The Iron Maiden

Just a few years after being hired to teach at Miskatonic University, young Nate Ward uses his summer vacation to visit the Isle of Wight and examine some curious ancient ruins. While there he makes a surprising discovery on the estate of a local landowner. Will it bode well for the family, or has he unearthed inexplicable misery and woe?

Get it now!


To enhance your listening pleasure, the HPLHS has packed the binder sleeve for The Iron Maiden with carefully created props from the story. You'll get:

  • a page from The Isle of Wight Observer with timely society news
  • a postcard from Nate Ward with a map of the island
  • a page from The Graphic with a large engraving of certain ruins
  • a page from Badminton Magazine with an article about "Real Tennis"
  • for pre-order customers only: a page from a book of curious forgotten lore
  • Track Listing

    1. Opening 2:52
    2. The Estate 14:00
    3. The Discovery 13:10
    4. The Couple 10:22
    5. The Game 7:52
    6. The Nuptials 9:06
    7. The Consummation 13:12
    8. Closing 1:26
    Total Runtime 72:01

    Cast and Crew

    Annie Abrams...Emily Dowdswell
    Yeni Alvarez...Wedding Guest
    Sean Branney...Lord Stansfield Oglander
    Kacey Camp...Lady Fanny Oglander
    Ken Clement...Lester Mayhew
    Matt Foyer....Chalvers, Evans, George
    Larissa Gallagher...Rachel, Mary Dowdswell
    Andrew Leman...Nathaniel Ward
    Dick Lizzardo...Wedding Guest
    David Pavao...Jordan Lowell
    Patrick Quinlan...Alfred Oglander
    Zak Robertson...Tommy
    Kevin Stidham...Eustace Miles
    Josh Thoemke...Announcer
    Sarah van der Pol...Hallie Miles
    Time Winters...Theodore Dowdswell

    Written by Sean Branney & Andrew Leman
    Based on "The Venus of Ille" by Prosper Mérimée, translated by George Burnham Ives
    Original Music by Reber Clark
    "Salut d'Amour" by Edward Elgar, performed by @benchfiddler
    "Bridal Chorus" by Richard Wagner
    "Wedding March" by Felix Mendelssohn
    "Arrival of the Queen of Sheba" and "Water Music" by George Frideric Handel
    "Prelude" by Joseph Haydn
    Paintings by Darrell Tutchton
    Prop Inserts by Andrew Leman & Sean Branney
    Special thanks to Matt Lagan
    Recorded, in part, at Horse Latitudes Studio by Marco Moir

    Produced by Sean Branney and Andrew Leman

    Script, Liner Notes & More

    Prosper MériméeProsper Mérimée, 1803–1870, was not only a writer of novellas and short stories, but he was also himself an archeologist and pioneer in the preservation of historical sites. From 1830 to 1860 he was the Inspector-General of French historical monuments, and oversaw the restoration of the facade of Notre Dame cathedral. He also discovered some now-famous 15th-century French tapestries depicting a lady and some unicorns. One imagines the unnamed narrator of "La Vénus d'Ille", which he wrote in 1837, was modeled on himself.

    As a writer he is perhaps most famous for the novella Carmen, which was the basis for the famous opera by Georges Bizet, among other things. Lovecraft mentions him in "Supernatural Horror in Literature", but admits in letters that when he did that he had not yet actually read "The Venus of Ille".

    The Roman Villa at Brading dates from the first century A.D., but no one knows who built it or who lived in it. It was buried by time and only rediscovered by a farmer plowing his field in 1879. The Oglanders were a real family who owned part of the land, and they opened the villa to the public for many years. In 1994 it was donated to a charitable trust that built a museum around it, and it is now a tourist attraction. It really does have some peculiar mosaics.

    Eustace MilesEustace Miles was a real person, and he really did win the silver medal in "Real Tennis" at the 1908 summer Olympics in London, losing the gold to American Jay Gould II, heir to the Gould railroad fortune. In addition to being a world-class athlete, Miles wrote books about healthy living, vegetarianism, reincarnation and happiness. He ran a successful vegetarian restaurant for a time, and with his wife Hallie engaged in philanthropy helping the poor of London. Hallie was an author in her own right. Miles also knew a thing or two about the history of the Roman occupation of Great Britain. He was a lifelong friend of British novelist E.F. Benson, who wrote a number of well-regarded "spook stories", very favorably mentioned by HPL in "Supernatural Horror in Literature".

    Phœncicians in BritonThe idea that the ancient Phoenicians colonized Britain was abundantly explored in this 1924 book by Laurence Austine Waddell. Waddell is one of the many people thought to be a real-life inspiration for Indiana Jones. A genuinely accomplished Indian army officer and explorer, he enthusiastically promoted some rather fringe ideas of the history of civilizations, and his books have quite a lot of swastikas and references to Aryan culture which haven't aged particularly well.

    Mérimée's story has been adapted several times before. There is an episode of the 1934 radio show The Witch's Tale entitled "The Bronze Venus" which you can listen to above. It was also used as part of the basis for the film The Twilight of the Ice Nymphs by friend of the HPLHS Guy Maddin.

    Twilight of the Ice Nymphs

    For your enjoyment, we present free PDF downloads of the final recording script and liner notes of "The Iron Maiden". Note: this script is only for use for reading along with Dark Adventure Radio Theatre®; no publication or performance of the script may be made without written consent of the HPLHS.

    The Black Stone
    Episode 26
    The Black Stone
    The Shunned House
    Episode 27
    The Shunned House
    The Temple of Jupiter Ammon
    Episode 28
    The Temple of Jupiter Ammon
    The Iron Maiden
    Liner Notes
    The Iron Maiden