and Suriel a deep red. Enoch removed his sword from the rock and stood in front of the watchers. The ground began to shake, as a figure in the distance rumbled towards them. A few moments later, the Lucifer- Nimrod hybrid loomed over them. “Stand aside Enoch. The fruit is mine,” the creature’s voice flowed deep.
Enoch threw his hood back. Black spikes covered his pale head, which was aligned with various tribal markings. His green eyes darkened. “You cannot kill what cannot die.” Enoch bared his teeth and made the first move. Nimrod swung his sword and blocked Enoch’s attack. The blow was so forceful, Enoch flipped in the air and crashed against the side of the mountain. The watchers moved in fast. Their blade arms flailing and connecting with Nimrod’s flesh. Nimrod cried out in anger and pain. While he was preoccupied with Suriel and Baraqel, Azazel was able to slip in behind him. Azazel leaped onto Nimrods back. As he did, he sank all of his scorpion legs into Nimrod’s sides and chest. Amazarack saw his opening and thrust his blade arm into Nimrod’s stomach. Blood flowed from Nimrod’s wounds and his body grew weak. With a show of strength, he brought his sword crashing down on Amazarack’s arm, severing it. Amazarack retreated in pain, and Nimrod removed the blade, then fell to his knees. Azazel released his grasp, and Baraqel kicked Nimrod in the chest, collapsing him to the ground. By this time Enoch was on his feet. He approached Nimrod and stood over him. “As I said,” Enoch raised his sword. “You cannot kill what cannot die.” He brought the blade down like a bolt of lightning into Nimrod’s heart. Nimrod breathed his last, and Lucifer ascended out of him and flew into the heavens. Enoch and the watchers looked on until Lucifer was out of sight. They inspected the fruit one last time, then sealed the crevice. Enoch and the watchers returned to heaven, leaving Nimrod’s body to decay in the mountains.
Shamsiel saw the entire thing. He descended the mountain and stood where Enoch had split the ground. Shamsiel’s head resembled a gigantic, black goat skull with long horns. His black and red feline body gripped a flaming sword in its human hands. His tail, a viper, slithered around his feet. He raised the sword above his head and then slammed it into the rock. The ground split and Shamsiel saw something sparkle. He reached into the crevice and took hold of the fruit. Shamsiel brought the fruit to eye level and inspected it. His grip around it tightened. His voice echoed as he talked. It was a low, guttural voice that rolled like thunder. “It’s not over Lilith. Not at all.”
“Come on… Come on!” The scent of electric smoke wafted up from the soldering iron on the circuit board as Larry hastily laid down bead after bead connecting the new resistor to the board. He knew if he did not get the power connected back to the ham radio that the signal would be lost forever and the passengers of the Cessna likely would be as well–at least they would be lost to him. He squinted through his thick coke bottle glasses and at five-foot-six his face just peaked over the magnifier on his father’s workbench as he worked the soldering iron. “Yes! There we go…”
At seventeen-years-old, Larry was dually obsessed with his ham radio and science fiction; despite his mother’s desperate plea for him to find a girlfriend and go out on dates, his preferred mistress was science and his deep desire to discover something heretofore unknown. His father, an electrical engineer, was indifferent to the struggle and disappointment his wife was enduring and instead encouraged his boy to follow his passions.
As a result of his passion-turned-obsession, the garage looked as if it were a Radio Shack fire sale. Wires of all gauges were organized according to size on the walls, circuit boards were haphazardly stacked on the workbench, and there were drawers of neatly organized resistors, capacitors, inductors, transformers, diodes, and transistors were all within the arm’s reach. The noticeable hum of the fluorescent lights kicked on and it was a sound that had grown comforting to Larry–this was his space and in his opinion, there was nothing else like it in the world. Unlike the precarious hallways of his high school, where letter-jacket jocks regularly singled him out for hazing, he was in control in this space. In this place, anything was possible.
