Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I took the advice of Madame Scorpion from the other day, and I am slowing down here on the blog. It is busy season at the day job, I am researching for at least two non-fiction books, and I have a mountain of reading, correspondence, and obligations. I also have articles I am trying to write up. I've even stepped away from Dark Recesses - but don't stop supporting Bailey over there!

There is plenty of startling new things I could post on the blog, but some of it I am trying to judge whether to publish on the blog, or publish in other formats. Thanks to Mr. Faig and others for releasing some of it through the EOD or other avenues.

For those of you who actually read and enjoy my horror fiction, I have an archive of dozens of stories, and I have numerous unfinished stories. One of these days I'll restart a serial for you. From time to time, since a blog is supposed to be a "personal web log", I'll ask Mr. Lovecraft to step aside and put up a poem or two of mine.

I also have promised a Chester Munroe week, as much new information has appeared recently on his life.

I could almost do a Manton Campbell Mitchell month, I have recently discovered so much material, and a possible and exciting new connection of MCM and his family to Lovecraft.

I suppose from your perspective this is a bit of a tease, but it is intended as an explanation. I think a few people were addicted to a daily post on Lovecraft. I'm nto saying I won't get back to that next year, either. Yet, I only have so much time.

There are right now a few dozen Lovecraft blogs on blogger, facebook, and other places. Will Hart has done a service to the community by continuing to post old records, and new artistic works of his own. Please support him, and the rest of the Lovecraft community.

As the world has changed in a brief 3 years - the death of MySpace, the coming of Twitter and Facebook, the collapse of horror as a genre - so too this blog needs to change.

Chrispy has done thousands of posts, all accessible and searchable, on every aspect of Lovecraft and his Legacy. Go forth and read it!

I am turning more and more to historical research, which is very time consuming, and which it seems few others are doing these days. (Kudos to Dave G, Vance, and others.) I have a little time, the inclination, and if you permit the immodesty, the ability to do this and explain it.

We are in a period of western history that media insists upon controversy to survive. There is plenty in the Lovecraft world to be controversial about should I wish to have "ratings", and it is tempting to indulge, but esentially that's not where I am right now. I do notice that major Lovecraft authors have started to do this in their afterwards and forwards. Be careful those who throw stones in glass houses.

It is a shame that major biographies have about 150 pages or less on Lovecraft's first 20 years, and the reason is so little was previously known. Lovecraft did not spring up, as Athena from Zeus' brow, a weird tale writer. No more that Teddy Roosevelt was born a bull moose. Those first 20 years are tantalizing, and the hidden years are not so hidden as one first suspects. The digital age of information is rapidly falling upon us, and much good stuff is appearing.

Don't try to get rich on this digital wave. Do what you enjoy, and the money will come - someday.

It is annoying for a dedicated and obsessed fan of Lovecraft to have to spend literally thousands (like Chrispy has) of dollars to learn about HPL in depth. Not everyone can. I am fortunate and blessed, that I can. Some people in this world make dimes a day, and thus this avenue is closed to them. I hope the blog helps those who can't afford, or have some limited ability to access rare items on Lovecraft.

It's all very exciting, and our understanding of Lovecraft and his family is about to be upgraded. Hmm. Lovecraft 2.0?

Stay tuned, as this year closes, another dawns.

Thanks to all the readers of the blog! You make this a daily pleasure for Chrispy.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Lovecraft and High School

As loyal readers of the HPLblog know, Chrispy does research without a net. Sometimes errors are made as theses are created, but so much more the excitement.

A long running thesis is that Lovecraft was so sickly he could not attend school. Chrispy, for right or wrong, has denied this. Yes, young Howard got sick, sometimes very sick, but in the fin de siecle days and those years before antibiotics this happened in all families.

One persevered.

Another long standing theory is that Susan coddled HPL. Maybe shed did a little, as he was "spoiled", but for every indulgence she gave, grandfather was there to temper it. WVP had been orphaned at 14, and built and lost fortunes. His eye was on a grandson who would most likely inherit his mantle (certainly not Edwin).

Lovecraft attended school precisely twice (before late 1904). It is not a coincidence that these were precisely the years Lovecraft needed to "graduate" from both primary and grammar school.

