‘Yes, I do wanna hear the story,’ you reply.
‘Ugh, fine,’ the Woman of a Certain Age sighs. ‘Let’s see… for starters, you might wanna pull out your Howard Zinn, and get caught up on the depredations wrought upon the local tribes by the colonial regimes which settled these lands in the sixteenth century. It was a fucked up time, defined by the forced subjugation of indigenous people, and our beloved school was founded and flourished in the same era, as an arm of the religion of the conquerors.’
‘But didn’t you say this Black Magic stuff wasn’t Judeo-Christian,’ you ask.
‘That’s correct,’ the Woman of a Certain Age says, ‘yet von Straussheim could never have surreptitiously pursued his more… arcane interests were it not for the superstructure of state-authorized Protestant power from which he drew not only monetary support, but also theological inspiration – the blood ritual being, of course, a quite literal interpretation of the Mass.’
‘This is some heady exposition, already,’ you confess, rubbing your head. ‘I completely sympathize with the plight of indigenous peoples, of course, and although I’ve peddled in black magic in the past that was long ago, and I’m a high-functioning, contributing member of society today, but nonetheless I don’t know if I need or want to hear this story.’
‘I’m almost done,’ the Woman of a Certain Age continues, ‘it’s quite simple, really. Von Straussheim converted the locals to Protestantism to maintain his sunny public image in the eyes of his fellow colonialists, but on the side he started sacrificing youth to the Shadow Realm.’
‘Though that didn’t start till he discovered oil,’ Twin #2 put in. ‘An important point.’
‘Quite right,’ the Woman of a Certain Age conceded, ‘Von Straussheim of course discovered oil and recognized its potential far ahead of his time, and that’s how he made the money which still supports the school today. But what people don’t know is that he originally used the oil for a completely different purpose.’
‘What was that?’ you ask, like a kid hearing a fireside story.
‘Von Straussheim regarded the oil as plumbed straight from the Shadow Realm,’ the Woman of a Certain Age explained. ‘And he used to lather it on his offerings before killing them. If an indigenous family had more than one son, they were forced to give up their 2nd born, or else he’d have his private army slay the entire village. It was a fucked up time.’
‘Yes it was,’ Twin #1 nods.
‘He continued that practice for the rest of his life, fancying himself a Warden of the Shadow Realm, longing for death to let him return to it,’ the Woman of a Certain Age said, letting her eyes trail away – with a certain flicker in them – before concluding, ‘which of course it did, when he was old and at peace in his bed. Yet so goes the justice, when you open an alternative history book.’
And everyone gathered around for the tale nodded solemnly, and thought long about their place within such structures of power, and it was all very didactic and well-intentioned, before a cry rang out and returned everyone to the matter at hand.