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The Black Pearl (D'Onston memoirs???)

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  • The Black Pearl (D'Onston memoirs???)

    I posted the following @ Casebook under "Royal Conspiracy"

    "I have Volumes 1 and 2 of the Black Pearl: The memoirs of a Victorian Sex Magician.

    On the face of it, this book is blatantly erotic/pornographic and that appears to be its main purpose. However, it is marketed as the GENUINE memoirs of an aristocratic rake who's adventures in the main took place in the 1890's. The memoirs is reputed to have been published long after the events took place -supposedly in 1925.

    From the cover blurb...

    Among scholars and connoisseurs of Victorian erotica, THE Black Pearl books have long enjoyed a reputation as one of the rarest and most intriguing examples of 19th Century "underground" writing.

    ...and from the foreword,

    The edition discovered by Dr Geraldine Lamb, the editor, indicates on the publisher's notes opposite the tite page that this work was privately printed in an edition of 156 copies by Van den Haagen of Amsterdam, 1925.

    However, here is a quote from volume 2

    "I don't reckon that Jack the Ripper was a local", Davidson said to me as we relaxed upon our couches. "Everyone here knows everybody else's business and if he were a local, he'd've been rumbled soon enough. I reckon he was a toff posing as a gent. The tarts gave him easy access. I'm not saying I know who it was but having heard loads of rubbish I
    know who it wasn't. Why, some say it could've been the Duke of Clarence, you know, one of the Queen's sons. Hah! Impossible! A friend of mine was up at Balmoral with him the night two girls got killed. Some say it was Dr Gull, the queen's surgeon. Well, you tell me how some old crock in his seventies with a bad heart condition can rip the heart and guts out of tough East End girls who're capable of beating the s**t out of most thugs. I've even heard it said it was Wally Sickert, you know, the artist who was often down this way and who knew most of the girls who got killed. No way! I know Sickert and he's not like that. Everyone knows him around these partsand if you ask any East Ender if it was him, why, man or woman, they'd laugh in your face.

    Might've been that peculiar barrister bloke who had a taste for rough trade, though.
    "What's his name?" I asked.
    "I don't think it would be fair to state it without concrete proof" Davidson replied, "and anyway, He's since committed suicide."

    Stewart Evans posted that this series of books was written in modern times by the occultist and writer Gerald Suster

    Suster died in 2001. He was a known Thelemite / Crowleyite so if he came across D'Onston it was probably through the writings of Crowley.

    After some minor research I came across a dedication to Suster by one of his close friends, a G.S. Lewis. It contained a quote from Michaela Suster, the wife of Gerald, which stated...

    Gerald has 31 published books and many articles published in magazines. I do not have a list of everything. I think the first book he had published was The Devil's Maze and the last The Hell Fire Friars. We wrote 6 books together, but my favourite is the three volumes of The Black Pearl - erotica in the Victorian Era. In the morning I would make him his cup of tea before going to the library to do research.

    I have not confirmed the D'Onston connection and can see no connection myself between the main character in the book "Hornby" and D'Onston.

    It makes me wonder if there is further information regarding D'Onston residing with the Suster family. I am trying to locate an email address but perhaps an approach would be better made by an experienced researcher such as Mike Covell...

    Not sure if it would uncover anything other than what is in the public domain already.

  • #2
    Thanks for delivering as promised,NEMO.

    It looks like Mr. Evans was right about who wrote the three volumes.

    Where's that tea guzzlin' Covell ????
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    • #3
      Hi Howard

      I have had to edit the post as I have discovered that Michaela also died in 2001

      I have some further info..

      "Michaela did contribute to some of the writing of Gerald’s Erotica
      titles (Check out The Black Pearl -The memoirs of a Victorian sex
      magician-, Volumes I-III, 1995, Volume IV 1999, and Vixens among others,
      all published by New English Library under pen names like "Anonymous"
      and "Alan Dale")."


      • #4
        Thanks for the update,Nemo...

        Is this piece of fiction still considered "authentic" ?

