Thursday, November 23, 2006

Houdini, Lovecraft, and C. M. Eddy: Part II

OK, we see that at least by October 1923, Lovecraft knew Eddy. He quickly adapted a friendship that included rewriting Eddy's manuscript stories. Muriel Eddy, by 1961, claimed acquaintanceship all the way back to 1919 through Susan Lovecraft - Joshi vehemnetly disputes there is no evidence of this early relationship.

Lovecraft certainly has a great deal of contact with Eddy, though between October 1923 and February 1924 when he and Sonia run off and elope. Prior, Jacob Clark Henneberger and J. M. Lansinger founded (1) Rural Publications, Inc. in 1922 and selected Edwin Baird as editor, with assistants Farnsworth Wright and Otis Adelbert Kline.

Lovecraft sent Baird five stories (Dagon, Arthur Jermyn, Cats of Ulthar, The Hound, and Statement of Randolph Carter.) Lovecrfat had a brief letter appear in the Sept. 1923 issue, and then ended up in 5 of the next 6 issues from Oct. 1923 to April 1924.

Lovecraft, Edy, and Weird Tales seem to have quickly become knotted together in a span of several weeks. Life has its odd coincidences. However, recall that Houdini was tied quickly to Weird Tales, also.

"Ask Houdini" appeared in issues starting March 1924. Two stories (ghosted by Walter B. Gibson later of The Shadow radio fame) (2) appeared in March - July 1924 "The Spirit Fakers of Hermannstadt" and "The Hoax of the Spirit Lover". We see the "ghost-busting" of Houdini quickly at work. We have already seen a fast commission to HPL for the next Houdini story by the end of 1923.

Now we need to ask - was Weird Tales somehow a recruiting bed via Henneberger for his friend Houdini? be continued...

(1) H.P. Lovecraft: A Life, S. T. Joshi, 1996, Necronomicon Press, p. 296.
(2) op.cit. p. 328.

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