Abyssal Visage

Abyssal Visage
| Selene Nyx | Masque of Nocturne (1897) | Mixed Media |

Selene Nyx’s “Masque of Nocturne” is both beguiling and repellent, straddling the boundary between allure and abomination. This late 19th-century creation represents a crowning achievement in her work as an avant-garde sculptor and costume designer, exploring the darker currents of human experience.

The mask is constructed using an intricate array of gemstones, tempered metals, and rich textiles, which give it both physical weight and symbolic resonance. Resplendent yet sinister, its most distinctive features are the semi-precious stones set along its ridges like mystic eyes, evoking ancient rites steeped in mystery. These attributes have cast it as both artifact and talisman within artistic circles.

Legend clings to this object as tenaciously as the shadows it summons. A harrowing tale surrounds its origination. Commissioned by Lord Everard Hawke—a noble obsessed with transgressive art—the masque was meant for his final masquerade ball at Blackwood Manor on December 31st, 1897. According to contemporaneous accounts, after donning the mask just before midnight, Hawke became unrecognizable not only in appearance but also in spirit.

“Summoning forth entities best left undisturbed,” wrote historian Horace Worthington-Smith, “Nyx’s creation did not merely obscure; it transformed.”

Eyewitnesses reported a chilling transformation; those attending spoke of how Hawke moved through the throng like a specter among mortals—an unflinching predator where there had been an affable host. Midway through the night’s festivities, at precisely midnight, Hawke vanished from view entirely amid screams of terror.

Rumors abound about subsequent guests suffering inexplicable losses or bouts of insanity following their encounters that night. Such stories embroiled Lord Hawke in local folklore until his disappearance ceased to be of general interest decades later.

Post-event reports detail eerie phenomena: otherworldly sounds echoing through vacant hallways weeks after the remaining guests abandoned the manor. Household staff succumbed prematurely despite no visible injuries upon meticulous autopsy analyses. Despite skepticism regarding the veracity of these tales, the eerie aura surrounding the masque persisted, drawing scholarly attention that examined its impact on cultural and artistic narratives.

In modern audiences, “Masque of Nocturne” elicits profound contemplation, resonating deeply with the human condition and immortalizing a unique legacy in the realms of art and history.