Previously it was discussed that the Providence school system went from a 1A/B 5 yr old to 9A/B 13 yr old system, to a 1A/B 6 yr old to 8A/B 13 yr old system in 1902, whereby preparing continuity from grammar school to High School. This essentially created a "graded school" all the way from 1 to 12, a very familar system today.

The Providence school system was the premier and model system for virtually all other Eastern and many Midwestern systems. The educators went on the road giving seminars, and New York and Boston ofen followed the lead of Providence. The system believed strongly in co-educational environments and in social ethnic integration (but not necessarily black students, just sometimes).

The system was not at all lenient with truancy, and battled manufacturers who wanted children to work instead of going to school, and bristled when said that they did not educate to train for industry. If Lovecraft was simply dodging school, or Susan fearful of him mingling, then the school system would have went after them. There are many reports of this very issue in the historical record.

There was one major exception. Elites.

While the school system wished all students to associate for th e greater good of society and America, they understood that a classroom education for brilliant and elite pupils was lackluster, and gave great leeway for private education.

Thus enters Whipple - and perhaps for a time, Lillian. Whipple was not only a powerful man in Providence business society, with long established (at least back to the late 1850's) roots in Providence, but also was a recognized and established educator in his own right. His name appears on several state school documents from the 1870's. He was close friends with masons, bankers (brother-in-law Raymond G Place, for instance), Brown professors, legislators, aldermen, and the Foster mafia ran strong in Rhode Island politics - all the way to his best freind, Clarke Johnson being supreme court justice one day.

When Lovecraft said he was the grandson of Whipple Phillips, people raised an eyebrow and understood.

My thesis continues to be that the Providence school system compromised. That Howard Lovcraft could be educated at home as long as he "graduated" from primary and grammar school. Coincidently, the 4 room primary Slater Elementary school expanded to be a grammar school in 1902. This is why its senior administrator (Principal) "Abbie" Hathaway knew HPL so well.

Now, what about High School?

Lovecraft graduated late June 1903 from grammar school and should have immediately attended a high school the second Monday of Septmeber 1903. He was 13 after all. He would have clearly been eligible to be a Freshman.

He didn't.

Why? Too sickly? Me thinks not.

Whipple continued his private education. WVP brought in at least one tutor by the name of A. P. May for Fall 1903. He was a Brown University student studying for the ministry (if memory serves), and Lovecraft immediately recoiled and by January 1904 HPL was probably at war, openly mocking him - or at least he does in his science newsletter circulated to family members.

So what happened?

Sadly, on Monday, 28 March 1904, WVP passed on.

The Lovecrafts moved in June 1904 to 598 Angell Street next door to the Metcalf family (long residents at 600 Angell), and Susan entered Howard into Hope Street High School on the 2nd Monday of September.

There is debate about whether HPL accumulated enough credits for Brown University to accept him. No real way to answer this precisely after all these years, except that had HPL taken the entrance exams and passed algebra, I think he could easily have entered in 1909.

He didn't pass.

The other courses might have caused him to take some remedial work, but the senior staff at Hope Street High School knew him and probably backed him. Lovecraft says "they understood" him. They may have given his a few passes due to his several maladies. There is no hint otherwise.

Winslow Upton was still quite influential at Brown (once senior Dean), and while we can debate whether he backed Howard, we know from all accounts he was a kind and sympathetic man who loved his students, and his students adored him. It's hard to say that Upton groomed Lovecraft, for if he did, he would have been more insistent that he concentrate on math, but there is no doubt he knew Lovecraft - as did the entire staff at Ladd Observatory. I believe him when he says he had the keys.

I certainly believe that HPL got a personal introduction to Percival Lowell on January 1907. Many in Providence read HPL's astronomy newspaper features - a competition not so much with Upton's Providence Journal series, but with other sysndicated astonomy features of the time.

Howard had inherited some of Whipple's charisma, and people seemed to automatically believe "the Little Professor" was inevitable to be an astronomer or meteorologist.

If HPL had taken the August college exams and passed, he would have gotten into Brown, I believe.

He didn't.

He was in shock.

He had no immediate fall back plan, and must have been beyond devastated.

He had worked eevry day from late 1902 to become an astonomer, and at that point no one could help him further.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving !!!

