Tag Archives: invisibility

A Modern Bestiary

It’s been some time since I was able to post anything here. Magical murder and mayhem… what can I tell you? Some days, it takes up all my time.

Fairies! Faugh! Trouble on the wing!                     1126931186_imefairy32

Perhaps the most useful thing to do would be to provide you with information about the Fae themselves, or at least the ones you are likely to encounter here. Those, like me, who were swept up by Titania’s cataclysm and stranded here.


                                 But not this sort of invented nonsense!

While there are many Fae who did not survive that hard landing, and others still who never made it out of Faerie, a great many different varieties did. They’ve been changed, of course, by their experiences here, but the basics remain the same. And lately I have seen other bloggers doing an A to Z tour of their obsessions…er, subjects of interest.


        No! Not the Phoenician alphabet! Does that look phonic to you?

I’ll be using the Roman alphabet, and therefore moving literally from A to Z.  I cannot promise to post items daily but perhaps we can start with a creature once little known but now distressingly common here.  I refer to the

             Alpluachra joint eater

We were discussing invisible creatures, after all, in my last post, and this is one such.  It is entirely invisible on all spectrums, including the magical, and it has no choice in the matter. The image shown above, therefore, is a work of the imagination. The true alpluachra cannot be said to actually have a physical appearance.  Therefore the image shown below is also well off the mark.

alpluachra photo form  More like Bride of Chthulu, I’d say.

This Fae is also known as a Joint-eater or a Just-halver.  These names are related to its nasty habits, but are somewhat misleading.  It does not feed on its victims’ joints, or on the person it infests at all.  No.  It moves in when a human falls asleep by the side of a spring or waterway.  It is said to appear in the form of a newt and crawls down the victim’s throat.  Once settled in, it proceeds to feed on the food its victim has already eaten.

So…something of a cross between a tapeworm and a salamander.

 The red newt’s rather cute!  red newt

tapeworm head   The tapeworm, less so…

The process is painless at first. The human host is never even aware of these parasitic Fae until they begin to grow and reproduce. Then the victim develops a pain in the side and insatiable hunger.  The multiplying alpluachras wriggle like mad while the human host becomes ever more emaciated.  Eventually the victim dies of starvation no matter how much he or she eats.  Perhaps you’ve seen such. I’m told they are quite common in the Horn of Africa these days.


This man might well be the victim of a Joint-Eater.  Or of senseless human political systems you won’t find in Faerie.

They’re changing, of course.  It’s the Madison Avenue hype, I believe, and the endless advertising of food and other consumer goods, all of it mixed up with images of sexual import.  This, for instance, is an ad I’ve seen in Los Angeles, where the Unseelie Court is now conducting a thriving business, deliberately infesting starlets with weight control problems:

new newt

None too appetizing, I’d say, but hey – tell it to all the wannabe Kardashians!

So how does one get rid of these alpluachras?  It’s actually pretty simple.  Salty snacks will do the job.  You eat enough pretzels, potato chips, or peanuts and then all you have to do is doze off next to another water source.  The pests will get even thirstier than you are and go for the rehydration option.  Meanwhile, the snacks will restore your spare tire.

The criminal aspects of all this, however, remain the subject of debate among the Fallen.  Humans, too.  As I’ve noted, some of this is voluntary.  Yech!


Invisible Creatures

bloody knife               1126931186_imefairy32 Cold iron…Ick!

To see what’s present but invisible – that is the hardest part of any branch of forensics.  And mostly it applies to the very small.  After all, ‘most anyone can spot a hunting knife or a rifle or a bloody rock.  But fingerprints and fibers and microscopic bits of DNA?  Not so obvious, are they?  But it can happen with much larger items as well.  For instance, what if you can’t see the body?

The sad truth is, in human courts, if there is no body, it’s damnably hard to convict anyone of a killing.  The reason?  Humans won’t accept testimony from ghosts or banshees.

ghost on staircase  Why not?  Why would I lie?

Well, yes, as it turns out, a ghost might very well prevaricate about certain things – the same things as most of the living, in fact.  But not about its own existence or its identity, if it remembers who it was.  And banshees – all right, so some of them do get confused about time frames.  They are, after all, best known for announcing a death ahead of time and scaring the hell out of people.  And the banshees have suffered the same hard knocks as the rest of the Fae, so some of them are a bit…um, tetched is the old word for that.  Unreliable.  Crazed, even.

Best mind what you say to a banshee.    thX72KQBMN

Okay, maybe it’s not that unreasonable, but the end result is, it’s damned hard to prove anybody is dead without some sort of corpus delicti.  So if one has any magical talents, the easiest way to deal with a corpse is simply to render those inconvenient remains invisible.

It’s not as hard as you might think.

Your first care should be making sure that no one is going to trip over the newly deceased.  A dead give-away, that is, and no – that was not a pun.  Go to Waller for that sort of foolishness. Since one of the things the killer is trying to avoid is hard work, that rules out many of the things humans do with a corpse – burial, dismemberment and the like.  Burning the body is also a bad choice, since fires of sufficient size tend to attract far too much attention.  But placing a body in a tree, or on a roof, or a telephone pole is quite effective, once it’s been rendered invisible.

How, then, is the forensic tech or detective to locate the carcass? The same way one locates invisible creatures.  What cannot be seen can still be heard, or smelt, or felt.

boggart  A  boggart has a distinctive vinegar reek, and a habit of snorting and snuffling when it’s upset.

Another approach is to make use of natural elements.  Summon a cloud of blue bottle or blow flies, and trust me, they’ll show you what you’re looking for by landing upon it, in their hundreds and thousands.  They’re drawn to death anyway, and are likely to show up on their own, whereupon the buzzing will be your first clue to the body’s location.

th5ILPBXGM  Greedy little buggers!

If you have a sylph handy, you can ask for help in the form of an atmospheric effect – a cloud formation that shapes itself to that of the corpse.

sylph  An air elemental can also be fairly destructive to your crime scene, however, so ask very nicely, and offer fair payment.

If all else fails, you can try smudging likely locations with smoldering sage, and hope the smoke will find and enfold the form of what you seek. Once you’ve located the corpse, however, you will still need to pierce the glamour, or else undo that invisibility spell.  If you’re pressed for time, by the circumstances, bad weather, whatever, then do what you can to visualize the carcass in situ, and record it on film.  You might try using Luminol first.

luminol  Defensive wounds often render the victim’s hands just as bloody as the killer’s, so you may be able to ‘light up’ relevant parts of the body even if you can’t visualize the entire corpse.

Luminol won’t work on ichor nor sap from a wood nymph, of course, but it will work on most kinds of red blood because of the iron content.  Oh hell – this damned machine is shooting sparks out the back.  What did I do this time?