If science is the religion of the twentieth (and twenty-first) century, and if the god of science is an indifferent god, and if human beings are merely material objects without souls, then human sacrifice in the cause of science can be considered acceptable, even desirable. Witness Nazi experimentation on their victims. That's just some theorizing on my part. But on the cover of Weird Tales and other pulp magazines, the imagery of scientific experimentation isn't very much different from that of the fiend and murderer, or of human sacrifice and execution. Note the first three images shown below, especially the second, in which the woman is bound to what looks like a stainless steel table, her tormentor wields a scalpel instead of a knife, and he also wears a white lab coat instead of a red robe. He is evidently a scientist, but he acts like a cultist or a fiend. In my mind, that's a strange and significant association.
|Weird Tales, January 1926. Cover story: "Stealer of Souls." Cover art by Andrew Brosnatch.|
|Weird Tales, November 1929. Cover story: "The Gray Killer" by Everil Worrell. Cover art by C.C. Senf.|
|Weird Tales, May 1930. Cover story: "The Brain-Thief" by Seabury Quinn. Cover art by C. C. Senf.|
|Weird Tales, April 1935. Cover story: "The Man Who Was Two Men" by Arthur William Bernal. Cover by Margaret Brundage.|
|Weird Tales, February 1938. Cover story: "Frozen Beauty" by Seabury Quinn. Cover art by Virgil Finlay.|
Next: Whips, Chains, Bondage and Torture.
Text and captions copyright 2017 Terence E. Hanley