Friday, March 31, 2006

Fritz Lieber

"I must apologize for this possibly boresome burst of verbosity! But genuine devotees of the weird are rare."

Thus ends a letter to Fritz Lieber, Jr. written Nov. 9, 1936

In that same letter he says, "I've always held two cardinal principles regarding weird fiction: that the structure & rhythm of the language should reflect & promote the tension, menace, gloom, dreamlike qulaity, cumulative mood-flow & climactic suspense of the theme; & that an air of absolute realism should be preserved (as if one was preparing an actual hoax instead of a story) ..."

[Fritz Lieber and H P Lovecraft: Writers of the Dark, ed. by Ben J. S. Szumskyj and S T Joshi, Wildside Press, Holicong, Pa/NJ., 2004, p. 15, 17]

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

School Days, School Days ...

{March 1933 to Robert E Howard}

"Well - I live only two squares from old Hope High School now, and the building looks pretty much the same. The papers call it an "antiquated fire-trap" these days - though I saw it built in 1897, long before I ever attended it. There's a symbol of senility - the decadence of buildings one saw rising in one's far-off youth."

The 1905 year book - HPL's freshman year.*

[Sorry about the earlier typo. HPL was born August 20, 1890, and would have normally graduated in 1908 - at 18. He did not make it, though.]

Monday, March 27, 2006

Lovecraft's Providence

In the first of a continuing, intermittent series we will go back in time and tour Providence as Lovecraft might have seen it.

"I was born on the 20th of August, 1890, at No. 454 (then numbered 194) Angell Street, in the city of Providence."

[Nov 16, 1916 to Rheinhart Kleiner in Lord of a Visible World, Joshi, 2000]

Angell Street, Wayland Square, circa 1915, as it would have looked in his teenage years.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

"You ought to see the little coal-black kitten at the boarding house across the bush {?} garden. Just a handful & beginning to play {?}."

A great postcard seen recently. Lovecraft adored Florida and especially reveled in the antiquity of St. Augustine.


Saturday, March 25, 2006

Lovecraftiana: Clark Ashton Smith

On November 10, 1935, Lovecraft wrote, "CAS's ... own "Star-Treader" is a work of art. [1] He states in a letter of March 27, 1934, "When 17 he published his first book of peotry - " The Star Treader" ... Clark probably derives much of his exotic taste from the tales told him by his father when he was very small - he was especially impressed by accounts of gorgeously plumed birds and bizarre tropical flowers of equatorial Brazil. From childhood he was a poet, artist, and dreamer - obviously something of a boy wonder. [2]

1 Mysteries of Time and Spirit: The Letters of H.P. Lovecraft and Donald Wandrei, 2002
2 Lord of a Visble World, Joshi & Schulz, 2000

Found on ebay through a sale of portions of the posessions of Steve Behrends are these notables.

A ignature of Clark Ashton Smith, originated as the return address to a letter he sent to fan and correspondent Rah Hoffman in the early 1940s. Hoffman was serving in the military at the time. Years later Hoffman removed the signature and destroyed the rest of the envelope, as he did not wish to be reminded of his period in the Army. The words "Auburn, CA" appear below the signature.

The signature, given to STRANGE SHADOWS editor Steve Behrends in the mid 1980s, is in a faded ink.

Also, a photograph of Clark Ashton Smith in his Auburn, CA cabin, taken in the early 1940s by fan Paul Freehafer. Smith is seen holding a candle, amidst his painting, sculptures, and books. Probably the best photograph of Smith ever taken.

This print was made from the Freehafer negative by Smith fan and correspondent Rah Hoffman, for inclusion as the frontispiece in STRANGE SHADOWS: THE UNCOLLECTED FICTION AND ESSAYS OF CAS. The print was sent to Steve Behrends, the editor of STRANGE SHADOWS, who added a caption & provenance info to the back side, and then sent it on to Greenwood Press. It was later returned. (B&W, 8x10)

Broken Mirrors

In a post below, a copy of Wandrei's Broken Mirrors appears. It was unpublished until 1931 - a gap of quite a few years. On March 11, 1928, Wandrei was exhilerant to "Nekrophilos".

"I may appear in another book ... four other students at Minnesota and myself have formed an honorary literary society for men, and are publishing a book of our work to justify our existence. The volume should be out in a month {it took until 1931 for the Avon edition to publish}. The edition is limited to fifty copies - ten apiece - so I shall not have enough to go around. However, I'll send one around the circle when it appears - probably start out with Derleth or you and end up with Smith. The book is being printed on handmade paper with colored end-papers and a black-and-gold decorative binding. It has woodcuts by Henkora - the leading Twin City artist - and is to be signed by each of us and by the artist. Truly it is a sumptuous work of art! The magnificent creation is as yet untitled, but will probably come out as "The Esoteric Muse". The expense would be heavy were not the five of us to share the cost, and if the father of one of us did not own a press where we can have the type set for free."

Extract from Mysteries of Time and Space: The letters of H.P. Lovecraft and Donald Wandrei, Joshi, 2002.

Lovecraftiana: Donald Wandrei

A close friend of - sometimes in person - but mostly by correspondence with Lovecraft.

A spectacular opportunity for Lovecraft fans is being offered on ebay. A large part of a private collection is being sold from the collection of Steve Behrends, who edited several Clark Ashton Smith releases in the 1980s and 90s.

This first and rarest book appearance of Weird Tales author Donald Wandrei was a collection called BROKEN MIRRORS. It was privately published by the Avon Society in 1931. Wandrei co-founded Arkham House Publishers with his friend August Derleth.

Wandrei's contribution consists of 8 poems, and the otherwise uncollected prose pieces "The Victory Loses" & "The Terrible Suicide". Other contributors included Harrison Salisbury (who went on to become a well-known reporter for the New York Times). Decorated with woodcuts by Leon Henkora.

Publication of BROKEN MIRRORS was strictly limited. This is copy #36 of 82, and is signed by all contributors, including Wandrei. The copy (without a dust jacket as issued) was owned by Wandrei himself; the Wandrei estate bookplate has been tack-mounted to the inner front cover.

Friday, March 24, 2006

H. P. Lovecraft: Baker Street Irregular

"As to "Sherlock Holmes" - I used to be infatuated with him! I read every Sherlock Holmes story published, and even organized a detective agency when I was thirteen, arrogating to myself the proud pseudonym of S.H. This P[rovidence] D[etective] A[gency] ... how many murders and robberies we unravelled! Our headquarters were in a deserted house just out of the thickly settled area ... I still remember my labours producing artificial "bloodstains on the floor !!!"

