Monday, March 31, 2008

Sales Alert!

J sent this notice along. If there's something you've been anxious to get, now may be the time! Cool Cthulhu in the ad, too.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

A Little RPG

I've been diddling about with an RPG (role playing game) story(s) for some time. I haven't got very much of it done, still here is a little exceprt. I used some vintage images, including from Moses Brown School, to illustrate this portion of the story.

As I walked down hot street, I wondered how it could be so hot in May in Rhode Island? I missed air conditioning, but it would be decades before that would be invented. As I thought on those things, a noisy, belching automobile clunked down the street. A true classic, a 1923 Dodge four door with a top that looked more like something off of a buggy than a car top.

The car sped by. I wiped the dust from my eyes, and by then, I'd made it to the entrance of the school that was – at least would be in a few years – the Moses Brown School. Since it was a Saturday, none of the kids were around. I walked off the street, and our feet through the rough mown grass caused the insects to fly about in the shadows. One or two flew in my mouth, and I spat. At least the air was so much cooler in the entry way.

Ahead, a man was cleaning the gates, oiling them. I’d forgotten that people worked so much and so hard at such little things in (to me) by gone eras. All that rubbing, fixing, and work because the new plastics and alloys hadn’t yet been invented. Of course, if I didn’t find the fragment of Illatria where Howard had buried it, they might not be invented any way.
Earth would be a roasted, dead cinder when M'Cth was finished with it. He’d suck every morsel of information and data from us - from every epoch, simultaneously – which probably would take seconds since we were so primitive - and then crack open the surface of the planet in 2008 in order to find all the arcane books and scrolls left behind by so many races who have trod our planet. If the average man in the street only knew, there would not be enough institutions to lock up the spread of madness.
I had one chance, and I prayed that I could find the one item that Howard had sent us in search of.

The quaint open spaces of the school were something of another era.
I keep saying that. I must continue to remind myself that I'm in a different world, the world of my great-great grandparents. I must keep in mind that this is no museum, but that I was ripped from a halloween graveyard in 2008 and deposited here in 1923 by powers and forces beyond imagination. I look around at these people, and I think it could all end. So much history that will never happen for good or for bad. No Hitler or Bin Laden, but no Martin Luther King. No Kennedy assassination, but no Hiroshima. Is it all worthwhile, or should we just let M'Cth win.
No! We’re men, dammit, and we must fight. I have to fight.
Listen to me! How did I get so courageous? Me in my Jerry Garcia shirt and jeans?

The lawnskeeper in his horse drawn lawn mower keeps eyeing me. My God, have I been saying all this out loud? They'll lock me in Dexter Asylum! Still, let him eye me. It isn’t his place to stop me. I’ll just keep on moving – fast to the entrance. At least Howard’s coat makes me look presentable from a distance if not quite like a gentleman. It hides my shirt, and there's nothin I can do about the jeans.
School's out, at least. Fewer people to see me, and ask questions.
Kids, teachers, and schools. School chairs seem not to have changed since Socrates. Still Howard said to check behind the blackboard of Mrs. Williams’’ room, #17. How he would know this is amazing, but sure enough there it is - just as he declared.
I unscrewed the big screw with my flat head screwdriver, and out a yellowed slip of paper came. Dated August 27th, 1909 – Howard would have been just a bit over 19 then. He’d already warned me that he’d used a letter transposition as a precaution. It was a simple one: A=Z, B=Y, C=X, and so forth. I scribbled like mad with a pencil. Finally, it was deciphered: Look by the north edge of the cottage.

Now, the espionage was afoot. Luckily, the gardener and lawn man were eating a bread and cheese sandwich in the shade, and I bolted out of their sight, behind bushes, to the cottage. Once there, I found the location and before I could wonder at where I could steal a shovel, I saw a large flagstone of slate. I lifted it, and beneath it I cringed as the verminous worms and pill bugs and centipedes scattered. Amongst the creepy-crawlies, I beheld a rusting can lid. I yanked it hoping that it would not collapse and cut my hand. In 1923, I might actually die of tetanus. Inside that over-sized can, I pulled out a mason jar. It was was wax sealed. I broke the seal, unscewed the lid, and out popped a creased paper with a weird hieroglyphic language.
Howard would have to use it in order to seal the opening dimensional portal. I hoped I had time, but I could feel an electricity in the air - call it a 6th sense, or perhaps that I could detect it because I was a man out of time myself.

"Hey! You! What you do there?"
I nearly jumped out of my hide! I wheeled about to see a worker confronting me. The heavy Portuguese accent startled me for a moment, and instinct compelled me to run as fast as my feet would fly, yet holding my treasure tight.
"Stop! You stop!"
It'd been 3 years since I had run track in High School, but I was still in good shape, and I quickly out distanced the worker who chased after me.
I was on the street, but I never expected to see the thing that appeared before me. I froze as if my blood had congealed. This was not something I could outrun.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Spock's Brain ?

As the cramped plane jostled in the darkening night sky, visions of old television images filled the weary traveler's mind. He looked out at the wing of the plane and thought he saw a young William Shatner holding a revolver and firing at some greenish gremlin of the icy-mists. Which of the two laughed more madly could not be determined.

Glancing over the weakly lit pages of "The Whsiperer in the Darkness" the traveler read:

"Do you realise what it means when I say I have been on thirty-seven different celestial bodies - planets, dark stars, and less definable objects - including eight outside our galaxy and two outside the curved cosmos of space and time? All this has not harmed me in the least. My brain has been removed from my body by fissions so adroit that it would be crude to call the operation surgery. The visiting beings have methods which make these extractions easy and almost normal - and one’s body never ages when the brain is out of it. The brain, I may add, is virtually immortal with its mechanical faculties and a limited nourishment supplied by occasional changes of the preserving fluid.

He thought, "that cagey Roddenberry. He plagiarized again!" ("Spock's Brain" was a third season episode of Star Trek: The Original Series, first broadcast September 20, 1968. It was the first episode of a dismal, heart-breaking season. )

I read:

There, in a neat row, stood more than a dozen cylinders of a metal I had never seen before - cylinders about a foot high and somewhat less in diameter, with three curious sockets set in an isosceles triangle over the front convex surface of each. One of them was linked at two of the sockets to a pair of singular-looking machines that stood in the background. That tall one with the two glass lenses in front - then the box with the vacuum tubes and sounding-board - and now the one with the metal disc on top. ... I became conscious of a mixed grating and whirring from all three of the machines lately linked to the cylinder - a grating and whirring which soon subsided into a virtual noiselessness. What was about to happen? Was I to hear a voice? And if so, what proof would I have that it was not some cleverly concocted radio device talked into by a concealed but closely watched speaker? Even now I am unwilling to swear just what I heard, or just what phenomenon really took place before me. But something certainly seemed to take place.
To be brief and plain, the machine with the tubes and sound-box began to speak, and with a point and intelligence which left no doubt that the speaker was actually present and observing us. The voice was loud, metallic, lifeless, and plainly mechanical in every detail of its production. It was incapable of inflection or expressiveness, but scraped and rattled on with a deadly precision and deliberation.

Then the traveler thought of his blog. How easily Lovecraft's words, planets, dark stars, and less definable objects - including eight outside our galaxy and two outside the curved cosmos of space and time, could be reinterpreted into Fool, paltry and apish being, know not that I've traveled on planets teaming with swampish archaeae? flown by brown dwarfs! You know nothing of the mysteries of dark matter, and you should shudder at the creatures contained within dark energy who existed in those microseconds when your universe first formed. I've moved through the multiverses and past the 'branes which you so dimly perceive. Crawl back in your caves, tear down your skyscrapers, call back your space-probes of wires and metal lest they take notice of you and anihilate you like the tiny dust mites that you be.

Somehow, with all those fantastic blend of thoughts, the traveler dozed off in that greyhound-bus-of-the-skies.

Whisperer in the Darkness and Dagon

Flying to Newark, I read "Whisperer" again.

I got to:

As I have said, I did finally drop into a troubled doze; a doze filled with bits of dream which involved monstrous landscape-glimpses. Just what awaked me I cannot yet say, but that I did indeed awake at this given point I feel very certain. My first confused impression was of stealthily creaking floor-boards in the hall outside my door, and of a clumsy, muffled fumbling at the latch.

Are you like me, when I immedaiately thought: Dagon! My copy was Penguin's call of Cthulhu &c, which is beginning to be a little worn out from reading. I flipped to the ending of Dagon and read:

Often I ask myself if it could not all have been a pure phantasm -- a mere freak of fever as I lay sun-stricken and raving in the open boat after my escape from the German man-of-war. This I ask myself, but ever does there come before me a hideously vivid vision in reply. I cannot think of the deep sea without shuddering at the nameless things that may at this very moment be crawling and floundering on its slimy bed ... I hear a noise at the door, as of some immense slippery body lumbering against it.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Chrispy's Travels with H P Lovecraft

I thought I'd mention that I typically take a copy of Lovecraft with me as I travel in airplanes. He and I have seen rainbows from the topside; the deserts of Nevada; the urban jumble of Newark, NJ; the skyline of New York; and cyclopean Chicago.

