Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Black Swamp: CM Eddy And HPL Go Legend Tripping - and a Modern Parallel

On or about 4 November 1923 (1) CM Eddy and Lovecraft went on a trip to the Chepacet area. HPL and Morton had toured this area 6 weeks earlier. CM Eddy and Lovecraft - somehow on foot - follow the trail of "the Dark Swamp" of which CM Edddy had heard "sinister whispers from the rusticks".

They went to the town clerk who confirmed the rumors, but did not know where the place was. Farmers and others were contacted to no avail but collected rumors that "people entered the swamp but never came out".

Folklorists refer to this as legend tripping - an exhilierating expedition by (usually) a group of people to find some mysterious event or location steeped in mythology. It is also well known, by folklorists, that most of these are oral stories told as "having happened by a friend of a friend" and therefore are notoriously difficult to locate in real space and time.

They found a swamp on the farm of Ernest Law but were unable - because it was dark? - to enter and investigate. Lovecraft had nearly collapsed (2) and CM Eddy carried him back to a trolley stop. More Here.

Now, from Strange Maine & Michelle we read:

I was in the Strange Maine store the other day, interviewing Brendan Evans, the owner, for Angioplasty Media's upcoming re-launch, when a very pleasant older man came up to the counter. He was very happy to have found yet another classic horror film on Brendan's shelves, and proceeded to tell us a rural legend from his younger days.

He told us about a road that runs between Hiram and Cornish, Maine, that is partially unpaved, near the old Durgintown area. He swore that the locals from either town avoid that road when they are alone late at night. He claimed it ran through a bog, and that strange things would happen on the road from time to time, including the sensation that something was holding down the back of your car as you drove along in the dark, and that you were not alone.

Two of his younger coworkers had taken him up on his stories and had driven down the road very late one night (or early in the morning, as I believe it was after midnight). They thought they saw something in the bog coming out at them, and took off without a second look, terrified.Heck, sounds good to me!!!

Anyone else out there with any information about this location?

So !! here we have two wonderful FOAF legend trips over 80 years apart ! CM Eddy went on later to write a story based on this, and HPL did a poem shortly after this to commemorate the Fall setting.

1. H. P. Lovecraft: A Life, S. T. Joshi, Necronomicon Press, 1996, p. 307.
2. Chrispy has tried in vain to find out the weather report for this day. If it were cold, HPL could have been chiolled and collapsed - but it was likely NOT a frigid day

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