[5/17/1918 to Alfred Galpin, Lord of a Visible World, Joshi, 2000]

Lovecraft was snared by the publishing of Return of Sherlock Holmes. His creator killed him off in the 1893 tale ''The Final Problem" and in 1903, after years of receiving angry letters from readers, Doyle resurrected him (in the Strand). Doyle loathed Holmes and in his early writing career was quite a horror writer. One often thinks that Doyle was more content to BE Watson, the doctor.

The return of Holmes, though, was a fantastic success and millions of children were enraptured by the book.


Nooo, not an elder god.

"When, at the age of 11, I was a member of the Blackstone Military band ... {I was a} virtuoso on what was called a "zobo" - a brass horn with a membrane on one end, which would transform humming to a delightfully brass impressiveness!"

[12/13/1930 to August Derleth in Lord of a Visible World, Joshi, 2000]

Even in the day no one had a clue what Lovecraft was talking about. Obviously it sounds much like a "kazoo", but Chrispy has found a few more clues with diligent research.

"Images from The Alan G. Bates Harmonica Collection: "Harmonophone" Harmonica with Funnel-Shaped, Zobo Resonator, NMM 8396. "Harmonophone" harmonica with funnel-shaped resonator, Clover brand, Klingenthal, ca. 1900. Attached to the narrow end of the funnel-shaped resonating chamber is a cup-shaped "Zobo" mouthpiece containing a thin, vibrating membrane that is capable of producing a sound like a kazoo. Alan G. Bates Collection, 2000. "

And, this Sears c. 1900 advertisment (Lovecraft would have turned 11 on Augist 20, 1901)

A typical, early 20th century military band:

1931 and Lovecraft & His Pals Seemingly Owned Weird Tales

Weird Tales 9/29 ... Contains Robert E. Howard's "The Mirrors of Tuzan Thune" and a reprint of H.P. Lovecraft's "The Hound"
Weird Tales 9/30 ... Contains H.P. Lovecraft verse "The Courtyard" and "Star-Winds" plus Robert E. Howard verse, "Black Chant Imperial"
Weird tales 10/30 ... Contains H.P. Lovecraft verse, "Hesperia"
Weird Tales 11/30 ... Contains Robert E. Howard's "Kings of the Night" and H.P. Lovecraft verse, "Antarktos".
Weird Tales 12/30 ... Contains H.P. Lovecraft verse, "The Bells"
Weird Tales 1/31 ... Contains H.P. Lovecraft verse "Nyarlathostep" and "Azathoth"
Weird Tales March 31 ... Contains Robert E. Howard verse "The Song of a Mad Minstrel" and H.P. Lovecraft verse, "Mirage" and "The Elder Pharoahs"
Weird Tales May 31 ... Contains Robert E. Howard's "The Children of the Night" and H.P. Lovecraft verse, "Alienation"
7/31 ... Weird Tales ... Contains a reprint of H.P. Lovecraft's classic "The Outsider"
8/31 ... Weird Tales ... Contains the first appearance of H.P. Lovecraft's classic and chilling, "The Whisperer in Darkness"
Weird Tales 10/31 ... Robert E. Howard's "The Gods of Bal-Sagoth" and the first publication of H.P. Lovecraft's "The Strange High House in the Mist"

Lovecraft Museum: Weird Tales, Aug. 1931

The August 1931 issue (Vol. 18, N. 1. had Cover Art by C.C. Senf and included these stories:

"Moon Madness" by Wallace G. West
"Creeping Fingers" by Loretta G. Burrough
"The Earth-Owners" by Edmond Hamilton
"The Whisperer In Darkness" by H.P. Lovecraft
"Tam, Son Of The Tiger" (Part 2) by Otis Adelbert Kline
"Old Roses" by Stella G. S. Perry
"The Undead" by Amelia Reynolds Long
"Prince Borgia's Mass" by August W. Derleth
"A Voyage To Sfanomoe" by Clark Ashton Smith

"The Time-traveler" by Ralph Milne Farley
"The Wolf-Leader" (Part 1) by Alexandre Dumas

Lovecraftiana: Joe Wehrle, Jr.

Joe Wehrle, Jr. artist is being offered on ebay.

It states, "These two stipple portraits of H.P. Lovecraft by Joe Wehrle, Jr. In one, HPL is wearing spectacles and formal clothing. In the other, HPL's eyes are in deep shadow. Done in the stipple technique of one tiny dot or circle at a time, plus some cross-hatching in the background, the oval ink print measures 10 1/4" by 7 3/8" on a roughly 8 1/2" by 11" sheet.

"Howard Phillips Lovecraft (August 20, 1890 – March 15, 1937), renowned as a writer of weird fiction, poetry, essays and creator of the Cthulhu Mythos, also did ghostwriting and and collaborated with other writers and wrote voluminous letters to Clark Ashton Smith and others. His works have inspired others to this day.

"Wehrle is noted for work in Galaxy and IF digest science fiction magazines, covers and interior illustrations in Arkham House and other Mirage Press books, illustrations for Burroughs-oriented journals and on a lighter note, the story and drawings in the Big Little Book Cauliflower Catnip.

"New condition photocopy with off-white oval mat. Please send any questions to:"

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Family

150 posts. Hurrah! Onward and upward.
Here is a rare photo of the loving family.

Lovecraft Museum

This is where Lovecraft desperately wanted to study astronomy. Brown University built this to keep Dr. Winslow Upton on the faculty.

Chrispy's Lovecraft Museum

I toyed with the idea of a new blog as a "Lovecraft Museum" but I think I will just incorportae them with this one, and continue the "one stop shop" concept. Sooo, watch here in the future for special items offered up on ebay over the last several months under the title "Lovecraft Museum".

ASTOUNDING STORIES - JUNE 1936 Featured a cover by Howard V. Brown depicting Lovecraft's The Shadow Out Of Time. It featured stories by Lovecraft, Schachner, Van Lorne, Coblentz, Corbett, Rocklynne, Lane, Williamson, & W. Campbell Jr.

Detail (different copy):

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Irving S. Cobb

Lovecraft writes in Supernatural Horror this brief discussion, "Still further carrying on our spectral tradition is the gifted and versatile humourist Irvin S. Cobb, whose work both early and recent contains some finely weird specimens. Fishhead, an early achievement, is banefully effective in its portrayal of unnatural affinities between a hybrid idiot and the strange fish of an isolated lake, which at the last avenge their biped kinsman's murder. "

It belies the influence that the text had on Lovecraft and the evolution of The Call of Cthulhu.

Many have never read Cobb's story. Chrispy was delighted that it was set in his home state of Kentucky, albeit near Rellfoot Lake. I discovered my copy, of all places, in an Alfred Hitchcock anthology! [1] Here is a bit of it.

FISHHEAD by Irvin S. Cobb

"It goes past the powers of my pen to try to describe Reelfoot Lake for you so that you, reading this, will get the picture of it in your mind as I have it in mine. For Reelfoot Lake is like no other lake that I know anything about. It is an afterthought of Creation.