The world of technology in 1982 was mostly limited to pre-made kits and their assembly was predetermined by fine-tuned direction manuals–these had never been in Larry’s wheelhouse. In truth, Larry’s pride-and-joy was his ham radio and he spent countless late nights scanning the airwaves for signals, for proof that he could show-off to his friends. Just like his father, he had no love for athletics, he inherited his passion for electronics and radio signals through the bond he had formed with his dad. Due to his father’s pursuits, they had a homemade dedicated high-frequency radio and antenna mounted on his roof that could reach as far north as Alaska given the right weather conditions.
Through countless hours of connecting to other Alaskan radio operators, Larry had acquired a deep knowledge of the wild country–it had quickly become one of his favorite locations to scan. Sometimes he was unfortunate enough to overhear the desperate calls from people far out in the bush begging for loved ones to return home after a death in the family, but aside from those depressing transmissions, he would listen to plane operators as they crossed the most dangerous passes in the unforgiving terrain. Quite often, as Larry learned, bush pilots would go down in the wilderness. The weather could change in the blink of an eye as the wind whipped off of the glaciers at breakneck speeds.
The wall next to the small desk where the radio sat boasted a large map of Alaska where Larry had pinned all of the locations he had isolated from coordinates of the pilots he had overheard through his transmissions. Over the past year, Larry had learned of what pilots and local Alaskans would refer to as the “Alaskan Triangle,” much like its Bermudan counterpart, it was an area where an inordinate amount of disappearances took place. More than one dinner chat had ended with his mother sighing in exhaustion over the topic, then excusing herself as Larry continued to elaborate on the impact of negative energy fields. His father, still listening intently, would be captivated as Larry shared stories of the pilots he had overheard before they would simply go dark. Larry’s father insisted that it was likely air conditions that had changed and interfered with the signal, but Larry stubbornly continued to compile his little red pins on the map of planes that he believed had disappeared–at least that’s what he could gather in the communications and from the other radio operators who had far more experience with these things.
This time things felt different–it was around seven o’clock in the evening when he had started scanning the channels according to his usual evening routine. This transmission was coming from a twin Cessna, having left Anchorage and was en route to Juneau. That’s just on the outer edge of the triangle, he thought to himself, but other than that initial gut reaction the transmissions sounded fairly standard despite some moderate to mildly unfavorable conditions. Larry assumed for an Alaska Bush pilot that was something along the lines of light snow, winds, and possibly some icing of the instrument panels–he overheard the pilot announce that things were going to be VFR until further notice and they had only been in the air for about a half-hour.
“Approximately one hour till touch down–,” Larry heard the pilot buzz in over the radio, but what came next always made his stomach churn, “six souls on board.”
The weather took a sudden turn for the worse, the pilot signaled he would be making an emergency landing at the short airstrip in the port town of Whittier, in an attempt to wait out the storm. The pilot must have not released the PTT, because Larry could overhear the pilot being verbally accosted by one of his passengers, it sounded something like–are you crazy? I need to be in Juneau now, campaign deals don’t wait for the weather! The pilot didn’t seem to pay much mind to what Larry had dubbed “the angry politician,” or the other passengers who seemed to also be pressuring him to get them back into the air. With, what Larry assumed was, upstanding ethics, the pilot continued to note the change of flight plans over the radio. Larry could feel his brow scrunch together–he felt an almost sympathetic annoyance for the pilot, for his having to deal with such nasty attitudes.
Larry may have been slightly envious about the pilot’s ability to fly–something he had always been oddly fascinated with, despite his proclivity for tracking plane crashes–what it must be like to be in control of a metal bird defying gravity in the most astounding way. Fifteen minutes after landing the plane, the pilot’s voice buzzed back over the air. From what Larry could make out from between the crackling of the white noise and the pilot’s voice, it seemed as if he was modifying their route further inland in hopes of avoiding the storm when they headed back up. I guess that guy won the argument–he sounded like a dick, he thought to himself.