        "Among scholars and connoisseurs of Victorian erotica, THE Black Pearl books have long enjoyed a reputation as one of the rarest and most intriguing examples of 19th Century "underground" writing."

        If so, has anyone or had anyone ever disputed their authenticity to your knowledge? Or,perhaps, is it already known that the three volumes were written in modern times and that the success of the trilogy depends to some degree on the belief that they are contemporaraneous, circa 1925 ?
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        • #5
          Wow, this looks interesting, coincidently I have a few contacts in the occult and black arts that might be able to help. I will ask around and send them the link to this thread and see what we can dig up, thanks for posting these Nemo.

          As an aside, I found this website, which contains details of Geralds Death, select the link, and if you have headphones or a stereo hooked up to your computer, turn up the volumne, it's quite eerie!


          • #6
            Hi All

            I hope you gain some useful info from your contacts Mike

            Howard - I originally posted regarding the book because it (my edition) nowhere states that it is modern fiction.

            It blatantly claims to be an original memoirs from the 1890's which was discovered/published in 1925. If nobody has the book then I would be glad to post the full statement in the foreword regarding its provenance.

            Among many other statements in the book, the Royal conspiracy quote definitely indicated to me that it is a fake as regards what it purports to be.

            I cannot really say that if you read the book that D'Onston would spring to mind.


            • #7
              Hi Mike - that is the site I came across

              I have already emailed G.M.Kelly but he/she has never heard of D'Onston or even the Black Pearl! - strange indeed

              The other quote was from this site...


              ...which has an obituary for Michaela. Amongst the rest of the Thelemic/Satanic stuff there is an advertisement for Highways & Byeways - lol


              • #8
                Dear Nemo:

                If its not too much trouble,by all means,at your leisure,please post the foreward to the book.

                Just so everyone else who may be interested in why you mentioned:

                "I cannot really say that if you read the book that D'Onston would spring to mind."

                ...its because I suggested something of the sort along with comments made by SPE elsewhere.

                My suggestion was based on the year...1925...which is supposedly the year Bernard O'Donnell discussed D'Onston with Crowley...or close to it,if not definitely 1925.

                The other reason was that Gerald Shuster, a name,but not work,I am familiar with from scouring the internet a few years back for occult-links and links to D'Onston through said occultist sites and sources, had popped up once. It was only when YOU posted the material elsewhere,thankfully,that I remembered his name and his interest in Crowley.

                But yes...the comment about Druitt, by inference, as he is referred to as a barrister and having drowned.. is the giveaway. Macnaghten referred to him as a doctor in the Memoranda...and it was only after research post-1925 that we learned Druitt was not a doctor,but a barrister. That proves the tome is a fabrication. Unless,of course,someone wants to argue that the police DID know or found out Druitt was a barrister after 1894 and before 1925.

                Sorry to ramble...but it would be nice to discuss anything you have or have to say,Nemo.

                Thanks again.
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                • #9
                  Hi Nemo,

                  This Black Pearl sounds suspicious and it is worth noting that the Duke of Clarence, Gr. Gull and Walter Sickert all make an appearence in Stephen Knight's "JTR The Final Solution"

                  Also making an early appearence in this book is Donston with the Roots/Marsh story, although in the book he was known then as Roslyn D'O Stephenson.

                  It's either a hoax or Amsterdam was fifty years ahead of us all in Ripper research!



                  • #10
                    Hi John And Howard

                    It is definitely a modern fake of a Victorian memoirs - from my previous post here you can see that it was written by Gerald and Michaela Suster and completed in 1995.

                    The interest now is that Stewart Evans was told that it was based on aspects of Robert D'Onston Stephenson, so it may indicate that some literature realating to D'Onston resides with the Suster family.

                    What I don't like about the book is that it pretty much encourages readers to search for the true identity of the author by referring to "internal clues" - a pointless task. Nowhere in the book is it indicated that it is fiction. Some laymen may be taken in by the book and embark on a fruitless search.

                    I did not know about the Suster connection until Stewart posted - but even my tiny little mind could spot that it was a fake. Modern expressions and phrases are incorporated into the text almost implying that the phrases originated due to events in the life of "Horby".

