Notes From the Author . . .
Since The Kure was published, I’ve received many questions concerning the inspiration for the story. In particular, readers have wanted to know more about the ancient and demonic book of healing finally revealed by Dr. Lucius Harwell, and the graphic ritual contained within its pages.
My intent to base The Kure on a derivation—or interpretation—of fact. When I started researching background material for the book, I found myself in the unusually fortuitous position of locating an incredible wealth of history, folklore, and legend. And frankly, I wasn’t ready for what I discovered.
Disturbing? That’s an understatement. Just ask my husband, who spent more nights than he wants to remember trying to get me back to bed after my nightmares erupted into sleep-shattering screams. I rewrote the ritual several times, trying to tone down its graphic nature, hoping to make it more palatable to those comfortably nestled in the upper strata of propriety. But with each new and diluted draft, I felt like I was cheating – as if I were describing a fatal car accident as a slight mechanical mishap, rationalizing the plight of innocent victims as unavoidable, and intentionally diminishing the struggle to adapt to a life that was changed forever. My readers – and you are the ones who count – deserved more.
So here’s the bottom line: The ritual, and the scene in the barn when Sarah combines the two spells to release the Kure’s power, are based on the recorded beliefs and practices of the “virgin cure,” the medieval concept of having sexually-based contact with a female virgin to cure the afflicted from all manner of disease. The graphic realism had to be there because it represented the abusive practices of the time, carried out under the guise of demonic possession. It’s there because the story demanded it. And to ignore the ritual’s source and historical relevance—albeit a dark one—would have been an insult to my readers.
I wrote The Kure with the intent of opening a long-locked door, hoping to provide a little peek inside a huge room filled with superstition and ignorance. And yes, I know The Kure has scared the bejesus out of some you. But your laments over lost sleep usually resulted in more questions and curiosity, and it was exactly what I needed to hear. It confirmed my faith in an intelligent and demanding audience who would not settle for anything short of my best work. Which is exactly what you will continue to receive.
What follows is a bit more detail concerning the historical basis of The Kure and in particular, the ritual contained in the ancient and demonic book of healing the good doctor kept hidden in a secret compartment behind his bookcase. But first, I have to warn you that the references are from some of our not-so-shining—or distant—moments in human history. So if you’re still with me, hang on, it’s going to get a bit bumpy before we’re done.
My goal was to present the ritual as a derivation of the dark-spirited rationale used to exploit women throughout much of human history, and in particular, the targeting of young virgin women, who were often used – sacrificed – to serve the sexual pleasure and gratification of men. As John Tyler (our hard-working, gorgeous hunk of a protagonist) suggested, “Harwell had read the most perverse instructions imaginable, a prescription designed to justify the actions of corrupt and evil men who craved the touch of a young maiden.”
So why do satanic texts place such an emphasis on virgins? (The word “satanic” in this context means any dark or demonic influence, not necessarily the infamous fallen angel, Satan, the CEO of hell.) Virgins, often referred to as “young virgins” in historical writings, are the popular focus and preferred ingredient in dark rituals because of the “regeneration effect,” i.e., the release of energy, which was thought to be the actual life force. Ancient magicians believed that a living being was a container of stored power, the quality and quantity of which was reflected by the purity and moral character of the vessel. The greatest and purest force was thought to exist in perfect innocence – the virgin.
But what about the sexual connotation? Couldn’t they have just shaken hands? Sex is an extremely common element in demonic rituals due to the explosion of energy at the moment of orgasm. Since these would-be sorcerers were all about stealing the life force from others—often called “soul snatching” in folklore—sexual activity was often used as a method to raise the energy levels of a practitioner’s victims to receive maximum energy transfer.
Demonic books and texts—represented by the ancient tome of healing in The Kure—have existed for thousands of years. The rituals of black magic can trace its roots all the way back to ancient Babylon, with the organized practice of satanism rearing its ugly head within the societies of the Sumerians, Phoenicians, Hitites, Egyptians, and Canaanites. There are others, but for our purposes, it’s a start. And it makes it very clear that these bad boys have been around for a very long time, and left their mark – both figuratively and literally – on a lot of unfortunate people.
I hope I’ve answered some of your questions about the source and inspiration for the ritual contained in The Kure. There’s more information for those who want to dig a bit deeper, but as the old adage warns . . .
Be careful what you look for, you may not like what you find!