Saturday, 18 August 2012

Summers' Dark Shadow

I have long appreciated Rev. Montague Summers' writings, however some dark shadows are still cast on the late clergyman's life. His entry on Wikipedia raises some questions on his reputation, especially the charge of pederastry. Two rather damning sections go as follow: ''Summers was ordained as deacon in 1908 and worked as a curate in Bath and Bitton, in Greater Bristol. He never proceeded to higher orders, however, probably because of rumours of his interest in Satanism and accusations of sexual impropriety with young boys, for which he was tried and acquitted." And: "Despite his conservative religiosity, Summers was an active member of both the British Society for the Study of Sex Psychology, to which he contributed an essay on the Marquis de Sade, and of the Order of Chaeronea, a secret society which cultivated a pederastic homosexual ethos. Summers' interests also show in his edition of the poems of the sixteenth century poet Richard Barnfield, which partly are openly homosexual.'' Would you care to comment? — Sylvain Durand

I would care to comment because I, too, find myself faced with the same dilemma as yourself where Montague Summers is concerned, which is why I have only judged and assessed him as a chronicler and believer in the supernatural, most notably vampires. In my own concise vampirological guide I give him the benefit of the doubt and suggest that if he did belong to an occultic fraternity on the Continent it was probably to "infiltrate and learn of its goings-on so that he might better defeat its evil purpose." (The Vampire Hunter's Handbook, page 93). Perhaps I was projecting too much of myself onto Summers?

In the same book I speak of how Summers was "unshakable in his belief in the dreadful reality of the forces of darkness and their evil emissaries, no matter how bizarre their outward manifestation" for which, like me, he was "outrageously misrepresented and parodied by those seeking cheap jibes." Yet there are some uncomfortable allegations regarding Summers that we must not shy away from (without wanting to sit in judgement on someone who has been dead and buried for the last sixty-four years).

I have not previously needed to comment on his personal life because my own views on such perversions as some, rightly or wrongly, have alluded to in his case are well known and, of course, in line with the position that has always been upheld by mainstream denominations whether Anglican, Catholic or Orthodox; and, moerover, postulated unequivocally within both Old and New Testaments. What I would say, however, is that when Montague Summers was brought to trial he was found not guilty of what is undoubtedly the worst of these offences. As far as I am aware, he was not charged of any other crime or perversion.

We must not gloss over the fact of his acquittal while at the same time conceding without question he held an unhealthy interest, whether or not a  proclivity, in these unwholesome areas. Likewise, he had an interest in all the darker aspects of the occult and indeed the most malign manifestations of supernatural evil imaginable.

One of the more disturbing allegations is that in 1908 Summers is reported to have participated in a Black Mass. Furthermore, Geoffrey Evans Pickering claims that he personally partook in a Black Mass presided over by Summers at his residence on Eton Road, Hampstead, on Boxing Day of 1918. We might, therefore, surmise that between 1908 and 1918 Montague Summers possibly involved himself in occult practices for whatever reason, but, evidently, abandoned them some time between 1918 and 1923 when he severed his friendship with Evans Pickering. Something, I posit, occurred which so terrified Summers that it compelled him to turn against his former "involvement" and lent the fervour of a reformed sinner to his published attacks on all things occult, commencing with the 1926 publication of The History of Witchcraft and Demonology.

I have only ever approached Summers in his capacity as a scholar, vampirologist and as someone with deeply held Catholic convictions. He was certainly no sceptic. He absolutely believed, as do I, that the dark forces he shared with his readers were completely true and that such malevolent entities as vampires, and those who are damned to be transformed into wolves through occultic means, really happen. Indeed, not believing in such things, according to Summers, was akin to heresy or worse. These things were not disorders of the mind, but of the soul.

Summers was undoubtedly a throwback to an earlier age, an unreconstructed Jacobite who longs for the restoration of Catholic England. In that regard, plus his willingness to seriously address the reality of Luciferic demonry in all its manifestations, indicates we have much in common. But that is where it ends.

Montague Summers may be admired and celebrated for his scholarly works as a Catholic demonologist and chronicler of vampires. The rest is shrouded in mystery, conjecture and, invariably, circumlocution.



  1. Thank you for kindly taking the time to answer my questions. It was very helpful.

  2. I think I may have stumbled upon a vampire and need your assistance. please help.

  3. What draws you to that conclusion and how may I be of help?