"The rest of this continent was made and had dried in the sun for thousands of years-for millions of years for all I know-before Reelfoot came to be. It's the newest big thing in nature on this hemisphere probably, for it was formed by the great earthquake of 1811, just a little more than a hundred years ago. That earthquake of 1811 surely altered the face of the earth on the then far frontier of this country. It changed the course of rivers, it converted hills into what are now the sunk lands of three states, and it turned the solid ground to jelly and made it roll in waves like the sea. And in the midst of the retching of the land and the vomiting of the waters it depressed to varying depths a section of the earth crust sixty miles long, taking it down-trees, hills, hollows and all; and a crack broke through the Mississippi River so that for three days the river ran up stream, filling the hole.

"The result was the largest lake south of the Ohio, lying mostly in Tennessee, but extending up across what is now the Kentucky line, and taking its name from a fancied resemblance in its outline to the splay, reeled foot of a cornfield Negro. Niggerwool Swamp, not so far away, may have got its name from the same man who christened Reelfoot; at least so it sounds. Reelfoot is, and has always been, a lake of mystery. In places it is bottomless. Other places the skeletons of the cypress trees that went down when the earth sank still stand upright, so that if the sun shines from the right quarter and the water is less muddy than common, a man peering face downward into its depths sees, or thinks he sees, down below him the bare top-limbs upstretching like drowned men's fingers, all coated with the mud of years and bandaged with pennons of the green lake slime."

It's clearly right up HPL's alley. Weird, ancient, apocalyptic sounding, filled with rustic scenes, and sets an immediate eerie mood. The explicit and implied racism is typical of the pulpish period.

[1] Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Scream Along with Me, 1967, (1977 paperback), Dell.
[2] Fishhead used from The Escape of Mr. Trimm.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Recently Seen

Inside illustration in Weird Tales.


Tsathogua Lives?

(c) Chris Perridas, 2006


Besides Frank Frazetta, one of my all time favorite artists is the late Virgil Finlay. The sketch below is modeled after a portion of one of his works of art. I dearly hope this rat is not in my walls and will stay firmly glued to the sketch pad.

(c) Chris Perridas, 2006

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Lovecraft Alludes to Einstein in Hypnos

"One man with Oriental eyes has said that all time and space are relative, and men have laughed. But even that man with Oriental eyes has done no more than suspect."

While we all have an image of the vintage pacifist, the WWII era, seasoned Einstein - Lovecraft engaged Einstein fresh and raw, right out of the gate. Relativity had barely been digested when HPL took it on and tried to merge it with nihilism and cosmology from his autodidact knowledge of astronomy.

I find it interesting in this passage that Lovecrfat centers on Einstein's eyes. Of course, the Orient is not China but the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empire occidental orient.

Here are some vintage 1922 snapshots of Einstein as HPL would have seen in science magazines and the New York Times.

Real biogrpahy amongst the pseudobiography of SooT

In the 1934-1935 Shadow Out of Time, Lovecraft opens up.

He wrote several drafts and there is much literature on this.

His first sly allusion is "After twenty-two years of nightmare and terror..." which would refer to the entry in summer 1913 into the amateur movement.

"...those who recall the newspaper tales of a generation back - or the letters and articles inpsychological journals sx or seven years ago ..." referring to the mid-20's Weird Tales stories.

"The press was filled with the details of my strange amnesia in 1908-1913, and much was made of the traditions of horror, madness, and witchcraft which lurk...". This is the period between Alchemist and Dagon and the intense mystery - even today - of what Lovecraf was doing all that time.

He tells us. "I would have it known that there is nothing whatever of the mad or sinister in my heredity or early life."

"It was on Thursday, May 14, 1908, that queer amnesia came ... sudden ... the collapse came at 10:20 a.m. ... I slumped to unconsciousness in my chair, in a stupor which no one could arouse me ... for five years, four months, and thirteen days." {i.e. Sept. 27, 1913).

"I will not attempt to tell much of my life from 1908 - 1913, since readers will glean all the outward essentials ... from files of old newspapers and scientific journals. I was given charge of my funds {true, C.P.}.

"I spent a month in the Himalayas {1909)..."

In 1909, a big Italian expedition under the leadership of Luigi Amadeo Giuseppe (Duke of Abruzzi) the grandson of King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy, reconnoitred K2.

"in 1911 ... a camel trip into the unknown deserts of Arabia..."

This refers to T. E. Lawrence in Arabia of that year.

"during summer of 1912 I ... sailed in the arctic north of Spitzbergen..."

The no-man land of Spizbergen was a hot bed of activity. It had enormous material resources of coal, and was a center of astrophysical research during the summer of 1912 matching Roald Amundsen's measurements at the South Pole - one of Lovecraft's heroes.

"ugly reports concerned my intimacy with leaders of occultist groups ... were doubtless stimulated by the known tenor of my reading ..."

a joke.

"In the summer of 1913 I spoke of returning to memories of my earlier life ... my reabsorption into normal life was a painful and difficult process. The loss of over five years creates more complications than can be imagined... what I heard of my actions since 1908 astonished and disturbed me."

This may be the most we will ever get out of Lovecraft who paced the midnight streets, suffered depression, and watched endless silent "movies". His heartbreak at not becoming an astronomer was devastating, and his second choice as a poet, also never materialized.

A few "puns" in Dreams of the Witch House

Continuing our deconstruction of DotWH here are some amusing asides.

We see as the story reaches its penultimate climax that we have a "Mary Czanek" which clearly alludes to The Terrible Old Man, To make sure his Mythos pals don;t miss it, he states, "...they had seen a crazily dressed trio furtively entering the dark passageway..." and finally, "formed terrible conjectures...".

Lovecrfat makes a clear error in his haste. As referenced below, a "black man" is Satan, and has no relation to race. However, Lovecraft says, "a huge robed negro {he should have said black man}, a little old woman in rags, and a younf white man in his night-clothes...".

The phrase, "...dark, livid marks on his throat as if he had tried to strangle himself..." seems a clear allusion to Stoker's The Judge's House.

Perhpas you enjoyed the Wizard of Oz-ish "who can say what underlies the old tale of broomstick rides through the night?" And earlier, "...the evil old woman ... bent back, long nose, shriveled chin ... and shapeless brown garments..."

The 1919 White Ship has, "In the land of Sona-Nyl there is neither time nor space..." [1] whereas we have here, "one might ... pass into a timeless dimension ...".

HPL's story of Rats in the Walls is slyly mentioned [2], "...Dombrowski must attend to the poisoning of those rats in the walls."

It appears that HPL made a natural division (a two-parter?)of this short novel when he summarizes the events at the paragraph "Fever - wild dreams - somnaumbilism .."

