Wade Wellman and Seabury Quinn
circle shared mention of their separate creations in the
pages of Weird Tales, name dropping here and there
a friend's character or some other reference. This was
the beginning of the Cthulhu Mythos. Later August Derleth
would take what was largely a game for HPL and tie it
into a commercial package that featured monsters, weird
books and a shared world of dreams and terror. I suspect
Manly Wade Wellman tried a little of this magic too.
Wade Wellman (aka Gans T. Field)
Half-Haunted" (writing as Gans T. Field), a Judge
Keith Hillary Pursuivant ghostbreaker tale, appeared in
Weird Tales in September 1941. This tale was the
last for the Judge for several decades because Wellman
would create a new ghostbreaker of even greater popularity
in John Thunstone. But in this tale Wellman borrows a
page from Lovecraft's literary game. He mentions another
Weird Tales alumnist's creation, that of Seabury
Quinn's Jules de Grandin, without doubt, the most popular
character in WT's original run. In effect what Wellman
was doing was saying the Judge and de Grandin existed
in the same WT universe:
Year's Eve found him at Harrisonville where de Grandin
and Towbridge [sic] wanted his word on translating certain
old Dutch documents better left untranslated..."
is an interesting date for this to happen. De Grandin
had been around since October 1925 while the Judge had
first appeared only three years previous in January 1938.
Still, the readers of WT liked both and you can see Wellman
trying in a small way to create a Weird Tales Mythos
like Lovecraft's. Why hadn't he included some actual Mythos?
Wellman did write one Mythos tale, "The Terrible
Parchment" (Weird Tales, August 1937) that
appeared five months after HPL's death, written as a memorial
to the great author. By 1941 the only Mythos works appearing
were August Derleth's pastiches. Derleth was taking control
of the Lovecraft material as I discussed in "C.
Hall Thompson: Lost Opportunities". Ironically,
"The Half-Haunted" appeared in an issue that
sported a cover based on one of Derleth's pastiches about
Ithaqua, "Beyond the Threshold".
possible that Wellman saw a chance to tie other Weird
Tales characters outside of the Mythos (maybe giving
Derleth a bit of a poke too?), especially if they were
all ghostbreakers. A Ghostbreaker Mythos. To make this
a reality more writers would have had to be connected.
To my knowledge this never happened. Wellman did tie some
his own ghostbreakers together into this shared universe
when he wrote the 1982 novel The Hanging Stones,
featuring Silver John and Judge Keith Hillary Pursuivent.
He did not have John Thunstone and Silver John meet but
the singer with the silver strings did cross paths with
John Thunstone's greatest enemies, The Shonokins in After
Dark (1980), so in this way all three of his famous
ghostbreakers do exist in the same universe.
if Wellman's mention of de Grandin was just a blip on
the screen, a mere whim to please a fellow writer, the
idea of Ghostbreaker Mythos is very appealing to one such
as I. Imagine Martin Hessellius, Abraham Von Helsing,
Flaxman Low, John Silence, Carnacki and all who followed
belonging to a fraternity of ghost chasers! This idea
was irresistible and I have used it in my own Athenodorian
tales. Thank you, Manly Wade Wellman! The Fraternity of
Ghostbreakers goes on....