The Cauldron Of Fear – Dr.Daniel Rumanos


In an alley-alcove behind 34th Street in Baltimore stand two
businesses. One is a porn and sex-toys shop called “Honey”, which does
not concern us here. Next to it is an establishment named “The
Cauldron”, a small witchcraft store selling, as one would suppose,
crystals, candles, and cauldrons to the city’s would-be Wiccan

The shop’s proprietor, Mrs. Sherry Clement, is very much the
stereotypical “white witch”: middle-aged, overweight, and with a
constant look of abject fear on her flabby, aging face. A decidedly
boring individual indeed.

Her daughter, on the other hand, is quite another story. Lynda Clement
is 17, medium height, nice body, with dark green eyes and black hair.
She was adopted, which explains why she resembles neither Sherry nor
the latter’s rather worthless working-class husband, Matt, in either
looks or temperament. So it was an interesting surprise when Lynda
called me one day asking to meet in order to discuss a matter which
was troubling her. No, I don’t spend every bloody day going around
giving my phone number to teenage girls, no matter what you’ve read in
the shitty tabloids. Sod off.

So I met with the chick one afternoon in a local café to see what my
particular expertise as Dr. Daniel Rumanos, ghost-hunter and
paranormal expert and all of that, could do for her. It was no great
stretch to assume that none of the regular patrons of her mother’s
“occult” shop could be of any assistance in any issue concerning the
authentically supernatural.

I must admit Lynda was really cute as she looked at me over her small
caramel-vanilla hot latte, but my heart belongs to someone else, a
beautiful young lady known as Heaven’s Hell, so I listened to Lynda’s
odd story with a purely professional curiosity.

She said her mother had recently fallen under the spell of a strange
woman called Meredith “Merri” Moissee, who had moved to Baltimore a
few months previously, claiming to be a “shaman” and impressing all
the rubes with her mysterious manner and Creole accent. Whether this
individual was of any genuine occult power other than con-artistry
Lynda couldn’t say, but it was obvious that the ever-gullible Sherry
believed every word of Merri’s grotesque spiel. The hideous woman had
even talked Sherry into going in debt in order to buy an old
church-building, the long-abandoned St. Sebastian’s Old Catholic
Church in Baltimore’s Federal Hill neighborhood. This place of
worship, the legends concerning which I was familiar with, had never
been authorized by the Vatican, and had been shuttered after its
priest had been taken away to an insane asylum in the 1920s. He had
died soon after under peculiar circumstances which had been kept
rather quiet. Some claim that he had been inexplicably ripped to
pieces while locked up alone in his padded cell.

Lynda then revealed to me that that very night the loathsomely bizarre
Merri Moissee would be taking Sherry and her coven to that church for
a “Witches’ Sabbath”, at which she promised them that an
extraordinarily-powerful spirit would be evoked — a spirit which
would provide answers to all of their problems. But what particularly
concerned Lynda was that her mother, under the enigmatically monstrous
woman’s guidance, was insisting that she accompany them, and that this
evening would see her daughter’s initiation into the most sacred
“feminine mysteries”!

Talking Lynda out of going was not possible. She was still a minor,
and her mother was so much under Merri’s control that she was afraid
not going would lead to even more dire consequences than her
attendance. Fortunately, however, Lynda had already had the wisdom to
secretly make a copy of her mother’s key to the church building, which
she then gave to me with the request that I sneak into the
back-entrance that night and observe the occult ritual
surreptitiously. I was honored that she so fully believed in my
ability to protect and save her from whatever abysmal horror might be
in store for her during the coming hours of darkness. Oy vey..

After our talk I proceeded immediately to the large public library
downtown, in order to look up old newspapers and find out what I could
about St. Sebastian’s Church and its scandals. It took a while but I
finally found something in some 1922 issues of The Baltimore Sun. The
priest’s name was Father George LaMartina, and the story at the time
was that he had secretly renamed his church as the Temple of the
Starry Wisdom, and was using it to bring up some sort of monster from
Hell. At least that’s what the people of the surrounding community had
said at the time. Fr. LaMartina was shortly thereafter found to have
become a raving madman when the police had gone to the church in order
to question him concerning the corpses of several adolescent
prostitutes which had been found buried in a nearby refuse dumpster.
An autopsy had discovered communion wafers inserted in their vaginas.

Then I saw a photograph which had been taken after the priest had been
put away. It was of the church’s nave, and the strange defacements
that had been done to it. The crucifix had been inverted, and below it
had been painted, in what appeared to be blood, a horrible name in a
rare medieval Latin font. Apparently, the dreadful name of the
hellishly eldritch creature the insane Fr. LaMartina had been
attempting to call forth from the deepest depths of satanic perdition.
I couldn’t suppress a shudder as my body filled with cold dread at the
sight of it. It was the name of an infernal being I had encountered
before, and had only banished due to a combination of good fortune and
a mistake made by the cult that had conjured it. It was the name of
the destroyer demon, evil spirit of lust, rape, and unspeakable
debauchery. An immensely powerful devil whom this new coven was going
to use innocent young Lynda to call forth into full, ravening and
horrendous sexual depravity.

