It has been 5 years since we updated the Official Tell ‘Em Steve-Dave blog and I bet you thought we had forgotten it. You must have been duped by our history of abandoning ideas (ranging from Eugene The Iguana (due for a comeback) to a TESD horror anthology) into thinking that we had abandoned this as well. Turns out the old TESD blog was the only place that made sense to post this email that Walt received from a listener. It’s long. Real long. So long that unless we were going to devote a whole episode to it, this is the only way to show it to you.
So here is the unedited email. We look forward to reading your thoughts because we don’t quite know what to make of it yet. Super creative Ant with time on his/her hands? True Prussian legend known to only a few? Real? Fake? Creepy? Stupid? That’s for you to decide, I guess.
I will say this, I’ve had a few good things happen to me since I bought the skull and treated it right so I’m not going to chance it. I’ll err on the side of belief.
One other thing – please do not send in money to the skull. I don’t know what to do with the money once I’ve gifted it to him and I feel weird taking money from Ants for wishes and stuff like that.
Without further ado, here is the most detailed information we have about the Skull.
Long time listener of TESD. Never had a reason to reach out to you guys before, but after listening to the last Overkill, I had to write in. I’m a little worried that the horse has left the barn already, but I figured if you guys are informed, it would be better.
Without giving my name away, I am of Prussian decent and I know something about the Kissing Devil and if Quinn somehow acquired his skull – it disappeared some years back – then he could be in some trouble.
Please understand that if my grandparents and people from their generation were still around, I would have way more information for you than I have. I have heard the story of the Kissing Devil many times from my grandmother, but it’s been years since the last telling. Unfortunately the things that terrify the older generations just don’t seem that scary in modern light, and I think that might be to our own peril. I never took my Grandmother and her stories as anything more than ghost stories, but she insisted that the Kissing Devil was real and that his skull was a powerful item, capable of help or hurting.
Here are the details I can recall. Some of the finer points might be lost but I’m fairly positive I know the broad strokes, and they are scary enough. I might have a way to get more definitive answers, but I’d rather not be that involved at this point. I’ll stick with telling you what I know.
Hundreds of years ago there was a village in Prussia, the exact location I don’t know but my grandparents came from an area in what is now part of Poland. As this was before the internet, obviously, and because the story is so specific, I assume that she must have heard the story because it happened in that region, but that is an educated guess on my part.
The Prussian Kissing Devil’s name was Wilhelm von Haugwitz or possibly just Wilhelm Haugwitz. He was born to a widow named Gobel Haugwitz who was accused of consorting with the devil himself. The town considered her a sort of witch but were too afraid to make a move against her. When Wilhelm was born, he was massively deformed. Grandmother never went deep into the exact nature of his deformities, but at times she had mentioned gnarled limbs, bleeding skin, horns, a sealed mouth that had to be cut open each morning, boils and the like. Again, whatever embellishments my Grandmother made it was clear that the child was odd looking. Wilhelm was raised in his mother’s small house, rarely even seeing the light of day. When Wilhelm was very, very young a non-specific sickness fell upon the village and killed many people. The surviving people of the village blamed Wilhelm, claiming since he was the son of the devil that he need to steal life to grow. A group of men went to the house and dragged the deformed boy into the light and it is said that he was so ugly that several people died just looking at him. The men dragged the young child into the woods, beat him and left him there to die.
At times I’ve heard that his mother was abandoned naked in the woods with him, other times I hear they burned her alive in her own house.
Years pass and then bad stuff starts happening. People in the village start disappearing. Children and young women at first, just gone. Eventually bodies were found mangled and partially eaten. The bite marks found on the consumed corpses were human and they soon discovered that the cheek of each victim had a bloody kiss mark on it. Like a lipstick mark today. This is how Wilhelm von Haugwitz became known as The Kissing Devil. It should be stated that they didn’t call him the “Prussian” Kissing Devil back then, rather just the Kissing Devil. “Prussian” was added when the story grew past the region. The village became a dark and fearful place, where no one would leave their house when the sun went down if they could help it. But the grisly slaying continued until, in some unknown way, they figured out that it was Wilhelm, who had survived his abandonment and now lived in the woods. First they attempted to kill him by hunting him like an animal. Scores of men died and were eaten before they changed tactics. It soon became apparent that if a person, usually a woman, had left a gift of some sort for Wilhelm in the woods, he would spare their family members his wraith. Most of the time a gift was enough to buy Wilhelm’s favor and shift his murderous revenge to someone who refused to pay tribute. It went on for years this way, this tiny village forced to give gifts to this deformed murderer who lived in the dark woods and could strike at anytime.
One night, Wilhelm was caught in the act of eating the throat of a beautiful women. He ran off into the woods and the men of the village followed him. During a long fight in which Wilhelm would attack and terrorize the men as they pursued him, Wilhelm came to the shore of the Baltic Sea and was stopped in his tracks, terrified as he had never seen the ocean before. That moment of indecision cost him his life. The men caught him and chopped of his head as he screamed curses at them and swore revenge.
Wilhelm’s body was thrown into the Baltic Sea and his head – some versions of the story say his head took 13 days to die – was brought back to the village as a trophy. Wilhelm’s head was mounted on a spike and left to rot in the center of the village. People could spit at it or throw rocks at it or whatever.
