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Haunting Highlights From 'The Orchid Garden,' History's Very First Supernatural/Fantasy Magazine

Updated February 28, 2020 1.6k votes 129 voters 2.9k views20 items

List RulesVote up the most haunting illustrations from 'The Orchid Garden.'

Though the legendary Weird Tales has a reputation for being the premiere fantasy and horror magazine, it did have a predecessor that was just as darkly rich and full of macabre genius: the brilliant Der Orchideengarten (AKA The Orchid Garden). Hailing from the vibrant avant-garde heart of Weimar Republic-era Germany, Orchid was published from 1919-1921, and is now widely considered to be the world's first official supernatural fantasy magazine. 

During its heyday, the publication played host to a dizzying number of famous authors, including some who have written the best horror books from history. Edgar Allan Poe, H. G. Wells, Voltaire, Guy de Maupassant, Apollinaire, Charles Dickens, and Nathaniel Hawthorne are just a few of the literary names whose work bloomed among its pages. It's perhaps most famous, however, for its fantastic illustrations which sprang from of the minds of Gustave Dore, Max Schenke, and ilk.

Thomas Negovan of the Century Guild Museum of Art in Los Angeles released an anthology which chronicles all of the magazine's most unforgettable offerings. The remastered edition's official website describes Orchid as a vision that was born "After the First World War when German art was at its height of decadence and debauchery." The site goes on to detail the series, "[It] included a wide selection of new and reprinted stories by both German-language and foreign writers ranging from suspense and terror to crime and the eerily-erotic. The artworks range from peculiar medieval etchings to occult woodblocks to expressionist visions - all balancing the romantic and the gothic with hyper-elegant sophistication."

Read on to explore a plot or so of The Orchid Garden magazine's many carnivorous, night-blooming wonders.

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