Fact vs fiction

It’s history – but if you wrote it as fiction, I doubt anyone these days would imagine it had a basis in fact.

I’ve been reading law recently, for a number of reasons some of which are loosely connected with the second of a series of three paranormal novellas (the first one should be out in the next couple of weeks, I’m waiting on a cover image and publication date). But while doing so I came across Argyll v. Argyll, or to give it its full legal reference, Duchess of Argyll v. Duke of Argyll [1967] Ch302.

That case is about a legal injunction, but I’ll try to tell the whole story chronologically.

Ethel Margaret Whigham – known as Margaret – was born in 1912. Daughter of a Scottish millionaire with interests in both the UK and US, she was brought up in New York. She had several youthful romances and in 1930 became a debutante (and noted society beauty) in London. In 1933 she was married to Charles Sweeney, an American golfer, with whom she had three children (one was stillborn, two survived).

In 1943, she was visiting her chiropodist in Bond Street, London, and had a forty-foot fall down an elevator shaft that left her very seriously injured, including a blow to the head. On recovery, her friends reported that she had lost her senses of taste and smell due to nerve damage, but had also become ‘sexually voracious’. How accurate that claim was remains debatable – not so much in terms of her sex drive, but in terms of whether the fall and blow to the head had caused it. There were claims and rumours about various romantic liaisons in her past that suggested (I quote Wikipedia here) that the injury had resulted in a ‘change of degree rather than basic predisposition’.

She and Charles Sweeney divorced in 1947. She had a few affairs, but then in 1951 married Ian Douglas Campbell, 11th Duke of Argyll. She was his third wife. However, while the ancestral home of the Argylls was Inveraray Castle, about 60 miles north-west of Glasgow, she – now the Duchess of Argyll – apparently preferred to live at 48 Upper Grosvenor Street in London, a house that had been in her own family since at least the 1930s. There she conducted a string of affairs with men in the upper echelons of British, and indeed international, society.

In 1959 her husband filed for divorce and the legal hearings ran until 1963. In that year, the Duke raided her house, seizing private diaries and Polaroid photographs which were used as evidence in the proceedings and led to separate hearings for an injunction to restrain him from publicly speaking or writing about these materials and other ‘marital secrets’, or allowing or enabling them to be made public. There was also an interlocutary injunction against the editor and publisher of the People newspaper to restrain them from publishing details, including the allegations made in the petition for divorce.

The key part of this debate concerned what came to be known as the ‘headless man’ photographs. These were a series of Polaroid photographs taken, according to the dates printed on the reverse of the pictures, in 1957. They’d been captioned in handwriting: ‘before’, ‘thinking of you’, ‘during’, ‘oh’, ‘finished’. And they showed a woman, naked apart from a distinctive pearl necklace, performing oral sex on a man whose head was not in shot while another man, whose face was also obscured, apparently masturbated in the background. The fact it was a Polaroid camera, and the handwriting on the pictures, became significant later on.

Diaries and the photographs were both used in evidence in the divorce proceedings. The former enabled the Duke to produce a list of 88 men with whom, he alleged, the Duchess had had sexual relations – the 88 were reputed to have included two government ministers and three royals. The latter rather graphically illustrated these relations and there were issues about, ironically, whether their explicit nature meant they were suitable for production as evidence in open court (they were, eventually).

Matters even reached the point at which Lord Denning, just appointed as Master of the Rolls, was asked to conduct an enquiry to determine the identity of the headless men. (Denning, incidentally, was asked to lead another enquiry into sexual matters in mid-1963: this was into the ‘circumstances leading to the resignation of the former Secretary of State for War, Mr J. D. Profumo’.)

The original list of 88 men was reduced to five headless man ‘suspects’, two of whom were Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Duncan Sandys, in 1957 Minister of Defence and by 1963 the cabinet minister responsible for the Commonwealth Relations Office. Sandys was exonerated by Denning on the basis of a medical examination that compared his pubic hair to that of the masturbating man in the photograph; Fairbanks was believed to be one of the men involved based on a comparison of his handwriting with that on the Polaroids.

As a footnote to that, the divorce court didn’t proceed with the claim that the Duchess has committed adultery with 88 men – that would have been overkill – and took evidence in relation to three, one of whom was Fairbanks. He denied his involvement to the end of his life. Sandys was dropped as a suspect ‘headless man’; but towards the end of her life, the Duchess pointed out something interesting to a friend of hers: ‘Of course, sweetie, the only Polaroid camera in the country at this time had been lent to the Ministry of Defence’. Erm… who had been the Minister of Defence at that time? (There’s more discussion in a Guardian article from August 2000, reporting on a TV documentary about the affair: ‘”Headless men” in sex scandal finally named’).

The end of the story is rather sad. The issue about injunctions and non-publication of ‘marital secrcets’ rolled on for several more years (hence the reference above to the 1967 court hearing). The ex-Duchess, as she became, never remarried, continued to live somewhat beyond her means and became increasingly poor, and died in 1993 in a nursing home in London.

