Tuesday, 10 June 2014

COUNT ANDREAS PETOFI

Shapeshifter and warlock
No relation

After András Pető's birth in Szombathely, Hungary, his first name was registered as Andor. Later he often used the German form Andreas – perhaps usually during the years in which he lived in Austria and became an Austrian citizen, and perhaps in Germany too – on official documents and as the by-line to some of what he wrote. He also used the Hungarian form András too, particularly when later still he lived in Hungary and became an Hungarian citizen.

He was also flexible over his surname: Pető (Hungarian) and Petoe (German). Even at times Pethő or Pethoe.

And then there was the matter of his pseudonyms.

Even his wife Angela seemed to have had at least two surnames in addition to Frau Pető, or perhaps Frau Petoe)

Do you find this confusing? So presumably did the officials, editors and others who dealt with him. Perhaps they were meant to. A Jewish boy educated at a Premonstratensian Catholic gymnasium, who shifted between different lives in different countries, assuming different nationalities, speaking sometimes German, sometimes Hungarian, following different professions, a physician yet a mystic, harsh and arbitrary and kindness itself, ... I do wonder whether at times he might have experienced identity problems.

A bit if a chameleon, was Andor, Andreas, András – someone who in olden times folk might have regarded as a bit of a shapeshifter, and treated with superstitious awe.

A fictional character

There is nothing particular new in what is written above. It has been brought to mind by working as Gull Maguire's research assistant and general gofer in preparing material for CEP's forthcoming Miscellany, during which my attention has just been been sidetracked by the name and identity of Count Andreas Petofi, whom older readers in the United States might remember from 1966 t0 1971, on their televisions –

Count Andreas Petofi is the name of a fictional character featured in the 1966–1971 ABC cult TV Gothic horror soap opera Dark Shadows. Count Petofi was an extremely powerful warlock who appeared in the 1897 storyline. He was primarily portrayed by Thayer David. However, due to Petofi's body-swapping and possession abilities, he was portrayed by others.

A warlock is a male witch, a magus.

Count Petofi lives on, amongst fans, on the Internet, Facebook and Twitter.

As I said, sidetracked.


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