It is only "Thanksgiving" in the U.S., but despite the mountain top experiences, and the valley endurances, we try to be thankful everyday.

In 1911 Lovecraft wrote a poem to his mother, and I'm sure he was thankful for his bowl of "puffed wheat" she left for him.

I'm thankful for many, many things, though I am deeply sorry Thanksgiving Day is only a speedbump between Halloween pumpkins and Christmas buying. We need more time to reflect on the good things of life, though sometimes we have to try very hard to find the silver lining in that grey cloud.

Thanks for reading the HPL blog.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mitchell Loses Election

When you do research without a tightrope, you can easily make errors. However, I put it out there, and so here it goes.

The man I believe to be Manton Campbell Mitchell's father is John Mitchell. MCM was the boyhood playmate with HPL, Chester and Harold Munroe. I have not yet discovered how they met, but my working hypothesis is through Chester Munroe when HPL first attended Slater Avenue Primary school - though MCM should not have been in that school at that time, as he was nearly 2+ years older than HPL, and at least a year older than Chester.

In any event, Mitchell took Addison Munroe's democratic state legislative seat when Munroe was elected state senator. That was in 1910. In 1912 he narrowly lost, and the election results are presented here in an image from the Providence Evening Tribune, 6 November 1912.

Chrispy believes that HPL at this time was keenly interested in politics, and so it is relavent to his study. I also believe that John Mitchell was living in Theodore W Phillips' old home at 612 Angell Street during this period.

(You will see a fragment where Addison was relected as senator but now is not the time for that information on the blog.)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Lovecraft: circa 23 November 1926

From an auction comes this unique item. Seller's notes below.

Lovecraft, H[oward] P[hillips]. SUGGESTIONS FOR REVISION OF AN UNTITLED MYSTERY STORY, AUTHOR UNKNOWN. AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT (AMs). 2 pages. Handwritten on 2 sheets of 8 7/8 x 11 1/4-inch paper. Undated, but verso of each sheet comprises a 2-page letter to Lovecraft from a Munich publisher dated 23 November 1926 on their letterhead. The bread-and-butter of Lovecraft's employment for most of the 1920s and '30s was fixing up the work of other writers. This ranged from critiquing to editing to extensive revision to collaboration to outright ghosting. Yet not a lot of the work he did for strangers has survived. The present document, therefore, has value for filling in part of that gap, and more unusually, in a genre we think of as foreign to him: the traditional mystery story. It's known that HPL revised all sorts of nonfictional work (history, textbooks, speeches) but this is the first example we have of fiction other than the weird tale receiving his professional attention, with detailed advice here about plotting, characterization, style, etc. What's interesting is what a quick study he was. Given the encyclopedic tendencies we've always seen in nonfictional interests, it shouldn't be surprising perhaps that he could familiarize himself so quickly with a strange genre. It makes one think he could have done the same -- with sufficient motivation -- for any kind of writing. Protean yet obsessive is another one of the paradox pairs that belong to Lovecraft. But the kind of revisionary work shown here also has a more direct bearing on his weird tales, which, after all, form the core of his work. In a 1929 letter to a young admirer (see LWC inventory #108100), he refers to the glibness of all his work up until the last two or three years. "The thing that has helped me shake off this incubus is, without doubt, my critical & revisionary work -- which compels me to analyze …. Bitterly as I hate this work, it has done me good by compelling me to pay more attention to the fundamentals of the writing process…" Light mailing creases, else fine. (#109136)

Price: $4,500.00

Monday, November 22, 2010

Why Did Lovecraft Fall From a House?

In Lovecraftiana, there is an anecdote about Lovecraft headstrongly climbing up the frame of a new home near his n=home. He injured himself terribly, and he had his head packed in ice.

Even though this information came from Philbrick, I had always set it aside as apocryphal, or at least mistaken. Lovecraft was well known for doing foolish things late in life, and often got himself in precarious situations. However I could not sense any motivation for this incident, and much to suspect it was used to explain away his oddness.

I known he liked antiquarianism, and was mildly interested in drafting or drawing, but he never seemed to be an architect. Why climb a house?

Then I thought of a motivation today.