So, on reflection and in conclusion, imagine someone (perhaps me) writing a piece of fiction about a woman in her forties whose sexual appetites had resulted from a serious injury and a blow on the head; that involved 88 lovers with whom she committed adultery, including group sex; that at least one of those lovers would be a government minister; that a scandal would unfold when compromising pictures came to light by an aggrieved husband raiding his wife’s London home; and that those pictures were taken on a camera that the minister’s department was secretly testing. You’d think that was a pretty far-fetched piece of erotic fantasy, wouldn’t you? You’d think it was the product of a sick writer’s imagination and some tired plot turns – please, not that stupid bang-on-the-head idea again.

Enough said.


In addition to the sources sited above, you can read more at the Fascinating History Blogspot blog. And probably a bunch of other places as well.

And the other court case that attracted my attention, and that I might actually use in the paranormal novella I’m writing, was a French case from 1858 – the ‘Rachel affaire’ – which concerned the rights to privacy of deceased persons.

Hot Review on Rope Bondage story

Fulani’s done it again! I’m proud to tell you that his erotic rope bondage story  ‘Addicted to rope’ has another great review. BDSM Book Reviews’ Riane has this to say.

Rope bondage story

Addicted to Rope. Click to buy on Kindle

Here’s the summary of the story Riane kindly took the time to read.

Ruth’s work leaves no time for relationships. Traveling a lot and living in hotel rooms, her sex life revolves around one-night-stands. In a hotel bar, one night, she encounters a professional bondage rigger and maker of dungeon equipment. His occupation might be strange, but he’s more together and more interesting than most of the men she meets. When he offers her a challenge, she can’t resist it. And it leads her into an addiction to rope.

And Riane’s opinion?

Rope. Rope. Rope. I, personally, am fascinated by rope bondage. Shibari is something I’ve never tried but am extremely interested in. When I saw the name of this book, I knew immediately I had to read it.

Ruth is a driven professional woman, a corporate trainer to be exact. She relaxes by having one night stands with guys she picks up in the various cities she visits. While looking for a new sex partner, she meets Leo. When she learns he’s a professional rigger, she’s stunned but interested. He gives her a small taste of domination in the hotel bar and then they part ways with his room number and an offer for more if she’s interested. Since this is not the end of the book, you can guess she’s interested.

The book progresses rather quickly. She’s given an immediate introduction to ropes, and more. I was a bit surprised by the level things progressed to in the first scene. In real life, it generally takes a bit more time to build up the trust required to do some of those things. However, this is fantasy, and it was very hot.

This book is heavy sex, light plot. Not a bad thing, if that’s what you want in a read. I was hooked until Chapter 4, at which point the story took a bit of a turn for me. I like being able to place myself in the position of the female character when I read a story, but Ruth became obsessed. Obsessed not just with rope, but with becoming a “cheap whore” just for free instead of cheap. Instead of being a book I can sink into, it became more of a porn flick on paper… you can watch from a distance and enjoy it on a different level.’

If you want your very own copy of some sizzling hot erotic adult fiction so you can read the story again and again… you can buy it here. Or tell your friends about it. Just click to send to your network on any of the services listed below.

Rhavaniel – new free erotic fiction from Fulani

Has it really been a week since the last post? Oh well. The next novel is coming on nicely, thank you, though the story that follows is nothing to do with it. Whether this eventually becomes the basis for a longer piece, sometime in the future… anything’s possible.


Writing a novel requires imagination and dedication.

It also requires time, freedom from interruptions, the ability to dive into a character and a situation.

Livia’s solution was a cottage, rented for the summer. A mile up a dirt track road, five miles from the nearest small town. It had its own generator for electricity, water from a spring, but no telephone and no cellphone coverage or WiFi.

It was perfect.

The first chapters ripened. The plot thickened, throwing out new strands. Characters developed. Outside, cloudless skies meant hot days. Inside, there was no air conditioning. Livia wore a loose, flowing dress. But with no one around, and the heavy air making even a dress uncomfortable, she found herself almost unconsciously wearing nothing more than panties. And then, after a few days, nothing at all.

Her central character was Rhavaniel, a name meaning ‘The Wild One’. She was half-elven and half-human, the offspring of a human male pleasure slave kept by an elven warrior princess, for that reason disowned by her mother and sent to live in the human world. In rediscovering her ancestry she entered into the elf world, where dangers awaited.

Livia followed the well-known rules of writing set down by Kurt Vonnegut, among them the injunction to be sadistic to her characters. This, she followed diligently. Rhavaniel, navigating a world she did not fully understand, was quickly captured by brigands and sold into slavery.

Livia began to imagine the ill-treatment one might receive as a halfbreed female slave among elven lowlife. There would be casual brutality and severe punishments, probably of a sexual variety. There would be frequent, rough couplings with any man who wanted her. Probably, with her heritage, many would be curious to fuck her. They’d be ruthless in their use of force and application of discipline, uncompromising in their demands. They’d humiliate her for their amusement. Loan her out to acquaintances.

