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"I have been called many names. Here, they call me Golem."
―the Golem to Elizabeth Jane Weston, c. 1593
PL-GOLEM

The Golem

The Golem was a giant being who roamed the city of Prague during the late 16th century, hunting noblemen and alchemists, for which he was feared as a monster. On one occasion he sought to murder the alchemist Edward Kelley but a chance encounter with Kelley's stepdaughter Elizabeth Jane Weston compelled the Golem to abort his attempt.

BiographyEdit

"You have just saved your father's life, Little One."
―the Golem to Elizabeth Jane Weston, c. 1593

Active towards the end of the 16th century, the Golem was widely feared as an elusive monster who terrorized the people of Prague, then the seat of the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II. He especially targeted noblemen and alchemists, and such was the fear he instilled that many did not dare to openly walk the streets even during the day. One elderly contemporary who discussed the rumors with Edward Kelley while the latter was escorting his stepdaughter Elizabeth Jane Weston to Prague Castle blamed the crisis on Rudolf II, denouncing him as a weak ruler who granted too many freedoms, thereby permitting the monster's unchecked slaughters.

One night around 1693, Rudolf II summoned all of the alchemists in his employ to discuss the monster plaguing their city. Sometime afterwards, when Kelley, Weston, and the other alchemists departed from Prague Castle just before dawn for the alchemists' residences, the Golem set his sights on Kelley. Ever fearful of the danger, the company were escorted by guards. As dawn approached, they finally arrived at the house of the last alchemist before Kelley's own home.

Unbeknownst to them, the Golem had stalked them to that very house and lurked in the adjacent alley. Before he could launch his ambush, however, the anxious Weston bumped into him by accident after taking two steps into the alley. The sudden encounter exposed the Golem's presence to Kelley and the nearby guards, and, acknowledging to Weston that she had just saved her father's life, he fled the scene, escaping after he leapt into the Vltava.

Personality and characteristicsEdit

"Some say he is not even human."
―Edward Kelley on the Golem, c. 1592

The mass hysteria that gripped Prague at the end of the 16th century over the monster they called the Golem was not unfounded, and many of the eyewitness reports, while incredulous, were not the least bit exaggerated. The Golem was indeed a giant being of a body that was wholly black and sinewy who committed murders throughout the city. Across his forehead were the Hebrew letters "אמת" ("EMET"), and the profile of his head and face itself were squarish and rugged, giving him a rock-like appearance. Even his voice was guttural. Though humanoid, his abnormal features and serial killings led to the people he terrorized to envision him as a demon. Edward Kelley, one of his targets, proposed that he might have been a homunculus.

Though a monster to his victims, the Golem's mental capacity was not animalistic. Capable of speech, intelligent enough to communicate with Weston, and possessing the skill to sneak upon his unsuspecting targets from the shadows while evading all guards, he was clearly sapient.

TriviaEdit

  • During the memories of William Robert Woodman, Gustav Meyrink's most famous work entitled Der Golem is mentioned; a "book with a unique tale on the Golem of Prague."
  • When Elizabeth Jane Weston meets the Golem in Prague she read the word "EMET" on its forehead. According to legend the Golem was created by a rabbi to protect the Jews from persecution, and he had animated it by writing on its forehead the word emet, אמת, Hebrew for "truth". To kill the Golem, the rabbi rubbed off the first letter, to form the word met, מת, Hebrew for "dead".

ReferenceEdit

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