In late 1904 or early 1905 HPL decided to build a roof top weather station. For months I thought the equipment he used was borrowed, or hand-me-downs. It was very expensive. Or maybe he used a location like the city engineer's equipped station or the Ladd Observatory, or even the Providence Journal building.

Carefully re-reading his early 1907 digest of 1906 weather readings, it made me think that he had to have wanted to study roof design if he were going to nail on a large walk-out attachment on the roof of "The Rhode Island Journal" building. NOT the "Providence Journal Building" which for a long time I thought this may have meant, but the roof of 598 Angell Street.

This made the equipment quick to access at all times and essentially theft and tamper proof. Who would climb on top of the roof?

So, he may have been researching the right way to construct it based on carpenters' work, and slipped and fell. News would quickly spread through the neighborhood that the Little Professor got injured. And probably another fast trip for Dr. Clark to patch HPL up.

If this is even remotely probable, then we can actually begin to try to date this incident.

It is not easy to track the elusive Lovecraft, but with skill and reflection, we can try.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Chrispy's Lovecraft Dream

Well I suppose it had to happen.

I woke up Friday night (actually very early Sayurday morning) after a dream. Maybe it's becuase I've been doing a DVD "Medium" TV marathon. Maybe too much of George Noory's Coast to Coast AM and "Workers in the Light". Probably way too much Lovecraft research, as I had just read a couple of September 1906 Providence Tribunes on Google News Archive before I went to bed.

In any event, Lovecraft appeared to me. Or more specifically, I was in Providence circa late 1920's, and he walked with me introducing me to neighbors and friends in a cordianl and convivial manner. It's a bit fuzzy after a few days, but I think we went to the Boston Store, by the Providence Opera House, met some business folks on Westminster, and while I don't recall a trolley ride, we sure covered a lot of terrain if we didn't.

He looked just as he always does in photos, and since I dream in color, it was in color. He had a typical Providence accent with a tinge of Western Rhode Island. Thankfully, there was no comment in the dream of my Kentucky accent.

There were no monsters, no weirdness, just a pleasant afternoon with HPL on the streets of Providence.

Egads, I spend way too much time reading about Lovecraft.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Providence Opera House Programs

Recently seen ...

4 antique programs from the Providence Opera House in Providence, Rhode Island.
Note Georgie Primrose's Minstrel show - coyly referred to in a White Christmas' "Minstrel Show", an Irving Berlin song.

That's a joke that was told
By the minstrel men we miss
When Georgie Primrose used to sing
And dance to a song like this:


Week of Jan 18, 1904 - Phoebe Davis as "Anna Moore" in "Way Down East" cover - The Earl of Pawtucket cast and synopsis inside - Includes advertisements for Coca-Cola, Palmer and Madigan Whiskey, Naragansett Lager & Ale and more.

Week of Feb 20, 1905 - Annie Russell in her new play "Jinny, The Carrier" cover - The Wizard of Oz cast and synopsis inside - Includes advertisments for Coca-Cola, Pope Automobiles (State Agt for "Oldsmobile"), Ford Cars, Stevens-Duryea Automobiles, Narraganset Lager & Ale, Beeman's Pepsin Gum, Moet Chandon champagne and more..

Week of Nov. 6, 1905 - George Primrose's Big Minstrels cover - Mlle. Modiste cast and synopsis inside - Includes advertisements for Stevens-Duryea automobiles, Coca-cola, Rigi cigars, Beeman's Pepsin gum Narragansett Lager & Ale and more..

November 1915 - Cousin Lucy and Some Baby cover and inside - Advertisements for Providence Auto Show, Occident, Victrola, Providence Brewing Company Bohemian Beer, Hanley's Brewery Bottling Brew, Narragansett Lager & Ale and more

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.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Wheaton College and Susan Lovecraft

When then Susan Phillips (b. 1857) was about 14, she attended then Wheaton Female Seminary (founded c. 1834) in Norton, Massachusetts. She only spent one year there, and Chrispy does not know why she left, nor read anything about this.

The timing is interesting, and hopefully research will bring new ideas as to why in 1872, Susan left the school.

Here is an article very near the time she attended -i.e. compiled from data from 1875. Note the importance given to French, a specialty and long an avocation of Susan's. Otherwise, here is a portrait of the life she lived there.

