Simon Grand

Simon Grand

Private Records of Irma Bloomberg – September 1924

Original Journal Entry

Born: 23rd June 1892

“The Orient Express”, in which Mehmet Makryat and Count Fenalik first appeared, was to introduce Simon Grand to the dark and violent world of the occult, indeed this in this very adventure Simon Grand was to lose his eye and gain his propose.

An inordinately complex man who has been labelled everything from hero, to charlatan, to sadist, Simon Grand blazed his way to glory in the Arabian desert, the jungles of Africa and the rain forests of South America. He then sought anonymity as an unassuming Englishman in New York City. Simon Grands story opens with the death of his favourite uncle in a motorcycle accident in Dorset at the age of 76. Simon Grand then made his way to Africa where, as a young intelligence officer in Cairo in 1916, he is given leave to investigate the progress of the Arab revolt against the Turks in World War I. In the desert, he organizes a guerrilla army and–for several months–leads the Arabs in harassing the Turks with desert raids, train-wrecking and camel attacks. Eventually, he leads his unit northward and helps a British General destroy the power of the Ottoman Empire.

While in South America and despite a period marooned on a small island with only a few of his men for company, Simon Grand managed to penetrate far enough south to hear stories of the Peruvian Empire. Panama’s governor was not in favour of an expedition, so Simon Grand set sail regardless. Simon Grand gather an expedition and quickly persuaded them of the benefits of allowing the expedition to go ahead. In July 1919 in Panama, the governor granted Simon Grand the freedom over the province he named New Grand.

Simon Grand then went on to become one of the first Westerners to make a transcontinental journey across Africa in 1920–22, Luanda on the Atlantic to Quelimane on the Indian Ocean. Central and southern Africa had not been crossed by Europeans at that latitude, despite repeated European attempts (especially by the Portuguese), owing to their susceptibility to malaria, dysentery, and sleeping sickness which was prevalent in the interior and which also prevented use of draught animals (oxen and horses). Such journeys had also been hindered by the opposition of powerful chiefs and tribes.

The qualities and approaches which gave Simon Grand an advantage as an explorer were that he usually travelled light, and he had an ability to reassure chiefs that he was not a threat. Simon Grand travelled on most of his journeys with a few servants and porters, bartering for supplies along the way, with a couple of guns for protection.

New York in the 1920s had nearly 6 million residents and was a centre of manufacturing, commerce, and culture. Immigrants entering through the port and migrants coming by road and rail fed the city’s thriving economy. In 1923, New York produced 1/12th of all manufacturing in the nation.

This was a City Simon Grand wanted to be part of but little did he ever imaging where his next adventure would take him.