Ancient Sorceries by Algernon Henry Blackwood
Doctor John Silence, the main character in many of Blackwood’s stories, is a psychic detective
of sorts, taking on strange and unusual cases decades before anyone ever heard of Dana Scully
and Fox Mulder. Silence’s client in this story is one Arthur Vezin, a quiet, unassuming man
with an incredible story. While on a train in northern France headed home from a vacation,
Vezin has the sudden, uncontrollable urge to get off the train. As he is disembarking, another
passenger warns him in French something about sleeping and cats. Vezin disregards the
advice and continues on towards a quiet little hill town to find an inn to stay overnight. There
is something wrong with the people of the town – with the whole town itself – but Vezin can’t
quite figure it out. After a pleasant night’s sleep, Vezin can’t make himself leave in the morning.
Something is inexplicably holding him there. When the proprietress’ beautiful daughter begins to
seduce Vezin to stay, he vows to uncover the mysteries of the townspeople – with terrifying results.
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