I've thought of his father getting syphilis in Chicago (I wonder if it was during the Columbian Expo of 1893?).

I imagined the spawn of Yig in the black rock outside of Nevada.

I thought of the Kalems as I spied Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, and remembered fondly "He" as I came near Elizabeth, NJ.

He is a quiet companion, and thoughtful. I often get bleary-eyed at airports, so even if I just clutch myenguin copy of "The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Tales" he comforts me with his visions of eerie madness, as the airlines practice their own scheme of insanity.

Thank you, Mr. Lovecraft. May you and I continue to be traveling companions.

Robert Bloch's Mythos Stories

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Lovecraft autograph - to Sonia in 1922

{Look how early Lovecraft and Sonia are linked. The signature shows this is clearly a Christmas present. I suppose the only thing more romantic would have been a Poe book. I'm not sure I've ever seen Lovecraft write out Sonia's name before.}

The seller states: (Lovecraft's copy) Dunsany, Lord (Edward Plunkett). DON RODRIGUEZ: CHRONICLES OF SHADOW VALLEY. New York & London: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1922. Octavo, pp. [1-4] [i-vi] vii [viii] ix-x 1 [2] 3-318 [319-322: ads] [note: first leaf is a blank], inserted frontispiece with illustration by Sidney H. Sime, original dark blue cloth, front and spine panels stamped in gold. First U.S. edition. Dunsany's first novel. An episodic romantic fantasy, Dunsany's version of Don Quixote. Presentation copy inscribed by H. P. Lovecraft on the front free endpaper: To / Sonia H. Greene / from H. P. Lovecraft / Christmas, 1922." Sonia Haft Greene Lovecraft Davis (1883-1972) was introduced to amateur journalism by James F. Morton in 1917. Rheinhart Kleiner introduced her to H. P. Lovecraft at the NAPA convention in Boston in July 1921. Shortly thereafter a correspondence with Howard ensued, and over the next two and a half years Sonia visited Providence as frequently as her business schedule allowed. Sonia and Howard were married on 3 March 1924 in New York City and resided in Brooklyn. In the spring of 1926 Howard moved back to Providence and two corresponded and met intermittently for several years. By the end of 1928 Sonia must have begun to press for divorce, since she was no longer satisfied with a marriage by correspondence. Howard repeatedly refused to grant the divorce, claiming that a "gentleman did not divorce his wife without cause," but he finally relented. The final decree must have been issued in March or April 1929, but Howard did not sign it. See Joshi and Schultz, An H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia, pp. 59-61. Schlobin, The Literature of Fantasy 895. Bleiler (1978), p. 65. Reginald 04608. Anderson I.20.b.1. Joshi, Lovecraft's Library: A Catalogue, Revised & Enlarged (2002) 272. Some wear to cloth at spine ends and corner tips, inner rear hinge cracked, else a very good copy in very good pictorial dust jacket with wear at edges and dust soiling. (#109173)
Price: $3,500.00

Lovecraft Autograph circa 1906

The seller staes: (Lovecraft's copy) Dixon, Thomas, Jr. THE LEOPARD'S SPOTS: A ROMANCE OF THE WHITE MAN'S BURDEN -- 1865-1900. New York: A. Wessels Company, 1906. Octavo, original red cloth, front and spine panels stamped in white. Later edition. H. P. Lovecraft's copy with his youthful signature on the front free endpaper. An anti-Black novel Lovecraft most likely read about the same time he read Dixon's THE CLANSMAN (1905). See Joshi, H. P. Lovecraft: A Life, p. 71. Joshi, Lovecraft's Library: A Catalogue, Revised & Enlarged (2002) 253. Cloth worn at edges, lettering on spine perished, closed tears in two leaves of text (pages 91-94), hairline crack along inner rear hinge, a good copy. (#109172)
Price: $550.00

Fantasy Magazine June 1935

FANTASY MAGAZINE, June, 1935 Edited by Julius Schwartz This copy of "Fantasy Magazine", features the excellent four-page - "An Autobiographical Sketch of Stanley G. Weinbaum" - "I don't like Science Fiction ...there's one general weakness & one universal fallacy in the material today...most authors, even the best, seem inbued with the idea that science is a sort of savior. That's wrong; science is utterly impersonal"..........Then read why he "does" like Science Fiction. Ray Cummings is present with his very interesting revelation of "How I Came to Write Science Fiction" - "I saw an ad for Quaker Oats...." . Sorry but you'll have to win the item to get the punch line! Also Forrie Ackerman's commentary & news on SF & Fantasy in the media and as always, lists of books to read that may have eluded you from various contributors.Excellent copy printed upon pulp paper with slick paper covers.

Lin Carter discusses Lovecraft

{This is a great letter. I'll let the seller tell the story.}

The seller states: WEIRD TALES LETTER Lin Carter, Editor Yes indeed, Lin Carter edited "Weird Tales" in book-format for a time and was scouring the collections of all personages he knew that might have interesting unpublished material of interest to Lovecraft, Howard, and Smith enthusiasts! This letter to Roy A. Squires was requesting a copy of Clark Ashton Smith's story - "A Good Embalmer" after Squires printed it in booklet format. Squires never did print the story, but he did send a copy to Carter. An interesting letter in that Carter comments "Mosig & Chums always dump on me and Sprague for our detestable temerity in actually publishing books about Lovecraft, who is, as we all know, their personal private property." Carter is very honest though in that he states "Me they slam for good reasons (I am a sloppy researcher)"...and "my 99th book came out last week. That's more than Burroughs, Merritt, Rohmer (etc) if only my stuff could be about half as good!"A revealing and interesting letter upon Weird Tales stationeryThe original mailing envelope is also present
{In addition, the letter states that de Camp was roundly criticized for not being 100% idolatrous. The debate rages even today, with many people declaring de Camp's bio sub-par. You should be able to click ont he image an magnify it in a new window}

1933 Rare Lovecraft Artcile

The seller (epegana) states: THE NATIONAL AMATEUR December, 1933 Although H. P. Lovecraft had been selling in "Weird Tales" since 1923 his lofty reputation in the Amateur-zines dragged him back as the expert in poetry construction and inspiration. How HP could continue to read amateurish drivel and find something positive is beyond me, and exemplifies his qualities of patience & mentoring. HP devotes a page-and-a-half of advice that rings true today.These amateur-zines especially from the 1930's are not common and add a degree of uniqueness to any collection either in the beginning stage or the "completist" 'cause we all know you NEVER COMPLETE YOUR LOVECRAFT COLLECTION!Besides their literary interest, Amateur-zines will "survive" you! Unlike the "pulps" the Amateur-zines were printed upon quality paper.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Phantagraph November 1936

PHANTAGRAPH, THE. November 1936 (volume 5, number 2). Edited by Donald A. Wollheim. New York: Shepherd and Wollheim, November 1936 (volume 5, number 2). Small octavo, single issue, printed from typeset copy, self wrappers. A legendary amateur magazine of the 1930s. Includes "Harbour Whistles" by H. P. Lovecraft, the second appearance of this poem, part of the "Fungi from Yuggoth" sequence, in a magazine. Also present is Donald A. Wollheim's "Phantascope" column and "Phantastic Bread & Butter or the Mystery of the Missing Authors," an article on the poor quality of fantastic fiction in recent issues of WEIRD TALES. "Encouraged by the excellent material being received from Smith, Lovecraft and others, Wollheim decided to pattern the publication after the now-defunct FANTASY FAN... The quality of material used was very high, and in this respect the magazine easily equaled its ideal... Collectors who have overlooked this periodical have missed much indeed..." - Moskowitz, The Immortal Storm, pp. 30-1. Pavlat and Evans, Fanzine Index (1965), pp. 82-3. Wollheim, Operation Phantasy: The Best from The Phantagraph, pp. 9-14. Early issues of THE PHANTAGRAPH were printed on wood pulp paper and extant issues are generally brittle. Paper stock age-darkened, a nearly fine copy. Early issues of the magazine are rare, especially in nice condition. (#110516)
Price: $100.00

de Castro listed as founder of Sephardic Community of Los Angeles (1920)

Chrispy found these details on de Castro on line.

