Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Coincidence? Did Lovecraft Describe a Seance In The Strange High House in the Midst?

Read the section just after, "the Elder One were born, and when the other gods came to dance on the peak of Hatheg-Kla in the stony desert near Ulthar, beyond the river Skai (1)."

Lovecraft discusses the use of knocking, candles, a table, prayers, gestures, glances, rapping, code, "horns", and gongs. All of these, especially the use of a trumpet to signal the arrival of the spirit ready to channel through the medium, are as if right out of a seance Houdini might have described.

Houdini's biggest challenge was Margery, a medium known to use nudity for distraction, and even hiding items in her body cavity, to produce eerie effects.

"Then the shadows began to gather ... under the table ... in the dark [panelled corners ... the bearded man made enigmatical gestures {perhaps indication of an alchemist, perhaps a medium} ... lit candles ... wrought brass candlesticks {again perhaps qabbalist, perhpas a medium} ... glance at the door ... a singular rapping {a clear buzz word in seances} ... a very ancient a secret code {while 'code' can be qabbalist, it is also an allusion to mediums} ... the sound ...conches gave weird blasts ...conches ... gongs set up a clamour ...".

On 9 November 1926, only a month after meeting with C M Eddy, Houdini, and Bess, and only days after Houdini's death, Lovecraft wrote this tale. He was deep in the midst of writing the Cancer of Superstition - and thus deeply in contemplation about it prior to Houdini's death.

You decide. the significance.

(1) This sentence is clearly recycled at the end of The Silver Key, "It is rumoured in Ulthar, beyond the river Skai, that a new king reigns ...". Ulthar was resurrected from The Cats of Ulthar.

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