(You can expand the images in a new window by clicking)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Manton Campbell Mitchell Update

When Lovecraft was a wee lad, he went to school and met Chester Munroe, his little brother Harold, and Manton Mitchell. Back then, Manton was keen on military things, so no surprise he grew up to be a military hero in WWI.

It turns out that there are several Phillips' tangents.

Col. Joseph P. Manton was MCM's grandfather. His mother met John B Mitchell and married, and while Chrispy can't find there addreses, it's clear that MCM lived in the neighborhood and attended Slater Avenue. In 1905, Col. Manton is listed on South Angell Street, but not the Mitchells. In fact, Chrispy can't find the Mitchells until John B Mitchell ran for and won Addison Munroe's legislative seat when Munroe became State Senator in 1910. Mitchell's address then was at 612 Angell Street.

Does that seem familiar? It is the home of Theodore W Phillips, brother of WV Phillips, and great-uncle to Howard. TWP died in 1904, and his adopted son TWP II soon rented out the big house, and eventually the Mitchells rented it - they didn't buy it because TWP II had it in 1915 when he had a lawsuit with a painter of the house.

Col. Manton held the business, The American Ship Windlass Company until 4 October 1911 when it moved to Philadelphia. Co. Manton died 16 October 1912, but by then Manton Mitchell, his grandson and namesake, was already at West Point. He graduated by 24 July 1909. He graduated 100th in merit, the same class that George S Patton graduated at 49th in merit.


If you check out the link, you will find that Manton entered West Point on 15 June 1905 at age 17 yrs 7 months. That puts his birth month at November 1887.

That's all for now, but stay tuned as we explore Lovecraft's childhood friendships in a future post.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010


Chrispy took a little time off from the blog while time traveling. I hope to tell you some of my discoveries from ancient Lovecraftian days soon.

It gets a little troubling when I am more familiar with Professor's Upton's retirement from Brown University administration, or Edward Gamwell's wedding, or Addison Munroe's battle to get the US Senate seat, than I am with Louisville in 2010.

I am living more in Lovecraft's Providence than I am here and now. The other day I got spitting mad when they decided to widen Angell Street from 90 feet to 100 feet and threaten the foundation of First baptist Church. I wanted to run out and join the protesters. Then I realized that it all happened in 1911 - a hundred years ago! Lovecraft had already fought and lost that battle to City Hall.

I have a lot more posts for the rest of the year coming up and some of them are pretty neat.

In the real world, Lovecraftians are working hard. Will Hart is recording more data for us to enjoy, Joe Pulver is writing books, and I could go on and on. I want to have a Chester Munroe week very soon with information from Vance Pollock.

I am convinced more and more that there is Lovecraft information that we have not yet tapped into. It is either wrapped up in an obscure piece of paper in some one's attic waiting to be sold on Ebay, or in one of the dozens of Providence newspapers now online in Google news archive. Collectors still have a lot of items in their safe hands, but I find that they have so few people to share with, they just keep it and treasure it. Hopefully Facebook will begin to change that and people will start talking and sharing more on Lovecraft.

See you tomorrow !

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Tracking the Elusive Lovecraft: 13-15 December 1897

Mr. Joshi tells us, "The first play he saw was "one of Denman Thompson's minor efforts". [p. 26, HPL:A Life, fn 77 = To Kleiner, 16 November 1916]

OK, but when?

We previosuly saw that he must have attended "Cymbeline" on Saturday, 25 December 1897. Luckily Chrispy was able to see in the Providence Nws of 9 December 1897, the announcemnet that on 13-15 December 1897, "The Sunshine of Paradise Alley" was produced at Providence Opera House under Robert Morrow's managership. "Real life, real people ... at the docks."

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Vermont Flood Really Happened !

The whole matter began, so far as I am concerned, with the historic and unprecedented Vermont floods of November 3, 1927. ... Of course many of the stray items mentioned other instances, but on analysis they all seemed to boil down to these three. In each case country folk reported seeing one or more very bizarre and disturbing objects in the surging waters that poured down from the unfrequented hills, and there was a widespread tendency to connect these sights with a primitive, half-forgotten cycle of whispered legend which old people resurrected for the occasion. - The Whisperer in Darkness *

This is a real newspaper "clipping":

(page 4)

Portsmouth, N. H., Saturday, November 5, 1927.