Communidad sefardi de Los Angeles, domingo, 1o de febrero de 1920 en Los Angeles, California -Walker Auditorium, 730 S. Grand Avenue a las 2:00 PM. Respondiendo al llamaniento de los presidentes Mandolino Levy y Jose M. Estrugo acudieron en asamblea general a las personas siguenComumdad sefardi de Los Angeles, domingo, 1o de febrero de 1920 tes

That is how the beginning lines of the first book of minutes read that fateful day of February 1, 1920, the historic day on which the Sephardic Community of Los Angeles (La Comunidad Sefardi) was founded, with thirty-nine men in attendance. The founders present at the first organizational meeting included Carlos Abolafia, Leon Anticoni, Solomon Beraha, Raphael Behar, Abraham Caraco (the first rabbi of the young community), Isaac L. Caraco, Maurice Carasso, Raphael Caraco, Nissim Cohen, Marcos Cordova, Adolphe de Castro Danziger, Harry Eskenasy, Sam Ezra, Jose Estrugo, Ovadia E. Haim, Jacob Haim, Jim Habif, Robert Hatem, Isidor Hatern (Hatem became Hattem in 1921), Mandolino Levy, Sam Max, J. Mazza, S. Mazza, Salvador Meshulam, Raphael Nahmias, N. Nissim, Jacob (Jack) Notrica, Sam Passy, Alfred (Albert) Rugeti, Isaac Raphael, Jake Sheby, Mordechai Sheby, Maurice Soriano, Saki Souza, Isaac Tovil, Jacob Tovil, Morris Tovil, Alex Tobey and Mordecai Zitoun.

Mandolino Levy was the provisional president for this very first meeting of La Communidad, as it was to be known, and Mr. Adolphe de Castro Danziger was elected the first president of the fledgling organization. Jose Estrugo was elected vice president and secretary. The minutes also note that monthly dues would be $1.00 for each member.

The leaders of the Santa Barbara Avenue temple saw the need to preserve the unique culture, heritage, and religious rites (minhag) of the Sephardim in an overwhelmingly large Ashkenazic community, as well as to help new families in the area and educate the children in the Sephardic culture. The following leaders guided Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel from its founding and during the time the synagogue was located on Santa Barbara Avenue:

1920 Mandolino 0. Levy (provisional)
Adolphe de Castro Danziger

Chris Powell's Bibliography on Adolphe de Castro

copied details:

Adolphe Danziger deCastro Publications and References
Adolphe Danziger deCastro Publications
In addition to his careers as a dentist, journalist, lawyer and occasional rabbi, Gustav Adolphe Danziger (known as Adolphe deCastro after 1921) was a prolific literary writer. Over the course of a sixty-year career his writing included a collaboration on a short novel with Ambrose Bierce, a collection of short stories, at least five volumes of poetry, four novels, a "photoplay" (film script), a monograph of Talmudic history, and a biography of Bierce. The following describes briefly a selection of his literary works in chronological order.

The Monk and the Hangman’s Daughter 1891
Danziger/de Castro found the story, "The Monk of Berchtesgaden" by Richard Voss, in a German monthly magazine. He translated the story into English then contracted Bierce to edit the story to improve on his "poor English" and prepare the story for publication. In October of that year, "The Monk and the Hangman’s Daughter" was published in serial form in the San Francisco Examiner under the byline "Dr. G. A. Danziger/de Castro and Ambrose Bierce." The story was sufficiently successful that it was republished in book form.
In the Confessional and The Following 1893
This collection of stories was published in San Francisco by the Western Authors Association during the period when Danziger/de Castro directed the company’s publication of a volume of Bierce’s poetry called Beetles in Black Amber. The relative success of Danziger/de Castro’s book over Bierce’s volume of poetry was one of the sources of difficulty between the collaborators.
Whisperings from Flowerland circa 1900
Although no other references to this are known, in "Portrait of Ambrose Bierce" Danziger/de Castro describes reading from this volume of poetry while with Bierce in Washington, DC.
A Man, A Woman and A Million 1902
Published by Sands & Co. of London, and listed in the British Library, it is also listed in the inside back cover of "The Gauntlet", "Children of Fate" and "The Hybrid Prince of Egypt."
Gauntlet, A magazine for the Honest 1903
Danziger/de Castro published a single issue of this magazine in Chicago. It contains a short story, several poems, a searing essay on philanthropic "oily hypocrites," among whom he includes Carnegie and Rockefeller. It also includes two other essays on anti-saloon leagues and the lack of enforcement of liquor laws in Chicago.
Jewish Forerunners of Christianity 1903
This academic book, originally published in New York, is a comparison, based on Talmud history, that points out the religious and ethical agreement between Jesus and the Jewish thinkers before and after him. The volume was republished a year later in London. The identical material was repackaged as "Jesus Lived: Hebrew evidences of his existence and the rabbis who believed in him" in 1926.
Children of Fate: A Story of Passion 1905
A historical romance novel set in Warsaw and the rural village of Dobrzyn, Poland in the early 19th century, during the Russian occupation. The characters struggle with inter-class and inter-faith relationships in an environment of strong prejudices. It was published by Brentano’s, New York.
The Polish Baroness 1906-7
Not available in this country, but on record with the British Library in London, it is listed in the inside back cover of "Helen Polska’s Lover."
Helen Polska’s Lover, or The Merchant Prince 1908
A novel of ambition, prejudice, and pride set in Poland. A stranger rescues a young society woman from a burning house then disappears. The book was republished in London in 1909.
After the Confession 1908
A thin volume of 34 poems, including 7 in German. The introduction claims that he had written them much earlier but that the original manuscript had been stolen. This was published, as was the remainder of his poetry, by the Western Authors Association, of which he was the business manager.
In the Garden of Abdullah 1916
A larger volume of 58 poems, including the republication of 27 poems from "After the Confession," omitting only the poems in German. The forward is a longer, more elaborate version of the introduction of the former volume, expanding the story about how the original manuscript had been stolen.
The Sephardic movement in Spain: A present day review estimated 1920’s by the American Jewish Archive
An apparently unpublished monograph on the history of Sephardic Jews during the Spanish Inquisition. It includes a review of prior authors on the subject, and concludes with a diatribe against anti-Semitism by American industrialists. The manuscript can be found in Box B-77-272 of the American Jewish Archives at Hebrew Union College in Cincinatti. It is a 37-page typescript, unpaged.
The World Crucified 1921
A photoplay (film script) in which Christ appears as a modern man, befriends a despondent man and inspires him to saintly behavior. Together they save several people from sinful lives by motivating their faith. Their benefactors include a greedy industrialist and his estranged daughter who runs a den of iniquity. Despite the modern setting and Socialist overtones, the dialog is stilted in the manner of early biblical films.
In a Spanish language pamphlet El Mundo Crucificado [undated] which announced a translation in Spanish of The World Crucified to be run serially in a Los Angeles publication called La Prensa a short bibliography is included. The bibliography lists several works already described above as well as:
El autor de "El Mundo Crucificado," has producido tambien "Memorias de un joven polaco," Vida Y Trabajos de Maimonides," "El Savat Espaniol," "Las Uniones y las Huelgas entre los Antiguos Romanos," obras escritas durante su estancia en Nueva York;
The 8-page pamplet was written by Danziger/de Castro himself in Los Angeles. In it he describes himself as an American attorney living in that city.
The Last Test 1928
Originally published as "A Sacrifice to Science" in the collection "In the Confessional", this version of the novella was largely ghost-written by horror-genre writer H.P. Lovecraft. It was first published in its new form in the pulp magazine "Weird Tales" in November 1928. It has been republished in a book of anonymous collaborations by Lovecraft called "The Horror in the Museum and Other Revisions."
Portrait of Ambrose Bierce 1929
Although this book, published by Century-Appleton, was one of five Bierce biographies that were published within a period of a year and a half, it is the most recognized of all Danziger/de Castro’s work. It received numerous reviews in the natonal press and has been a reference for many later Bierce biographies. The majority of contemporary reviews of the book were not entirely favorable, criticizing it for its factual inaccuracies and for being overly idolatrous. However, he purposely wrote more of a memoir of his relationship and interactions with Bierce, rather than a definitive biography.
The Painter’s Dream 1940
This thin volume contains a single poem having the same title. It is obviously war-time propoganda: the painter in question is Hitler and the dream is The Third Reich. An inscription at the beginning indicates that the proceeds from the publication were to benefit victims of the war.
The Hybrid Prince of Egypt 1950
This is another thin volume of poems. It includes the epic poem for which the volume is titled, that describes the life of Moses. It also includes "Song of the Arabian Desert." The inside cover of this volume lists nearly a dozen of Danziger/de Castro’s previous publications.

