Oliver Haddo

Real Name

Oliver Haddo

First Appearance

The Magician (novel, 1908)

Original Publisher

Created by

W. Somerset Maugham


Oliver Haddo was educated at Eton and left Oxford University in 1896, where he had been an intimate friend of Dr. Frank Hurrell. After studying medicine in Paris, Oliver eventually became disillusioned with the limitations of science, and became obsessed with the mastery of magic. His goal was to create life, using ancient and occult secrets. He began experimenting with magic in the castle Skene, his ancestral home, about three miles from the village of Venning in Staffordshire, England.

Needing the life blood of a virgin to create life, Haddo used supernatural means to seduce an art student named Margaret Dauncey. The two are married and Haddo takes her back to his castle. There, Haddo murders her to complete his experiments. Margaret's former fiance, Arthur Burdon and his mentor, Dr Porhoët, attempt to save Margaret, but fail. Arthur did, however, apparently succede in killing Haddo.

Haddo had blue eyes, a heavy face, large hands and smoked cigars. Haddo describes his family history thus:

"In my origin I am more to be compared with Denis Zachaire or with Raymond Lully. My ancestor, George Haddo, came to Scotland in the suite of Anne of Denmark, and when James I, her consort, ascended the English throne, he was granted the estates in Staffordshire which I still possess. My family has formed alliances with the most noble blood of England, and the Merestons, the Parnabys, the Hollingtons, have been proud to give their daughters to my house."

Haddo demonstrated his magic abilities in a number of ways. He could apparently command snakes by speaking to them in Arabic. He also proved that he was immune to the venom of one of the most poisonous snakes in the world and able to heal himself of minor wounds. Haddo seemd to be capable of appearing and disappearing in rooms as though he were able to teleport. He also had the ability to mesmerize people, and give them visions of hell. As an occult scientist, he also managed to create life, in the form of nightmarish semi-humanoid creatures in glass tubes. In addition to his knowledge of magic and medicine, Haddo was also a skilled hunter and marksman and could speak Arabic.


It has not been determined if the 1926 silent film adaptation is currently in the public domain in the United States, but barring any changes to copyright law, it will be by the year 2022.

See Also


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