Sunday, May 07, 2006

Little Known Lovecraft Event - cursed! by the pharoah!

From the eldritch pages of that rare biography by Frank Belknap Long, Jr [1] comes this seldom told story. Enjoy!

Lovecraft was known to be chronically late to appointments. In New York, he telephoned "Belknapius" to meet him at the Metropolitain Museum of Art. Belknap had to rush, as did they both, before the doors closed.

"There could be no mistaking Howard's swift, slightly jogging walk ... despite his geographic remoteness {as HPL sped down the street in his usal manner}." [2] "It was not a particularly crowded day at the Metropolitain Museum." [3] The Egyptian exhibit was to the right ... {there was no admission charge in those days} ... Howard became astoundingly eloquent. His erudition in the realm of Egyptology surprised me ... for the next half hour he conducted me on a guided tour ... talking continuously ... the we entered the tomb. It was ... the most marvelous of reconstructions ... it was then that Howard made a mistake later to be regretted. He ran his palm ... over the stone, in that most sancrosanct of mortuary chambers." [4]

"The swelling in Howard's hand did not begin until the following morning." [4] "... his hand swelled to twice its normal size. The edema ... turned ... Egyptian yellowish in hue ... for two or three days ... he was allergic to the tomb's porous, spice scented stone wall. Just how much Howard made out of this can readily be imagined." [5]

" 'There are certain people who are not permitted to enter ancient burial chambers. The old gentleman {i.e. HPL} is clearly one of them. A kinship was instantly recognized and resented. If I had lingered longer in that tomb, the slumbering malignancy activated by my presence might not have rested content with merely an attack on my hand.' " [5]

"When I saw him the following week, there was no stopping him from talking about it ... I had seen him rub his hand across the stone, but what of that? There was nothing, surely, to prevent such a presence from incorporating itself in the very texture of the stone as a malign, time-defying guardian of the burial chamber. ... nothing to prevent it but considerations of sobriety and common sense. But if it pleased Howard to ... engage in the sort of whimsical humorous pretense ... I was entirely in favor of it." [6]


1 Howard Phillips Lovecraft: Dreamer on the Night Side, Frank Belknap Long, Arkham House, Sauk Cuty, WI, 1975

2 p. 70

3 p. 72

4 p. 73

5 p. 74

6 p. 75

1 comment:

Julilla said...

That fires the imagination! Very cool story, I've never heard this one, thanks for sharing!

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