Many have wondered where Gargoyle’s Occult Investigations got its name. The answer to this is in a story that takes us back many decades. It is also a tale of unspeakable horror and extreme supernatural terror beyond all imagining!
My name is RUMANOS -- DANIEL RUMANOS. Even though I have the appearance of a tall, handsome human gentleman with striking Anglo-Mediterranean features, I am in reality no mere mortal. I do carry within my blood the superior genes of the mysterious Watchers of the Daemon-Star ALGOL, this extraterrestrial heritage granting me numerous powers and abilities that appear as “magic” to Earthlings.
Whilst most Algolites keep to themselves, secretly observing the activities of the rest of all Time and Space, I felt the calling to use my gifts in order to help and defend the helpless against those who would harm, abuse, or exploit them. I accordingly left my home on the Algolite home-world of Daemonia and went to reside upon the planet that you probably know as Earth. My mother had lived there, long before, even though she was secretly, like my father, in actuality a Watcher of the Daemon-Star.
Anyway, I used the process that we Algolites call Rejuvenation in order to conceal the fact that I am actually many thousands of years old. I took the form of a very young man and started living among humans, hoping to find ways to secretly aid the best of them against anything that would attack or otherwise terrorise them. I took up my residence in the rather posh Roland Park neighbourhood of the City known as Baltimore in the State of Maryland in the United States of America (I would have in actuality rather preferred to live in the United Kingdom, but this country seemed to be far more in need of my help), and even set to work earning several Doctorates in the fields of Theology and Parapsychology in order to solidify my standing. I assume this would have all turned out to be a relatively uncomplicated task if not for one thing; one sudden and totally unexpected occurrence that changed me forever, altering my destiny for all time and leading to the numerous adventures that I have and will continue to relate to you.
In other words, I fell in love.
The girl’s name was OLIVIA CROWLEY, and she was a student at a private academy in the area in which I had settled. She was from a wealthy, noble, and titled Scottish family that had immigrated to the Americas before she was born. Of course, she was incredibly, wonderfully beautiful -- tall and slender, with long, gorgeously flame-red hair and eyes the colour of opalescent azure-blue; her skin like the purest, whitest, fairest shade of porcelain.
Olivia was also of very high intelligence, and worked as a journalist for her school newspaper. It was from this that the adventure I intend to detail to you really begins.
You see, Olivia had begun to research into some bizarre rumours of Satanic ritual activity in the woods near her school. Apparently, some of the students had become involved in an hideous cult known as the Order of the Shaitans, run by its self-proclaimed “High-Priest”, a particularly dangerous man known as Reginald “Ron” Mershon. This Mershon, who was originally from the Canton district of southeast Baltimore, had more recently moved his activities to Roland Park, most likely due to the many university and private school students in the area that he hoped to entice into taking part in his pseudo-religious atrocities. He seemed to have nearly-unlimited financial means, and it is believed that he made most of his money by selling dubious “certificates of ordination” through the post to various individuals far and wide who wanted to become “priests” or “ministers” of sundry different religions without doing the work and study necessary for legitimate ordainment.
I had first met the lovely Olivia when I overheard her in a neighbourhood Starling’s Coffee establishment discussing these matters with some other students. I offered her one of my business cards and we immediately struck up a friendship. I offered to assist her however I could in uncovering the exact whereabouts of Mershon and his grotesque cult. I also warned her to be careful and she promised that she would.
It was seemingly not the girl’s direct investigation, however, that led to the crisis in this matter. She had actually taken the day off and had gone to the Timonium Fairgrounds north of the City. The Maryland State Fair was on and Olivia felt a sudden urge to go attend. She had briefly mentioned it to one of her friends, but for some strange reason, insisted upon going alone. It was her friend who contacted me when Olivia went missing. She said Olivia had been acting a bit strangely, as if the girl was bizarrely compelled to attend the Fair alone.