He absentmindedly scanned the other channels, but there was nothing else coming in at all. From his experience in listening in on these fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants pilots, that meant that no one else was crazy enough to fly tonight. That meant conditions in Alaska tonight must have been especially abhorrent, there weren’t many times where the most experienced bush pilots doubted their ability to keep their birds in the air. Regardless of whether or not this particular pilot had the moxie to brave the skies, this plane was going up–and they were about to fly directly into the sea of red pins on Larry’s map.
“Larry!” he heard his mother summon him, “it’s time for dinner!” He hunched a bit deeper over his workbench and pressed his headset harder against his ears, unsure of whether he would be able to eat, knowing exactly where this pilot and his persistent passengers were headed. Through the buzzing white-noise and whirls, he heard his mother’s high pitched call once again–no, I have to know–but when he heard her use his middle name, he knew that she would just get louder and angrier until he appeased her and god-help-him if he were to make her come get him herself. He’d be lucky to be back on his ham radio again for a month. Ok, ok, I’ll just eat fast and get back here to try to get back on track with this Cessna.
Larry plowed through his hungry man TV dinner, a Wednesday night special at the Donahue’s house, with barely a word. His father, pensive and deep in thought, barely noticed. His mother tried to make some small talk asking about school, friends, and of course hinting about girls. Larry placated her with the general, everything is fine,so he could get back to his radio. He dumped the remnants in the trash and tossed his used fork sloppily into the kitchen sink before he took off back to his sanctuary.
Once back in the garage he turned off the fluorescent lights, sat down at the desk with the warm glow of the radio and small table lamp then donned his white pioneer headphones and stretched the spiral cord to connect the ¼ inch jack to the silver radio. He felt like an astronaut ready for takeoff as his chest grew tight with excitement. Is this plane still up? He felt trepidation as he hunched over the radio and began to scan the range he had first found the plane in. Nothing. Just static. He switched over to 1145, a frequency that several other operators in Alaska frequented.
“This is Larryhue–come in–over.” Again, there was nothing but static, “Larryhue–radio check–come in–over.”
The frequency crackled, more white-noise, there was radio silence until, “Affirmative. Read you loud and clear,” A familiar feminine voice buzzed in through the frequency. “Sharon145 here–how are you tonight? Over.” Larry’s heart quickened, there weren’t many female radio operators and in his teenage daydream, he imagined her in that split second to be a young, beautiful redhead who admired intelligence over height. She sounded about his age, or at least she did in his fantasy image of her.
“Did you catch that Cessna out of ANC about an hour ago? Over.”
“Affirmative. I can’t believe they went back up,” the radio crackled with her concerned tone, “I got a ping as they headed west, but they’ve been silent for about fifteen minutes now. I’ve been checking the other frequencies since–there’s not another pilot in those skies, weather is too choppy. Over.”
Larry was torn between continuing the back-and-forth with Sharon145–something he was all too fond of–and trying to chase the signal that he had caught from the Cessna. His curiosity over the mystery Cessna weighed heavily on him and trumped his desire to talk to what-he-imagined-was his dream girl. “Uhh–thanks Sharon, I’m going to change frequencies to see if I can catch the Cessna again. Stand by. Over.”
“Wilco–Over that,” Sharon’s voice disappeared when Larry quickly turned the dial to scan for any signal from the Cessna. White-noise. Static. Silence. Larry huffed and continued to scan.
“MAYDAY! MAYDAY–This is White Cessna NOVEMBER-357-GOLF, VFR no longer viable–I repeat, zero visibility and high winds–RADIO CHECK–DO YOU READ ME? OVER.” This sudden break in the static knocked the wind out of Larry, he could feel his palms break out in a sweat. “MAYDAY! MAYDAY! Left-engine faulty after mid-air collision–”
“WHAT WAS THAT?” Larry thought he heard the angry politician scream in the background.
