Friday, August 30, 2019

I Can't Stop Running!

Time has officially run out for our August 2019 Atlas Fest, as we nail the creepy coffin shut with one final terror tale, also from the May 1953 issue of Mystery Tales #11 (see our last lurid post too.) I hope everyone enjoyed the selection of yarns presented, and we'll definitely take a look at more Atlas in the mix before 2019 winds down in the coming months. For now, Sam Kweskin does a nice, moody job here with a simple, spooky story-- I just hope that some of you don't miss the point! *wink! See ya next month, fiends...


Brian Barnes said...

Ha! That's a fun one. That said, Old Jasper must be something more than human, I suspect all the people that came to find the diamond tortured him and then met the same fate, so he's either got a healing ability or he's a ghost! Why was there any reason he went through the torture when he could have just said "it's upstairs?" How did he survive the strangulation? And after that climb the stairs? He's a ghost, I tell you!

Let's give a little bit of love to Atlas and it's horror fonts. There were a couple different ones and I think you hit most of them in your last couple posts ... the one in this tale is my favorite. Always bold and black, they really jump up and serve the same place a host would usually go.

Thanks for Atlas month! Always a treat.

Mestiere said...

Here we have an example of a type of story found in many cultures and many times: the mysterious old man. H.P. Lovecraft wrote a version in 1920, The Terrible Old Man. The terrible old man always seems to hide a secret.

There is a modern version of this story mentioned by "Anne-Marie" and her Italian-American eastern Massachusetts family to Budd Hopkins. He tells about it in his book Sight Unseen. It's the case of the elusive Mr. Paige.

When Anne-Marie was three-and-a-half Mr. Paige walked into the family's yard one day with no references, no identification, with no visible connections with the outside world. He had no driver’s license, no credit cards, no apparent family. Inexplicably the family allowed this strange man to live for free in the basement next to the furnace right under Anne-Marie's room. He lived there from 1956 to 1971. His head looked somewhat like the wizard in The Wizard of Oz with a big, veiny forehead, pointy chin and grayish white hair and skin. Very pale-looking, he always wore white painter’s pants and a white T-shirt. He was slightly above average height, thin, with skinny arms. He always looked the same, never seemed to age. There was no bathroom and no running water in the basement yet Mr. Paige was always scrupulously clean. Nobody could remember him going to the bathroom or asking for a bathroom. He was a little bit of a handyman for the family but didn't get paid. The family would repeatedly let this guy disappear into a nearby cow pasture with little Anne-Marie for hours. She can only remember that something "magical" would happen there.

He would sometimes disappear for months without any explanation, only to reappear. He had no appreciable accent but his writings—he would write to Anne-Marie during his absences—were incomprehensible and full of "alien" symbols. He would claim to be able to receive Anne-Marie's thoughts and would say things that seemed to confirm it. Mr. Paige did not like to be photographed. The only photo they managed to get of him was stolen in a strange break-in where only Anne-Marie's photo album and some letters including some from Mr. Paige's disappeared. This happened after Mr. Paige's last disappearance.

So what to think about this? The whole family and the neighbors remember this strange character. Only in retrospect do they realize how improbable the story is. The family would later become involved in rather harrowing UFO experiences.

Glowworm said...

You just got to love that ending! At first, I thought that the stairs would never end--but a treadmill of doom is awesome.
I agree with Brian on Jasper being a ghost of sorts--it would certainly make sense as to how he managed to lock the door on Martin afterwards.

JMR777 said...

I had expected something supernatural to cause Marty Sneed to keep running, such as the black diamond taking over his body and force him to run or a demon would pop out of the diamond and chase Sneed in a race for his life.

Then again, maybe the black diamond has granted Jasper Kane immortality, but only long life, not eternal youth.

It was a fun tale to read. Thanks!

JBM said...

Enjoyed this a lot. The wonderfully gritty art, the fullness of the panels, the stuttering build up of tension, and the left field ending all combine for a great tale. Thank you Mr.K.

Mr. Cavin said...

I like the naturalistic, documentary feel to the editing in this one--especially during the middle, when Marty is interviewing the townsfolk. The very lifelike character art in this makes me think a lot was drawn from life (or photos), and I got a little distracted trying to keep up with all the celebrities I thought Sneed looked like from panel to panel.

Atlas month has rocked! What'll you cook up next?

Grant said...

Mestiere's "Mr. Paige" story is pretty fascinating. I know Budd Hopkins from interviews and articles and the book MISSING TIME, but that story is very new to me. It's nice to see "Fortean" things here once in a while.