It was then that the true, irreversible turning point of my life occurred. I knew, indeed my secret Algolitish senses informed me beyond error, that young Olivia Crowley had been psychically lured to the Fair and then kidnapped, that she was indeed in unnameable and ungodly danger, and that only I, Daniel Rumanos, could save her!!
The Maryland State Fair has been held every year since 1878. For eleven days, the Timonium Fairgrounds north of Baltimore are turned into a crowd-packed midway of rides, exhibitions, entertainers, and food-stands. It is just the place to go for fun in the heat of late-summer here in the “Free State”.
It is also, I realised, just the place for an unspeakably dangerous Satanic cult like the hideous Order of the Shaitans to hide in plain sight, whilst pursuing their nefarious black magical crimes!
Eleven days, I pondered, eleven days of the Fair. Eleven is the number of black magic, a numerological cipher that the cult would find useful in conjuring the power of the Shaitan spirits. However, such an occult operation would require a sacrifice, and the sacrifice of a young, virtuous girl who would be horribly ravished by the cult leader himself before being murdered -- that was exactly what the sickening Satanists most likely had planned. If it was Olivia, who had snooped into the cult’s terrible activities with her investigative journalism, that would make it even better by their estimation -- hence adding an element of diabolic revenge!!
All of this passed through my worried mind as I stepped foot upon the over one-hundred acres of the carnival-like Fairgrounds. The weather was hot and sunny, yet strangely dry. The usual humidity of the region was not in evidence. The heat was more like that of the desert -- indeed quite like that very desert of the obscene, Yezidi devil-worshippers of Persia, that very group of horrifying legend after which the Order of the Shaitans had patterned itself.
As I walked past the various exhibits at the Fair, I noticed a sign for “Doyne’s Pony Rides”. The owner and operator of this was known to me, he having also been set up at the Renaissance Festival where I had first presented my stage illusion act the previous year.
“Joe Doyne!” said I, approaching him. “How are you, my friend?”
“Say, Rumanos the Magician, ennit?” said the jolly old Irishman. “Good to see ye again!”
I tried not to visibly cringe as I shook his proffered hand. Joe Doyne did all the work himself, taking the money and helping the children onto the ponies and cleaning the stables. His hands were therefore permanently stained with horse manure. Still, he was an affable old chap.
Whilst not mentioning that I had come to the Fair in search of a missing girl, I enquired as to whether Doyne had heard of any particularly weird or unusual goings-on at the Fairgrounds.
“Aye,” he replied with no hesitation, “it’s that hypnotist bloke, ennit? He’s set up at the far end o’ the midway. Scary bugger, he is! Calls himself ‘Mephisto’. Just somethin’ evil about him an’ all. It got me sayin’ me rosary every night like me dear departed Mum taught me.”
“’Mephisto’, did you say?” I asked.
“Aye. Devilish bloke he be, shorr an' begorra!!”
I thanked Mr. Doyne for the information and went on walking towards the far end of the grounds as he had indicated. Was the old man just letting his traditional Celtic superstitions run away with him, or could this “devilish” carnie hypnotist person actually have something to do with Olivia’s disappearance? I wondered…
When I came to the end of the midway, my questions were answered. A bizarre, gaudy tent was set up, emblazoned with the words “CIRCUS OF CHAOS” -- an odd title indeed for what was supposed to be part of a family-oriented Fair. Below this was an illustrated sign advertising the “circus” set-up’s proprietor. “MEPHISTO THE GREAT”, it proclaimed, “HYPNOTIST & MASTER OF MESMERISM”.
The illustration showed the supposed hypnotist himself, dressed in flowing wizard’s robes and surrounded by an horrifyingly-realistic assortment of demonic imps and goblins. However, it was the face of this “Mephisto” person that brought about the greatest shudder of the presence of absolute, eldritch horror. It was an handsome yet depraved countenance, a visage of strong, intensely diabolical wickedness -- and one that I knew and recognised from information gained via my contacts in the occult underground.
It was the face of RON MERSHON!!!