“–IS ANYONE RECEIVING?” The urgency of the pilot’s voice scared him, he was unsure of what to do, he had never been in this situation. “Flying blind–heading South-Southeast approximately fifty miles out of IEM. Requesting heading for emergency landing. Over.”
A deafening silence followed the pilot’s urgent pleas for help and then he heard the pilot repeat his message, the desperation overrode his professionalism. Larry sat there, his thumb hovering over the PTT, unsure if he should respond, get his dad, or wait to hear if there was an official response by flight control. He froze, his jaw slacked, and his vision blurred–he heard the third and fourth round of the message, each time the passengers could be overheard panicking in the background.
“Cessna NOVEMBER-357-GOLF–” Larry heard himself respond before he realized his mouth was even moving, “this is–uh–ham radio operator Larryhue. Go ahead. Over.” Suddenly Larry felt as if he had never used a radio before in his life–what the hell am I doing? What am I supposed to say to this guy? I can’t help him!
“Larryhue, we need to prepare for an emergency landing–need a heading,” the pilot seemed to have relaxed if only slightly, but Larry was in full panic, he couldn’t possibly be the only one listening in–he waited a moment, hoping beyond hope that flight control would take over the transmission. “Radio check! Larryhue–there’s s-s-something outside of our plane, we need help, do you read me? Over.”
“W-what’s your bearing? Over,” he was just a kid, but he remembered hearing that over the radio, or maybe it was in a movie. Either way, it felt like it was the right question to ask.
“No bearing, VFR until we hit a whiteout, I believe we’re headed South-Southeast, but wind is knocking us off course.”
“I think I see–,” Larry heard another passenger’s voice interject over the static of the transmitter, but instead of the sound of utter fear, it was one of awe, “what is that swirling mass of light–is that the aurora? Is the sky clearing up?”
“No, Senator Boggs–that’s impossible,” Larry heard the pilot respond to the interruption, he hadn’t let go of the PTT. A blood-curdling screech echoed over the static into Larry’s ears, and then a sickening crunch of metal, “what the fu–”
Larry stumbled back off of his stool, ripped his headphones off, and in the process pulled them out of the auxiliary jack completely. All he could hear now was a crackle from the radio, then what sounded like a faint plea for help.
“Crap, I am losing the signal,” he said out loud. “Think Larry… Think.” Then he got the idea to modify the radio. He quickly unplugged the radio, unscrewed the casing, and brought the board over to the workbench. He plugged in the soldering iron and began removing the resistor. He figured if he could amplify the power by adjusting resistance maybe he could catch the signal and at least find out where they were going to crash to send help. Larry expertly swapped the resistors, skipped re-attaching the case, and plugged the radio back in.
The radio lit back up, the light only slightly stronger than before. “Cessna are you there, this is Larryhue, over.” Silence. Then a crackle. Then the ear-piercing shriek again.
“Help, we need help” cried out a terrified voice. The sound of wind rushing into the cabin made it evident that the pressurized cabin had been breached. “The pilot.. The pilot is dead. Something smashed through into the cabin and took off one of the wings! We’re going down, please help!” The passenger sobbed, horrified, and hysterical.
“I’m going to call for help” Larry replied.
Then a calmer voice came over the radio that stopped Larry from getting up “We’ve stopped descending, I can’t explain it, we’re just level–we’re–we’re surrounded by light in what looks like a swirling mass of color.”
“I think we are in the eye of the storm…” Then another loud crash, louder than before… Beeping… Screaming and a tremendous crash as if they hit another plane. Static.
“Cessna are you there, Cessna say again.” Nothing. Radio silence and white-noise again. Five minutes passed by and there was still nothing, no transmission. There was just, nothing. Larry sat there, unblinking, and finally realized he needed his father, but he couldn’t move. “DAD! HURRY… PLEASE!” He could barely choke out the words to explain what had happened when his father arrived, they sat there in silence and listened. Larry was grateful that his father believed him, he had heard what he had heard–it was real. He knew it was real.
