Homo Lycanthropus

“For more than 100,000 years, Homo lycanthropus has lived unobtrusively among human beings. Those whose powers were uncovered were stigmatized as witches, sorcerers, werewolves, and other supernatural beings persecuted down through the ages. The beings have bred with the human race, refining their skills and increasing their numbers, until they have reached the point in evolution where their reemergence is inevitable. That time is now.”

Stefan Dziemianowicz about Jack Williamson’s novel, Darker Than You Think (1948) in Icons of Horror and the Supernatural: An Encyclopedia of Our Worst Nightmares.

“Throwbacks are born…Not often-so long as nature is left alone. It’s all a matter of probability, and you can see the odds. But every man alive is a carrier, and most throwbacks are only partial. Literally millions of variations are possible between pure Homo sapiens and pure lycanthropus… Those born with a stronger inheritance are usually better aware of their unusual gifts – and more careful to conceal them. In the Middle Ages- so long as the Inquisition kept alive the ancient arts of witch-hunting-they were usually found and burned. Nowadays they fare better. They’re able to realize their gifts, and organize, and plot to regain their lost supremacy…The throwbacks have begun to gather into secret clans. By mating among themselves, they have upset the random odds, and increased the probability of reversion…They are finding the carriers and using the modern science of selective breeding- with doubtless some improvements of their own- to filter out the dominant genes of Homo sapiens and so give birth to this powerful leader they’re waiting for- the monstrous Messiah they call the Child of Night.”

Sam Quain in Darker Than You Think (1948)


Unintentional Beauty


“Franz said, ‘Beauty in the European sense has always had a premeditated quality to it. We’ve always had an aesthetic intention and a long-range plan. That’s what enabled Western man to spend decades building a Gothic cathedral or a Renaissance piazza. The beauty of New York rests on a completely different base. It’s unintentional. It arose independent of human design, like a stalagmitic cavern. Forms which are in themselves quite ugly turn up fortuitously, without design, in such incredible surroundings that they sparkle with a sudden wondrous poetry.’

   Sabina said, ‘Unintentional beauty. Yes. Another way of putting it might be “beauty by mistake.” Before beauty disappears entirely from the earth, it will go on existing for a while by mistake. “Beauty by mistake” – the final phase in the history of beauty.’

   And she recalled her first mature painting, which came into being because some red paint had dripped on it by mistake. Yes, her paintings were based on ‘beauty by mistake’, and New York was the secret but authentic homeland of her painting.

   Franz said, “Perhaps New York’s unintentional beauty is much richer and more varied than the excessively strict and composed beauty of human design. But it’s not our European beauty. It’s an alien world.’

   Didn’t they then at last agree on something?

   No. There is a difference. Sabina was very much attracted by the alien quality of New York’s beauty. Franz found it intriguing but frightening; it made him feel homesick for Europe.”

Milan Kundera – The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Locations in The St Perpetuus Club of Buenos Aires

In Buenos Aires we followed in the footsteps of one of the characters of Eric Stener Carlson’s “The St Perpetuus Club of Buenos Aires”  as he made his way to the Institute for the Study and Resolution of Contested Glacier Frontiers (ISRCGF).

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“I’m sure you’ve seen that wonderful building while window-shopping in Bario Norte. Its eight floors perch just above the gaudy, red canopy of the ‘El Tolón’ Café.

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Up and up past all the other apartments until the cupola, a dome shingled like some ancient, grey fish. Mine is the apartment with the smallest window, all the way at the top.

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As I go towards the Bulnes subway station, I pass by the mouth of the Alto Palermo shopping centre.

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If you go down the steps on the shopping mall side and through the turnstile, there’s no option but taking the line towards ‘Catedral’.

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Ah, those colourful tiles by Cattaneo and Co. set into the walls of the ‘D’line’s stations back in 1938!

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In Bulnes, the mural ends just before that grey, metal, door recessed into the wall.

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On the other side of the tracks, there’s the door’s twin, also always locked.

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Within the mural, look for the zafra scene, a nondescript arrangement of sugarcane cutters, machetes held high. Within the scene, there is a picture of a large, brown pulley from which extends a cable going to a spar and a series of hooks.

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When you get off at Tribunales, turn right.

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At the other end of the platform, to your right, is another set of stairs going up. You must take these, because above them looms another Cattaneo mural dedicated to the conquistadores – shiny armor, rippling flags, proud ships and all.

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Then out the turnstiles and to your right, up the mechanical stairs.

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As a testament to Lavalle’s victory, a marble likeness of him thrusts skyward on a column just a block behind you…

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Look down at the concrete blocks that compose the walkway.

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Starting just where the ornamental fence begins to circle the plaza, you’ll see regular pattern of concrete rectangles 49 cm x 90 cm laid lengthwise.

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Hug close to the plumbing supply store but not too close to the terrible synagogue looming to your right.

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But it’s not until you reach the street corner up ahead that, all of a sudden, 9 de Julio Avenue opens up before you, like Machu Picchu rising from the mist…

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The sight of the obelisk, towering 67 metres over the intersection of 9 de Julio, Roque Saenz Pena and Corrientes Avenue, will steady your nerves, reassure you of your goal.

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As you reach Café Madeleine on the corner, you may be feeling rather giddy from the effort.

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Past the cheap bookstand. A little more, and there, you arrive at 719 Pellegrini.

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There was not, however, a squat, grey building encrusted with angels. There was not, for that matter, any building whatsoever.

+ Photography by Avantika Bawa