Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Bleeding Nun

By Michael

In 1794, nineteen-year-old Matthew Lewis wrote a book called The Monk, which – in case you haven’t read it – includes one of the spookiest ghosts you’ll ever meet. Her name is The Bleeding Nun, and a young guy named Raymond describes her:

I beheld before me an animated corpse. Her countenance was long and haggard. Her cheeks and lips were bloodless. The paleness of death was spread over her features, and her eyeballs fixed steadfastly upon me were lusterless and yellow. I gazed upon the specter with horror too great to be described. My blood was frozen in my veins. I would have called for aid, but the sound expired ere it could pass my lips. My nerves were bound up in impotence, and I remained in the same attitude inanimate as a statue. The visionary nun looked upon me for some minutes in silence. There was something petrifying in her regard. At length in a low sepulchral voice she pronounced the following words: “Raymond! Raymond! Thou art mine! Raymond! Raymond! I am thine! In thy veins while blood shall roll, I am thine! Thou art mine! Mine thy body! Mine thy soul!”

This Bleeding Nun ghost really, really wants Raymond. She “presses her cold lips” to his and clearly wants to experiment with ghost-human sex. This is the kind of thing she likes to do. She became a ghost after experimenting with a few other boundaries. After running away from her convent, she hooked up with a baron, then decided the baron’s brother Otto was sexier, and so, one night, while in bed with the baron, she “drew a dagger from underneath the pillow and plunged it into her paramour’s heart.” Instead of taking her into his arms, the ungrateful Otto “wrested the dagger from her hand, . . . plunged it still reeking with his brother’s blood in her bosom, and put an end to her existence with repeated blows.” That’s how you make a good ghost. We have older and newer ones, but none that does ghostliness better than The Bleeding Nun.

I hope everyone had a happy Halloween!

8 comments:

Joshua Corin said...

Easily the scariest ghost of the week. Bonus points for the fact that she's referred to as "The Bleeding Nun." That's as perfect a title as I've seen.

Meredith Cole said...

I love the title, too. She sounds really scary, Michael, on many, many levels.

Michael Wiley said...

Thanks, Joshua. The Monk is an over-the-top good read, and The Bleeding Nun, though a fairly minor character, is at the center of it all. Lewis, in a forward to the book, says the Bleeding Nun story is (or was in the late 1700s) very much alive in Germany. I don't know about that, but I know that Lewis tells the story well.

Michael Wiley said...

Thanks, Meredith. As the story plays out, we realize that The Bleeding Nun, though dead for centuries, is a distant relative of Raymond. So, there's necrophilia and incest too. A big, scary mess.

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

YIKES! I'm with Josh, The Bleeding Nun is definitely the scariest ghost of the week.

Michael Wiley said...

I'm glad that we can continue the fear after Halloween, Sue Ann. As Josh suggested, the name alone might be enough: say, "Bleeding Nun," and I pull the covers over my head.

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Dang, Michael, that's a great ghost! Creepy and with bad boundaries all round.

Now the covers are up over MY head.

Nicely done.

Michael Wiley said...

Thanks, Rebecca -- With words from you/Bekka, Lewis should be proud.