                    When I came across the Walter sickert / Druitt text, it confirmed to me that the book definitely was of modern construction.

                    At least no Ripperologist would be fooled by it!

                    I will next post the blurb, preface and foreword so you can see the blatant faking of a provenance which in my opinion is stated as true fact.

                    I do not believe Dr Geraldine Lamb exists.


                    • #11
                      From the cover blurb...

                      "A pearl beyond price...
                      Among scholars and connoisseurs of Victorian erotica, The Black Pearl
                      books have long enjoyed a reputation as one of the rarest and most
                      intriguing examples of 19th century "underground" sexual writing.
                      The unashamedly explicit and ribald memoirs are those of a British
                      aristocrat (his status if not his actual identity can be deduced from
                      internal evidence). He moved in the highest - and sometimes the
                      strangest - circles of Victorian society in his lifelong quest for
                      enlightenment through sexual experience.
                      These memoirs have never before been generally available, but now, for
                      all who are fascinated by the so-called underside of "Victorian
                      values", here is a unique omnibus edition that will enthrall - and
                      sometimes shock!"

                      The Black Pearl is one of the most extraordinary and fascinating
                      accounts of one man's "secret" erotic life ever to emerge from the
                      late-Victorian and Edwardian age of public morality (or, at any rate,
                      public moralizing) and private sexual excess. the title indicates that
                      the anonymous author was influenced by that classic journal of 19th
                      Century erotica, The Pearl, and there is much of The Pearl's flavour of
                      outspoken rebellion against the official prudery of the time in these
                      uninhibited memoirs.

                      But there are intriguing additionaldimensions to the writings of
                      "Horby" (the pseudonym adopted by the author of The Black Pearl to
                      disguise - very effectively so - his true identity). It is clear that
                      the financial freedom that his independent income gave him, together
                      with his aristocratic status, allowed him access to the inner circles
                      of the artistic and ocult worlds of his time. As a result, alternating
                      with graphic accounts of sexual adventures are anecdotes - many of them
                      wonderfully scurrilous - concerning some of the most famous creative
                      talents of the age: Frank Haris, Lillie Langtry, Arthur Machen,
                      Aleister Crowley, G.B. Shaw and H.G. Wells, to name but a few. But
                      above all it is "Horby's quest for his own sensual variety of
                      enlightenment through the study and practice of sex-magic that provides
                      the main theme and fascination of The Black Pearl, now at long last
                      available for the first time to a wide audience it so richly deserves.

                      Publisher's Foreword

                      The Black Pearl: The Memoirs of a Victorian Sex-Magician is a legendary
                      classic of Victorian underground writing. Although the identity of the
                      author presently remains unknown, it is clear from the text that he was
                      a member of the aristocracy who knew all the leading figures of his
                      age, both male and female. This eminently respectable figure obviously
                      enjoyed the hidden and lascivious side of high life in his time: and he
                      was also drawn to low-life. As such, we have a unique prtrayal of the
                      undertones of life in the 1890's and after.

                      His title obviously indicates that he was influenced by that classic
                      journal of Victorian erotica, THE PEARL. The date of composition cannot
                      be ascribed with exactitude though the text indicates that the author
                      was recalling events some years after their happenstance. The edition
                      discovered by Dr Geraldine Lamb, the editor, indicates on the
                      publisher's notes opposite the title page that this work was privately
                      printed in an edition of 156 copies by Van den Haagen of Amsterdam,
                      1925. It was set in 12pt Bembo, 1pt leaded, printed on Japanese paper,
                      crown quarto in size, bound in black buckram, with gold-stamped
                      lettering which has led some bibliophiles to identify the latter work
                      as that of Spalding & Hodge of London.