The Flood Horror

The flood horror, which without warning, practically submerged
the northern part of New Hampshire and much of
Vermont and a large part of Maine is. the worst catastrophe
that has ever visited New England in the.memory of our oldest
inhabitant. Portsmouth and Southern New Hampshire is
untouched but the sympathy of the entire people will go to
6ur northern citizens.

The entire country has been shocked and in many respects
The suffering will be even greater than that which followed the
Mississippi horror. It was like a lightning bolt from a clear
sky and it will cost untold suffering and financial loss. It was
unfortunate for the railroads just as they were getting on their
feet to have valuable bridges and road-beds swept away.

There is a deep lesson in these happenings which come
Without warning. The whole world is the object of many
catastrophies of late with the. result in loss of life and great
property losses. Greater preparations for safety must be made
and we must so regulate our lives as to be ever-prepared for
such visitations. Portsmouth extends its sympathy to Its northern brothers
and sisters and will do its part of relief and render all aid and
possible assistance.


The Whisperer in Darkness wasn't written until between February and September 1930. It incubated for nearly three years in Lovecraft's mind.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Margaret Mather Died - and Tracking the Elusive Lovecraft

During Christmas week {1897}, Lovecraft was taken to the Opera House to see his first Shakespearean play, Cymbeline, featuring Margaret Mather as Imogen. (S T Joshi).

On April 8, 1898 the New York Times revealed that Mather had died.

Death of Margaret Mather
Collapsed While Playing in Charleston and Never Regained Consciousness.

"…she was playing "Cymbeline" … and had gotten as far as the cave scene … just after changing to the character of Page, it was noticed that she began to omit her lines and to act in an eccentric manner …". {She played both Imogen, and Page}.

Indeed, theoretically Lovecraft could have only seen Mather between January 1897 and April 1898, as we read, "Margaret Mather's last theatrical venture was an ornate and interesting production of Shakespeare's "Cymbeline" with a judicious reduction of the text and a tasteful scenic dress. This cost a great deal of money, and was first exhibited in New York, at Wallack's Theatre, in January 1897 …"

She was in Boston on 6 December 1897. The image from Providence News of Wednesday, 22 December 1897, page 3, confirms precisely that Lovecraft could only have seen the play Monday through Saturday, with the matiness being on Saturday. Barring other evidence, the Saturday matinee was probably part of Lovecraft's Christmas gift - the Phillips tended to celebrate on Christmas Eve for the family gathering.

The very next week, a different show was produced.

It's unlikely that young Howard was aware of Mather's death, or cared. He was from 25 December 1897 and onward engrossed in reproducing what he saw before his captive audience of family members.

It is good to be able to place a newspaper ad, and historical reality, to his memories of childhood.

One final note, notice that Robert Morrow is clearly stated as the manager. He's the one that gave the free tickets as his own Christmas gift to his neighbors, the Phillips.

Monday, November 01, 2010

What Would Lovecraft Say?

RI to vote on dropping 'Plantations' from its name

The state's official name — The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations — is more than just a mouthful. To many, it evokes stinging reminders of Rhode Island's prime role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

Voters next Tuesday will decide whether to change the name by dropping the words "and Providence Plantations." The issue has been debated for years, but lawmakers last year authorized a ballot question for the first time following an impassioned debate over race relations, ancestry and history.

Supporters of the referendum see the ballot question as a chance to erase the state's links to slavery and remove a word they associate with human bondage and suffering. But opponents, including Gov. Don Carcieri, note that the state name actually has nothing to do with slavery and that, in any case, changing it will do nothing to alter history.

The Digital Internet Era and Lovecraft

I suppose Chrispy is on the cutting edge of societal evolution (to steal a Rushism). Chrispy was digital blogging before Lovecraftians knew much about what a weblog was. Times are a changin'.

In the older days, we had people who knew Lovecraft personally.

As that generation passed away, and I suppose Probst was one of the last, the new folks had to use Lovecraft's writings and library resources. In those days librarians were wonderful, they knew things and could say "we have it" or "they have it", and you planned your vacations and holidays around those locations. That generation and era is quickly passing.

