Lemarchand puzzle box
Hellraiser 001 - Puzzle box.jpg
Lemarchand puzzle box
Type: Mystical item
Availability: Uncommon item
Manufacturer: Philip Lemarchand
1st appearance: Hellraiser (1987)

The Lemarchand puzzle box is a fictional mystical artifact featured in the Hellraiser film series. It is an important relic that appears in each installment of the series, and is used as a plot device wherein certain characters can open the doorways to Hell, thus summoning the Cenobites.

Description[edit | edit source]

The Lemarchand puzzle box is the physical representation of a symbolic equation known as the Lament Configuration. This equation, once solved by an individual, opens a doorway to Hell, thus summoning the demonic figures known as Cenobites. The Lemarchand box, designed as a puzzle, serves as the veritable "key" to unlock the doorway to Hell. It is believed that a person's extreme desire to know experiences beyond human understanding is the key towards solving the puzzle. Once this is achieved, the interlocking pieces of the puzzle move of their own accord, until the Lament Configuration is solved, and the portal to Hell is opened. Hell assigns a guardian to each box - a demonic dragon who takes the form of a human vessel, and protects the box from ever being destroyed as it moves from user to user.

To contrast the Lament Configuration, there is also the Elysium Configuration. This equation works similarly to the Lament Configuration, but it holds the power to banish the Cenobites back to Hell and close the portal.

History[edit | edit source]

The box itself was designed by a French toy-maker named Phillip L'Merchant back in France in the 18th century. It was commissioned by an aristocrat named Duc de L'Isle, who understood the power of the Lament Configuration and wanted to use it as a focus for dark magic. De L'Isle used the puzzle box to summon a Cenobite named Angelique, whom he then enslaved to his own will. [1]

Since then, numerous puzzle boxes have been created, the origins of each of them are shrouded in mystery.

In the mid-1980s, Frank Cotton purchased a puzzle box from an Asian man at an outdoor café. He brought it back to the Cotton residence where he solved the riddle of the box, thus opening the gateway to Hell. A wraithly blue-light shone through the cracks of the house and barbed chains with hooks shot out from nowhere, hooking themselves into Frank's flesh, forcibly tearing him into Hell itself.

Frank found a way to come back to life, and the puzzle box came with him. His resurrection was a slow one however, as his flesh and bone slowly reconstituted itself. Frank's niece, Kirsty Cotton, discovered the skinless Frank in the third floor bedroom of the house and took the puzzle box. When Frank commanded her to return it, Kirsty screamed, "You want it? Fucking have it!" and then through it out the window. She ran outside and recovered the box and then ran away.

Kirsty appeared to have a natural intuitiveness when it came to the box, and instinctively knew how to open it. Unwittingly, she summoned the Cenobites, who wished to lay claim to her soul. Kirsty bargained for her own life, by offering to lead them to Frank. As the Cenobites were peeved that Frank had escaped Hell, they agreed. After dealing with Frank Cotton, the Cenobites then turned their eyes back on Kirsty. She found a way to invoke the Elysium Configuration and sent the Cenobites back to Hell.

Afterward, Kirsty and her boyfriend Steve threw the box onto a pile of burning rubbish. The puzzle guardian appeared and shoved his hands into the flames to retrieve the box, before assuming his true demonic form and flew away with it. The puzzle box was later given to another unsuspecting buyer. [2]

Notes & Trivia[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Hellraiser logo.jpg
This article relates to the Hellraiser film franchise.
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