As has before been stated, this Reginald Lorimar Mershon II, known to his friends as “Ron”, was the High-Priest and Magister of the Order of the Shaitans. Now, the Shaitans are the disembodied spirits of that dangerously-advanced race of beings which had once inhabited the legendary “fifth planet” (actually the sixth, if one counts the elusive world known as Vulcan, but that is another story) of the solar system of which Earth is part.
This planet, Eblis, was destroyed by my people, the Watchers of Algol, many ages ago. This even though it officially conflicted with the Algolite dictum of non-interference that had been enacted after our experience with the Cacodemons of Andromeda countless aeons before even that. The result was sadly similar: the Shaitans, their physical form and home-world destroyed, now only existed as distorted phantasms; grotesque “spiritual” forms that became a portion of those creatures that some call “demons” or “evil spirits”.
The now non-corporeal Shaitans eventually made their way to Earth, whispering their perverse and unmentionably evil thoughts directly into the minds of the primitive, ape-like hominids that eventually became the human race. Such is the origin of the cautionary “serpent in the garden” tales found in the biblical account and in various mythologies.
The Watchers had set up the darksome, other-dimensional gaol known as “Hell” or Gehenna in order to imprison such ghastly beings as the phantasmagorical Shaitans, and so they were assigned to eternal damnation.
However, over the ages of Earth’s development, certain horrid cults would from time to time come into being, remembering the legends of the condemned Shaitans and seeking to call them forth in order to gain the powers that they would have likely achieved had they remained in their physical form. Such was the origin of the hideous Kurdish devil-worshipping Yezidis and, much later, of Mershon’s unspeakable cult, the Order of the Shaitans!
Therefore, as I entered the strange tent of the “Circus of Chaos”, I was not greatly surprised to find the interior of it much larger than the outside. It is just such advances in inter-dimensional technology that had led to the necessity of my people, the Watchers of Algol, destroying the planet Eblis in the first place. Such power in the hands of a grossly immoral race such as the Shaitans had become on their home-world would have been obscenely detrimental to the peace of the galaxy. That they may have even been able to eventually challenge the Absolute Convention of the Watchers themselves for supreme, unstoppable power in all the cosmos is a possibility that is never openly spoken of.
There were only a few spectators who had thus far wandered in here from the more wholesome parts of the Maryland State Fair, and they sat in chairs around the circus ring, on the centre floor of which was painted a garishly multi-coloured representation of a strangely-deformed peacock, the utterly and unashamedly prideful symbol that has become an emblem of the tremendously ungodly, unlawfully and evilly satanic worshippers of the Shaitans!
Grotesquely frolicking around this peacock were six clowns, their costumes and make-up the very same colours as that of the occult emblem. Each had, on his front smock, the very flag of the dead planet Eblis itself -- its prime motif being that fantastical five-pointed star symbol known to the paranormal world as the Pentagram!
Upon my entering the tent, the clowns stopped their antics and turned directly in my direction, a look of hate and unmitigated wickedness showing through their painted faces as they planned their coming attack upon me. Darkling forces of absolute swirling chaos began to amass around them, visible yet non-corporeal, ebony-black entities that I knew to be those very phantoms of ancient evil itself -- the demoniacal forms of the Shaitans!
My activating Algolitish senses tingled as the truth became clear to me: these “circus clowns” were actually members of Mershon’s terrible cult!!
The six Satanic clowns advanced towards me, the swirling demonic forces around them growing in strength. Before I could react, the black conglomeration of diabolical terror shot out from them and hit me full-force. I reeled backwards and almost lost my footing before my own superior power as a Watcher of Algol could even begin to become fully activated.
I then quickly sent several bolts of my orange and blue Algolitish force directly at my wicked opponents, but the mass of hellish entities protected them for the moment. It was a standoff; my own powers having been somewhat weakened by disuse during my time on Earth. Indeed, I had “powered down” my abilities to a certain extent -- in order to simplify my living among mortals -- and it would now take some time for them to re-energise.