Sources of Information about Adolphe Danziger deCastro
DeCastro is known primarily through his relationship with Ambrose Bierce, thus the primary sources for additional information about him are Bierce biographies. His own "Portrait of Ambrose Bierce" is a detailed, if occasionally inaccurate, source because it was written as a memoir and contains as much detail about himself as about Bierce. In addition, there are a number of articles about him during his early literary career in central California and his minor roles in California Jewish history throughout his life.
Cummins, Ella Sterling. "The Story of the File: A Review of California Writers and Literature." The Californian Illustrated Magazine, 1893, pp. 320-321.
This article briefly describes Danziger/de Castro and his early literary career. It includes a portrait and a quotation for his article "Two Great Jews." The article has several factual inaccuracies regarding his early life and publication history.
Derleth, August & Wandrei, Donald, Eds. 1968. H. P. Lovecraft: Selected Letters 1925-1929. Sauk City, WI: Arkham House.
This book contains a letter from H.P. Lovecraft to his grandson indicating his role as ghost-writer of Danziger/de Castro’s novel "Clarendon’s Last Test" and criticizing its "dragging monotony."
Fatout, Paul. 1951. Ambrose Bierce: The Devil’s Lexicographer. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press.
This Bierce biography retells many of the stories from "Portrait of Ambrose Bierce" but includes many additional stories as well. It is an excellent source of references to Bierce’s San Francisco Examiner column called "Prattle" where he wrote about his relationship with Danziger/de Castro on several occasions.
Grenander, M. E. 1971. Ambrose Bierce. New York: Twayne Publishers.
This biography contains a few mentions of Danziger/de Castro, including specifics about his agreements with Bierce regarding the publication of "The Monk and the Hangman’s Daughter." It also includes a reference to Danziger’s consulship in Madrid, Spain in 1903. Of the non-contemporary biographers of Bierce, this author, by far, has the most negative view of Danziger.
Hart, Jerome A. 1931. In our second century. San Francisco: Pioneer Press.
This history of the San Francisco newspaper the Argonaut contains the most thorough account of Bierce’s disappearance into Mexico, including Danziger’s role in promoting his own version of the story.
Kramer, William M. "There Emergence of Oakland Jewry, Part IV," Western States Jewish Historical Quarterly, 10:3 (April 1978), 74.
This article contains a paragraph describing Danziger’s role in Oakland’s Jewish history.
Kramer, William M. Biographical information on Danziger/de Castro is found in the chapter by Professor Kramer in this book.
McWilliams, Carey. 1929. Ambrose Bierce: A Biography. New York: Albert & Charles Boni.In this biography, the author critiques several of the stories given in Portrait of Ambrose Bierce" as being inaccurate. It also discusses Bierce’s use of his column "Prattle" as a public forum for his and Danziger’s private battles.
Monaghan, Frank. "Ambrose Bierce and the Authorship of The Monk and the Hangman’s Daughter," American Literature, II (January, 1931), 337-49.
This article exposes "The Monk and the Hangman’s Daughter" as being plagiarized from "The Monk of Berchtesgaden" by Dr. Richard Voss.
Neale, Walter. 1929. Life of Ambrose Bierce. New York: Walter Neale.
In this biography of Bierce, Neale’s hostility toward Danziger is evident as he describe the interaction between Bierce and Danziger without ever mentioning Danziger by name. However, this volume is the source used by later biographers for one anecdote about Danziger as a witness in a court proceeding again operatic tenor Enrico Caruso.
O’Connor, Richard. 1967. Ambrose Bierce: A Biography. Boston: Little, Brown, and Co.
This is another biography that retells many of the stories from "Portrait of Ambrose Bierce" but includes many additional stories as well, including Neale’s story about Caruso. It also describes the Bierce-Danziger feud and its public carrying out in "Prattle."
Stern, Norton B. "A San Francisco Synagogue Scandal of 1893," Western States Jewish Historical Quarterly, 6:3 (April 1974), 196-203.
This article is a detailed account of an incident where Danziger was accused by synagogue members of publishing a story exposing an unseemly episode with the cantor, his wife, and a new rabbi. The article repeats Cummins’ factual inaccuracies, but is otherwise an excellent source of references to some of Danziger’s early publications.
Additional Sources from an unpublished reference by Maurice "Bob" I. Hattem, archivist of Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel in Los Angeles
Some of his other published works include, Went East in 1900 [in German] and Romance of Imagination. He also contributed as many as 1900 short stories published in newspapers and magazines in the U.S. and Europe. The American Jewish Archives holds his unpublished autobiography, All I Care to Tell, consisting of approximately 400 pages. The following are some citations from The Reform Advocate which was edited by Rabbi Emil G. Hirsch in Chicago. An exhaustive examination should be made on this source for additional bibliographical items prepared by Dr. G.A. Danziger. It is likely that some of the items below and others like them but unrecorded here were incorporated into books by Danziger/de Castro.
December 22, 1894, p. 290. "Some Talmudic Legends: Balaam." This is a study of the biblical personality of that name.
December 29, 1894, p. 306. "Some Talmudic Legends: Joshua." This is a study of the biblical personality of that name.
January 6, 1895, p. 319. "Some Talmudic Legends: Samson." This is a study of the biblical personality of that name.
January 12, 1895, p. 354. "Some Talmudic Legends: Samuel." This is a study of the biblical personality of that name.
February 2, 1895, p. 384. "Some Talmudic Legends: David." This is a study of the biblical personality of that name.
February 16, 1895, p. 413. "Some Talmudic Legends: Solomon." This is a study of the biblical personality of that name.
March 9, 1895, pp. 44-45. "Thought and Belief - A Friday Evening Talk." A psychological and theological approach.
September 7, 1895, p. 456. "Some Talmudic Legends: Isaiah." This is a study of the biblical personality of that name.
Danziger/de Castro was a contributor as San Francisco correspondent to The Jewish Voice of St. Louis whose publisher regarded him as "a keen observer and a sharp critic" in June 1893. There are indications that he contributed frequently at least between 1888 and 1893, often with lengthy series of articles (spanning weeks to months) on single themes. For example: "Extracts of the System of Jewish Philosophy and Religion of Maimonides" and "The Position of Laboring Men Among the Ancient People, Especially Among the Ancient Jews in Palestine" were serialized in 1888 and "The Story of Joseph, The son of Jacob: From the Legendary Lore of the Hebrews" was serialized in 1889. He also contributed a regular column "Golden Gate Notes" in 1891.
Danziger/de Castro wrote a report for the Jewish Voice which was reprinted in the Jewish Times and Observer on a conversation between famed Jewish-British writer Israel Zangwill and famed San Francisco attorney, Col. Henry I. Kowalsky. It was a witty conversation and recorded with wit. The article is preserved in Western States Jewish Historical Quarterly with a brief introduction by Norton B. Stern, in the July 1987 issue, pp. 315-318.

Adolphe de castro photo

This is a .gif - and the writer states: Typical of Danziger, the photo, from his book Portrait of Ambrose Bierce, is dated in 1908, at which time he was in Europe and couldn't have been photographed in California. I date it as mid- to late-April, 1906, shortly after the San Francisco earthquake. It apparently shows Danziger simultaneously celebrating the "loss" of his wife and children in the earthquake and mourning the loss of his extensive library and correspondence. Fortunately for the others concerned, "lost" meant only that they couldn't find him when he skipped to New York. Mrs. Danziger lived in San Francisco at least until the early 1920's. Danziger remarried in 1907 in Switzerland, apparently without first divorcing the first Mrs. Danziger.

Adolphe de Castro & Lovecraft

Lovecraft had little good to say of de Castro, yet in the circles de Castro usually traveled he was acquainted with many well known individuals over several generations. Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. was a notable correspondent and several of those letters are still preserved and images and text are on this blog. Over and over, Jewish leaders either tolerated or praised de Castro depending on how one reads the letters I've been able to extract out of the ebayeum.

Lovecraft's point of view and opinion tends to be a bit jaded. de Castro was surely an oportunist, but he had a very long career and publishers often wrote to him (including Derleth) and whether in newspapers or in books, he kept his name at the top of the mast.

There are numerous extant letters TO de Castro, though I've not collected any images of letters FROM him.

Adolphe de castro Letter (1953)

Your letter gave me very great pleasure, and I read your article on Toledo with high interest. I once _ (?) several weeks in Toledo. // When I happen to be in your _ (?) _ (?) I would be very _ (?) _(?) _(?) you. Of course, I would _ (?) _ (?) whether my visit was convenient to you. // With best regards and wishes, Lion Feuchtwanger.


Adolphe de Castro letter (1926)

"I'm glad you liked the speech. It is something in which I most vehemently (?) believe. // I am going out of town for about ten days, but would you call me on the telephone some time after the middle of June? //With kind regards, Believe me, Yours very truly, ...


Rare Arkham House related letter

The seller (epegana) states: SIGNED LETTER from NELSON BOND Letter dated 14 September '78 upon the author's personal stationery from Arkham House author Nelson Bond to bookseller, publisher, Roy A. Squires. Nelson Bond was himself also a noted bookseller & collector, being an expert in the fiction of James Branch Cabell. Bond was also a most intelligent wit & raconteur - not to mention the author of two Arkham House books.The original posted envelope is also included. {OK, this is a stretch for a Lovecraft blog, but still of interest - CP}

Golden Atom March 1940

The seller (epegana) states: GOLDEN ATOM - March, 1940 Edited by Larry Farsaci" Golden Atom" was founded by Larry Farsaci " supply science fiction fandom with something worthwhile, and if possible, alive and inspiring to think about." Larry Farsaci was not only an enthusiastic fan but a friend of Clark Ashton Smith and CAS published a number of pieces in "Golden Atom". Farsaci's essays on Fantasy & Science Fiction are well informed and worthy of reading even today. H. P. Lovecraft is posthumously present with his poem "Astrophobos". This is a good copy and although chipped, both covers are present. An uncommon HPL appearance. "epegana": = Terence McVicker/Rare Books1745 W. Kenneth RoadGlendale, Calif. 91201-1451telephone: 818-242-4818

Amazingly Rare Sonia Greene Ephemera

Amazingly, epegana is selling this item. What an amazing history to append to the Lovecraft biography. The image should open with a click. In any event, the address is: 368 East 17th Street, Brooklyn, at Cortelyou Road.

