Tag Archives: horror

QUAINT #30: “The Werwolves” by Honoré Beaugrand

Image of a loup-garou courtesy of Wikipedia

The Werwolves were created by Honoré Beaugrand and appeared in “The Werwolves” (The Century, August 1898). Beaugrand (1848-1906) was the mayor of Montreal (1885-1887) as well as the author of stories and novels, including La Chasse Galerie (1900), a classic of Québécois folklore. “The Werwolves” is an early example of Québécois horror fiction as well as an interesting usage of traditional Native Canadian mythology.

“The Werwolves” begins in Fort Richelieu, in Québéc, on Christmas Eve in 1706. The Iroquois are “committing depredations in the surrounding country, burning farm houses, stealing cattle and horses, and killing every man, woman, and child whom they could not carry away to their own villages to torture at the stake.” Local white men have gathered at Fort Richelieu to take part in military exercises and to enjoy the coming holiday festivities. The men are telling stories in one of the barracks when one of the guards of the fort shoots at something. The guard swears he shot at an Iroquois outside the fort, although the soldiers who search for the Iroquois can find no trace of him or his tracks. The fort’s commanding officer is sure that the soldier was either drinking or is a fool and has him imprisoned. But an old trapper speaks up for the soldier and tells everyone that the man had been fooled by a band of Iroquois loups-garou (werewolves).

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QUAINT #29 The Engine from A MEXICAN MYSTERY by W. Grove

The Engine was created by “W. Grove” and appeared in A Mexican Mystery (1888) and The Wreck of a World (1889). Nothing is known about “W. Grove” apart from his British citizenship. Both novels are moderately entertaining, and are early examples of the Revolt Of The Machines subgenre of science fiction.

A Mexican Mystery is the diary of John Brown, a Scottish locomotive engineer who is sent to Mexico to oversee the construction of a new railway line for the “new Emperor” (implicitly the Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian Joseph). Brown is sent to the small town of Xiqipu, which will be the location of his headquarters during the project. It is in Xiqipu that he meets Pedro da Luz, the local engineer for the project. Da Luz is a descendant of Montezuma and is independently wealthy, and although proud still welcomes Brown to the project. Brown, for his part, sees that da Luz is close to brilliant and respects his intelligence. Brown goes off to the front of the line, which is high in the mountains, to oversee its construction. Da Luz, meanwhile, stays in Xiqipu and works on his special creation. The Emperor is holding a contest for the best new locomotive, and da Luz intends to win the contest.

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