I thought of what I might do to strengthen my abilities more quickly. I recalled the chronicles I had read in the vast archives of my home planet, Daemonia. Of how the Algolites had genetically created a species on prehistoric Earth known as the GARGOUELLIOS or “Gargoyles” -- a strange hybrid of reptilian and mammalian genetic material, especially bred to defend Earth, in those days, from several hideous species of perversely harmful creatures that threatened the proper development of the planet.
The Gargouellios had headquartered themselves from their own mighty, technologically-advanced society on the island-continent known as Mu, located in what is now the Pacific Ocean. It is from there that, for countless aeons before the human race had even developed, they battled evil as it appeared in many forms: including the Ancient Ones of primordial Leng, the horrid Lizard-Men of Lemuria, the abomination known as Kuthalu and his eldritch followers, and the very Shaitans that I was now facing.
After these times, the Gargouellios faded away into whispered legendry, a certain race-memory of them leading, unnumbered ages later, to the carven stone gargoyles set up to guard churches in mediaeval Europe.
It is said that to call forth the power of the Gargouellios is a great responsibility, even for an Algolite, for that then they shall remain an integral part of one’s destiny forever. Did I dare to summon them now, to aid me in defeating this hideous cult of the demoniacal Shaitans?
Then, however, I thought of something else. The prayers of the Abrahamic religions -- Judaism, Christianity, and Islam -- are a human approximation, an adaptation, albeit on a far less advanced level, of the technology of the Watchers of Algol. Certainly, the use of this could more safely aid me in strengthening my powers in order to defeat my attackers.
I therefore invoked: “Pater noster, qui es in caelis, sanctificetur nomen tuum. Adveniat regnum tuum. Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo et in terra. Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie, et dimitte nobis debita nostra sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo. Amen.”
With this prayer, I felt my Algolitish powers fully reactivate, and I from thence sent a searing holocaustic torrent that totally eliminated the six possessed clowns, destroying their physical forms completely and dispersing the amassed Shaitans spirits into the ether.
To my utter astonishment, the still-seated audience then applauded. They thought this was all part of the show! Humans. Bloody hell, at least their telephones are smart.
With the destruction of the demonically-possessed clowns, a certain magical glamour was lifted in the room, and I beheld, tied to the centre of the representation of the Yezidi peacock, Olivia Crowley herself. To my relief, the girl was still fully clothed and seemingly unharmed. At least these foul fiends had not yet succeeded in injuring her virtue or using her in their ungodly worship.
“It is all right now, Olivia,” said I, untying the ropes that bound her. “I will save you from these brutes!”
“I’m so glad to see you, Daniel,” answered the lovely girl, as I helped her to her feet. “They… Look! Behind you!”
I turned. Emerging from a shimmering ebony doorway of inter-dimensional paranormal power was Ron Mershon himself, AKA Mephisto the Hypnotist -- Master Satanic Magician and High-Priest of the Order of the Shaitans! Big and powerfully built, he was dressed in a dark, tailored suit covered with a long, black leathern trench-coat. The palpable force of unmitigated evil that surrounded him was far beyond anything I had yet experienced even on that most fateful day of occult terrors.
“Olivia,” I said as an aside to the girl, “get these people out of here! Now!”
I then turned back to face Mershon. The obscenely-powerful black magical energies around him shot forth towards me, exactly as my own Algolitish force went out in his direction, meeting in mid-air between us as a cacophonous blazing conflagration of supernatural combustion.
The battle was joined. The battle between me, Daniel Rumanos of Algol, and the supremely-evil Magister Ron Mershon, High-Priest of Satanism. A battle that I knew only one of us could possibly survive!!
I dimly heard the voice of the beautiful young girl named Olivia Crowley behind me, amid the horrid crackle caused by the bizarre paranormal phenomenon of this abhorrently-wicked Mershon’s magical energies meeting mine.
“All right, everybody,” she said as calmly as she could mange under the circumstances, whilst ushering the audience members out of the grotesque circus tent. “The show is over. Please follow me outside and have some refreshments.“
“Hahaha!!” shouted the insane Ron “Mephisto” Mershon as he continued to shoot black occult power at me. “The girlie serves you well! You have a weakness for the young ladies, don’t you? You will find that it has now led to your downfall!”