(FYI: There are a number of Sonia Greene surprises if you do a blog search on the HPL blog).
The seller states:

SONIA GREENE MILLINERY - circa 1924 Now here's a piece of extremely interesting and rare Lovecraft ephemera - a commercially printed "Opening" announcement for (Mrs. H. P. Lovecraft) Sonia Greene's millinery shop! S. T. Joshi, in his biography "H. P. Lovecraft: A Life", never found out where Sonia's shop was located, as he states - ..."I am not certain whether Sonia's shop was in Manhatten or Brooklyn, there is no city directory of Brooklyn at this time". - p. 335 Interestingly as hinted at in Sonia's advertisement, women's hats must've been prohibitively expensive for the middle class - "P. S. Last year's hats may be remodelled in today's flattering lines" - this also gives us a clear insight into Sonia's expertise that she was able to cut, resew and tailor an existing hat to suit the wearer's need.This ephemeral piece comes with the original mailing envelope - and please note that this one was never mailed because it was Sonia's copy and found among her few remaining possessions that had not been rifled thru by certain collectors in her later years just before her death. These possessions remained unclaimed by any of Sonia's friends or her daughter and the Convalescent home contacted Roy Squires that they would be destroyed if he had no use for them because they were taking up space. This may well be the only known copy of this fascinating ephemera!

August Derleth (1934)

The seller states the following about this rare item ...
AMERICAN POETRY JOURNALFebruary 1934Including the poem “Epitaph a Century After” by August W. Derleth – the prolific writer, friend of H.P. Lovecraft and co-founder of Arkham House Publishers.Derleth provides the setting for the poem at the beginning:Michel Brisbois, a Prarie du Chien pioneer, had himself buried on a slope far above the valley of the Mississippi so that he might look down in death upon the grave of his one-time rival, Joseph Rolette, another pioneer, buried in the city.A very haunting and powerful piece…AMERICAN POETRY JOURNAL (ed. Frances Frost)Greater New York City, N.Y.Copyright, 1934, by Leonard Twinem. 32 paged staple bound booklet in card covers.The covers are slightly chipped and starting to split – starting from the bottom up to the first staple – but the insides are still in fine shape.Other contributors to the journal include:John HolmesRobert P. Tristram CoffinGeraldine WolfHarold Lewis CookJosephine Louise ByrneJohn Murray Reynolds

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Two Lovecraft Symposia

I've captured similar images, but I di try to capture variations and as many extant copies as I have time for.

[Lovecraft, H.P.]: FRESCO Vol. 8, No. 3. Detroit, University of Detroit, [1958]. Slender octavo. Printed, stapled wrappers. Edited by Steve Eisner. Covers a bit rubbed, yapped edges lightly used, but a near very good copy with a few check marks in pen in the text.

The special “Howard Phillips Lovecraft Memorial Symposium” issue of the THE UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT QUARTERLY, devoted entirely to Loveraft. An early academic recognition of the author, with contributions by Fritz Leiber, Joseph Payne Brennan, August Derleth, David H. Keller, Samuel Loveman et al, and The Music of Erich Zann by Lovecraft.

"H. P. Lovecraft: A Symposium", The Riverside Quarterly, 1963. Panelist include; Fritz Leiber, Robert Bloch, Sam Russell, Arthur Jean Cox, Leland Sapiro. Annotations by August Derleth. Includes errata sheet.

The Lovecraft Collector

"The Lovecraft Collector" #3, Oct. 1949. Printed by Old Homestead Press, AL.Published by Ray H. Zorn and Troy Grove.Contains "Lovecraft's Astronomical Notebook" by David H. Keller.Single sheet printed on both sides folded to make 4 sided pamphlet. Very Good Condition. Rare.

"The Lovecraft Collector" #2, May 1949. Printed by Old Homestead Press, AL.Published by Ray H. Zorn and Troy Grove.Contains "Myths about Lovecraft " by August Derleth, & "Lovecraftiana Market Averages" by Ray H. Zorn.Single sheet printed on both sides folded to make 4 sided pamphlet. Very Good Condition. Rare.

"The Lovecraft Collector" #1, January 1949. Printed by Old Homestead Press, AL.Published by Ray H. Zorn and Troy Grove.Contains "About the Collecting of Lovecraft" & "Market Trends in Lovecraftiana" by Ray H. Zorn, also pseudonyms of H. P. L.Single sheet printed on both sides folded to make 4 sided pamphlet. Folded for mailing, Very Good Condition. Rare.

Rare Sonia Image

The seller (epegana) states: SONIA GREENE LOVECRAFT PHOTOGRAPH In her later years, Sonia Haft Greene Lovecraft Davis (whew!) settled in Los Angeles and finally died in a rest home in Sun City about ten minutes from where I live just outside L. A. This 5" x 7" photo shows a still vibrant and dignified Sonia in later years despite her walking cane, outside a Jewish Temple well before she became wheel-chair bound . A very nice image taken in the mid-late '50's. Images of Howard Phillips Lovecraft's only wife are not common!

Derleth Letter to Coye on Lovecraft Book

Seller (epegana) states: AUGUST DERLETH LETTER TO ARTIST LEE BROWN COYE - Signed // Lee Brown Coye in addition to being a prominent artist for "Weird Tales", also produced a number of striking dust-jacket covers for Arkham House books.This letter from August Derleth dated 19 September 1963 notes the publisher's indecision regarding a proposed volume of tales by H. P. Lovecraft to be illustrated by Coye. The book was finally realized from Arkham House in 1967 in a limited printing entitled, "3 Tales of Horror". However "The Inhabitant of the Lake" by Ramsey Campbell did not feature a Coye cover, but rather, one by Frank Utpatel. Brief letter but interesting reading with Utpatel woodcut illustrated writing-paper. Signed with August Derleth squiggle.

Rare image of interior of Weird Tales June/July 1939

The seller states: Reader Copy, 1 Old Pulp, no front cover . Volume 34 No. 1 , June, July 1939
The Stroke of Twelve by H. P. LOVECRAFT Almuric Part 2 by Robert E. Howard , he also does a verse .
I have no idea what "The Stroke of Midnight" might mean other than "The Stroke of Twelve" appears just prior to Lovecraft's poem. Thus, it's a double scribal error by the seller - a conflation of two lines, and a false remembrance of "12" with "midnight".
In fact the contents are more likely:
June-July 1939 cover by Virgil Finlay
Giants of Anarchy Eando Binder
Far Below Robert B Johnson
They Run Again Leah B Drake
Lens-Shy W M Clayton
The Sitter in the Mound Bruce Bryan
The Hills of Kandahar Robert E Howard
The Man Who Came Back Frederic A Kummer
The Stroke of Twelve Earl Pierce Jr
The Howler H P Lovecraft
Mansions in the Sky Seabury Quinn
Circe Edgar D Kramer
The Phantom Werewolf ???
The Willow Landscape Clark Ashton Smith
Almuric (Part 2) Robert E Howard
Headache Paul Ernst
The Death Watch Hugh B Cave
We Are No Other Than a Moving... Virgil Finlay
Celephais H P Lovecraft
Imprisioned With the Pharohs. Houdini (Lovecraft)
The Howler:
XII. The Howler
(first pub. Driftwind, 7, no. 3 (November 1932), 100.)
They told me not to take the Briggs' Hill path
That used to be the highroad through to Zoar,
For Goody Watkins, hanged in seventeen-four,
Had left a certain monstrous aftermath.
Yet when I disobeyed, and had in view
The vine-hung cottage by the great rock slope,
I could not think of elms or hempen rope,
But wondered why the house still seemed so new.
Stopping a while to watch the fading day,
I heard faint howls, as from a room upstairs,
When through the ivied panes one sunset ray
Struck in, and caught the howler unawares.
I glimpsed - and ran in frenzy from the place,
And from a four-pawed thing with human face.