After some amount of time, a strange woman came into the village. Grandmother and Grandfather disagreed on who it was and it changed depending on who told me the story. Grandmother says it was a witch in service to Satan. Grandfather tells me it was Wilhelm’s mother Gobel, who was not killed by the village, or who had survived the house burning. Either way, this person saw the head on the stake and went berserk. She started cursing the villagers and killing people with light from her eyes. The townspeople ran and hid. Either Gobel or this random witch took the rotting head down from the stake and kissed it. Then she rubbed the rotting head on her crotch, covering it with menstrual blood and threw it into a fire where the flesh and brain burned away, leaving only a white gleaming skull.
Placing the skull on the altar of the village church, this witch shouted that she had placed the angry soul of Wilhelm into the skull and cursed the people and their descendants to care for it, protect it and keep it sated. She then disappeared.
After some disastrous attempts to discard or destroy the skull, the people of this village learned that unless the skull was given gifts and respect, it would cause pain and damage. Much like the villagers who left Wilhelm gifts in the woods when he was alive, people found that they could curry favor with the skull and it would help them. Over the years people would gift Wilhelm trinkets and wish bad luck on their enemies and stuff like that.
Over time the skull was either stolen or sold. I believe it was stolen because for a while there was a branch of my Grandmother’s family who had attempted to track down the skull over the ensuing decades. They wanted to return it to the care of descendants of those villagers as they believe leaving an item like this free to cause trouble in the world is very bad for humanity. Eventually, this mission was forgotten, I believe, as the skull had vanished.
Rumor and legend has placed the skull in various places through the years. There was a report that it was brought to Tibet at one point to be destroyed by monks, but they they failed disastrously. A shaman in India was turned to copper when he attempted to crush it. I heard a rumor once that it was buried for 20 years in a field in England. I’ve heard that George Washington had it in his possession when he came into power. The Nazi Party was said to have it, but it ruined them. Who knows if any of it is true, right? I know it was lost again at some point and, until I heard Quinn talk about it on TESD, I’m not sure I ever truly believed it existed. Certainly never thought it would resurface in my lifetime.
The thing is this, Wilhelm von Haugwitz was a real guy who killed and ate people. He left bloody kiss prints on people. His skull was considered a cursed item of great power and that skull was mutilated and decorated in attempts to destroy or nullify it’s power. His story was purposely repressed over the years by people who either wanted it destroyed or wanted to use its power for their own purposes. True items of power – and I know for a fact that they do exist – typically do not benefit from being widely known. The more powerful the item, the more obscure it tends to be. Like the saying goes, the greatest trick the Devil ever did was convince people he does not exist.
If Quinn came into possession of the actual Prussian Kissing Devil Skull, then I urge him to be very cautious. It is a greedy and evil object. Yes, if you give it a gift it can grant favors, fine for someone who wants to make someone fall in love with them, or get help in a personal matter or commonplace wishes like that. But think of it like an insanely jealous spouse who you have to constantly keep happy to have their temper in check. The second you slip up and enrage that spouse, it could get deadly. It’s a constant balancing act, and it doesn’t help that the skull contains an insane and angry spirit. It’s possible that the old man who wouldn’t sell the skull died of natural causes, of course. But the fact that Quinn felt called to the skull – if it is THE skull – just before the old man died concerns me. I worry that the skull has it’s own agenda and as soon as the old man’s role in it was finished, he was killed so that it could be passed on to a new owner. It’s interesting that the skull’s new owner happens to be someone that can introduce it to a larger audience, the vast majority who will no doubt dismiss the whole story as fake. But there will also be some, probably many, who can believe and can gift the skull for favors. These gifts seems to be the only thing that sate the skull, going all the way back to when Wilhelm stalked the woods, although what an evil item gets from receiving gifts, I can’t conceive. Maybe it’s as much a victim of it’s own history as the people who earn Wilhelm’s scorn.
I know all this will be difficult to believe and I can’t imagine Quinn parting with something that he paid so much money for, but if he finds himself in a bad situation with the skull, I would be willing to get it into the hands of the people who know the history of the skull and have descended from a bloodline charged with protecting humanity from it. At the very least, I had to make sure that Quinn was informed so that he knows what he is dealing with. Aside from being a fan, I shudder to think about the effect this skull can have on someone who seems to be a fairly decent guy.
I say all this with the caveat that I have no way of knowing if that is actually Wilhelm von Haugwitz’s skull. I’ve never heard of the metal face mask on it and I’m not sure I’ve ever heard tell of any permanent decorations carved into the skull. It was my impression that any binding or expulsion symbols on it were done in blood or dye. However, there are hundreds of years of history at play here and literally anything could have been done to the skull as it passed from owner to owner. One thing that does have me intrigued is that the old shop keeper who died even knew about Wilhelm at all. It’s a very old local legend and one that isn’t well known for various reasons. I can’t imagine what benefit this man gained by using that specific/obscure a legend to display it in his shop. I can’t even figure out how he knew the story at all unless, maybe, it actually is Wilhelm’s skull and this man didn’t truly understand what he had on his hands. Certainly his grandson didn’t know or he wouldn’t have sold Quinn the skull. If this is Wilhelm’s skull, it seems unlikely that we’ll ever learn how it ended up in that shop. It might be helpful if Quinn went back and asked how long it had been on display there.
I wish I could tell you more. I am intrigued. I love the show and do hope that it’s a fake. I wouldn’t even want Git Em to suffer an ill effects from it. I got nervous when Quinn took the five dollars and gave it back.
If you have any questions, I will do my best to contact the people who might know the answers. This is basically all the information that I have. Please excuse my anonymity, as I have been led to believe that items like the skull won’t be able to retaliate against me if it doesn’t know my name or where I live. Better safe than sorry.
Thank you and good luck.