I have heard relate that such a pair
they have sometimes seen;
march-stalkers mighty the moorlands haunting,
wandering spirits; one of them seemed,
of womankind; the other, accursed,
in man's guise trod the misery-track
of exile, though huger than human bulk.
Grendel in days long gone they named him,
the folk of the land; his father they knew not,
nor any brood that was born to him
of treacherous spirits. Untrod is their home;
by wolf-cliffs dwell they and windy headlands,
fenways fearful, where flows the stream
from mountains gliding to gloom of the rocks,
where lies the underground flood.
So Conan, glaring from under his tousled mane, saw the figure of Natala writhing in the lustful grasp of a black nightmare shape that could only have been bred in the lost pits of hell.
—Robert E. Howard, THE SLITHERING SHADOW
"As for Tsotha—Men say that a dancing-girl of Shadizar slept too near the pre-human ruins on Dagoth Hill and woke in the grip of a black demon; from that unholy union was spawned an accursed hybrid men call Tsotha-lanti—"
—Robert E. Howard, THE SCARLET CITADEL
Savannah, Georgia, is renowned in some circles for its rich tradition of haunts and spooks, mysterious lights and figures, and a history which is in general rich in terms of paranormal occurrences. Yet none are so spine-tingling as the story of a supposed French-Huguenot immigrant, Rene Ash Randolier. His true origin, or parentage, is unknown.
Rene Randolier, born in 1777, immigrated to Savannah, where he took up residence in a part of town which was the haunt of prostitutes, sailors, and the poverty-stricken. He was generally avoided or even shunned, for his appearance was not exactly human—he was of a height far above the norm, and his head, face, and body were covered in an animal-like coat of hair. Black slaves in particular held him in great awe or apprehension.
He was at times observed capturing and torturing pet cats and dogs, and was also seen in the act of dismembering chickens and goats, as many a 'hairy humanoid' and other unknown creature like El Chupacabras has been said to do. These weird, almost sacrificial activities were tolerated by the neighborhood at large, until he was implicated in the murders of a woman and two little girls, sometime after 1796. As he had done previously, Rene fled into the extensive system of tunnels and catacombs which lay beneath Colonial Park Cemetery, by some accounts dragging the bodies of the little girls with him. He had previously lurked in this huge, walled graveyard, allegedly digging up graves in ghoulish (ghulish) fashion, hiding out in the catacombs beneath, and generally having such a run of the place that people had avoided it for fear of him.
He was finally hunted down by a mob, and hung by the neck for his various crimes. Local legend maintains that his restless spirit haunts the area of his old stomping-grounds, and particularly the cemetery and the tunnels under it, to this day. According to some, these tunnels contain evidence of graves being dug into from underneath, and the bones of the occupants having been split and gnawed upon.
Little to no information exists on the true origin and lineage of Rene. Did he represent some sort of atavistic form of man, a 'throw-back' to an earlier hominid type? Or was he, at least in part, something else, something other than human? The ghuls of Arabian folklore are hairy, cannibalistic eaters of human carrion, and mostly subterranean in terms of their housing preferences. Exactly what was Rene Randolier?
Neanderthal sites have been uncovered, always in ancient caves, which reveal butchered, split, and gnawed-upon bones of their own kind….and other ancient, pre-Adamic hominids may have engaged in similar habits. Going back to the most ancient accounts, we find that there are hints of links or relationships between earlier forms of 'man' and their reptilian-demonic precursors, as in the case of the living, breathing and procreating Lilith, who sought refuge, and interbreeding, with such underworld beings after being outcast from the presence of God and Adam. This is echoed throughout myth and literature, with Caliban and Ariel, or Grendel and his unknown, demonic father, linked in an unholy kinship. This may be interpreted literally, or it may represent a schism between two somewhat-related but very different species, which occurred in the very distant past and which haunts the world to this day. Are many of the more outrageous and mysterious unknown creatures of the world, particularly 'hairy humanoids,' somehow related to this primeval rivalry between hominid species?
What was the cause of Rene's brutal activities, his cannibalistic and ghoulish feeding habits? Why does a somewhat subterranean connection also exist? It is recalled that the ghuls and nagas are said to eat the human beings of the surface world, upon occasion; Richard Shaver made it quite clear that his 'deros,' in addition to being sexual peverts and torturers, were also cannibals or eaters of the flesh of the human beings on the surface. Is Rene the only 'degenerate cannibal' with an urge to literally 'go underground' for refuge? Hardly.
