Playing With Esotericism. Frank Heller’s Novel Andarna och Furustolpe (The Spirits and Furustolpe) and His Short Stories on Séances

Dag Hedman


Frank Heller (pen name of Ph.D. Gunnar Serner, 1886–1947) published suspense fiction from 1913 to 1947, mostly adventure stories, but also some in the crime genre and some science fiction. He had a keen eye for the potential of esotericism in connection with this kind of story. His first and foremost endeavour into this field is the »from-rags-to-riches«-novel Andarna och Furustolpe (1920), written in Venice (the author was evading the Swedish police since 1912, due to several successful bank frauds involving forged signatures of wealthy patrons). In Andarna och Furustolpe the war-profiteer Wenzel Furustolpe learns how to manoeuvre successfully in business by the deceased skipper Teelemainen, who communicates with him through different devices. In his esoteric short stories, like »Hades’ renässans« (1930) and »Spökguldet« (1932), Heller typi- cally exploits séances, which are invariably fakes, and during which the point is to steal jewels or other valuable objects in the darkness of the room, or to hide messages or objects.

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