The name was ASMODEUS!

I practically ran all the way to the former St. Sebastian’s Church,
now the Temple of the Starry Wisdom, only stopping at Cross Street
Market to purchase a certain item which I then concealed in an inside
pocket of my long, black leather coat.

Darkness had fallen by the time I got to the “Temple”, Its ominous
neo-gothic architecture looming down out of the city night. I slipped
quietly into the back entrance, listening closely to hear if the
“Witches’ Sabbath” had begun. Indeed, it had! As I entered the nave
area and hid myself behind a column to observe, I saw the numerous
black candles that had been lit, and the small but grotesque company
that had assembled. Lynda’s mother, Sherry, was there, along with two
regular patrons of her store, one a morbidly obese woman and the other
a grotesquely effeminate young man. Lynda was there as well, and the
short, nearly-transparent bridal dress they had made her wear would
have been quite charming under other circumstances. As it was, the
hideousness of the situation was paramount. A nice day for a white
wedding, indeed. Fucking Hell.

But dominating the room was the repulsive figure of Merri Moissee,
deathly-thin with utterly disgusting facial features as if the worst
elements of every human type had been thrown together in one ugly
eldritch amalgamation. Her head was shaved bald, and leprous white
patches marked her wrinkled skin. I was glad that the hideous old hag’s
shapeless ritual robe kept me from seeing more of her. She turned to
Lynda with a look of utterly revolting religious ecstasy.

“You have been chosen for the greatest honor, my lovely!”, she cackled
in her bizarre accent at the poor, trembling girl, “The mighty
Asmodeus himself has chosen you…and tonight you shall conceive his

With that, the other worshippers took Lynda and laid her on the altar
before the inverted crucifix, as the close proximity of the copious
narcotic incense smoke shattered the last remains of her
already-weakened resistance.

Merri began the unholy evocation in her uncanny intonation: “We call
upon the chief devil Asmodeus the Destroyer, Creature of Judgment,
Enemy of All Life, Lord of Suffocation, demonic spirit of lust who
seduced Eve! Appear before us now and manifest our desires…”

As she continued, the whirlwind of infernal energy grew in the room
and the horrible form of Asmodeus began to manifest, huge,
three-headed, its appearance a mixture of distorted humanity and
grotesque animal forms. The stench was terrible, and the cacophonous
howling beyond mortal description.

The creature hovered over Lynda, it’s gigantic essence engorged as it
approached her. Already she was gasping and moaning as if in the
throes of vigorous pain, yet unable to escape as if her very self were
held down and bound by invisible iron chains.

Seeing there was no time to lose, I stepped forward and removed the
object I had hidden in my pocket. It was the liver of a fish. I threw
it upon the burning coals of the incense burner and spoke the Hebrew
words of exorcism as its scent filled the air, calling upon the
Archangels Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, and Raphael, and upon the Holy
Shekinah. The demon screamed and the building quaked with the unholy
force of its wicked, malevolent rage. It looked at me with its six
dreadfully glowing crimson eyes and wailed, “Rumanos! Demon Star!
Hell Hell Hell Hell Hell Hell!”, before suddenly vanishing as if it
had never been.

Then a rather curious thing occurred. The gruesome, horrific Merri
Moissee, as if her only existence had been as an agent to bring forth
the demonic spirit, simply exploded into shreds of flesh and blood,
splattering against the walls of the temple. By now the other
worshippers were cowering in the corner, having been driven
irrevocably insane by the sight of the hellish fiend they had helped
to evoke.

Lynda had by now mercifully fainted, and I swiftly but gently picked
her up and carried her to safety away from the unsanctified Temple of
the Starry Wisdom.

Yes, that’s the story of how I well, “blocked” the demon Asmodeus with
a fish-liver. It’s a Jewish thing. You wouldn’t understand. The city
of Baltimore once again shuttered the Temple building. When the police
analyzed the blood-stains sprayed around the nave, they found that
they were not from a human being at all, but were a previously
unheard-of hybrid of canine and swine DNA. Such was the evil Merri

Sherry and the other two demon-worshippers were committed to Spring
Grove State Psychiatric Hospital. Lynda recovered as well as could be
expected, and now runs The Cauldron witchcraft shop herself. You may
see it if you are ever in Baltimore, if for some damned reason you
would want to do so.

But Lynda’s idiot adoptive father, Matt, misunderstood the whole thing
when he heard of it, and made it quite clear that I would be meeting
with his assault rifle if he ever heard of me attempting to enter his
store or his daughter. Well, that’s bloody gratitude for you, isn’t


“Daniel Rumanos resides in Baltimore, MD and is the author of

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