Arthur Conan Doyle publishes "A Pastoral Horror"

Black and white photograph of Arthur Conan Doyle, June 1, 1914. Wikimedia Commons.

On December 21, 1890, People published Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's short story, "A Pastoral Horror." Taking place in the village of Laden in Bavaria, the story is about a masked man who commits a series of murders with a pickaxe. The identity of the killer is revealed to be the village's parish priest, Father Verhagen, who is committed to an asylum. Doyle's story is a rare example of nineteenth-century werewolf fiction that does not include supernatural elements. Verhagen does not transform into a wolf, as Clemence Housman's White Fell does in the The Were-Wolf. Instead, he remains human, but is driven to wolf-like madness by a disease (Doyle, "A Pastoral Horror;" Pugh, The Life of Arthur Conan Doyle).

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21 Dec 1890

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