A century before Rene walked the Earth, or scuttled beneath it, another infamous band of miscreants engaged in similar activities in the south of Scotland. Sawney Beane was born near Edinburgh, during the reign of James VI of Scotland, (James I of England). Sawney was a mean-spirited and violent sort, and to avoid honestly working for a living on the family farm, he ran off to seek his fortune, taking his girlfriend along as help-mate. The two of them soon set up housekeeping in a deep cave which was situated on the Scottish coast, near Galloway. This cave is said to penetrate more than a mile into the ground, with many twisting passageways, and unexplored tunnels leading off into Stygian depths.
For some time the pair made their living as robbers who murdered all their victims, and then, money being short among travelers and meals being few and far between (or so the story goes), they decided that they didn't need to buy meat after all. They began to pickle, salt-cure, and otherwise subsist off of the flesh of their unfortunate human prey.
At length, Sawney and Mrs. Bean starting procreating like rats, producing fourteen children in all, who in turn gave rise to a second generation of eight grandsons and fourteen
granddaughters, by incestuous means. This inbred crew held the countryside in terror for over two decades, murdering travelers (who would seemingly 'vanish') on lonely roads by day or night, yet members of the Bean clan were never suspected or apprehended when they ventured into towns and hamlets. And this entire brood of troglodytes called the deep, seaside cave their home.
As the children reached adulthood, they were versed in the art of ambush, murder, and cannibalistic butchery. For years they continued, reaching adulthood, growing older, more savage, and less human in most respects. Twenty-five years passed, with scarcely a clue—other than an occasional piece of pickled human meat which has spoiled, being found on the sea-strand or elsewhere—as to what was going on. Cannibalism was at last suspected, and searches of the countryside were made. Many were wrongly accused of the crimes and even executed.
All in all, it has been estimated that over a thousand people died at the hands and gullets of Bean and his filthy family. At the end, their descent into depravity—or the emergence of some horrible and unhuman characteristics—were displayed.
One night a band of Beans waylaid a man and woman who were passing near their domain. The Bean females fell upon the unfortunate woman like animals, cutting her throat and sucking at the bloody wound even as she died. They also disemboweled her on the spot, and in the manner of she-hyenas, began to feast upon her entrails and organs before the eyes of her embattled and horrified husband.
The sudden appearance of a band of twenty or more riders frightened the Beans away, and the husband escaped their clutches. They had attempted to drag his wife's body toward their lair, but had abandoned it some distance away, and the man showed this to the riders and told his tale. He was taken to Glasgow where he made his report to the authorities, and after a few days the King himself arrived on the scene, accompanied by four hundred soldiers who were each eager to dispatch the human monstrosities described.
At first the company passed by the low-entranced cave, searching for tracks along the strand; but the bloodhounds they'd brought along had a different idea, and set to howling and barking at the cavern entrance. The soldiers fetched torches and entered the black den. As they descended, they beheld a horrid spectacle that could have come from the most hellish myth: the bodies of men, women, and children, dismembered and hung up to cure; their limbs pickled and in stacks; and a tremendous amount of stolen wealth, a treasure-trove accumulated over the years. Eventually they came into the living quarters of the Beans themselves, who may have been sleeping off a night's degeneracy or ramblings. There was a standoff, but at last the cannibals surrendered and were taken captive.
The king had them marched in bonds to Edinburgh at first, but they had no trial. They were taken to Leith for execution. The men were dismembered while alive, as their females and offspring were made to watch; then the latter were burned to death, by all accounts screaming curses and blasphemies to the very end.
The cave where these human monsters made their home is believed by locals to be haunted to this day…and has never been fully explored.
Here we are back in Scotland; here are the deep caverns going down, down, down into the unknown crust of the earth. Like so many other groups with apparent underworld connections, we find a bit of inbreeding as well. This of course raises questions: Is inbreeding responsible for the creation of such aberrant forms of man? Or does inbreeding create an isolated gene-pool in which certain genetic traits become overly-dominant, traits which may be desired by the unseen forces of the underworld? This story is filled with the hint of unknown and even unguessable mysteries and horrors. What might have come out of the depths of the world on cold Scottish nights, to bargain with Bean in the cavern, or to procreate with his wife, his sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters? What hellish traits might have been passed on to them, traits which craved or delighted in the tastes of blood and the "sacrificial" organs? Where the offspring of Sawney Bean completely human beings, as the term is currently defined?