Lovecraft conjures Abraham and Isaac with "...a second later the downward motion of the knife broke the spell completely...". Cp. Gen 22 10. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. 11. And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham ... Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.

Finally, we are sure grounds of satire when Lovecraft invokes the grandmothers. "Joe knew about such things, for his grandmother in the old country had heard tales from her grandmother ...".

The telltale Loevcratisms are numerous. Abyss (innumerable times), cyclopean (twice), angled planes, octopi, peeling wallpaper, moss covered stones and phosphorescence, odd spellings such as "phantasies" & "phantasms", astronomical bodies (Hydra, Argo Navis), mention of elder gods (Nyarlathotep, Azathoth) and books (Necronomicon).

1 The Dreams of the Witch House, Penguin, S T Joshi, p. 445, n. 18

2 op.cit. n. 17

Walpurgis Night, St. George's Day and Blue Flames - oh my!

Lovecraft in Dreams of the Witch House has the rat and the witch hovering and tittering on Walpurgis-Night Sabbat. "Children had been taken that way every year since she could remember."

This is usually April 30th (the day before May Day*).

Obviously Lovecraft has playfully merged magic and quantum physics, and illustrates that the "violet" plasma opens portals - which I believe lightly alludes to Stoker's Dracula. It is a bit more explicit in Darcula's Guest (1914).

'Tell me, Johann, what is tonight?'

He crossed himself, as he answered laconically: 'Walpurgis nacht.' Then he took out his watch, a great, old-fashioned German silver thing as big as a turnip, and looked at it, with his eyebrows gathered together and a little impatient shrug of his shoulders.


Walpurgis Night, when, according to the belief of millions of people, the devil was abroad—when the graves were opened and the dead came forth and walked. When all evil things of earth and air and water held revel. ... this was the place where I was alone—unmanned, shivering with cold in a shroud of snow with a wild storm gathering again upon me! It took all my philosophy, all the religion I had been taught, all my courage, not to collapse in a paroxysm of fright.

However, we see in the comprehensive notes of Leonard Wolf's edition of Dracula [1] Stoker later moved the date to St. George's Eve (May 6) when buried tresure burns with a blue flame on this one night of the year. It is a staple of gothics (of which HPL loved to poke fun) especially Ann Radcliff and Monk Lewis. The swamp gas flourescense was known as ignis fatuus or fool's fire. In the US it is know as will o' the wisp. It appears this is a major means of Dracula's wealth and is a great obsession.

Subsequently, Dracula acquires a baby for the women to devour [2], though little is made of it in Wolf's notes. Lovecraft, influenced by Cult of the Witchcraft makes more of baby snatching.

"We are in Transylvania, and Transylvania is not England. Our ways are not your ways, and there shall be to you many strange things. Nay, from what you have told me of your experiences already, you know something of what strange things there may be."

"... I asked him of some of the strange things of the preceding night, as for instance, why the coachman went to the places where he had seen the blue flames. He then explained to me that it was commonly believed that on a certain night of the year, last night, in fact, when all evil spirits are supposed to have unchecked sway, a blue flame is seen over any place where treasure has been concealed.

"'That treasure has been hidden," he went on, 'in the region through which you came last night, there can be but little doubt. For it was the ground fought over for centuries by the Wallachian, the Saxon, and the Turk. Why, there is hardly a foot of soil in all this region that has not been enriched by the blood of men, patriots or invaders. '

"The Count smiled, and as his lips ran back over his gums, the long, sharp, canine teeth showed out strangely. He answered. 'Because your peasant is at heart a coward and a fool! Those flames only appear on one night, and on that night no man of this land will, if he can help it, stir without his doors. And, dear sir, even if he did he would not know what to do. Why, even the peasant that you tell me of who marked the place of the flame would not know where to look in daylight even for his own work. Even you would not, I dare be sworn, be able to find these places again?'

"'There you are right,' I said. 'I know no more than the dead where even to look for them.' Then we drifted into other matters.

1 Bram Stoker, The Essential Dracula, ed. Leonard Wolf, 1975, 2004, p.29, n7
2 op. cit. p. 53, n52.

*Just so the HPLblog is a one stop shop, "May Day" the universal cry for help has nothing to do with May. It is a corruption of the French imperative "m'aidez" pronounced mayday since the last syllable is accented, and it means "help me" or perhaps more litterally, "aid me".


There was probably not a fan in 1932 who understood what Lovecraft wrote when he babbled about bubble-congeries. It was another allusion to quantum mechanics.

Paul Dirac theorized that a vacuum was actually filled with particles in negative energy states (Proc. R. Soc. London A, 126, 360, 1930) thus giving rise to the concept of the "physical vacuum" which is not empty at all. Lovecraft would have seen an excerpt probably in Scientific American. He was a lifelong devotee of science magazines, and his fiction is always a dissertation of blending nihilistic cosmology and horror.

Lovecraft would have never mastered the math, but he grasped the philosophical points for the most part.

For more brain-splittig description read


Nooo, not an old Irish drinking song. It is an exotic metal.

Tellurium was discovered in 1782 by Baron von Reichenstein in Romania! Another cute, inside joke by Lovecraft.

As to the periodic table, Lovecraft knew of the Actinide and other series, but it was all very vague in his day.

A Dracula allusion in Dreams of the Witch House?

"But such naïve reports could mean very little, and Gilman let the cheap metal crucifix hang idly from a knob on his host's dresser."

Compare this to a few paragraphs of Dracula*.

She then rose and dried her eyes, and taking a crucifix from her neck
offered it to me.

I did not know what to do, for, as an English Churchman, I have
been taught to regard such things as in some measure idolatrous,
and yet it seemed so ungracious to refuse an old lady meaning
so well and in such a state of mind.

She saw, I suppose, the doubt in my face, for she put
the rosary round my neck and said, "For your mother's sake,"
and went out of the room.

I am writing up this part of the diary whilst I am waiting for the coach,
which is, of course, late; and the crucifix is still round my neck.

Whether it is the old lady's fear, or the many ghostly
traditions of this place, or the crucifix itself, I do not know,
but I am not feeling nearly as easy in my mind as usual.

And, in chapter 3:

"What meant the giving of the crucifix, of the garlic, of the wild rose, of the mountain ash? Bless that good, good woman who hung the crucifix round my neck! For it is a comfort and a strength to me whenever I touch it. It is odd that a thing which I have been taught to regard with disfavour and as idolatrous should in a time of loneliness and trouble be of help."

* One cannot think of vampires without Stoker. And Stoker's other claim was his homage to J S LeFanu and the Judge (Harbottle) who turned into a rat.

Psychic Lovecraft?