Fantasy Fan November 1934

The seller (epegana) states: THE FANTASY FAN- THE CLARK ASHTON SMITH ISSUE November, 1934 Edited by Charles D. Hornig The Fantasy Fan was the best fanzine of its era. Only eighteen issues were published and so few people subscribed that only about sixty copies of each were printed. This issue was the fifteenth published and was devoted to the poetry & fictions of Clark Ashton Smith. This issue features the tale "The Primal City", essays "The Demonian Face", "An Autobiographette", "On Fantasy", and the poem, "Medusa". There is also the fourteenth part of H. P. Lovecraft's "Supernatural Horror in Literature".This is a lovely fresh copy that has been in my own collection for nearly thirty years. "The Fantasy Fan" is rarely found in this condition.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Image of Robert E Howard - Lovecraft's Friend.

The Strange Co. - The Arkham Sampler. Volume 2 no.3 1984. Fiction issue, contains 6 short stories including one by Joe R. Lansdale. Cover star is Robert E Howard.

Lobster Joke

OK, it has only a smidgeon of connection to Lovecraft, and it's corny, but I love it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Arkham Sampler 1983

The Strange Co. - The Arkham Sampler. Volume 1 no.1 1983. Cover has photo of William Hope Hodgson, contains a letter from Lovecraft to August Derleth, poetry by Olive Grafton Owen.

New "Twilight Zone" Dimension Sought

This report forwarded by T Peter Park. Lovecraft would be fascinated with this. I wonder at the stories he might write based upon this science.

New "Twilight Zone" Dimension Sought

Link: an episode from "Twilight Zone," scientists are exploring the possibility "that the universe has an imperceptibly small dimension (about one billionth of a nanometer) in addition to the four that we know currently," according to Michael Kavic, one of the investigators on the project at Virginia Tech. "This extra dimension would be curled up, in a state similar to that of the entire universe at the time of the Big Bang."The team of physicists at Virgina Tech is looking for small primordial black holes created a fraction of a second after the beginning of the universe that, when they explode, may produce a radio pulse that could be detected here on Earth. A black hole larger than the extra dimension would wrap around it like a thick rubber band wrapped around a hose. As a black hole shrinks down to the size of the extra dimension, it would be stretched so thin it would snap, causing an explosion, which would produce a radio pulse. Under a National Science Foundation grant, the Virginia Tech group is preparing to set up an Eight-meter-wavelength Transient Array radio telescope to search the sky for these radio pulses from explosions up to 300 light years away. They have a similar telescope in southwestern North Carolina that has been looking for events for the past several months.

Why search for extra dimensions? One reason has to do with string theory, an area of physics that postulates that the fundamental building blocks of the universe are small strings of matter that oscillate much like a guitar string, producing various harmonics. "String theory requires extra dimensions to be a consistent theory," Kavic said. "String theory suggests a minimum of 10 dimensions, but we're only considering models with one extra dimension."Some theorists believe the Large Hadron Collider, a giant particle accelerator being constructed near Geneva, Switzerland, might be able to detect an extra dimension. The Virginia Tech group hopes to detect them via radio astronomy over a five-year period, a much less elaborate and costly endeavor."If we had evidence there is an extra dimension, it would really revolutionize how we think about space and time," Kavic said. "This would be a very exciting discovery."

R H Barlow

Some have joined the Lovecraft Forum, but for those of you who haven't, we're having a wonderful discussion of R H Barlow's life. Here is some excellent background information by "obscurist".
Above, the image of his long lost cabin.
It begins: Bobby Barlow's father Colonel Everett Darius Barlow received a military homestead for the property near Deland and Mt. Dora, FL and the two story home with handsome cypress log siding was built circa 1933-35. One neglected detail about the area: Bobby's mother Bernice Leach Barlow, while reportedly having returned to the Leavenworth, KS area after her separation from Col. Barlow ca. 1936, returned to their Florida home, died there in 1962 and is buried in the local Seminole Springs Cemetery, Cassia, FL.


Monday, March 10, 2008

More Lovecraft Jokes

Of all the ones I saw, here's one of the better:

Man 1: "Have you seen that odd monkey-looking fellow Arthur around lately?"
Man 2: "Jermyn?"
Man 1: "No, I think he was Portuguese..."

More here:

It also had this parody ...

Cthuluesque Dick and Jane Parody

Googling tonight and saw a strange little site. It's at:

Here's probably the better of the several "Dick & Jane" parodies.

by Jay Mackley

See Jane.
See Dick.
See Spot.
See Fluffy.
See Dick's friend Sath.
See Sath draw on the ground.
Sath needs to have some blood.
Run Fluffy, run.
He escaped.
That was lucky.
Spot was not so lucky.
Splat Spot, splat.

See Sath start the ancient rite.
See Jane dance.
See Dick writhe.
See Sath change.
See Sath grow.
See Tsathogghua.
See Tsathogghua eat Dick and Jane.

Oh Dear.

Tsathoggua Report

OK, all you Bufotheologists - head's up! Ot at least be careful when you look down. Scientists have discovered the remains of Tsathoggua's kin.

Here comes Beelzebufo! The Devil Toad. A Fossil Frog From Hell. A Frog the Size of a Bowling Ball.

Here' s the story.
February 18, 2008
A team of researchers, led by Stony Brook University paleontologist David Krause, has discovered the remains in Madagascar of what may be the largest frog ever to exist. The 16-inch, 10-pound ancient frog, scientifically named Beelzebufo, or devil frog, links a group of frogs that lived 65 to 70 million years ago with frogs living today in South America. Discovery of the voracious predatory fossil frog -- reported on-line this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) -- is significant in that it may provide direct evidence of a one-time land connection between Madagascar, the largest island off Africa's southeast coast, and South America.

To identify Beelzebufo and determine its relationship to other frogs, Krause collaborated with fossil frog experts Susan Evans, lead author of the PNAS article, and Marc Jones of the University College London. The authors concluded that the new frog represents the first known occurrence of a fossil group in Madagascar with living representatives in South America.
"Beelzebufo appears to be a very close relative of a group of South American frogs known as 'ceratophyrines,' or 'pac-man' frogs, because of their immense mouths," said Krause, whose research was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The ceratophryines are known to camouflage themselves in their surroundings, then ambush predators.

"The finding presents a real puzzle biogeographically, particularly because of the poor fossil record of frogs on southern continents," said Krause. "We're asking ourselves, 'What's a 'South American' frog doing half-way around the world, in Madagascar?'" He said that because frogs "are not adept at dispersal across marine barriers, and since the few fossil frogs that are known from the Late Cretaceous in Africa are unrelated to Beelzebufo, one possibility is that there was a land connection between South America and Madagascar during that period."

Some geoscientists have suggested a lingering physical link between South America and Madagascar during the Late Cretaceous Period -- a link involving Antarctica. Antarctica in the Late Cretaceous was much warmer than it is today. "The occurrence of this frog in Madagascar and its relatives' existence in South America provides strong evidence that the supercontinent Gondwana 'disassembled' during the latest part of the Cretaceous," said Richard Lane, program director in NSF's Division of Earth Sciences.

Krause and colleagues have hypothesized this connection based on previous discoveries of sauropod and theropod dinosaurs, crocodiles and mammals in Madagascar that were very closely related to forms in South America. Beelzebufo is one of the largest frogs on record and was perhaps the largest frog ever to exist. The size and robustness of its bones and its relatedness to the rotund South American forms indicates it was also probably the heaviest frog to exist.

The size, girth, appearance, and predatory nature of the frog prompted its discoverers to call it the "armored frog from hell." They derived the genus name from the Greek word for devil (Beelzebub) and the Latin word for toad (bufo). The species name, ampinga, means "shield."
The largest living frog today is the goliath frog of West Africa, which attains lengths of 12.5 inches and weights of 7.2 pounds. The largest frog alive on Madagascar today, at just over four inches long, "would have been a nice hors d'oeuvre for Beelzebufo," Krause said.

Since the discovery of the first bones found in northwestern Madagascar in 1993, Krause and his team have gathered some 75 fossil fragments of Beelzebufo. Through the accumulation of these fossils, the team has been able to reconstruct the frog's skeleton, including nearly the entire skull.

Not only was the frog huge, it was powerful in design, had a protective shield, an extremely wide mouth and powerful jaws. These features made Beelzebufo capable of killing lizards and other small vertebrates, perhaps even hatchling dinosaurs.

The research was also funded by the National Geographic Society.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Rare copy of Tryout (June 1917)

The seller states: THE TRYOUT Vol. 3, No., 7. 1917Edited & published by the ageless indefatiguable C. W. (Tryout) Smith, "The Tryout" remains one of the legendary HPL amateur papers and HPL published more within its pages than any other paper. This issue contains Lovecraft's intelligent, canny , admonishing and neutering four-page response to attacks by "The Lingerer" editor, Rev. Graeme Davis upon both Lovecraft and the United Amateur Organization of which HPL was then President. "To refute Mr. Davis' none too generous suggestion that my own loyalty to the United is caused by a conceited desire to stand out against a background even more mediocre than myself , I need only mention the names of a score of fellow members to each of whom I can justly and and gladly concede the palm of vastly superior genius, scholarship and expression." There is also a poem by HPL alter-ego Lewis Theobald Jr., and admiring comments upon both Lovecraft and Winifred Virginia Jordan. Very scarce from this era!

