Sunday, December 09, 2007

Lovecraft's Legacy: "Vampduster" Bob !

Bob was kind enough to send me some photographs from his archive. Below, his comments are in italics.

A number of years ago, my brother and his family had been on two of a three week camping vacation on the East Coast and I took a Greyhound from Madison (24 hours worth) to Providence to spend the last week with them. I happened to have Beckwith's book, Lovecraft's Providence & Adjacent Places.

so I took the book along and we checked out several of the places mentioned by Beckwith.

{North Burial Ground - -CP}

The coolest of the cemeteries I visited was the North Burial Ground established in 1700. At the time we visited, it was all overgrown with tangles of brush and low hanging tree limbs. We parked inside the entrance and hiked deep into the oldest parts. It was August and hot and it sometimes felt like the cemetery was closing in around us. I fully expected to see someone come shambling toward us and to hear a whisper on the wind, "they're coming to get you."
{Like this thing, Bob? ```shudder``` - CP}

There were some interesting headstones, like tree stumps with faces carved into them.
Here we are goofing around at the North Burial Ground

Next we went to the Swan Point Cemetery and had no trouble finding Lovecraft's grave.
{Look closely and you'll see the letters of Swan Point Cemetery. - CP}

That cemetery was disappointedly clean and trim (much like the North Burial Ground when I came back for another visit a few years later...bummer!) and not at all a fitting place for a master of horror to repose. The only thing that interested me were the huge gnarly trees just behind his grave. The roots looked like huge claws.
We walked through St John's Churchyard and stood before the "Shunned House." We also saw the home referred to as the "Archer Harris house" in his short story.
{Here is Bob's image from back then of the Archer House. CP}
{Below is a more recent image from the iternet. It's supposed to now be A Senior Citizens Program Center. The house (despite Lovecraft's claim) was actually built in 1896. "Hamilton House" at 276 Angell Street. Lovecraft declared in The Shunned House :
For my part, I was disposed to take the whole subject with pro found seriousness, and began at once not only to review the evidence, but to accumulate as much as I could. I talked with the elderly Archer Harris, then owner of the house, many times before his death in 1916; and obtained from him and his still surviving maiden sister Alice an authentic corroboration of all the family data my uncle had collected. When, however, I asked them what connection with France or its language the house could have, they confessed themselves as frankly baffled and ignorant as I. Archer knew nothing, and all that Miss Harris could say was that an old allusion her grandfather, Dutee Harris, had heard of might have shed a little light.
{Here's another scene of Bob in Providence. -CP}


Here's a picture of the Ladd Observatory we took back then.

{Bob didn't mention it, but look closely at the image below. OK, perhaps that is a blur on the film, but could it be the ghostly presence of the long dead emerging from their graves??? - CP}


Bob! Thank you for the tour of Providence, and the time trip back to an earlier time.


For an ancient image of the North Burial Grounds Cemetery see

For a short story about Lovecraft and Swan Point Cemetery by Tom Lera click here and one from Chrispy click here

For more on the Ladd Observatory see these previous HPLblog posts:;;;

1 comment:

Michelle Souliere said...

Thanks for the great post from Bob! It looks like that was a real adventure. Great inspiration and documentation. Time to buy a copy of that Beckwith volume for sure! :)


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