Funny resonances. One of the HellBlazer comics contained a scene wherein Constantine summons a demon to assist him, a Sargatanus. I’d like to say that something struck me as I read the description of the ritual, but all that came to me was a desire to reread a short story by Harlan Ellison that contained by far the most harrowing description of a demon summoning that I’ve ever read, a tale by the name of Grail. So, upon finishing the comic book, I dug about and unearthed my Complete Ellison and reread the story.

And surprise, surprise, the summoning in Hellblazer comes right out of Grail. The name of the tome (Grimorium Verum) that Constantine derives the ritual from is the same (in true Lovecraft mythos style), the holy names by which he attempts to conjure Sargatanus are mostly the same, and what’s more, the demon that Ellison’s protag summons is a servant of Sargatanus by the name of Surgat. Grail was published in ’81, while the HellBlazer comic was written by Jamie Delano in 1988.

So I wonder: did Ellison come up with Sargatanus and the Grimorium Verum, or did he copy it from another source? Time to Google…

Huh. The Grimorium Verum is a real book, purportedly written in Memphis, Egypt in the 16th century, but believed by scholars to have been written in the 18th century in Rome. It claims to be based on the writings of King Solomon, and details demons and how one goes about summoning them. Delightful. Looks like both Delano and Ellison were cribbing their notes from the same source…

Regardless. Ellison wrote a truly terrifying summoning in Grail. The man can’t be beat when it comes to demons or violence. If you ain’t read him, do yourself a favor and get thee to a library!