Interlude: 1200-th post

I like to pause and reflect as I pass each 100 posts. The time goes by so quickly. Still, when one enjoys something it's not a hard task. I'm still astonished that my little "tuck it away for later" blog for my Lovecraft references has begun to accumulate such a wonderful readership. I continue to meet so many nice folks. I look forward to each new email sent, and I try to respond in as prompt a manner as I can. If it's a question, I make every effort to help.

It was January 25th when we passed 1100 and I believe the first blog post was 16 Dec 2005. So I guess that makes 1200 posts in 27 months. I have little idea where we'll go from here, but stay tuned and let's find out together!

As always, THANK YOU for reading. :)


Lovecraft's Legacy: 1949

I was able to obtain a copy of The Arkham Sampler of Winter 1949.

It's now weakly bound, so I almost hate to read it. That's one reason I sometimes shun buying a relic because I like to read things and share them, but if I wreck it by scanning or have an accident, I feel guiilty. :\

Anyway, here's what David H Keller says: At the Mountains of Madness ... currently available in Strange Ports of Call, ed. August Derleth ... one of the few science-fiction tales by Lovecraft. The Old Gods come from a distant planet to the Earth and create new forms of life. These work for a while as slaves, but finally rebel and drive their former masters into the ocean. These Old Gods also create man and start him on his heroic, though hectic career. Here is the struggle of good and evil; it can be considered the beginning of Lovecraft's thesis that forces of evil are very terrible and would destroy mankind if ever liberated. As this story tells of the creation of the human race, it is chronologically one of the earliest time-backward tales.

Wow. It is Derleth's magazine, but I'm astonished that in just 12 years, the dualism of Mythos was so firmly entrenched. In no way do I read this kind of thing into Lovecraft, however, Keller certainly had a strong opinion - the dominant one today.

While many mention Lovecraft in this same long article (A Basic Science-Fiction Library), only Wandrei also speaks at length about Lovecraft. The Outsider and Others, by H P Lovecraft, Lovecraft's tales are unique, in that while nearly all emphasize a mood of fantasy or horror, they are based on scientific fact or principle, the violation of which forms the story-theme. Lovecraft is the most distinguished literary name among the writers who could be classified equally well among science-fiction or fantasy. His short novel At The Mountains of Madness, is the only work whose cosmic-mindedness rivals {Olaf} Stapledon's, and whose prose style is superior.

Many mention John Campbell's Who Goes There as an instant classic. Not one hint at it's nearly identical concept and theme as Lovecraft's Mountains. I have been struck by it for years, now. The idea of an alien landing in Antarctica is so similar to Lovecraft, they could be twins. Often Who Goes There is considered the third of the trilogy with Poe's Gordon Pym and Lovecraft's Mountains.

Anyway, those are some interesting excerpts from near-60 years ago.

Stephen Hickman Illustrations

Lovecraft: The First Cousin Issue

Here in Donlad Clarke's biographical notes, we see Clarke's idea that Lovecraft feared that his grandfather and grandmother were cousins and that it was a stem of madness.

Whipple left teaching to build a mill in the western Rhode Island village of Coffin Corner, which he renamed Greene, Rhode Island. He married his first cousin, Miss Rhoby Alzada Place ... Despite Lovecraft's love for his grandfather and grandmother, their close lineage would become a source of fear for Lovecraft, a fear of the dangers of inbreeding, perhaps sparking his response to Cotton Mather's epitaph for his maternal ancestor: "'Hic Jacet GEORGE PHILLIPPI, Vir Incomparabilis, nisi SAMUELUM genuisset'. It is a cantankering sorrow of my life, that I am descended through another son than the more than incomparable Samuel!"

Marriage of first cousins has been recently studied by a number of scholars probably prompted by trying to understand the marriage practices of the Middle East now that America has decided to become a new Imperial power there. A recent book (Forbidden Relatives, Martin Ottenheimer) on consanguinity by a sociologist indicates that these were a late nineteenth century enforcement. Cousin marriage was seen as step towards a "less developed" or "more barbarous" level of human society. States entering the Union prior to about 1860 did not have laws against cousin marriage. Those afterwards, did. Nancy Fix Anderson of Tulane University recently authored an article: Cousin marriage, a common practice among preindustrial propertied classes and usually arranged by the families for economic reasons, continued as a marriage pattern among middle-class Victorians, for whom individual choice based on romantic love was the appropriate criterion for the selection of a marriage partner.

Clearly this is incorrect. A famous example is Charles Darwin who married a first cousin with healthy and bright progeny. There seems little effect that marriage by cousins will cause an issue. It is a common practice in many areas where arranged marriages are critical to maintain tribal peace and political tranquility.

Still, we can read Consanguineous Marriages in the American Population byGeorge B. Louis Arner (1908) "The problems to be considered are not only those which relate primarily tothe individual and secondarily to the race, such as the supposedeffect of blood relationship in the parents upon the health andcondition of the offspring; but also the effect, if any, which such marriages have upon the birth-rate, upon the proportion of the sexes at birth, and the most fundamental problem of all, the relativefrequency with which consanguineous marriages take place in a givencommunity." For instance, Rhode Island which had a high incidence of consanguinity was stated to have a very high male predominance. If so, it didn't happen between Whipple and Rhoby who had three daughters and one son.

Despite all this, I find no evidence (yet) that Lovecraft was a bit concerned. I do continue to look, but I think too much is derived from the fiction in The Shunned House, specifically: The shunned house, it seems, was first inhabited by William Harris and his wife Rhoby Dexter ... the widowed Rhoby Harris never recovered from the shock of her husband's death, and the passing of her firstborn Elkanah two years later was the final blow to her reason. In 1768 she fell victim to a mild form of insanity, and was thereafter confined to the upper part of the house ...

Lovecraft certainly underwent a series of traumatic family tragedies which would affect anyone and in many possible ways. Still, I can find no hint of concern by Lovecraft for his grandparents marriage.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

The significance of "weeds" in Lovecraft

In Lovecraft's fiction, weeds are important. I believe they signify decay and intrusion. In Lovecraft's fiction, the protagonist is usually a thinly described version of Lovecraft. That person is erudite, but contrasts with another character - a straw man to whom much mischief happens. In doing so, the watcher, the protagonist studies the straw man, as a scientist might a lab rat. Lovecraft is always scientific in approach, and the protagonist is often a Naturalist, Scientist, Folk Lorist, or other professional.

One of two things happens. The character either has the correct training and breeding, and transcends the madness. Richard Pickman, Kuranes, and Randolph Carter are in that vein. If the character is not well bred, no erudite, not prepared, then the madness consumes and destroys the victim. This happens in He, The Strange High House in the Mist, and many others.

I focus here on The Statement of Randoph Carter (1919), Nyarlathotep (Nov 1920), Celephais (Dec 1920), and The Picture in the House (Dec 1920)

A writer may choose any illustrative content, any metaphor, any cluster of words to convey a meaning. Lovecraft went to his well and his muse came up with a number of stereotypical formulae. Weeds were one of those.

Here are specific passages that breed eeriness and dread, decay and rot.

TSRC: ancient cemetery ... overgrown with rank grass, moss, and curious creeping weeds ... all crumbling, moss grown, and moisture-stained, and partly concealed by the gross luxuriance of the unhealthy vegetation.

N: ... the pavement and found the blocks loose and displaced by grass ... a weed-choked subway entrance ...

C: ... In the streets were spears of long grass ... the stagnation of the reedy river ...

TPITH: ...the walks were indeed overgrown with weeds ... rough mossy rock ...

In each of these cases, overgrown grass, or reed-choked streams, moss, and "unhealthy vegetation" is used to heighten the mood. In semiotics the "signifier"is the form in which the "sign" takes. The "signified" is the concept.

In Celephais the term grass is used in a very different context, and does not fit this signified. : But this time he was not snatched away, and like a winged being settled gradually over a grassy hillside til finally his feet rested gently on the turf. He had indeed come back to the Valley of Ooth-Nargai and the splendid city of Celephais. Down the hill amid scented grasses and brilliant flowers walked Kuranes, over the bubbling Naraxa on the small wooden bridge where he had carved his name so many years ago, and through the whispering grove to the great stone bridge by the city gate.

Here, the language of "grass" is used in a cultivated manner. It's controlled, it's refined, and it's beautiful. It's quite unusual for Lovecraft to speak in a non-decadent format, and the contrast between the two could not be stronger.

Here we easily see that Lovecraft has an axe to grind. The common population is unlearned, unrefined, and basically riff-raff. He clearly states in his unguarded moments that immigrants and unrepentant and unconverted individuals have no place in his world, his new order. They can't survive the transition through madness, and the rightfully are destroyed.