“You are wrong, Mershon,” I countered. “I am Daniel Rumanos of the Watchers of Algol, and I shall take this day just vengeance upon you for your most ungodly, false worship -- and for your repugnant kidnapping of that innocent maiden!”
“No, Rumanos, you will not,” he rejoined. “I am Magister Reginald Mershon, High-Priest of the Order of the Shaitans! I shall destroy you, and then take my rightful place as ruler of this world. All of its young and most nubile girlies shall be my sex-slaves! They shall desire to feel my Shaitan-empowered member deep within them, and I shall violate them all with my mighty demonic potency! An unstoppable force of occult lust am I!! Hahaaa!! This world is my domain! I am the Unholy Roman Emperor of all! The supreme and unstoppable power of the darkest spirits of the desert night is mine to command! Mine!! Chaos is order! Hail the Shaitans!!!”
And indeed, with this proclamation I saw and felt the frightful, horrible powers of the Satanically-insane Ron Mershon escalate with even greater strength, as the dreadfully psychedelic colours of the awful Yezidi Peacock shone forth, highlighting the ghastly ebony blackness of his evil, intensely demonic magic! It is by this that I was momentarily overcome, and fell backwards hideously upon the floor, painfully hitting the ground hard.
“There you go, Daniel Rumanos!” mocked Mershon between peels of his demonically-mad laughter. “You destroyed my minions, and now you will be destroyed! I, Ron Mershon, Master Black Magician, Magus of Mephistopheles, and successor of Sheik Adi, have hereby decreed it!!”
To my horror, I had to silently admit that he had a point. My fight with his Satanic clown myrmidons had weakened me, and my Algolitish abilities had not as yet reasserted themselves enough to ward off this Mershon’s continued volleys of gruesomely-sinister supernatural strength.
Mershon sent another extremely potent blast of phantasmagorical power cascading at me, and I barely managed to dodge it by physically rolling aside. I was sadly tired-out, and it seemed like I had already been fighting for an eternity.
“It is no use, Rumanos,” continued the iniquitous Satanic High-Priest. “Even your Church-Latin prayers will be no use against ME! I am the Master of All! I am of the Yezidi, the Foundation of the Adversaries; the proclaimed Enemy of both God and Man! I am the High-Priest of Melekh Taus, the Peacock King!! I am the revered of all religions! I am Mephisto!! I am MERSHON!!!”
I suddenly sent another bolt of my orange and blue energies at him, but it had little effect. He seemed to barely feel it as he quickly countered with another incredibly huge blast of Shaitan-powered eldritch magic. It hit me full-force with a sharp, searing pain -- hurting beyond any injury or attack that I had ever experienced before.
“You are now finished, Rumanos of the Daemon-Star!” shouted the deplorable, demoniacal, and nefarious Satanist with totally hateful glee. “You are finished! I, in the name of the Shaitans, do this day prevail!!!”
There was only one chance I had of defeating him -- a chance with which would come a great and unnameable responsibility. I thought: Is saving this truly world worth that? This planet Earth, so filled with hate and violence? No, I decided, doing that was not something that I could justify.
I felt the dimness of demise -- of complete collapse -- begin to overtake me.
It was then, just as I began to be totally overcome by the blackness of defeat, that I heard a voice. Not the deep, mocking tones of the villainous Mershon, but a soft, wonderfully feminine voice, evidencing shock and dismay at what its owner was witnessing.
“Holy Flapdoodle!” said the voice. It was Olivia. She had succeeded in getting the spectators to safety, and had returned into that tent of horrors in order to see to my well-being -- just in time to behold me being overwhelmed by the grotesque pummelling of appallingly powerful black magic!
Her concern for me awakened something in my mind. This world, I thought, this planet Earth. If it can, despite its many problems, produce something as beautiful, as intelligent, as brave as this young girl -- well then certainly it is worth saving after all!
