The Great God Pan by Arthur Machen - A Classic of Horror - The Great God Pan is a vella written by Arthur Machen. A version of the story was published in the magazine The Whirlwind in 1890, and Machen revised and extended it for its book publication (together with ather story, The Inmost Light ) in 1894. On publication it was widely deunced by the press as degenerate and horrific because of its decadent style and sexual content, although it has since garnered a reputation as a classic of horror. Machen's story was only one of many at the time to focus on Pan as a useful symbol for the power of nature and paganism. The title was possibly inspired by the poem A Musical Instrument published in 1862 by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, in which the first line of every stanza ends .. . the great god Pan. Dr. Raymond's ultimate goal is to devise a way to open the mind of man so that he may experience all the world has to offer. He calls this, seeing the great god Pan. After much study of the human mind he devises an experiment which involves mir brain surgery. He performs this experiment on a young woman named Mary, but when she awakes she is terrified and mentally crippled. Years later, the beautiful but sinister-looking Helen Vaughan is reported to have caused a series of mysterious happenings in a small nameless town. She spends all her days in the woods, scares a boy so much he is hospitalized, and leads to the rape of her best friend Rachel. Helen then moves to the London social scene and marries a man named Herbert. Years later Herbert is found by his former friend Villiers to be a beggar and vagrant. When asked how he has fallen so low, Herbert replies that he has been corrupted body and soul by his wife. Helen disappears for some time, supposedly taking part in disturbing orgies somewhere in the Americas. When she returns as Mrs. Beaumont she is followed by a series of suicides. Villiers discovers that she is in fact Helen and goes to confront her. He persuades her to hang herself and she has a very abrmal death, transforming between human and beast before finally dying. Ultimately, it is discovered that Helen is the child of Mary and Pan, who was let in when Raymond opened her mind up to him.