                      This book is of value to the sociologist, the psychologist,the
                      historian, those fascinated by literary anecdotes and political tales
                      by a man who knew personally all those of whom he speaks: and above all
                      to those who find in the study of human sexuality, a key to human

                      Editor's Preface

                      It is not often that one comes upon a classic of Victorian erotica
                      whose very existence is a matter of speculation and rumour. Much
                      Victorian erotica was written by debauched aristocrats in their leisure
                      hours, then privately printed for presentation to friends. Some of
                      these works were issued during the 1890's by the drug-addicted
                      publisher, Leonard Smithers, who also published works of genuine
                      literature by Oscar Wilde and works of art by Aubrey Beardsley. Others
                      were not set, bound, printed and presented until many years later in
                      order to protect both the name of the author and the reputations of
                      those he mentioned.

                      Such is the case with The Black Pearl: The Memoirs of a Victorian
                      Sex-Magician. If the publisher's notation can be trusted, it was not
                      issued until 1925 and then only in a strictly limited edition. I came
                      upon it in a curious way.

                      Following on from my B.A. at Cambridge, I went on to pursue M.A.
                      studies at Harvard and it was there that I found myself debating issues
                      of sexuality with distinguished men and women such as Norman Mailer and
                      Dr Camille Paglia. Although both of them appeared to vennerate the
                      penis, they both seemed to see it as a tool of vengeance. Both,
                      however, in their seperate ways, seemed to be committed to the idea
                      that human evolution could be advanced by sexuality. I was discerning a
                      similar ideal in the poetry of England's Fiona Pitt-Kethley.
                      My essay The Penis: Tool of Vengeance or Tool of Love? An Exploration
                      of Socio-Phallicism was eventually printed (1992) in The New
                      Rationalist, published out of Harvard. I received a number of letters
                      on account of it, some of them dismally predictable, but one, at least,
                      was extraordinarily interesting. This was from an English baronet who
                      has insisted that he remain anonymous. After a lengthy correspondence,
                      he invited me to his castle, where he was a kind, courteous and
                      considerate host.

                      It was during my stay that he showed me a copy of The Black Pearl. I
                      was absolutely astonished by this work. Most pieces of Victorian erotic
                      writing show us simply the sleazy tenderloin of the repressed sexuality
                      of that time. We get certain insights and there is entertaining
                      rebellion against prevailing official mores but precious little more,
                      even when the descriptions of the sexual encounters themselves are very
                      well-written. Yet here was a rake who came to perceive sexuality as the
                      holiest truth between man and woman - and as a way of advancing human

                      In the text, he was at furst simply a man of late middle age recalling
                      his youthful sexual exploits. He was reminiscing too about his
                      encounters with celebrities such as Oscar Wilde, Lillie Langtry,
                      Bernard Shaw, Ellen Terry, Frank Harris and Mrs Bram Stoker, among so
                      many others. Yet he was also searching for something more and ventured
                      into the many esoteric orders of his time such as the Hermetic Order of
                      the Golden Dawn, the German Ordo Templi Orientis, the American Female
                      Flaggelants of New York, the Temple of the Smokers of the Sacred and
                      numerous others. It was clear to me that in the course of his curious
                      quest, he had become learned in many arcane techniques of expanding
                      consciousnes, which he refers to in the text as both "Magick" and
                      "Mysticism". There was much too about the use of plants and minerals to
                      achieve a state of what he calls "ecstacy".

                      Who was he? My host refused to tell me, other than to state that he was
                      a friend of a distant elderly cousin. In the text he makes it clear
                      that he was an independently rich Viscount with access to both the rich
                      and the poor - and the middle classes. The memories he records of his
                      contemporaries hae the ring of truth and yet it is so far impossible to
                      identify him. My host showed me a stack of papers which had passed into
                      the hands of the family. From these it is obvious that he chose to
                      operate under the pseudonym "Horby".

