Monday, January 9, 2012

Case Study No. 0158: Unnamed Male Librarian (Curse of the Demon)

Dr. John Holden at the library
Watch out for them satanists Johnny!!!!
Tags: john holden doing research at the british library
Added: 2 years ago
From: DemonNight999
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[Dr. John Holden is sitting at a desk and researching the occult at the British Museum's library, when an elderly male librarian approaches him carrying a stack of books]
LIBRARIAN: I'm sorry, sir, but the last volume you asked for - "The True Discoveries of the Witches and Demons" - is not available.
HOLDEN: What does "not available" mean?
LIBRARIAN: It should be in our restricted section. The oldest known existing copy. Over four hundred years old, you know ...
HOLDEN: Yes, I know.
LIBRARIAN: Seems to be missing. Most peculiar. I'm having it checked.
HOLDEN: [looks through a pile of papers on his desk] It was mentioned in these research notes ... Never mind, I can probably find what I want in these.
LIBRARIAN: I hope so, sir. Do my best to trace it ...
[the librarian leaves]
KARSWELL: [off camera] Excuse me, sir.
[Holden turns and sees Dr. Julian Karswell approaching him]
KARSWELL: I couldn't help overhearing your conversation with the librarian. You're interested in seeing "The True Discoveries of Witches and Demons," is that it?
KARSWELL: I have a copy I'll gladly put at your disposal.
HOLDEN: Then the British Museum didn't have the only copy ...
KARSWELL: Apparently not, Doctor Holden. I have what is perhaps the finest library in the world on witchcraft and the black arts.
HOLDEN: You know my name.
KARSWELL: Oh yes, and you know mine. I'm Julian Karswell.
HOLDEN: How did you know I was here?
KARSWELL: Oh, isn't it the scientist who always calls what he can't explain otherwise by the word "coincidence?" Let's call this coincidence.
HOLDEN: I wouldn't like to think I'd been followed from my hotel this morning ...
KARSWELL: Oh, I assure you, you weren't followed. I just thought it might be profitable for both of us to meet, you see!
[a nearby patron shushes Karswell for raising his voice]
KARSWELL: [grunts] It's rather difficult to talk here. Why not come out to my place in the country? The book's there.
HOLDEN: If I don't find what I want, I might take you up on that.
KARSWELL: Delighted.
HOLDEN: Just one thing. Let's understand each other, Mister Karswell. My investigation of you and your cult won't be stopped.
KARSWELL: Oh, but uh ... if I could make my point, I could persuade you.
HOLDEN: I'm not open to persuasion.
KARSWELL: But a scientist should have an open mind ...
HOLDEN: That's what investigations are for.
KARSWELL: [takes a wallet out of his pocket] Oh. Well, in any event, here's my card.
[he hands him a card]
KARSWELL: Lufford Hall. Near Wargrave. I'll be seeing you soon, I'm sure ...
[Karswell intentionally knocks a pile of papers off the desk]
KARSWELL: Oh, excuse me! How clumsy!
[he picks up the papers and hands them to Holden]
KARSWELL: So so sorry. Here are your papers, sir.
HOLDEN: Thank you.
KARSWELL: Goodbye. Don't leave it too long.
[as Karswell leaves, Holden stares at his business card and notices that the words ""In Memoriam Henry Harrington, Allowed Two Weeks" suddenly appear]
HOLDEN: [gets up to chase after Karswell, but suddenly feels as if the room is spinning]
LIBRARIAN: [passing by and notices Holden rubbing his eyes] Can I help you, sir?
HOLDEN: Did you see that man who was just here?
LIBRARIAN: I can't say that I did.
HOLDEN: [hands him the card] What do you make of this?
LIBRARIAN: It's a visiting card.
HOLDEN: No, I mean the handwriting on it.
LIBRARIAN: [looks it over] No handwriting.
HOLDEN: Yes there is, I--
[he takes the card, but sees that the handwritten words are now gone]
HOLDEN: Forget it.
[the librarian walks away, and Holden puts the card in his jacket pocket]




Tourneur, Jacques (Director). Night of the Demon. United Kingdom: Columbia Pictures, 1957. (aka Curse of the Demon, USA recut (83 min) version + reinstated (95 min) original version).

Starring: John Salew (Librarian, British Museum); Dana Andrews (Dr. John Holden)
Based on the Short Story: James, M.R. "Casting the Runes." In More Ghost Stories. London: Edward Arnold, 1911.

Actor John Salew, a familiar face in British films and television from the 1930s to the 1960s, has a brief role as a helpful librarian at the British Museum in a horror film that stands out within its genre for the simple reason that it isn't awful. Actually, it's interesting, fast paced, and well directed, with thought-provoking themes. Scientist Dr. John Holden (played by the popular American actor Dana Andrews) is determined to debunk the supernatural, in particular demonology as followed by a cult in England, and he goes to the British Museum for research. He is told by the librarian that a particular book he needs (The True Discoveries of Witches and Demons) – the only existing copy – is "not available" (library-speak for "missing"). The librarian is a 50-something balding man who rather resembles Alfred Hitchcock. He wears a suit, no glasses, and speaks with the professional demeanor expected within that esteemed environment. He tells Dr. Holden that a book missing from the restricted section is most peculiar, and he will do his best to trace it. The library itself is extraordinary, and its circular lay-out with carrels and card catalog units forming spokes is accentuated by the film's director, who seems to have a thing for circles perhaps because white magic, Dr. Holden is told, has the power to create a protective "magic circle" – although this is not an option when he is cursed and given three days to live.

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