Tonight is Walpurgis Night, named after the English Medieval missionary, St. Walpurga, who first brought Christianity to the Germanic people. Her feast day is May 1st, and the eve of the day, April 30th, is often celebrated with dancing and reveling. Somewhere along the line this reveling became identified with the Witch’s Sabbath and Walpurgisnacht, as it is known in Germany, became a night of ill omens and devilry.
Sometime in the early 90’s I wrote a prose piece entitled “Walpurgis Night”, which was inspired by 2 things: one was a stencil someone had sprayed on the wall of my favorite pizza joint on Newbury Street in Boston, which read “Walpurgis Night” in black letters. I always assumed it was a local Goth or Metal band, but brief online research has revealed nothing that I can find. I was later to find, after the fact however, that one of my favorite bands, Black Sabbath, had originally intended their song “War Pigs” to be called “Walpurgis”. Both video and audio documentation of an early version of the song featuring a more lyrical emphasis on the black mass imagery has been available for some time now for public consumption. They had even decided to call the album “Walpurgis”, but the record executives thought it sounded too Satanic, so they toned down the devil imagery and made the newly titled song “War Pigs” into more of an anti-war tune. Of course, when they came up with “Paranoid”, they scrambled to promote that instead as the single and the new title of the album, the artwork for which still played off of the “War Pigs” theme and confused a lot of stoners back in the day.
The other inspiration, which will be apparent to anyone who is familiar with it, is Bram Stoker’s short story, “Dracula’s Guest”, which was an excised early draft chapter from the original novel.
“Walpurgis Night” is far from my best work, and a little hokey in retrospect, some 25 or so years down the line, but it is an indication of where my creative writing would eventually go.
And so, without further ado, I present to you my prose poem “Walpurgis Night”…
Your friend is a fool, and shall die as such. You Englishmen, so arrogant! Where is the precious Crown for him now? His impressively untainted lineage will mean nothing to the wolves. All blood tastes the same to them, blue or otherwise; but that is the least of his worries.
He would indeed be fortunate if it were only the wolves whom he met with. For there are myriad other creatures which shall be roaming the lonely roads tonight, far more horrible than they. The dead shall rise and the witches shall be reveling in their sabbats and rutting rituals, and the Light Bearer shall hold sway.
Not a one of my men would go out on this of all nights to search for any man, no matter what the price. For you see, tonight is a night for prayers, garlic rubbing, and door bolting. Tonight my friend, is Walpurgis Night!