Helen Vaughan

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Character
Name: Helen Vaughan, Ms. Raymond, Mrs. Herbert, Mrs. Beaumont
Occupation: socialite
Title/Rank:
Location: Britain, South America
Status: dead
Relationships: Mary (mother), Charles Herbert (ex-husband), Arthur Meyrick (friend and possibly lover), Rachel M. (friend)
Fandom: Cthulhu Mythos, weird fiction fandom
Other:
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Helen Vaughan is the antagonist of The Great God Pan, an influential XIX century horror novel by Arthur Machen.

Canon

Helen is a half-human hybrid born as a result of an experiment, daughter of a human woman and some eldritch being. Though charming and attractive, Helen gives off uncanny valley vibe that makes people both fascinated and repulsed by her. She is implied to be able to see beings from a parallel reality and participate in strange rituals that may be sexual by nature. During the course of the novel, many people who know her lose their minds or commit suicide. At the end of the book she is forced to commit suicide herself and dies in a strange manner, undergoing many transformations.

Helen in Other Works

Though Machen's novel influenced many notable horror writers like like H.P. Lovecraft and Stephen King, Helen rarely features in their works as a character. Books inspired by The Great God Pan usually have original characters partially based on her (the most famous example being The Dunwich Horror by Lovecraft) or try to recreate other aspects of the original novel like overall atmosphere, like N. by Stephen King. She also almost never included in Victorian/Gothic monster crossovers, though it's been speculated that The Captivating Princess in Fallen London may be based on her.

Helen Vaughan is the protagonist of the book Helen’s Story by Rosanne Rabinowitz. The author comments on her decision to write the book about Helen:

And like many other classics of weird fiction and horror, GGP reflects the time when it was written. Such tales often exclude or misrepresent women, yet they stir my emotions and fascinate me. They also inspire me to imagine and extend them as they could be – if not limited by their era or the author’s preconceptions. [1]

The illustrator David Lee Ingersoll is also a fan of Helen:

Helen is a fascinating character, all the more so because the reader learns so little about her. I rather surprised that no one has written an expansion/sequel/prequel of The Great God Pan from her point of view. [2]

Helen in Fanworks

Helen Vaughan is a very minor character in Lovecraft fandom, but has several dedicated fans who created a lot of fanworks featuring her. Fannish portrayals of her tend to be more sympathetic in comparison with the original novel, more in vein of the Rabinowitz's Helen's Story, which probably is partially caused by a negative reaction to the misogyny of the Machen's novel. Many fanworks about her are crossovers, usually with Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos but also with other horror and Gothic classics like Dracula, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Picture of Dorian Gray. They usually have light-hearted, humorous mood, though more serious fanworks about Helen also exist. She is often paired with Wilbur Whateley from The Dunwich Horror.

Fanart

Though Helen is described as dark and compared to an Italian in the book, dark-precipice and Hokova, the most prominent Helen fans, tend to portray her with red hair.

Some fanart takes form of illustrations for the Machen's book.

Fanfiction

Other Sources

References

  1. ^ From Rosanne Rabinowitz's blog
  2. ^ Helen Would Like to Have a Word With You – Black and White by the David Lee Ingersoll