Let's check out some horror stories by Robert E. Howard, creator of Conan. (Remember when I spotted Marvel Comics' Red Sonja at the Smithsonian? Good times, good times.)
"Old Garfield's Heart" (1933)
Our narrator lives in some little western town, and knows an old geezer, Jim Garfield, who looked old when the narrator was a kid and has never visibly aged; Old Jim tells stories about participating in events--Indian fights and what not--that the narrator is sure must have happened before Jim was born. One day Old Jim is quite sick, and everybody thinks he is a goner. Delirious in his illness, Old Jim claims he can only die if his head is so wrecked that his soul departs his body--his other organs will heal up because long ago, after an Indian bandit stabbed him in the chest, a friendly Indian priest replaced his ruined mortal heart with the immortal heart of his god! Sure enough, Old Jim recovers from his illness.
Later, the narrator and Old Jim get involved in a dispute with some white ne'er-do-wells and in the ensuing violence the narrator has an opportunity to gain more direct knowledge of Old Jim's alien heart and the Native American witch doctor who gifted it to him.
Very good, recommended to all fans of the weird.
|The Les Edwards cover (left) reminds us of his striking cover for that Carl Jacobi|
collection The Tomb from Beyond; the Bruce Pennington cover on the German
anthology was first used on a British edition of Clark Ashton Smith's
The Abominations of Yondo