Learn how to THINK and you have learned to tap power at its source.
-Dr. J. Silence, A Psychical Invasion, 1908
The above is from “A Psychical Invasion” (1908), the first of Algernon Blackwood’s stories to feature Dr. John Silence, the ‘psychic doctor’. Blackwood chronicled six of Silence’s cases, though only five appear in the initial collection, John Silence (containing “A Psychical Invasion”, “Ancient Sorceries”, “The Nemesis of Fire”, “Secret Worship”, and “The Camp of the Dog”; “A Victim of Higher Space”, the sixth story, was included in later collections) released in 1908 (then re-issued in 1942). Even if you can’t get your hands on one of the many reprint collections (or on the 1942 re-issue as I was lucky enough to do), you can rest easy…Blackwood’s work is in the public domain and is freely available from a variety of electronic sources.
The stories themselves are in the inimitable Blackwood style, seen at its most effective in “The Wendigo” and “The Willows”, and display the author’s interest in the occult. The horrors that Silence faces are nebulous things, at once more vast than the horizon and smaller than the inside of a cupboard. They range from nightmare assaults out of deep time to unrequited yearnings gone impossibly savage, originating in both human action as well as from events far outside of human understanding. Time and space are suggestions at best, and as in the works of Hodgson and Lovecraft, reality itself comes under assault from outside entities which seek to impose themselves on their victims.
Enter John Silence, MD.
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