Authors: Alex Connor
Driving slowly, Ben came back to the worn farmhouse where he had spent so much of his childhood. The place was deserted, silent, a grinning moon riding over the rooftop, the weathervane dancing eerily in a manic breeze. Getting out of the car, Ben moved into the garden, then turned and glanced up at the window of the bedroom he had once shared with his brother. Memories came to him as he walked around the house, the windows looking out at him blankly, all life gone. But as Ben got back into his car he felt some premonition and, startled, looked up in time to see a shape crossing the upper window – the shape of a young man watching him. It moved towards the glass and looked out, resting its hands on the sill.
Calling out for his brother, Ben left the car and ran back to the house – but the ghost had gone. Leon Golding had walked back into the rooms he had loved, back to the library he had studied in, back to the empty corridors and silent walls.
When he drove away Ben kept his eyes fixed on the road. And never looked back.
Sixteen years after Leon Golding died there was an incident at the cemetery outside Madrid. Vandals had defaced monuments and broken headstones. When Ben was called over to visit Leon’s desecrated grave he found the stone smashed and a pentangle scratched into the tablet. Incensed, he asked that his brother’s body be removed. He would see to its reburial himself, in an unknown place.
When the earth was removed from over the grave Leon’s coffin was found in perfect order – but the box which had been placed on top had disappeared.
The tomb of Francisco Goya, in San Antoine da Florida, Madrid, contains two corpses: those of his mistress, Leocadia, and himself
Originally Goya was buried in France, but when his body was moved back to Spain in 1899 – seventy years after his death – the head was missing
Rumour has it that the skull was stolen by a Bordeaux phrenologist, who had wanted to study the skull of a genius. Rumour also intimates that Goya not only painted – but could have been involved – with Satanism
As an old man he created the Black Paintings, the enigma of which has never been fully explained. Until, perhaps, now
The head of Francisco Goya has never been found
GOYA – Robert Hughes – (Vintage)
GOYA – Enriqueta Harris – (Phaidon)
THE BLACK PAINTINGS OF GOYA – Juan Jose Junquera – (Scala)
Spanish Tourist Board
Dundee University – Reconstructive Department
Copies of the Black Paintings by the author, Alex Connor.
Official works are in the Prado Museum and Art Gallery, Madrid.
Research has been extensive and I would like to thank everyone for their support. The curators of The Prado, Madrid, and The Louvre, Paris, have given generous assistance. Dr G. Altman has advised on facial/maxillary surgery, and Dr C. Wilkinson on facial reconstruction
Thanks to you all