Current theories about the formation of the ultimate sociopath—a serial killer or a cannibalistic serial killer—state that, while environment and childhood trauma may have some sort of triggering effect (only in some cases), that many of these perpetrators are simply 'wired incorrectly.' Their brains, their emotions, and their cold cunning are not human, are not even mammalian. They appear more or less normal on the outside, but inwardly they are essentially the same, in terms of compassion and other human emotions, not to mention predatory instincts, as a komodo dragon. According to the leading expert of serial killers (and the coiner of the phrase), FBI Investigator Robert Ressler, childhood environment and abuse and resultant sexual dysfunction play a part in the development of human monsters, and this may be true in many instances. Yet he also states,
"Maybe bad genetics is somehow triggered by a bad family environment. I don’t know. Nobody knows. We haven’t been able to deal with pure evil scientifically."
Many scientists, however, believe that the genetic connection—whether a malfunction or other inexplicable difference—is the most likely explanation for such aberrant and violent individuals. The question remains: Where do such genetic predispositions or anomalies ultimately originate?
Could it be that, due to a contaminated heredity, the worst among us are not really completely of us? Do monsters who are not completely human, in spite of outward appearances, walk abroad in the surface world? This isn't a view that would be readily accepted by 'modern science,' but the circumstantial evidence would indicate that this might be the case. One fact that indicates a strong possibility of cross-specie contamination, is that, as a species, only human beings have over four thousand known genetic defects, while our nearest chromosonal relatives (according to evolutionary science), the great apes, have almost none.
Various mythical and folk traditions around the world make it quite clear that 'demons,' ogres, monsters, and so forth have always been with us in human guise. Did the various ancient traditions know more about the truth than modern humanity, science, and law-enforcement would care to admit? Entertaining such a radically non-politically-correct view is to invite scorn and ridicule, but requires both courage, and the serious contemplation of facts and circumstantial evidence which history and folklore provide us.
History is filled with their names and their shadows: Sawney Bean, Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, Andrei Chikatilo, Ted Bundy, Gilles de Raise, Pedro Alonso Lopez (the "Monster of the Andes"), Richard Trenton Chase, Gilles Ganier, Peter Stubbe, Elizabeth Bathory, Ed Kemper: And patterns emerge. They victimize and rape children, or young men and women. They often eat human flesh and organs, and drink or bathe in the blood of their victims. Some engage in necrophilia as well as necrophagia. Many seek out locales or environments which are reminiscent of the subterranean realm, in order to hide, store, or dispose of the remains of their victims. Bloodlust is particularly overpowering for these humanoid animals, and like the underworld monsters of old, they are fascinated by the organs that would have once been reserved for sacrificial rites. Richard Chase, the "Vampire Killler of Sacramento," pureed the blood and organs of his victims in a blender, and he and Dahmer both drank copiously of the blood of those they had killed. In an interview at a University seminar, Robert Ressler had this to say about Chase:
"His eyes really got to me. I’ll never forget them. No pupils, just black spots. These were evil eyes that stayed with me long after the interview."
Which of course would be the light-hungry, dilated eyes of a subterranean dweller in darkness.
So much for theories of environment over heredity. At least to this writer, this sounds like a physiological rather than an environmental result….and now, awaiting trial in Great Falls, Montana, is a newly found-out monster who fits the profile, and to some extent the physical description, of a 'dero' almost precisely….Bloated, slovenly, a sexual pervert and torturer, a murderer, butcher, and eater of young boys….What perverse, twisted, and non-human sort of "man" is this? An epicure after the likes of the Sawney Bean clan, this cannibal ogre out of the darkest fairytales, this beast disguised as a man, had even prepared a cookbook in code for his own amusement, listing such dishes as ''Sex A La Carte,'' ''Barbequed Kid,'' ''Little Boy Stew,'' ''My Little Kid Dessert,'' ''Little Boy Pot Pies,'' and ''Lunch is Served on the Patio with Roasted Child." It is said that authorities may never know how may missing children went into this degenerate sub-human's home butcher shop and larder.
An ending such as that dealt to Sawney Bean and his spawn would be absolutely fitting for a fiend such as this.
Zoologist Christopher Hitchens may have said it best, when he commented on the interaction between reptiles and mammals in his recent book, "No One Left To Lie To:"
"The reptile can break into the mammal's nest, destroy and eat all of the young and be burrowed into the still warm and living flank of the mother before any reaction is evident. Our anthropomorphic verdict would be that reptiles don't even know they are lucky, while mammals don't really believe that reptiles can exist."