Dreams of the Witch House was finished in February 1932. It contained this sentence, "There had been a strange kidnapping the night before in Orne's Gangway, and the two-year-old child of a clod-like laundry worker named Anastasia Wolejko had completely vanished from sight. "

On March 1, 1932, the most famous kidnapping of all occurred - the Lindbergh 21 month old baby was snatched, son of Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh Bruno Hauptmann would not be arrested until Sept. 11, 1934.

The coincidence is uncanny.

Lovecraft, Bel and the Dragon

Chrispy recalls an ancient tale of the Apocrypha, Bel and the Dragon*, the world's first mystery story. Daniel (the prophet) is summoned for his wisdom by a group of exiles to rebuke and expose false gods. In many cases this fromed the 14th chapter of Daniel, and while we're not sure which King James Bible HPL read, it may have been the 1607 version witht he Apocrypha. The 1611 version (which most Baptists - HPL's family was Baptist - used) was stripped of the Apocrypha.

1:3 Now the Babylonians had an idol whose name was Bel, and every day they used to lavish on it twelve bushels of fine flour ... Daniel worshipped only his God.

One day the king said to him, “Why don’t you worship Bel [Ba'al]?” 1:5 He replied, “Because I don’t revere idols made by human hands, but only the living God who created heaven and earth and who is sovereign over all humanity.” 1:6 The king said to him, “Don’t you think that Bel is a living god? You see how much he eats and drinks every day, don’t you?” 1:7 Daniel laughed and said, “Don’t be deceived, O king. For this idol is nothing more than clay on the inside and bronze on the outside. It has never eaten or drunk anything whatsoever.” 1:8 Then the king became angry and summoned his priests and said to them, “Unless you admit to me who is eating these provisions, you will die! 1:9 But if you prove that Bel is eating them Daniel will die, for he has committed blasphemy against Bel.” Daniel said to the king, “So be it just as you have said!”

1:14 So when those people had gone out, the king set out the provisions for Bel. Daniel instructed his attendants to bring ashes and scatter them throughout the entire temple in the presence of the king alone. Then they went out, closed the door, sealed it with the signet ring of the king, and departed. 1:15 The priests, along with their wives and children, came during the night, as was their custom, and ate and drank everything.

1:16 The king got up early in the morning, as did Daniel. 1:17 The king said, “Are the seals intact, Daniel?” And Daniel replied, “They are intact, O king.” 1:18 It so happened that when the doors were opened and the king looked on the table, he cried out in a loud voice, “You are great, O Bel! With you there is not the slightest deceit!”

1:19 But Daniel laughed and held back the king so that he could not go in. He said, “Take a look at the floor and notice whose footprints these are.” 1:20 The king said, “I see the footprints of men, women, and children!”

1:21 Then the king was enraged. He apprehended the priests, along with their wives and children. They showed him the secret doors through which they were entering and consuming whatever was on the table. 1:22 So the king had them killed. He handed Bel over to Daniel, who destroyed both it and its temple.

Compare Lovecraft:

"On neither occasion, though, had Gilman been there; and when told of the matter he wondered where he could have been wandering, barefoot and with only his night clothes on. He resolved to investigate the matter if reports of his sleep-walking continued, and thought of sprinkling flour on the floor of the corridor to see where his footsteps might lead. The door was the only conceivable egress, for there was no possible foothold outside the narrow window.

"Meanwhile he would try to keep track of his somnambulism. As he went upstairs and across the garret hall he sprinkled about some flour which he had borrowed ...

"Opening the door, he saw that the flour on the corridor floor was undisturbed except for the huge prints of the loutish fellow who roomed at the other end of the garret. So he had not been sleep-walking this time.

"He had better, he thought, spinkle flour within the room as well as outside the door - though after all no further proof of his sleep-walking was needed. "

I suggest that Lovecraft lapsed and conflated the flour and ashes together of the story. This is an odd addition to this story. But it appears Lovecraft the atheist knew his Bible well.

* This is a two-part story. "Bel" or Ba'al is part one, and "The Dragon" is part two which leads to the more traditional, albeit retold tale of Daniel in the Lion's Den.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Violet Light

Lovecraft, ever the autodidact scientist, knew that the electromagnetic spectrum contained ultraviolet light and that this caused sunburn.

In 1801 Johann Ritter conducted experiments with silver chloride and a prism. He projected a beam of sunlight through the prism, which split the beam into the colors of the spectrum. He them put chloride in each color to see the outcome and the deep violet darkened the chloride. Ritter placed chloride in the lightless area just beyond the violet and it darkened as it were in a smoky fire. This was the ultraviolet or UV light.

In school Chrispy learned the acronym ROY G BIV or red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet as the colors of the visible spectrum (or rainbow). Botice that DotWH has "yellow, carmine (red), and indigo" (see below).

Just prior to Lovecraft's generation, most white American elites shunned suntan as a "common worker's appearance". This gave rise to "redneck" as a farmer who worked in the sun in a collarlesss shirt. In most Little House on the Prairie Books, we see sunbonnets used to keep skin white. The migration of many New Yorkers to Florida and other cultural changes reversed the effect and had many working class people pale and white (from working in sunless factories or coal mines) and the rich healthy and "Hollywood" tanned.

In any event, Lovecraft mentions in Dreams of the Witch House, "Once he met some friends who remarked how oddly sunburned he looked, but he did not tell them of his walk. ...

"He would be lying in the dark fighting to keep awake when a faint lambent glow would seem to shimmer around the centuried room, showing in a violet mist the convergence of angled planes which had seized his brain so insidiously. ...

"Brown Jenkin, too was always a little nearer at the last, and its yellowish-white fangs glistened shockingly in that unearthly violet phosphorescence. ...

"Looking up at the house from outside, he had thought at first that Gilman's window was dark, but then he had seen the faint violet glow within. He wanted to warn the gentleman about that glow, for everybody in Arkham knew it was Keziah's witch-light which played near Brown Jenkin and the ghost of the old crone herself. ...

"Gilman felt a nameless panic clutch at his throat. He knew that Joe must have been half drunk when he came home the night before; yet the mention of a violet light in the garret window was of frightful import. It was a lambent glow of this sort which always played about the old woman and the small furry thing in those lighter, sharper dreams which prefaced his plunge into unknown abysses, and the thought that a wakeful second person could see the dream-luminance was utterly beyond sane harborage. ...

"Reluctantly he continued up to his garret room and sat down in the dark. His gaze was still pulled to the southward, but he also found himself listening intently for some sound in the closed loft above, and half imagining that an evil violet light seeped down through an infinitesimal crack in the low, slanting ceiling. ...

"That night as Gilman slept, the violet light broke upon him with heightened intensity, and the old witch and small furry thing, getting closer than ever before, mocked him with inhuman squeals and devilish gestures. He was glad to sink into the vaguely roaring twilight abysses, though the pursuit of that iridescent bubble-congeries and that kaleidoscopic little polyhedron was menacing and irritating. Then came the shift as vast converging planes of a slippery-looking substance loomed above and below him - a shift which ended in a flash of delirium and a blaze of unknown, alien light in which yellow, carmine, and indigo were madly and inextricably blended. ...