Marshalling my remaining strength together, I took a deep breath and then spoke the following incantation:
“I do hereby swear to interpret every phenomenon as God; that is, as my soul! By this Oath of the Ipsissimus, I do call forth the very power and presence of the Gargouellios! Gargouellios! Gargouellios! GARGOUELLIOS!!!”
I stood up straight and erect, as I felt the power of the Gargouellios -- the ancient and original Gargoyles -- come forth and flow through me directly at the horridly evil Ron “Mephisto” Mershon. It came forth as a dazzling lime-green power, a flashing light of bizarre brilliance that hit my wicked foe full-force whilst a gateway to Gehenna opened as an enormous black chasm behind him.
I saw the Gargouellios settle for all time into the Satanist’s trench-coat, controlling, enhancing, and purifying the occult essences within it. The coat fell to the floor as Mershon shot forth, body and soul, from it and fell screaming directly down into that yawning black Abyss, that Pit of HELL where he would be incarcerated for all of eternity.
The Hell-gate closed and all was quiet as I walked over, picked up the leathern trench-coat, and put it on. I was a taller man than Mershon, but also thinner. The long coat fit me perfectly. I felt the power of the Gargouellios in it, and knew that their presence would now forever be a part of me.
I turned around and beheld the lovely Miss Olivia Crowley. She ran and embraced me.
“Oh, Daniel!” she said, crying tears of joy and relief. “I’m so happy you’re all right!!”
A short time later, we had left that circus tent of terror and were enjoying some much-appreciated refreshments: hot dogs and orange slushies (shaken, not stirred) purchased from one of the Fair vendors. It was now early evening, and a cool breeze was blowing across the grounds as the crowd began to thin out. I was quite glad of my new coat, especially when the beautiful Olivia began to huddle against me underneath it for warmth.
“So,” she said sweetly. “Now that you and I are in this together, we need to make it official!”
“What exactly are you talking about, love?” I enquired.
“Your new paranormal detective agency, of course! I will be your assistant and public-relations person!”
“Oh, all right.” I said, smiling.
“Hmmmm,” she went on. “But what should we call it? Any ideas?”
“I know!” was my immediate reply. It was certainly just and honourable that we should name ourselves after the ancient force that had aided me so very well in defeating what was to be the first of many wicked, evil, demoniacal enemies. “We will call it Gargoyle’s Occult Investigations!!!” …
Elsewhere on that same eventful night, in a wretched trailer park near Louisville, Kentucky, a rather chubby young man was seated in his tiny bedroom and clad in his filthy “Jesus Loves Me” pyjamas, the crotch of which was encrusted with his dried semen. He was eagerly opening a large brown envelope that he had just received from something called “Mershon’s Religious Ordinations, Inc.” The mail had come late as usual, as the postman liked to visit this trailer last on his route so that he could have time to enjoy the fellatio served to him by the boy’s mother.
This woman, whose name was Betty Jean, whilst ostensibly a "beautician", supported herself and her son by offering sexual favours to visiting men for money. The boy’s father had been one such, a travelling Bible salesman (KJV-only, of course). Betty Jean, however, had found her prospects go down in the world as she got older, and now had to settle for the attentions of ones such as this boorish postal worker.
“Oh yeah, bitch!” the lad heard the voice of the African-American mailman moan as he reached orgasm in the double-wide’s next room. “Take it all! Take it, you white bitch!”
The young man ignored this nauseating noise as best he could, and in stead concentrated on the parchment certificate he had now pulled from the envelope -- a certificate that he had ordered with money pilfered from his mother‘s knickers-drawer. Yes, he thought, now that he had this he could start his own church and move to the city. It would give him power and prestige, and someday the world itself -- the entire human race -- would bow before him!
A nefarious grin spread across the wide, already-debauched face of the boy as he read his name and chosen title that was oh-so-elegantly imprinted upon the certificate:
“BISHOP JAMES SHORT.”