The Silver Hatchet by Arthur Conan Doyle
Tuesday’s Tale of Terror, January 8, 2013
If you like murder and murder and more murder, you’ll love Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Silver Hatchet (1883). What a perfect example of high quality narrative prose. Would we expect anything less from such a prolific writer? While Doyle’s famous Sherlock Holmes uses logical deduction in the detective stories, the author’s supernatural short stories are filled with spiritualism, magic, and the occult.
The Silver Hatchet is one of Doyle’s most exciting supernatural tales. The scene opens on the third of December in 1861 in Budapest. Snow and ice cover the streets and walkways with a bitter cold. Professor Hopstein and his friend Schlessinger have come into possession of a collection of medieval weapons. Not long after receiving and securing these ancient weapons, the Professor is brutally murdered, his head “split in two halves.”
There is no trace of the murderer, no motive of theft, no weapon at the crime scene, not a single clue, and Professor Hopstein has an impeccable reputation as he “never raised the slightest animosity in any human breast.” Clearly one’s head does not just spontaneously split in two. Who could have done such a wicked deed? And will this monster strike again? Indeed!
Aside from a slight overuse of exclamation points, Doyle’s The Silver Hatchet is a juicy escape into 19th-century Budapest psychometry and supernatural phenomena.
Read it here: http://www.conan-doyle.narod.ru/other/hatchet.htm
Another of Doyle’s supernatural stories with the element of silver is The Silver Mirror. It is a psycho-physiological study about an overworked, bleary-eyed accountant who begins to see strange people in an old beveled mirror: fierce faces, bearded, dark, and a beautiful but frightened woman. This is so suspenseful, the anticipation so intense, I dare you to stop reading it.
My last entry today is a short YouTube link of Arthur Conan Doyle speaking about his creation of Sherlock Holmes character and his experience in spirituality and psychic matters. This 10-minute piece (recorded in 1927) is wonderfully authentic and informative if you are a fan.
Enjoy! Do leave a comment and stop by every Tuesday for another Tale of Terror.