Masque Macabre (23 pages)
Dr. Adam Spektor travels with his secretary Lakota Rainflower and his cousin Anne Sara to Rutland, Vermont, where he is to be guest of honor at the annual Masque Macabre parade. At the parade, the trio see a float comprised of life-size figures of some of Spektor's acquaintances: Frankenstein's monster, Mr. Hyde, Count Dracula, Ra-Ka-Tep the living mummy, and Simbar the Lion-Man. A second float features creatures Spektor has not personally encountered, but whom he knows by reputation: Count Wulfstein the werewolf, the Lurker in the Swamp, and the Purple Zombie.
Spektor and his friends are greeted by Tom Sikes, the man who invited them. Sikes tells them he has a special costume for Anne, and he leads her away to show her. Sikes leads Anne into a meeting with the hooded Brotherhood of Neffram, who give her a costume and a mysterious relic called the Janus Stone, and trick her into becoming possessed by the evil spirit of Princess Neffram, daughter of the king of the Dark Gods.
Spektor and Lakota worry about Anne as they ride their float in the parade without her. Finally, they see her on the reviewing stand for the parade, where Tom Sikes tells them she is to be one of the parade's judges. But when the floats near her, Anne waves her hands in the air and the life-size figures take on the spirits and forms of their real-life counterparts, and become animate. The creatures attack the crowd and begin to make everyone their hypnotic slaves. Spektor and Lakota rush to the reviewing stand to confront Anne, who identifies herself as Princess Neffram and sends Ra-Ka-Tep, the Lurker, and Count Wulfstein to destroy them.
Wulfstein throws Lakota into the river and thinks she has drowned, while Spektor is brought before Anne/Neffram. Spektor confuses her by calling forth Anne long enough for Lakota to knock her unconscious with a tree branch. Without Neffram's influence, the crowd, including the Brotherhood, begin to regain their senses and their own personalities. Spektor and Lakota hurry with Sikes to a nearby mountaintop, where Spektor attempts a rite of exorcism on Anne, while they are besieged by the supernatural creatures. Finally, the ritual succeeds, and the evil spirit of Princess Neffram is driven back to the world of shadows and her creations become once more lifeless figures of papier mache. Tom Sikes, on behalf of the Brotherhood, expresses regret at the harm they caused by dabbling in the supernatural.
Notes: There are also guests at the Rutland festivities dressed as the super-heroes the Owl and the Man of the Atom.
The Rutland Halloween parade is a real event that takes place yearly. It has also featured in issues of The Justice League of America and The Avengers.
A very brief history for the Purple Zombie is given in the story. Writer Don Glut recently revealed on the internet that he had once hoped to write a revival for the public domain character.