Sunday, January 20, 2008

Another Sea Creature Yarn: Cthulhu or maybe The Temple?

Lovecraft was a pack rat when it came to remembering and recalling at will arcane stories he read. Many he read as a child, others as a young man reading newspaper accounts of strange things. He dismissed anything mythological or unscientifc - but he chucked in the back of his mind weird things to recall at will.

Lovecraft would have read all sorts of eerie things as WWI ended. Here is an example fo the stories that would have made the footnotes in the New England and New York papers.

I found this in Frank Edwards' Strangest of All - a used paperback I found Saturday on the antiquarian rack. I paid $2, but that's a bit more than its cover price of 50 cents : Frank Edwards, Strangest of All, Ace Books, (c) 1956 & 1962. {The book acknowledges a january 1961 report from fate "Authorities Who Believe in Flying Saucers, which makes the latter date of 1962 more relevant.}

p. 136, 137 ...shortly before 9 AM on May 22, 1917, The Hillary was pounding along in a relatively calm sea off the coast of Iceland looking for some of the German submarines that had been playing havoc with British shipping. The lookout spotted a huge object rising to the surface less that fifty yards away, and sounded the alarm. Before a gun could be trained, the thing had broken the surface; instead of a submarine, it was some sort of living creature. In his report to the Admiralty, Captain R W Dean, RN {Royal Navy} included a drawing made by an officer of the Hilary and signed by all those who had witnessed the incredible thing. They describe it as about sixty feet long, with a long and very flexible neck and a head much like that of a cow. The body, which was clearly visible, was large and rounded in the trunk and seemed to be propelled by four paddlelike flippers which were round and quite stubby. The thing returned the astonsihed gaze of those aboard the Hilary and continued to float serenely on the surface for several minutes after the vessel swept past.

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