The chapters moved on, but Livia found herself wondering more and more about Rhavaniel. About how she’d learn from her situation. Learn to please men. Learn to accept pain as a constant in her life. Would she resist, or find a way to manipulate the situation to her advantage?

Hot, sticky nights afforded little sleep. Naked and without covers on her bed, Livia rediscovered pleasure at the end of her own fingers. Tossed and turned in the darkness, with no need to suppress her moans for the sake of neighbours.

Heading for the nearest town next day Livia drove three-quarters of the way there before chancing to look down and see she’d forgotten to wear any clothing. Drove right the way through town anyway, identifying places she wanted to go. Next day, in a more rational frame of mind, she visited the mom-and-pop hardware store, the filling station, the tiny supermarket, the delicatessen. Found the only coffee shop in town and soaked up the sounds of human conversation. Found it difficult to communicate with people and only later realised she’d begun to use the grammar and vocabulary of elven speech. In town they probably put it down to her eccentric city ways.

Back at the cottage, Livia stripped off. She donned the thick leather dog collar she’d bought at the hardware store, the kind intended for a guard dog of about the same weight as her. She attached it to a long chain, the other end of which she padlocked to a piece of ironwork outside the front door. Ate her dinner on hands and knees from a dog bowl. Sat watching the gathering darkness. Finally, she found satisfaction in masturbating, lying splayed out on the warm earth.

Livia slept in the collar, found it comfortable and strangely comforting. Next day the writing seemed to go quickly. When she flagged, she tried another tactic: sitting at her desk, she applied clothespegs to her nipples, breasts, the inside of her thighs. Then, finally, to the lips of her labia. She became astonishingly aware of every movement of her hands on the laptop’s keyboard, yet astonishingly unaware of what she was actually typing. Until later, when reading it back caused her to seek out something to relieve the need in her. Scrabbled though her meagre belongings, dismissed the deodorant, finally settled on an outsize carrot from the kitchen. It was cool inside her, but it did what she wanted it to.

She slept that night spreadeagled on the bed, the chain from her collar fixed to the iron bedstead, a scarf wrapped around her eyes. Rhavaniel would find the bed luxurious, she surmised, and to be placed on a bed at all – rather than sleeping in a cage, or simply chained to a wall, would imply some man could be expected soon.

She relished to sensation of being chained and blindfolded. She’d left the front door unlocked. Anything could happen.

Nothing did. But that could be fixed.

The chapters moved quickly now, but seemed much more focused on Rhavaniel’s experiences at the hands of her captors, and then the underground slave market, the unscrupulous merchant who bought her as a decorative feature for his shop, the aristrocrat who claimed her as a prize when his forces stormed the city – after, of course, the soldiers had used her extensively. She spent almost all her time naked, except perhaps for high heels, and in cuffs and chains – or alternatively, tied to some framework designed to expose her breasts, buttocks and pussy for either flogging or fucking.

A gag was, Livia discovered, a path to an inner core of submission. She improvised one from a thin belt, a length of material wrapped around it to force her mouth open. After an hour or so it made her drool, but that in itself added to her sense of helplessness.

The next time she visited town, Livia remembered to wear a dress. She’d paid attention to the conversations she’d had, and the ones she’d overheard, on the last occasion. And she was grateful that many people had very free in their discussion of one particular young man. ‘Happy to sleep with any of the girls in town, but he won’t settle with any of them. Says they’re too narrow minded. And you should hear the stories about the things he likes doing in bed…’ This from the two middle-aged guys who worked in the garage-cum-filling station.

Her destination was the delicatessen, which doubled up as a sandwich bar and impromptu art gallery. The name she’d heard was the same one she’d seen on the paintings.

She looked again at the paintings. They were mainly of women, and displayed a sensual, almost harshly sexual, gaze. The models were in clearly provocative poses. They were the kinds of pictures that Livia thought might have been cleaned up for public consumption. The artist probably had the originals, and they probably showed the women in an altogether more naked state.

Livia bought a sandwich, asked about the artist and was unsurprised to find he was the young man she was talking to. Handing the bills over, she passed him a folded piece of paper at the same time. And walked out of the door without a second glance, feeling excited and nervous at the same time.
Back at the cottage, she removed the dress – and found to her consternation she’d been wearing the collar all this time.

Oh well. It had certainly underlined the point of the note.

She ate from the dog bowl again, naked on the porch. Imagined herself splayed out against its ironwork, chained to it. And, when it was dark, went to the bedroom, leaving the front door open. Collar locked to chain, chain to the bedstead. She wore the gag, the blindfold. And waited.

The sex was everything she expected. Rough, ruthless, uncompromising. Marks on her buttocks from the application of discipline. He’d removed the gag for the insertion of cock in mouth, but left the blindfold on the whole time. She’d been humiliated, but the experience had pumped adrenaline through her system, created a craving she knew she’d have to feed again. Soon.

He wasn’t there in the morning. But on her desk was a page torn from a notebook, a pen-and-ink sketch of her that captured her in her sexual bondage. The title above the sketch was the same name she’d put on the note.