PARIAH

Real Name: Unrevealed

Identity/Class: evil spirits/demon-type/magic item

Occupation: predator

Affiliations: human hosts (an unnamed prospector and a gunslinger);
somehow connected to an unnamed Native American tribe

Enemies: Hulk, Rick Jones, the town of Whispering Wells; life in general (prey)

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: The Spirits in the Stone

Base of Operations: Whispering Wells, New Mexico

First Appearance: Incredible Hulk II#268

 

 

 

 

Powers: Pariah can siphon the life force from other living being. It is actually the human host for the Spirits in the Stone. By itself (themselves?), the Spirits can influence the thoughts of others, drawing them towards it, and filling them with greed. The Spirits require a human host to gain mobility. In contact with their host, they can drain the lives from others, generate winds, and animate inanimate matter. The Spirits are immortal, but require a certain influx of power to travel any significant distance.

History: The origins of the Spirits in the Stone are unknown. They are presumably either demons, or evil or vengeful human spirits cursed or trapped within the stone, by unknown means. They may have existed hundreds or thousands of years ago, but were eventually trapped and buried in a sacred Indian burial place outside of Whispering Wells, New Mexico.

 

 

(Hulk#268(fb))-Presumably in the mid 19th Century, a prospector dug into the sacred Indian burial place, and found the Stone. The Spirits in the Stone took control of the prospector and directed him into the nearby town of Whispering Wells. Greed for what appeared to be a lare chunk of gold drew the townspeople towards the Stone...and the stone fed. As the town was wiped out, the Stone directed the prospector to take it to another town so it could feed anew. However, the prospector fought the Spirits, and put a bullet in his own head to stop it. The Spirits were trapped in Whispering Wells.

 

 

 

(Hulk#268(fb))-In 1871, a gunfighter wandered in to Whispering Wells, after hearing the legend of the riches of the Indian burial ground. He found the town strewn with the skeletons of the Spirits' victims, and found the prospector's skeleton still clutching the Stone. Also believing the Stone to be merely a precious gem, the gunfighter took the Stone for himself, and became its next victim. However, the gunslinger lacked a soul to start with, so the Spirits chose a different fate for him. He became the voice of their vengeance against the living--a dust-cloaked outcast--an uncanny untouchable--a foul whisper on the wind--And they called the wind Pariah!

 

(Hulk#268)-Annoyed over Bruce and Betty's attempts to get rid of the Hulk, Rick left Desert Base and took a drive out into the desert. He wandered into Whispering Wells, where he encountered Pariah. Rick had left his CB radio on and Bruce heard him screaming, "No! Get Back! Stay away from me! Yaaghh!" Bruce got excited and turned into the Hulk (there's a shocker!). Luckily for Rick, the Hulk headed in the right direction and quickly arrived at the ghost town which none of them had even seen before.
The Hulk arrived in Whispering Wells in time to save Rick. Pariah sensed the power within the Hulk and realized that if it drained his power, it would be able to travel out into the world, to seek more prey. As Pariah drained the Hulk's energy, he turned back into Banner. Banner first thought, "Great! I'll be cured of being the Hulk!"
Then he realized, "Wait a second. If I'm just Banner, then Pariah will kill both Rick and I...and then be let loose on the rest of the world. I guess that's not such a great option." So Bruce got really angry again, turned into the Hulk, and crushed the Stone. Without the Spirits to empower it, Pariah collapsed into dust, as did the entire town of Whispering Wells.

 

 

 

 

 

Whispering Wells

 

 

 

 

Comments: Created by Bill Mantlo and Sal Buscema.

A pariah, strictly speaking, refers to a member of a low caste of southern India or Burma. It is often used to mean an outcast.

"The gunfighter lacked a soul to start with..."
Whether that's literally or figuratively speaking, there's some back story here.
Also, after the opening segment, it would seem that Pariah wandered the west preying on victims. However, while battling the Hulk, it mentioned that it could never leave Whispering Wells. Hmm......
I don't know what ever happened to the sequel to "Blaze of Glory", but I'd love to see Ostrander do a tale of the Pariah and/or the Spirits in the Stone...Red Wolf...Rawhide Kid...maybe even Reno Jones again as the Ghost/Night/Phantom Rider.

We could give Mantlo credit for using the Hulk's seldom seen magical awareness to track down Pariah. He could see Dr. Strange's astral self, so perhaps he was drawn to Pariah's magic. Or maybe it was just dumb luck.

Rick's life was saved by the good old Citizen's Band radio. Too bad the Hulk didn't rustle up a Convoy to take down Pariah. Now that would be a story! A stupid story...but a story nonetheless.

Clarifications: no connection to DC's Pariah, form their Crisis on Infinite Earths.

There are no KNOWN connections between the Spirits in the Stone and:
The Spirit Stone, a power item of the Commanche Indians, which empowered Towering Oak, @ Ghost Rider I#6

Last updated: 08/02/02

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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