Even having earned her doctorate in medieval European history with honors, it still came as a surprise when they offered Lisa the research opportunity of a lifetime, to be the first historian to translate and catalog the records of an ancient monastery located high in Romania’s Carpathian Mountains.

Entries from Lisa Weber’s personal journal, September 12

“I couldn’t begin to thank my thesis advisor for bringing this incredible opportunity to my attention, to be the first woman to visit this remote and historic monastery. Built in the early thirteenth century, the monastery was home to a mysterious order of monks, founded to provide spiritual guidance and enlightenment to the inhabitants of the isolated villages in the surrounding mountain valleys below.”

“As it turned out the timing of the mysterious benefactor’s generous offer was perfect, coming just weeks after my doctoral presentation. Open to the public during the summer tourist season, the monastery normally closed in early September, before the first of region's treacherous winter storms. I would be staying alone at the monastery through the winter months, often isolated by the harsh winter storms for weeks at a time. It seemed a perfect environment to translate and catalog as much of the monastery’s nine hundred years of records as possible. There were even tantalizing hints of another research grant for the following winter if the mysterious benefactor’s liked my work.”

October 10

“My first few weeks at the monastery were absolutely fascinating. The monastery’s monks kept detailed records about everything that transpired at the monastery, the garden’s vegetable harvest, the harvest from the grape arbors, the wine yield of those grapes, even the bushels of wheat and the loaves of bread those bushels yielded. And yet, as time passed, something seemed lacking in the transcripts. There was no mention of the monk’s mission to provide spiritual guidance and enlightenment to local villagers. It was becoming frustratingly clear that the monastery’s earliest records seemed to be telling only a small part of the monastery’s founding history.”

November 21

“The winter’s first storm hit early on the morning of September 28th, it started at first as light flurries but by noon the wind had picked up, and it continued snowing heavily throughout the coming night. Early the next morning, the storm was still going strong, the snow on the narrow road leading up to the monastery’s gates already lay several feet deep. Later that morning, I stood by the windows of the Abbot’s office, a hot hug of tea in my hands as I basked in the warmth of the room’s fireplace as the heavy wet snow continued to fall. And with the monastery’s notoriously unreliable electricity once again out, I was unwilling to venture down into the dark depths of the monastery's labyrinth of records, instead I decided to spend that day exploring the abbot’s private archive containing the journals of the order’s abbots, what I discovered in the first few of those journals, profoundly disturbing.”

“The monastery, while officially founded to provide spiritual guidance and enlightenment, was actually established by the church to convert the mountainous area’s pagan tribes to Christianity, and by force if necessary. The monks, selected from an order of warrior monks founded to protect Christian pilgrims traveling to the holy lands. The abbot and the monastery’s leadership, all handpicked from among the most ruthless of the inquisition. Over the years and decades that followed the influence of the monastery gradually spread across the area, churches constructed in the villages, people giving up the old ways and converting to Christianity. Al least, that’s what the history books say, the abbot’s journals tell a far different story.”

“In those first few years, the warrior monks marched against the villages that refused to convert, the inhabitants, the men, the old, even the children, put to the sword while the younger women chained and brought back to the monastery as prisoners. Brought down into a secret dungeon hidden beneath the monastery’s deepest wine cellars, these unfortunate women would be brutally tortured until they either confessed to worshiping demonic masters, or they died. The lucky ones died in that dungeon, the others given to the monks for their darkly depraved amusement before being burned at the stake.”

“Later that snow bound evening I ventured down into the wine cellars, found the hidden entrance to the monastery’s secret dungeon and saw for myself all the unspeakably brutal instruments of torture employed by those depraved inquisitors to force confessions of demonic worship from the screaming lips of countless innocent young women.”

January 16

“Well, it’s now been over four months since I first started documenting the unspeakable acts of this historic order of monks, over a century of brutal debauchery and death, all conveniently overlooked by the church elders at the Vatican. And on a personal note, I found notes from other researchers like myself, all beautiful young women fresh out of college, all hired by the mysterious foundation that hired me, all of whom ventured down into this dungeon and discovered this monastery’s darkly obscene past. Disturbingly, each set of notes, the earliest dating back to 1927, referred to their growing desire to keep visiting the dungeon on a nightly basis, as the ‘Lure of the Dark.’ Ominously, they all mentioned hearing a strange sound that seemed to grow louder with each visit to the monastery’s dungeon. The same sound I’ve also started hearing, something that sounds like monks chanting in Latin.”

Final entry from Lisa Weber’s personal journal, February 9

“This morning, while I was reviewing my notes from the monastery’s pervious researchers, I noticed something odd. While the road leading up to the monastery usually isn’t considered safe to travel until at least late April, none of the past researcher's notes contain entries dated past the early part of February.”

“Ominously, over the last few nights, the sound of monk’s chanting has grown noticeably louder, almost as if they were standing just outside the dungeon’s heavy oak door. And while my thirteenth-century Latin may be a bit rusty, I believe part of what they're chanting is from Exodus 22:18, ‘Thou shall not suffer a witch to live.’ The rest still doesn’t make much sense, something about penance for their sins and the duty to be the eternal protectors of the monastery’s legacy.”

“Anyway, it’s sunset and once again that undeniable ‘Lure of the Dark’ draws me downward toward the dungeons diabolically torturous delights. Oddly, over the past few weeks, I’ve felt an overwhelming compulsion to dress more provocatively when I make my nightly visits to the dungeon. Tonight, I’ve decided to wear this cute little pink satin and lace thong teddy, seductively revealing lingerie that I haven’t worn since I seduced my thesis advisor on the night of my doctoral presentation.”

“Anyway, planning to pause along the way to the dungeon to appropriate a rather excellent bottle of wine from the monastery’s extensive wine cellars, I’m sure I’ll feel the sound of monk’s chanting already affecting me, even before I open the bottle. And while I understand, that when the first researcher, back in 1927, coined the phrase, ‘Lure of the Dark,’ I think she was simply too embarrassed to truthfully describe that fiendish effect’s actual nature. If she had, she’d have called it, ‘Lust for the Dark...’”