Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Nick Redfern Meets H. P. Lovecraft?

The pervasiveness of Lovecraft – or what is perceived as Lovecraft – is virtually everywhere. Today, Fortean phenomena and Lovecraftian fantasy is so intertwined as to be nearly indistinguishable.

As a case in point, I just finished reading Nick Redfern's Memoirs of a Monster Hunter, 2007, chapter 16 (page 236) we read, "But what was undoubtedly the creepiest … aspect of the night was a startling piece of imagery … a spectral snake-like entity … a monstrous life-form that had been conjured up out of a diabolical, Lovecraftian nightmare. The slithering menace positively oozed uneasiness and dread … and then it was over."

Redfern is a free-lance writer and a specialist in crypto-zoological mysteries and other paranormal phenomena. These would typically fall under the heading of Fortean (after the journalist Charles Forte and his several books on odd phenomena).

Lovecraft knew of Forte, and I believe was introduced to his work by a young Donald Wandrei who was captivated. Lovecraft was unimpressed; felt that it was much ado about nothing, and at worst an affront to scientific thought. He would have been fairly upset to consider anything Fortean impacting his purist and abstract attempt of mood setting horror.

Yet here we are. The images of Lovecraft, the monsters, are extracted from the context and set side by side with his images: Mothman and Night-Gaunts, Loch Ness monsters and shoggoths, or alien greys with froggish-beings.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

In fact, Redfern used quotes from "Lurker at the Threshold" for each chapter in his book "There's Something in the Woods" (published the following year)! So there is definitely a current of HPL-awareness in the anomalist/Fortean crowd. What's ironic is that a lot of the news stories that Lovecraft was drawn to, and was inspired by, easily fall into that category whether he was impressed by Fort's work or not.

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