In the 21st century, we have grown to respect swamps as wet lands, frogs, insects, and crawfish as bilogical agents in a healthy biodiversity. Not so, Lovecraft. They are vermin to set traps for, to drain dry, to exterpiate and exterminate. So Lovecraft reaches for vermin and unkemptness as semiotic metaphors - perhaps subliminal - to get the point across.

In 1919-1921 he has not yet found a full expression of these concepts, but he reaches for a series of semiotic expressives, and we'll explore many of these soon. Some of them are the use of astronomical bodies, particularly the moon. Windows and window panes. Blackness, darkness, and particularly depths which I believe may stem from his Grandmother Rhoby's funeral and burial.

Autumn 1948 Arkham Sampler

The seller states: THE ARKHAM SAMPLER. Autumn, 1948. Sauk City, Wisconsin. Arkham House Publishers. Edited by August Derleth. 100 pages ( complete). Bound in original stiff wrappers. In Very Good Condition with the usual rust spots from the staples . The small stains ( pictured in my scans). Only appear on the gutters inside the front cover and in the gutters on back of the title page, the rest of the publication is free of them. The Covers have not faded and are clean.

Only 8 Numbers of this important magazine were published by Arkham House from 1948 to 1949. This is Volume One, Number Four. It contains the conclusion of the DREAM-QUEST OF THE UNKNOWN KADATH, written by H.P. Lovecraft. It also has works by Robert Bloch, Lord Dunsany, August Derleth, Clark Ashton Smith and others ( see my photo scan for the front of the title page. In addition there are sections on Editorial Comments and Books of the Quarter ( good reviews of works by Arthur Machen, John Campbell and others).

Lovecraft's Legacy (1987)

FuBar : A Periodical
Howard Phillips Lovecraft interest
Said to be one of 200 copies printed.

Published in Canada by Soft Books of Toronto in April 1987, limited to 200 copies, 37 printed pages, 8 1/2 by 11.00, side stapled, illustrated gray card cover, A revised, expanded and up-dated reprint of FuBar 1 and the first edition thus.

Contents: Front Cover: "The Keeper of the Hourglass" by Brenda Neufeld. / Frontispiece: Untitled. / The Editor's Rite with illustration of FuBar by Roger Stewart. / The Lovecraftian 1940 - 1941. / The Lovecraft Collector 1949 includes two letters from the editor Ray H. Zorn. / Illustration: "Mr. Bernard Thornapple and his Death Ray 1886" by Roger Stewart. / The Lovecraft Collectors Library 1952 - 1955. / Illustration: "Wilmarth" by Brenda Neufeld. / The Lovecraftsman 1963 - 1965. / Illustration: Untitled by Roger Stewart. / Nyctalops 1970 - 1983. / Illustration: "Road Warrior meets Frog" by Roger Stewart. / The Dark Brotherhood Journal and Newsletter 1971 - 1973 a long article by R. Boerem. / The Dark Brotherhood Journal and Newsletter a Chronological Listing by R. Boerem and Bell. / Journal of the HPL Society 1976 - 1979. / Illustration "Night Eel" by Roger Stewart. / Lovecraft Studies 1979 -1987. / Crypt of Cthulhu 1981 - 1987. / Dagon 1983 - 1987 / FuBar 1983 - 1987. / Les Bibliotheques 1984 - 1987 / Back Cover blank.

Full bibliographical listings are given for each of the fanzines given in bold in the contents above.

Issued as FuBar 6, volume 4, number 1. Also although not stated this was issued as Soft Books Publication number twenty three.

A moment in time: Nov & Dec 1920

Late 1920. Lovecraft was spontaneously combusting with new visions, and burst to put them down on paper. Nyarlathotep and Celephais have very different dream-plots, but don't let that fool you. The writer was struggling to say things.

I've placed elements of both below so that you can see that Lovecraft is trying to blend his nightmares with scientific cosmology.

... out of the abysses between the stars swept chill currents that made men shiver in dark and lonely places. I believe we felt something coming down from the greenish moon, for when we began to depend on its light we drifted into curious involuntary marching formations and seemed to know our destinations though we dared not think of them. ... a sickened, sensitive shadow writhing in hands that are not hands, and whirled blindly past ghastly midnights of rotting creation, corpses of dead worlds with sores that were cities, charnel winds that brush the pallid stars and make them flicker low.

... he had been drawn down a lane that led off from the village street toward the channel cliffs, and had come to the end of things to the precipice and the abyss where all the village and all the world fell abruptly into the unechoing emptiness of infinity, and where even the sky ahead was empty and unlit by the crumbling moon and the peering stars. Faith had urged him on, over the precipice and into the gulf, where he had floated down, down, down; past dark, shapeless, undreamed dreams, faintly glowing spheres that may have been partly dreamed dreams, and laughing winged things that seemed to mock the dreamers of all the worlds. ... As before, he dreamed first of the village that was asleep or dead, and of the abyss down which one must float silently ... the lane that ends in the abyss of dreams ... The abyss was a seething chaos of roseate and cerulean splendour ...

And witht hat being said, can we make another connection?

Is King Kynaratholis somewhat akin to Nyarlathotep, only by a different name? The letters and semiotic parsing are very, very similar.

Kyn // ar // ath // olis
Ny // ar // lat // hotep

'Branes and the Lovecraft Mythos

Frequent readers usually know I don't blog a lot about the Mythos per se. I do use it in my fiction, but less so in the blog. A lot of that is becasue I'm not keen on the duality of the modern Mythos, and of the practioners of the Mythos theories, I'm a lonely voice believing that it would need to be redefined to be relevant to the 21st century. Eh.

All that said, I just read a cool article in April 2008 Discovery Magazine. Take a look if you get a chance - reading it at the bookstore will cost $0.

Paul Steinhardt and Neil Turok had a revelation in summer 1999. If string theory were correct (who knows?) then was there meaning before the Big Bang? In fact, after a few years of noodling on this, a circle of physicists came to believe that in the 10 dimensions that string theory postulates, the Big Bang was in reality a collision of a 3-d wisp thin-membrane that floats and wriggles within "the Big Bulk".

When these thin membranes ('Branes) touch - collide - then a big bang cycle starts. The math postulates that they are instantaneous bursts of energy that quickly cool to form matter - that is dark energy, dark matter, which decays to Hydrogen, and subsequently forms all the elements and particles and quarks of star dust and galaxies we are so familiar with. As Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young say: We are "star dust". In other words, we are the ash, the dust bin of the Big Bang. Lovecraft would understand THAT!

Back to the story, more math shows that the "universe" (one-verse) is created from that Big Bang cycle. As entropy increases, after a trillion years, the elasticity of the 'Brane contracts and the 'Brane is pulled back. The reverberations of that contraction causes, elsewhere, a new collision to occur. Over and over and over forever.

(Don't ask where the Big Bulk comes from, check back in the 23rd century when we figure that out.)

I say all that to say this:

In one universe, once upon a time, a long, long time ago, a race of beings realized all this and in their pursuit for immortality they learned to transcend - to jump from collision to collision in order to buy more time to learn the full meaning of - well existence. From this came their madness.

Along the way, in these quintillions of collisions, more races also learned this technique and the conflict was on. There could only be one winner, and everything else was crushed under their heels in order to achieve ultimate meaning. What were biological units? Pshaw. What were planets. Mwahahaa! Indeed, what were universes in the scheme of this mad pursuit? If a galaxy perished, so what. If a universe was snuffed out, so what? If a few billion sentient bipeds were squished like dust mites, so what? They were but vermin. Tools to be used and discarded.

One can easily see how a vast hierarchy was established. By their very existence, these super beings were more-than-gods. Sentient races from time immemorial looked on these beings in fear and trembling.

In the mean time, these super-beings absorbed all the information they could, recorded any thing new, killing anything and anyone else from whom they drained an iota of new knowledge from so that there was less competition. There could be NO competition.

This was the ultimate conflict. To sort through the flotsam and jetsam of eternity, leaping from one big bang to the next, racing against another superrace finding the answer first. Perhaps fearing that there was another Big Bulk, with other superbeings that would beat them - that might have already got ahead of them and found the answer.

A vintillion of years for naught? That after all the carnage someone else was already there, watching, smiling, waiting to squish them at the end of the race. That brief flicker of victory, when the full answer was beheld, only to find that they had lost before they'd even begun?

I speculate further, that the zillions of sentient races and their scientists each came up with virtually the same old tried and true math and physics, but every now and then, a sentient race would discover one tiny scintilla of something new to add to the puzzle. In fact, some of these races might have been jump started just in case they might find a new piece tot he ultimate puzzle. In that case, all the sentience was but for one reason - a type of supercomputer to help sort through all the bits of possible combinations of data.

Was all that hinted at in the Necronmicon? Was that what the mad Arab knew? Or as Douglas Adams said, "The answer is 42". Now, what is the bloody question?


Anyway, read the article if you get a chance. "The Day Before Genesis" by Adam Frank.


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