Friday, 6 March 2009

The demon bench end

Mentioning Cambridge as I did the other day, made me think of an old friend of mine - Dr Rupert Haynes. Rupert was a fellow of Pembroke College and something of an expert in English folklore. We became friends after the unfortunate business with his son Thomas.

Rupert was a rational man and could not make himself believe that Thomas' affliction was anything other than a mental breakdown. He firmly believed that Thomas was subject to some sort of crazed fixation with a curiously carved church bench end, believing in his madness that the thing spoke to him and forced him to perform the acts of violence that caused him to be imprisoned in Bedlam.

I knew the truth to be rather different of course. It was not madness that was to blame. The Demon Bench End in Mr Priestley's Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror tells the real story.

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