"In the dazzling violet light of dream the old woman and the fanged, furry thing came again and with a greater distinctness than on any former occasion. This time they actually reached him, and he felt the crone's withered claws clutching at him. ...


Lovecraft wrestled with Eintein's theories. One, up until 1911, was named the "clock paradox" and was profoundly disturbing to most classically trained scientists. It goes something like this:

Einstein's theorem stated that two synchronized clocks A and B, are at the same place.

If B travels round a path and back to A, the clock B will run slow relative to A. Of course in the normal world of Edwardian America this was nearly impossible to detect. However, in the late 20th century, this was proved true over and over by rockets and jets and atomic clocks.

Behind this theorem is the time dilation property of Special Relativity which says this property is enormously enhanced by traveling near the speed of light (c=300,000 kilometers per second).

[After 1911, most people replaced the "clocks" with "twins" who age differently.]

In the 1932 Dreams of the Witch House we have, "Behind everything crouched the brooding, festering horror of the ancient town, and of the mouldy, unhallowed garret gable where he wrote and studied and wrestled with flgures and formulae when he was not tossing on the meagre iron bed. His ears were growing sensitive to a preternatural and intolerable degree, and he had long ago stopped the cheap mantel clock whose ticking had come to seem like a thunder of artillery... At night the subtle stirring of the black city outside, the sinister scurrying of rats in the wormy partitions, and the creaking of hidden timbers in the centuried house, were enough to give him a sense of strident pandemonium. The darkness always teemed with unexplained sound - and yet he sometimes shook with fear lest the noises he heard should subside and allow him to hear certain other fainter noises which he suspected were lurking behind them. "

Compare the 1922 Hypnos, "Then came one January of fog and rain, when money ran low and drugs were hard to buy. ... We suffered terribly, and on a certain night my friend sank into a deep-breathing sleep from which I could not awaken him. I can recall the scene now- the desolate, pitch-black garret studio under the eaves with the rain beating down; the ticking of our lone clock; the fancied ticking of our watches as they rested on the dressing-table; the creaking of some swaying shutter in a remote part of the house; certain distant city noises muffled by fog and space; and, worst of all, the deep, steady, sinister breathing of my friend on the couch- a rhythmical breathing which seemed to measure moments of supernal fear and agony for his spirit as it wandered in spheres forbidden, unimagined, and hideously remote. ... The tension of my vigil became oppressive, and a wild train of trivial impressions and associations thronged through my almost unhinged mind. I heard a clock strike somewhere- not ours, for that was not a striking clock- and my morbid fancy found in this a new starting-point for idle wanderings. Clocks- time- space- infinity- and then my fancy reverted to the locale as I reflected that even now, beyond the roof and the fog and the rain and the atmosphere ... "

In many ways, DotWH is an extension of several previous stories - Rats in the Walls, Hypnos, and even MoM critters make an appearance.


Lovecraft uses "Keziah" in Dreams of the Witch House as an archetype.

Interestingly, N. Hawthorne wrote a novel with a character of Keziah called Septimius Felton;
Or, The Elixir Of Life.
It was not published until 1883 by Una Hawthorne (his daughter) and Robert Browning.

"The existence of this story, posthumously published, was not known to anyone but Hawthorne himself, until some time after his death, when the manuscript was found among his papers. " She writes.

Also, an interesting element, "The house upon which the story was ... written ... made some additions to the old wooden structure, and caused to be built a low tower,which rose above the irregular roofs of the older and newer portions, thus supplying him with a study lifted out of reach of noise or interruption, and in a slight degree recalling the tower in which he had taken so much pleasure at the Villa Montauto. The study was extremely simple in its appointments, being finished chiefly in stained wood, with a vaulted plaster ceiling, and containing, besides a few pictures and some plain furniture, a writing-table, and a shelf at which Hawthorne sometimes wrote standing. A story has gone abroad and is widely believed, that, on mounting the steep stairs leading to this study, he passed through a trap-door and afterwards placed upon it the chair in which he sat, so that intrusion or interruption became physically impossible. It is wholly unfounded. There never was any trap-door."

Keziah is an Aunt who constantly doles out wisdom and arcane drinks to Septimus. In the end, "Septimius," said Sibyl, who looked strangely beautiful, as if the drink, giving her immortal life, had likewise the potency to give immortal beauty answering to it, "listen to me. You have not learned all the secrets that lay in those old legends, about which we have talked so much. There were two recipes, discovered or learned by the art of the studious old Gaspar Felton. One was said to be that secret of immortal life which so many old sages sought for, and which some were said to have found; though, if that were the case, it is strange some of them have not lived till our day. Its essence lay in a certain rare flower, which mingled properly with other ingredients of great potency in themselves, though still lacking thecrowning virtue till the flower was supplied, produced the drink of immortality."

Keziah is also a stand-in for Tituba, the victim of the Salem Village witch trials.

Tituba was not a Negro slave but from Arawak village in South America, where she was captured as a child, taken to Barbados as a captive, and sold into slavery. It was in Barbados that her life first became entangled with that of Reverend Samuel Parris. She was likely between the age of 12 and 17 when she came into the Parris household. Tituba may have served as his concubine. She maintained the Parris household on a day-to-day basis, so when Parris moved to Boston in 1680, Tituba and another Indian slave named John accompanied him. Tituba and John were married in 1689 about the time the Parris family moved to Salem. It is believed that Tituba had only one child, a daughter named Violet, who would remain in Parris's household until his death.

Tituba made herself a likely target for witchcraft accusations when Parris's daughter, Betty, began having strange fits and symptoms. Trying to help with her own homeopathy, Tituba prepared a "witchcake" (a mixture of rye and Betty's urine, cooked and fed to a dog, in the belief that the dog would then reveal the identity of Betty's afflictor). Parris was enraged when he found out about the cake, and shortly thereafter the afflicted girls named Tituba as a witch. Parris beat her until she confessed.

Lovecraft on Quantum Physics

"She had told Hathorne of lines and curves that could be made to point out directions leading through the walls of space beyond and had implied that such lines and curves were frequently used at certain midnight meetings in the dark valley of the white stone beyond Meadow Hill and on the unpeopled island in the river." The Dreams of the Witch House.

Of course, Lovecraft is alluding to Riemannian (as opposed to Euclidean) geometry and playfully merges it with pentacles and witches drawings of qaabalist sketches. Hathorne is clearly an allusion not just to the real judge, but to Nathaniel Hawthorne and his witch & "black man"* tales.

This is parody, but as I read this passage, it excited me to realize how often Lovecraft was prescient. Years afterward, Feynman would come up with eerie glyphs to illustrate quantum interactions.

