Monday, July 12, 2010

William Scoresby's mirage and HPL

Michael, I'm sorry it's been so long on this one. Michael contacted me some time ago pointing this one out.

William Scoresby's Journal of a Voyage to the Northern Whale Fishery has a mirage in it. William Scoresby (1789-1857) undertook yearly voyages to Greenland between 1803 and 1822 and wrote many books. It's known that HPL was an avid fan and follower of polar exploration as a kid.

H P Lovecraft refers to William Scoresby's illustrations when describing an antarctic mirage in the story 'At The Mountains Of Madness.

For instance:

Of all the appearances witnessed by Captain Scoresby one to which he has given the very appropriate name of the Enchanted Coast was by far the most remarkable it was seen when the sky was clear and the air filled with a transparent tremulous vapour

We subjoin the description in his own words: The general telescopic appearance of the coast was that of an extensive ancient city abounding with the ruins of castles obelisks churches and monuments with other large and conspicuous buildings Some of the hills seemed to be surmounted by turrets battlements spires and pinnacles while others subjected to one or two reflections exhibited large masses of rock apparently suspended in the air at a considerable elevation above the actual termination of the mountains to which they referred

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