Lucy Taylor’s Horror and Dark Fantasy:
The horror the human mind can invent for the purpose of inflicting suffering on our fellows is on full display at this macabre and disturbing museum in the Old City of Carcassonne, France. The focus isn’t on the Spanish Inquisition, which lasted longer and is more widely known, but an earlier one – the Medieval Inquisition that followed a crusade by the Catholic Church against the so-called heretic Cathars. In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, Carcassonne and other medieval towns like Bezier and Albi were strongholds of Cathar beliefs, and the Museum showcases some of the nastier ways the Cathars were forced to confess to devil worship before, more often than not, being burned at the stake.
Among the devices on display are the iron maiden, the stretcher, the head crusher and the pulley device in which a victim whose wrists were bound behind her was hoisted into the air and then dropped down, often with weights attached to maximize the damage. To add to the grotesquerie, before being used, these instruments were often blessed with holy water.
Women accused of witchcraft seem to have made up a large number of the victims, but even an ‘overly talkative’ wife could be silenced behind an iron mask crafted with demon-like animal ears. One ghastly device was a sharp-ponted cone the woman was forced to straddle while weights fastened to her arms inexorably pulled her lower, for a slow, excruciating impalement.
Even musicians were at risk for torture – one sinister-looking device was, according to the description, used to punish “bad musicians”.
Would I recommend the Museum to anyone visiting the south of France? Well, on the one hand, to see these monstrous but carefully crafted instruments and realize they were actually used for their vile purpose, is depressing in the extreme. The sense of relief, however, upon walking back into the cobbled streets lined with bistros, boutiques, and stores selling fake swords and daggers, feels infinitely sweet!
A new novelette from Omnium Gatherum Press.
When Zack, Kaitlin and their two children relocate to New Mexico, they plan to start a new life in the “Land of Enchantment,” but what they find is something far more foreboding and ominous. Kaitlin’s photography assignment takes them on “death jaunts” around the State, their neighbor is a man harboring a terrible secret, and three people who died near their house appear to have been fleeing for their lives. Before long, Zack is terrified of losing both his wife and his sanity, and the family discovers that death may be much closer to home than they thought.
“Intense stories of erotic horror, everything from a pair of sexually obsessed wrestling groupies to a family whose house mysteriously fills up with water. Graphic and gory, with a touch of Southern Gothic for good measure!”
The Silence Between The Screams is a collection of original short fiction and a reprint of a previously released novella. Her novella “Spree” has not been available for many years after its initial printing sold out almost immediately upon publication. Now “Spree” and this collection of original short fiction is being published for the first time.
“Lucy Taylor’s The Safety of Unknown Cities is one of the most impressive debut novels centered around relationship-driven fiction catalyzed by horrific events mostly realistic, sometimes supernatural.” — Edward Bryant, Locus Magazine