Dehşetın Kapilari (The Doors Of Terror);
by Giovanni Scognamillo,
Mitos Publishing, Istanbul, 1994
Translation generously provided by the author Giovanni Scognamillo


. . .  There is a late dated example to be taken from England: that of Dennis Wheatley (1897-1977), famous for his historical, adventure and Black Magic horror novels translated in 26 languages with a circulation of over 45 million copies in print.

Wheatley was born in London as the son of a rich wine merchant. After an easy life he started writing at the age of 36 after his father bankrupted. His first novel, “The Forbidden Territory” (1933) made seven editions in seven weeks and also attracted the attention of Alfred Hitchcock.

Dennis Wheatley wrote all kind of novels with an attention towards historical melodramatic and action stories; in the meantime he also wrote three novels set in Istanbul, “The Sultan’s Daughter”, “The Eunuch of Istanbul” and “Evil in a Mask”.

Of interest to our subject are those who, providing a comprehensive knowledge of occultism (in his last years Wheatley will write an Occult Encyclopaedia), relates the adventures of his hero the Duc of Richleau.

The noble expert in Black Magic (and a gourmet) Richleau fights on the astral plane with the evil black magician Mocata while searching for an ancient talisman (The Devil Rides Out, 1935), enters into a conflict with an Haitian magician who helps German submarines and saves his friends transformed into zombies (Strange Conflict).

Another of Wheatley’s heroes, the secret agent Gregory Sallust fights Nazis using Black Forces and with the help of a Jewish magician destroys the German rocket base in Peenemünde (They Used Dark Forces, 1964).

Wheatley, who writes also novels such as “The Satanist” and “To the Devil a Daughter”, in a popular style full of action can be considered as the promoter of the Best Sellers crisis starting between the early 60’s and the late 70’s.