                      "I see that boys and "feasting with panthers" are not to your taste,
                      Horby," reads a scribbled card from Oscar Wilde, adding: "but hock and
                      seltzer should be. Do deligt me at the Cadogan, 1.00 Tuesday." The
                      following telegram is obvious: "LUNCHEON STOP TWO CAFE ROYAL STOP BE THERE HORBY STOP FRANK HARRIS".Harris was then Editor of The Saturday Review and one of the most influential literary figures in London.
                      Another telegram: "SORRY CANT AND WONT STOP GBS" is obviously (and
                      typically) from Bernard Shaw. "Glad you appreciate poetry, Horby, but
                      there's more to it than that", is the inscription in the author's
                      handwriting on Aleister Crowley's WHITE STAINS, which was privately
                      printed (1898) and which has subsequently been criticised for it's
                      scandelous obscenity. A copy of the 1895 John Lane, The Bodley Head
                      edition of The Great God Pan contains the following message by it's
                      author Arthur Machen: "Come to wine on Wednesday rather than to whine. And then you too, Horby, can sample the Jar of Avallauinius." "Absinthe any time, so get in touch, Horby, be pleased to hear from you, John Davidson" are the drunkenly scrawled words on another bespattered
                      postcard. "Horby" must have stayed in touch with some of his old
                      friends from the Nineties, for in this collection I discovered a 1921
                      edition, published in New York, of Oscar Wilde: His Life and
                      Confessions by Frank Harris with the inscription: "Horby, you old
                      rogue! Don't forget your old friends! And don't you miss those glad,
                      erect days!? - Frank Harris."

                      Unfortunately for the researcher, there are no compromising documents
                      from identifiable women. One assumes that either Horby or his family
                      destroyed any letters of this nature. However, there are some perfectly
                      proper signed photographs of beautiful and fully-dressed celebrities of
                      the Nineties, such as Lillie Langtry, Ellen Terry, Florence Farr and
                      Florence Balcombe. Lillie Langtry was, of course, the leading courtesan
                      of her age and was for a time the mistress of the Prince of Wales.
                      Ellen Terry was the leading actress of her era and was celebrated most
                      in her role as Lady Macbeth. Florence ~Farr, a leading actress and
                      dramatist, was also the lover of men such as Bernard Shaw, William
                      Butler Yeats and Aleister Crowley. Oscar Wilde wanted to marry Florence
                      Balcombe on account of her exceptional physical beauty but she spurned
                      him in favour of Bram Stoker, author of Dracula. On the back of each
                      one of these photographs, erasures have been made.

                      There is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that The Black Pearl should be
                      published in the 1990s, giving us a quite unique insight into the
                      1890s. For my own part, I am still tracking down clues which will lend
                      insight into this remarkable author. He has given us a document of
                      great human interest which spans the academic disciplines of sociology,
                      psychology, history, literature and sexology. It will surprise and
                      possibly shock those who have a cliched view of Victorian attitudes. It
                      certainly lifts the manhole cover off a steaming underworld. The author
                      explores every facet of his own sexuality and that of those he
                      encounters. At times his interests are simply thos of dissipation and
                      debauchery. At other moments he relates the strange kinks of those he
                      meets, which embroider the rich tapestry of human sexuality. For me,
                      however, the most remarkable feature of this book is that its
                      aristocratic Victorian author, outwardly a veritable pillar of the
                      Establishment, comes to look upon sex as the holiest sacramental act in
                      the known Universe.

                      Geraldine Lamb PhD.,
                      University of North Texas.


                      • #12
                        The main character does not to my mind have any resemblance to D'Onston. He is a young man embarking on sexual adventures with all and sundry and has apparently no interest in the occult other than as a means of meeting his next conquest and enhancing the pleasure of the act.

                        He does ,however, meet occult personalities who COULD be based on D'Onston - if it could be proved that D'Onston was what he said he was - ie a practicing occultist.

                        The main purpose of the text is obviously pornographic. The occult stuff is secondary to the pornography.

                        The reason I raised the anomalies in the book is because it purported to be a true document in which case it is an example of knowledge of a Royal type conspiracy being known/discussed as early as 1925 if not earlier.

                        The only reason I would recommend reading it now is due to the D'Onston connection and the possibilty of unearthing something new about him.


                        • #13
                          I just came across a recipe for.... wait for it...geraldine lamb - lol

                          I wonder if that was one of Mr Suster's favourite recipes - cooked by his wife no doubt...