The author of The Opopogo – My Journey with the Loch Ness Monster, Harry Horse, 46 (real name: Richard Horne), his dog Roo, other pets, and his ill wife Mandy, 39, have all died in an apparent mass suicide.
The Scotsman is reporting on January 11, 2007, that Horne, his wife (multiple sclerosis saw her confined to a wheelchair at 39), and their pets were found Papil, on Burra, Scotland, on January 9, victims of an apparent assisted suicide and suicide pact.
Richard Horne, better known as Harry Horse, a famed children’s book illustrator, author, and cartoonist of the bizarre Atlantis Rising cartoon series.
His first book as an author and artist, The Opopogo – My Journey with the Loch Ness Monster, was published in 1983. They were illustrated with his black and white drawings, two of which you can see on this blog.
In an interview at Game Spot, Harry Horse gave a hint of the context in which he wrote his first children’s volume:
I’ve done a few things to get by. I started out at seventeen as an illustrator in Edinburgh, Scotland. I wrote my first book, The Ogopogo, in 1983 about the Canadian version of the Loch Ness Monster. I began a career as a forger about the same time to try to make ends meet. It was ironic that the year after I began the forgery I was awarded the Scottish Arts Council Writer of the Year for the above book, the first time that a children’s book had won the award….
In short, I forged a manuscript dated 1846, about a forger who makes prophecies through a false medium. The book is sold and the experts agree that the book is genuine, because it bears the name of a rare English poet, Richard Horne (which is also my real name), who lived and worked in 1846, had written an epic poem, Orion, and had an interest in the legend of the Sons of God. This was all unknown to me, but it was exactly the subject of my forgery. I was a political cartoonist for Scotland on Sunday for six years, worked for the Independent and Observer as a cartoonist. I formed the band Swamptrash (“the world’s only gothic bluegrass band”) in 1987, which was another grand hoax. Currently I make a living writing and directing games, but I still work as a caricaturist for the New Yorker, and still write books for children.
In his last Atlantis Rising cartoon/commentary on January 6, 2007, in the Sunday Herald/Salon, illustrated with the Minotaur above, he wrote in part:
These Things had wing, feather, claw, bird head, crocodile jaw, a sort of ancient plastic surgery gone manimal. Bull headed men, bird women and dog blokes were but a few of the variants made in the quest for a new beauty.
One only has to refer to the Egyptian and the Greek legends to see that Blavatsky’s Things were possible refugees from the stricken Atlantis. Minotaur, centaur and damn harpies, the world was once full of the critters.
Of course now such ideas are rightly consigned to the dustbin of history.
Gone now is the Harry Horse of cartoons and of the Ogopogo that began his journey making wakes in the illustrated waters. I hope he, his wife, and pets are at peace, finally.