The Devil Rides Out (and into my Horror Campaigns)
A friend of mine send me a link to this long article on Dennis Wheatley’s occult fiction novels. I haven’t read these in ages, but the ones I read had quite a bit of influence on every horror campaign I’ve ran — probably equal in influence to the Cthulthu Mythos stories.
The Devil Rides Out
How Dennis Wheatley sold black magic to Britain
William Blake’s verdict on Milton was: “Of the Devil’s party without knowing it”, and much the same could be said of Dennis Wheatley. He virtually invented the popular image of Satanism in 20th-century Britain, and he made it seem strangely seductive. If the appeal of Black Magic in popular culture was ultimately erotic, then this was largely due to Wheatley’s writing, with its reliable prospect of virgins being ritually ravished on altar tops.
By the time he died in 1977, Wheatley had shifted around 50 million books, helped by a massive surge in paperback sales during the “occult explosion” of the late Sixties and early Seventies. By then, his books seemed to be everywhere, in a uniform range of black paperbacks, each one featuring a naked woman who seemed to be go-go dancing behind a splurge of flame.
You can read the rest of this long article here while I try to hunt up my copy of The Devil Rides Out before it is time to run my OD&D campaign. Success in unlikely given the small amount of time I have available and the large number of boxes of books to look through.
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