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Burn, Witch, Burn!

(A book in the Dr Lowell series)
A novel by

I am a medical man specializing in neurology and diseases of the brain. My peculiar field is abnormal psychology, and in it I am recognized as an expert. I am closely connected with two of the foremost hospitals in New York, and have received many honors in this country and abroad. I set this down, risking identification, not through egotism but because I desire to show that I was competent to observe, and competent to bring practiced scientific judgment upon, the singular events I am about to relate.

I say that I risk identification, because Lowell is not my name. It is a pseudonym, as are the names of all the other characters in this narrative. The reasons for this evasion will become increasingly apparent.

Yet I have the strongest feeling that the facts and observations which in my case-books are grouped under the heading of "The Dolls of Mme. Mandilip" should be clarified, set down in orderly sequence and be made known. Obviously, I could do this in the form of a report to one of my medical societies, but I am too well aware of the way my colleagues would receive such a paper, and with what suspicion, pity or even abhorrence, they would henceforth regard me so counter to accepted notions of cause and effect do many of these facts and observations run.

But now, orthodox man of medicine that I am, I ask myself whether there may not be causes other than those we admit. Forces and energies which we stubbornly disavow because we can find no explanation for them within the narrow confines of our present knowledge. Energies whose reality is recognized in folk-lore, the ancient traditions, of all peoples, and which, to justify our ignorance, we label myth and superstition.

A wisdom, a science, immeasurably old. Born before history, but never dying nor ever wholly lost. A secret wisdom, but always with its priests and priestesses guarding its dark flame, passing it on from century to century. Dark flame of forbidden knowledge...burning in Egypt before even the Pyramids were raised; and in temples crumbling now beneath the Gobi's sands; known to the sons of Ad whom Allah, so say the Arabs, turned to stone for their sorceries ten thousand years before Abraham trod the streets of Ur of the Chaldees; known in China-and known to the Tibetan lama, the Buryat shaman of the steppes and to the warlock of the South Seas alike.

Dark flame of evil wisdom...deepening the shadows of Stonehenge's brooding menhirs; fed later by hands of Roman legionaries; gathering strength, none knows why, in medieval Europe...and still burning, still alive, still strong.

Enough of preamble. I begin where the dark wisdom, if that it were, first cast its shadow upon me.

Genre: Horror

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