After a short while, Larry’s father told him to stay on the frequency while he called the authorities to report the transmission, but when his father returned the frequency was still eerily quiet aside from the normal ever-present static. After a few more hours, Larry sighed, his hands had finally stopped shaking and he stood from his stool. He picked up a red pin from the small bowl near his map and placed the pin with resignation in the location in which he believed the plane had gone down. When he stepped back and looked at the broader spectrum of his placed pins within the confines of the Alaskan triangle, it looked like it completed a symbol and it was almost familiar.
Over the next week, Larry scanned the papers for any news of a crashed plane–he even went so far as to call the Alaskan Aviation board, multiple times, but they had no new reports of missing planes. Then it hit him–the pilot had mentioned the name of that angry politician, what was his name? Baggs–something like that. Larry was resolved to find out and the next morning he called the operator, who knew his voice by that point. When Larry retold his story to the annoyed operator, he got a verbal lashing. “What do you think this is, kid? Some kind of joke? I’ve got a job to do here!”
“No–please, I know this sounds crazy, but I heard a name–Senator Baggs, or Boggs, or–”
The operator cut him off, laughing almost maniacally. “Ok kid–I’m done with you pulling my leg, so unless you’ve got a time machine, then this has been fun.” CLICK. The line went dead.
Time machine? Larry was thoroughly confused, but he proceeded back to the library to go through the newspaper archives again, but this time he could narrow it down to Senator Boggs. Or was it Baggs? It took a few hours, but he found it. A headline about the mysterious disappearance of Senator Boggs. His airplane, a White Cessna, had gone missing in Alaska en route to Juneau from the port town of Whittier, but it was the date that made his mouth go dry. October 16, 1972. The plane was never found, but the Senator and the other five souls lost that day had long been assumed dead. It was impossible, but maybe it was just because his eyes were tired after three hours of searching–he rubbed his eyes and checked the date again, 1972. Ten years ago to the date, he had been hearing a decade-old signal.
Of course, when he told his father everything he had found, his father just shook his head, “that’s just not possible Larry. You must have misheard him,” and after that Larry gave up hope convincing his father about what he had heard. Maybe Sharon145 would believe him, after all, they had discussed the Alaskan Triangle more than once before and had passed some harmless conspiracy theories back and forth. It could be a vortex to a parallel universe, or an energy field that could displace time. Larry sat down on his stool in the garage and fired up the radio, but since he hadn’t touched it in the last week, it was still tuned in to the channel from the Senator’s plane.
“MAYDAY! MAYDAY–This is White Cessna NOVEMBER-357-GOLF, VFR no longer viable–I repeat, zero visibility and high winds–RADIO CHECK–DO YOU READ ME? OVER.” There was a brief static-riddled pause. “MAYDAY! MAYDAY! Left-engine faulty after mid-air collision–”
“WHAT WAS THAT?” Larry heard the words echoing back to him again and his heart sank indeterminably, through his stomach, through his feet, through the floor–he clicked the radio off. He thought of the passengers in that plane, a ghost signal that echoed over and over again throughout time and space. An infinite loop of living in terror and he simply couldn’t bear listening to it again.
Larry unplugged the radio, set it on one of the less cluttered shelves. He walked to the door that led back to the house, turned to look over his shoulder–the once comforting hum of the fluorescent lighting now made him feel as if his stomach was in a vice. Larry flicked the switch off, then closed the door behind him.
This story is based on the The Alaska Triangle and one its most famous unsolved disappearances – Senator Boggs Plane.
Tritone’s love of horror and mystery began at a young age. Growing up in the 80’s he got to see some of the greatest horror movies play out in the best of venues, the drive-in theater. That’s when his obsession with the genre really began—but it wasn’t just the movies, it was the games, the books, the comics, and the lore behind it all that really ignited his obsession. Tritone is a published author and continues to write and write about horror whenever possible.
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.