Some set upon the path of occult detection by happen-stance. Others come to it through duty or necessity. And for some…for some it is a matter of compassion.
Sgt. Roman Janus, created by Jim Beard, is one of the latter. Displaying a boundless compassion and an equally boundless courage, Janus confront spectres and spooks of all varieties. And, in the wake of Monday’s post, not to mention last week’s post by Tim Prasil, Jim has stopped by to share his thoughts on his creation, albeit in a thoroughly unique fashion…
Recently, the former Mount Airy Eagle building was purchased by Trans-Global Media Partners and cleared for demolition. Documents dating back to the mid-1800s were discovered in the basement of the building and among them this curious document. It appears to be a transcription of an interview by an Eagle writer and Sgt. Roman Janus, the infamous Spirit-Breaker of the early 20th century, conducted on an unknown date.
The Eagle ran a regular column called “The Professional Corner” in which they published interviews with various people of various professions in an effort to illuminate business concerns and other related interests – the column featured two writers, Cortland Smith and Norman Prapps, but we are unable to determine which of the men conducted the following interview. We have been able to confirm that it was never published, though we don’t know why, and we assume it would have been edited into prose fashion rather than the question-and-answer format you see here.
The interview offers a rare and somewhat candid viewpoint on Roman Janus and we are very happy to be able to present it to you.
Interviewer: Please state your name and profession.
Janus: I am Sgt. Roman E. Janus, Spirit-Breaker.
Interviewer: Could you be more precise, sir, in your profession?
Janus: Certainly. I aid those who are troubled by the supernatural.
Interviewer: Quite. And what forms may the ‘supernatural’ assume to trouble people?
Janus: Oh, well, far too many, to be sure. I generally weigh in on matters of hauntings and other such spectral or near-spectral visitations, but I also have been know to consult and take a more direct hand in possessions, both human and inanimate objects. I rarely turn any one away who comes to me with a worrisome problem of a psychical nature.
Interviewer: Would you say that there are many people you meet in your trade who do not believe in the supernatural or ghosts?
Janus: Yes, and I very much sympathize with them. The etheric world has yet to fully capture the attention and belief of the general populace, and, if I might say so, I almost envy them that ignorance. It is not an easy life, that of a Spirit-Breaker, and there are days when I would just as soon pick up a good book and a nice brandy then banish another arduous spirit.
Interviewer: You say ‘has yet to fully capture’ – do you mean, sir that…well, that seems to indicate something rather ominous on the horizon for mankind.
Janus: I humbly apologize if I alarmed you. What I mean to say is that the connection between the waking world and the spirit plane has grown closer over the past several hundred years and will continue to do so, but it will be several more centuries before any possibility of full juxtaposition. You and I shall be long into dust by then. Have no fear.
Interview: Well, then, how do you ‘break’ these spirits? Do you utilize more than one way of interjecting yourself into these…these ‘situations’?
Janus: Generally, it’s a matter of spotting the connection point and analyzing its nature. From there I choose from several different, ah, surgical strikes to sever the ties between the spirits and the living. And not all of them are of a violent bent. Sometimes, the kid glove is just as effective as the saber. The intention is to send the dead on their proper way, along the path that was always meant for them. For the most part, the spirits are not entirely responsible for their earthly imprisonment or the pain and suffering that often comes along with it. Such souls need to be shown the door with dignity and decorum.
Interview: But there are those spirits that have been, shall we say, reluctant to heed your direction?
Janus: Yes. Rather a lot, really. Those cases I must approach more forcefully, and, yes, even violently. It is a strange business sometimes.
Interview: I should say so. It boggles the mind. Why would such an injustice exist? It seems a poor way to run a universe, if the Almighty will forgive me for saying so.
Janus: More than a few people have remarked upon that to me, and I tell them all the same thing – I cannot speak for the Deity and His purposes and His reasoning. I am but His humble servant and operate as I see fit to set the system right when it goes wrong.
Interviewer: Then you are a religious man, sir?
Janus: What is religion, though? A system, like many others, of course, beset by rules and regulations, but with the object of bringing peace and happiness under Our Lord here on Earth. I do not subscribe to any organized church or services, but practice a religion of one. Some may not see it as a religion, but again I ask you: what is a religion?
Interviewer: We would not presume to debate you on that score, so let us move on. You have published several books on the subject of the supernatural and spiritualism, each one of them entirely unlike any other authors’ volumes on the like. Are you working on anything at the moment? Will we be seeing your memoirs before long?
Janus: Memoirs are for the dead, or the near-dead. If I should ever be moved to write such a book or set of books, I will wait until after I am long departed. For the here and now, I am currently toiling on a volume I shall title The Ghost of Sumatra, which will detail a most fascinating case, one of the most unique of my career to date. When it will be finished, I cannot say, for there are certain aspects of the case that continue to this day.
Interviewer: Sgt. Janus, you run your operation with no partners, no employees, and, if I am not mistaken, you are not a married man. Is there anyone in your life at this time, a special someone, someone who perhaps understands your profession and could possibly even aid you in it?
Janus: Ah, look at the time. I’m afraid this has taken a bit longer than I expected. Thank you very much for having me and please send me a note when the article will be published. I will look forward to it. Good day, sir.
Interviewer: And to you, sir. A very good day. Thank you.
The Sgt. Janus stories are currently available in the collection, Sgt. Janus, Spirit-Breaker, from Airship 27, available in print from Amazon and Indy Planet, and in electronic format from the publisher.