Richard Feynman was a 20th century physicist who developed a "thought diagram" still used today to calculate rates for electromagnetic and weak particle processes. The diagrams provide a convenient shorthand for the calculations. They are a code physicists use to talk to one another about their calculations.

In Feynman diagrams Left-to-right in the diagram represents time; a process begins on the left and ends on the right. Every line in the diagram represents a particle; the three types of particles in the simplest theory (QED) are:

straight line, arrow to the right - electron
straight line, arrow to the left - positron
wavy line - photon
Up and down indicates motion
Any point where three lines meet represents an electromagnetic interactio

The most interesting is when an electron and a positron meet and annihilate (disappear), producing a photon.

* A "black man" is an image of the devil, i.e. Satan, and has nothing to do with race. Despite Lovecraft's elitist racism, this usage is consistent with seventeenth century understanding of witchcraft and is often used in Cotton Mather and transcripts of the Salem Vuillage trials.

A quote

The letter made me think of this passage from The Dreams of the Witch House:

"An even greater mystery is the absolute homogeneity of the crabbed archaic writing found on a wide range of papers ..."

Lovecraftiana: Ebay

Chrispy has returned.

Did you see this on e-bay?

Thursday, March 16, 2006


(c) Chris Perridas, 2006

"At length I emerged upon a tableland of moss-grown rock and scanty soil, lit by a faint moonlight which had replaced the expiring orb of day. Casting my eyes about, I beheld no living object; but was sensible of a very peculiar stirring far below me, amongst the whispering rushes of the pestilential swamp I had lately quitted."

- Letter to Donald Wandrei on 24 November 1927 a.k.a., "The Thing in the Moonlight", transcribed and added to by J. Chapman Miske in Bizarre, January, 1941.

Note: Chripsy is back from a long trip. I'm brimming with ideas for the blog, so stay tuned.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Angry Lovecraft

Recently this passage came to mind at the treatement of one of my stories ...

"But Hell and damnation! ... In brief, that goddamn'd dung of a hyaena Orlin Tremaine has given {At the Mountains of Madness} the worst hashing-up any piece of mine ever received ... I'll be hanged if I can consider the story as published at all - the last installment is a joke, with whole passages missing ... Venom of Tsathoggua!"

Amen, Mr. Lovecraft.

Note: Chrispy is away for a week. Please persue the 120 other posts in the meantime.


(c) 2006 Chris Perridas

There came to that room wild streams of violet midnight glittering with dust of gold; vortices of dust and fire, swirling out of the ultimate spaces and heavy with perfumes from beyond the worlds. - Azathoth, H.P. Lovecraft.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


(c) Chris Perridas 2005

An indication of my poor nervous health can be gained from my response to an odd discovery which I made ... when a gibbous moon flooded the mysterious hillocks with a curious pallor.

The Shadow Out of Time

Monday, March 06, 2006

Robert Bloch's The Unspeakable Betrothal

I know why Ech-Pi-El loved to browse used book stalls. I've found the most fascinating books. Recently I found copies of Karl Edward Wagner's 1977 Conan editions by Berkely Publishing.

And I obtained a copy of Such Stuff As Screams Are Made Of by Robert Bloch.

I won't go into all the gory details - and yes, very gory - of the story The Unspeakable Betrothal [1]. However, it starts, "Avis Knew she wasn't as really sick as Doctor Clegg had said. She was merely bored with living. The death impulse perhaps; then again, it might have been nothing more than her distatse for clever young men who persisted in addressing her as 'O rara Avis'."

We know immediately this is not Lovecraft. It has a female in it!

Lovecrfatian voices and shapes from other worlds eventually play into the story to a heinous end.

My favorite part, though, was a simple phrase I hadn't seen before: "... and now they would carry her ulnagr Yuggoth Farnomi ilyaa...".

Add that to your blackbook chants!

Between the covers of the original Avon Reader #9 lay these gems:

The Flower-Women - Clark Ashton Smith
The Night Wire - H. F. Arnold
Through the Vibrations - P Schuyler Miller
The Man Who Never Grew Young - Fritz Leiber Jr
The Man From the Moon - Otis Adelbert Kline
The Unspeakable Betrothal - Robert Bloch
The Stone Ship - William Hope Hodgson
Child's Play - Alice Schnirring
The Madness of Andelsprutz - Lord Dunsany
The Painted Mirror - Donald Wandrei

1 see Marc h 5 blog post for more on Bloch.

Gahan Wilson and Robert Bloch

Gahan Wilson has been a Lovecraft devotee for much of his life. I recently acquired a 1978 collection [1] of Robert Bloch stories and found these excerpts.

“Bloch started out, as did many authors drawn to the macabre, by selling [2] to Weird Tales Magazine, a unique publication now long since in its grave despite brave efforts [3] at resuscitation. Weird Tales gave shelter to such renowned owners of tripartite appellations as Howard Phillips Lovecraft, Robert Erwin Howard, and Clark Ashton Smith, and regularly provided a grateful nation the best all-round ghoulish read available on the newsstands.
“{Bloch's} earlier work was heavily influenced by Lovecraft, with whom he had a lengthy and affectionate correspondence. Their friendship also produced one of the brightest moments in the magazine's history when it published a series of stories written by the two in which they killed one another off with appalling ingenuity.

“Also, though Bloch has toyed very effectively with the scholarly recluse and the academic environment with which Lovecraft was so comfortable, he tends to gravitate toward quite another sector of the population ... a marvelous knack of conjuring up cheap grifters, sleazy wanderers whose heads are full of shoddy schemes for robbing their fellow humans of possessions or dignity, and who richly deserve the horrendous fates which Bloch lovingly prepares for them.

“Another, and totally unLovecraftian, aspect of his work is his preoccupation with that branch of demonology presently recognized as science, namely the varying forms of psychosis with all their strange delights.”

Then there is this extract from Bloch:

“And so will be the belief in ancient myths and legends, or the more modern mythology created by recent writers. H. P. Lovecraft was a twentieth-century materialist, but his wholly imaginary Cthulhu Mythos is actually accepted as figurative if not literal truth by some readers. My story “The Unspeakable Betrothal” derives from his earlier tales. I decline to take responsibility for the title which was tacked on by some editor without my prior knowledge and sounds like something dreamed up by the late Queen Victoria after a bad night.”

1 Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made Of, DelRey, 1979, Introduction by Gahan Wilson (August 1978) , Afterward by Robert Bloch. Includes the 1948 The Tunnel of Love published as Hell is My Legacy in New Detective Magazine; and the Mythos based story The Unspeakable Betrothal of 1949 in Avon Fantasy Reader #9.

2 Bloch says he sold 69 stories to Weird Tales.

3 Weird Tales is currently in circulation under new ownership.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Alex Kreitner: The Statue in the Garden

Chrispy and his allies have eyes, ears ... and tentacles ... everywhere.

