Monday, December 31, 2007

Rare images of HPL's graves (1979)

I recently acquired a copy of Fantasy Mongers 2 (1979) ed. W. Paul Ganley.
I include the text that went with the photos.

An inveterate graveyard walker himself, H. P. Lovecraft often passed an enjoyable hour or two with a companion tromping through cemeter- ies looking for who knows what --- signs of the ancient ones or merely observing the angles headstones take as they descend to earth over a hundred years and the color and form of lichen- oids they accumulate during the fall.

Over the years the pastime of visiting graves has changed. There are of course the familial reasons --- visiting graves to pray for the dead; the curious --- whose unconscious does not harbor dread Jungian death archetypes? --; the collectors of headstone humor (no longer do we talk to the living from our graves); and there are those who go to cemeteries because they are places of beauty. Swan Point Cemetery is a place of beauty and the location of the Phillips-Lovecraft family plot --- which brings us to another reason the living have to visit the dead.
In Famous and Curious Cemeteries (John Mar- ion, Crown Publishers, Inc., 1977), the author in discussing Lovecraft notes: "In the past, members of a family visited a cemetery for fam- ilial reasons. In the twentieth century most cemeteries are places of pilgrimage for those who, in essence, form a cult. Those who admire a writer, artist, or statesman make the journey in an effort to achieve some communion with the long-revered deceased."

Interestingly, there are 23 former Rhode Island governors buried at Swan Point but the only grave that warrants a map is Lovecraft's. When I went into the office to inquire as to the location of the grave the woman squealed, "Oh my God, it's spring again --- they're coming to look at Lovecraft's grave already."

Lovecraft grave watchers will notice that the photo of the Phillips-Lovecraft family plot in Long's Howard Phillips Lovecraft: Drecmer on the Night Side does not include the Sarah S. Lovecraft, Winfield S. Lovecraft and Howard Phil- lips Lovecraft headstones. Sadly, I can report that Howard's stone does not tilt at an eerie or obscene angle nor is it encrusted with lichens.
All in all, it's a good trip for the Love- craft devotee and I would recommend that one get the First World Fantasy Awards Anthology and consult the map on page eleven for other places of interest.

An excerpt or two from Mr. Dinan's cover letter follows.

Dear Mr. Ganley:
I've enclosed a tong photo of the fonizy plot which you can view beside the photo on page 188 of Long's Arkham book on Lovecraft to establish the placement of the three new headstones.
I've also enclosed .... a czose-up of the Howard Phillips Lovecraft headstone.
John Dinan

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