The latest Terrible-12 slushpile survior is Alex with a Mythos story. Yay!

Here is a teaser, but for the rest go to and look him up. There are also many other weird tales mixed in with cutting edge horror. It's ... all ... free!

The Statue in the Garden By Alex Kreitner

The man watched the interrogation room through the one-way glass. His name was Lucius Armitage. Luke to his friends. The room behind the glass was a small, cramped room, with sparse furnishings that looked to have been used heavily over the years. A detective who looked much the same was sitting on a table, talking to the suspect. The file in Luke’s hands explained that the man was suspected of brutally killing both his wife and her lover. Luke could hear the detective talking through the glass, and soon he realized that the detective was referring to him.

“Alright,” he said, puffing on his cigarette, “this guy in the other room is a member of something called The Wilmarth Foundation. Which gives him just enough pull to get me to make this offer to you. But that don’t mean you have to accept it. You got it?”


Saturday, March 04, 2006


Lovecraft probably selected the octopus as the metaphor for evil - and for Cthulhu - because he loathed fish and considered cephalopods as vermin, just like rats, ants, frogs, or insects. That was typical Edwardian attitude.

He may have just been an unwitting prophet.

Jaron Lanier recently [1] wrote of several new discoveries about cephalopods and their intelligence. If life had gone differently, the octopus, cuttlefish, or squid might rule the planet today. This si exactly the sort of alien life form that Lovecraft might have envisioned - gods from the stars that were so utterly different as to blow our minds to madness.

Lanier: "{a} video was shot by Roger Hanlon ... a researcher at the Marine Biological laboratory in Woods Hole ... he swims up to examine an unremarkable rock covered in swaying algae.

"Suddenly, the rock morphs and reveals itself ... the waving arms of a bright white octopus ... squirts ink at Roger and shoots into the distance.

"octopus vulgaris is ... capable of morphing. ... they offer the best standing example of how truly different intelligent extraterrestrials ... might be from us. {Their} "pixels" in the skin ... are organs called chromatophores. ... as intelligent creatures cephalopods are the most "other" that we know; think of them as the dress rehearsal for the day we encounter intelligent aliens.

" {Another} of Roger's video clips shows a giant cuttlefish pursuing a crab. The cuttlefish is soft bodied, the crab all armor. {Cephalopods are incredible problem-solvers - Chris} As the cuttlefish apporaches, the crab snaps to defense. The cuttlefish responds with a bizarre and ingenious performance {of} psychedelic weird images, luxurious colors, successive waves of undulating lightning bolts and filligree across its skin... the crab is disoriented ... in that moment the cuttlefish strikes between the cracks in the crustacean's armor {and destorys the crab}.

"We can make new noises {with our mouths and vocal chords} and mimic existing ones, spontaneously and instantly. Suppose we {like the cephalopod} had the ability to morph? ... instead of saying, "I'm hungry." we might {"show" how to hunt a crab} ... simulate transparency so your friends could see your empty stomach ... I call this post-symbolic communication."

While Lovecraft lived generations before these advances in understanding, he intuitively knew that alien creatures would be as different from us as we can imagine. He pushed us to understand this by using a "name" like Cthulhu and making it unpronoucable to the human tongue- utterably alien.

In fact, we have many species that communicate non-verbally, vibrationally, via non-visible light, by pheromones, and other unique ways. These are the eldritch gods of alien worlds.

I refuse to eat calimari with the same reason I refuse to eat chimpazee or human brains - it is not right to eat intelligent organisms. So, before you take a piece of that calimari or even (as a recent episode of CSI:NY showed) eat a live octopus, remmeber the Rod Serling Twilight Zone episode To Serve Man, and refrain - before someone eats you.


1 Why Not Morph?, Discover, April 2006, pp. 26,27.

Lovecraftiana: McSweeney's "Cthulhu Calls"

Thanks to D. X. Williams' sharp eye on this one. It comes from the creative mind of Russell Bradbury-Carlin.

Teaser excerpt:

(Phone rings.)
SOLICITOR: Hello, Mr. Cthulhu?
SOLICITOR: Do you have good car insurance?
CTHULHU: I am an Elder God of the Damned. I don't need that simplistic mode of transportation.
SOLICITOR: Well, I understand that you, as an elderly person, must pay a high premium.
CTHULHU: Cthulhu does not pay for anything.
SOLICITOR: I am sure that living on a fixed income can make affording good car insurance a difficulty. What if I told you that I could save you a minimum of 25 percent on your yearly premium?
CTHULHU: I hate human scum like you. You know, I could transport myself through this phone line and reveal myself in all of my horrible grandeur—causing you to live in a world of constant nightmares. You would pray for a swift death at my hands.

More ... here.

To see D. X. Williams' newest story ... click.


(c) Chris Perridas

Falls of the Ohio, 2005


(c) Chris Perridas

Falls of the Ohio, 2005


(c) Chris Perridas

I've had feedback because people don;t always know when my photography is included in the HPLblog, so I'll start marking it as (c) Chris Perridas. Perhaps it will give you inspiration for a weird tale?

Lovecraft & Weird Tales

One of the better articles on Lovecraft and his writing is by JGW Russell [1]

This extract was interesting:

"{Lovecraft} seems to have gotten along splendidly with the {Weird Tales} magazine's publisher JC Henneberger and his first editor Edwin Baird, who basically printed anything Lovecraft would give them. ... the magazine began to struggle in 1924 ... and Baird was replaced by Farnsworth Wright. ...Wright was famously fond of rejecting stories on thier first submission ... {taking} a second look and then buying them.

"Lovecraft did not often give Wright his second chance. ...Relations grew more strained following Wright's rejection of Moutains of Madness in 1931.

"Yet there were few other options ... Amazing Stories had paid Lovecraft so absurdly little for The Colour Out of Space ... and he was horrified at the hatchet job on At the Mountains of Madness by Astounding Stories in 1936."

So there you have it. The next time you get down in the mouth about rejections and editorial grief {and Chrispy had has his fill of it lately} remember Lovecraft. He was paid little, waited years to see his stories in print, and no one appreciated him except a handful of loyal fans - who wondered - "Why doesn't he write more? Where has he been lately?"

JGW Russell, The "Art" of H. P. Lovecraft", Crypt of Cthulhu #105, pp. 24-29.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Lovecraft on Ebay

I'm amazed at the history and richness of the offerings on ebay. Everyday I browse over and my jaw drops at the autographs, early bokks, original art, and even a book fro HPL's library. In a quiet moment, I sometimes feel akin to the medievalists who desired relics. Some say there was enough wood from Christ's cross to build a fleet of battleships for the Pope.

Here are some recently seen items - if you haven't been watching.


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