These days a library is more likely to sell a collectible item for a $1 than to archive it away for future posterity. Some others are scraping volunteers and money to scan their valuable documents into digital archives. Progress is being made. The Dead Sea scrolls will soon be online after Herschel Shanks forced the issue, and FOIA (freedom of information acts) are unloosing goverment stuff, particularly in ufology, or political arenas.

But are Lovecraftians making use of this?

Not a lot, but Chrispy is seeing some movement. Bright lights are Dave Goudsward, and Will Hart, each in their own manner. Others are beginning to get the "bug". Hooray! Go fer it.

Without a doubt Lovecraft is obsessive. You want to know more, or write like him, or something. For a deqad materialist atheist, he sure does haunt a lot of people.

I suppose I've read five thousand pages of contemporary historical Lovecraft-era records. I post a lot of these on the blog. With google and other sources, I can do in minutes what people did in weeks back in the 1970's. Lovecraft is no longer an intellectual construct, or an abstract. He is flesh and blood living being who was influenced by every day events just like you and me. It just couldn't be seen before, becuase the canvas was too coarse. Not enough pixels. The sieve can now retain so much more.

He rode a balloon. Of course! Why not! There was a time that HPL adored "progress" and if he were alive in 2005, and was 21, he would have wanted to ride the space shuttle. However, at some point that all fizzled. He became antiquarian and lived in the past more than the future. But on one special day he went to the Brockton Fair and pretended to be an aeronaut. Yes, we now be that accurate.

One day, we'll find all kinds of Lovecraft material that will shock us. There won't be one great thing, it will be a hundred thousand little things that will sum up to a shocker.

When Halley's comet came, he rode a trolley to Rehoboth to see it near the Great Meadow. Yes, we can use online tools to determine that, and even use google sattelite imagery and astronomical software to reproduce the conditions. In 25 years, we'll be able to reproduce Lovecraft in 3-D watching Halley's comet, and ride with him on the Taunton-Providence Pike trolley. Maybe we'll even talk to him, and he'll give us an astronomical lecture, and tell us how bad he felt when he lost over 50 pounds with the measles earlier in 1910.

Back in 1904 he made a garden because it was the "in" thing to do. He read dime novels in 1898 because his new friends at Slater did. Then he wrote stories for them, most likely.

He did a hundred other things that make him eccentric to us, and yet they were common everyday events in his era - like cramming two pages on to a post card. Very 1905-ish. We can see it now, in contemporary historical documents.

As I write this, I listened to Jacques Vallee,who if you are a Fortean, ufology buff, or C2C'er you know who this is. He just did a book that was researched by using files on the internet. His collaborator assembled a dozen interested parties in many countries to sort through library files and this coalesced into a very different book that showed the human conditiona and experience produced ufo descriptions eerily similar to today's reports. More and more it may be more of psychological response to some type of physical stresses, not just visitors out there.

Now we come to Lovecraft. You, too, can play the Lovecraft game. Go to your favorite search engine and site, and begin taking those books you have on your library shelf, read them, and search for more depth on them. You will find things.

I know you may not be a scientist or historian, but you can learn. de Camp was a good man, but made errors. You will, too, but phone a friend, and talk to them. Take a night class or correspondence course to learn how to do research, and history, and think scientifically. Then go after that obscure individual who haunts you. I did, and have amassed significant findings.

I've traced the histroical trajectories of dozens of Lovecraft neighbors, friends, and acquaintances. I've followed instituitions to understand what impact they had on Lovecraft and his life.

Folks this does not have to be a spectator sport. I get emails from those who are working hard at uncovering brand new Lovecraft connections that have never seen the light of day before. This is what the internet is about. Collaboration.

Next year there is now no question but I have to start slowing down. Maybe I will slowly go to three times a week, but I have put so many things on the backburner they can't wait any longer. Despite the digital age coming, books are still the lingua franca of Lovecraft. They will be for another 15 years. In addition, the blog format is quickly fading. 21st centruy people want multidimensions, and reading is too slow. Thankfully, Will Hart and Wilum Pugmire (and others) are experimenting with this new media opportunity in their own way. I don't think I'm going to have the energy or time to do this, not do I have their talents. My talent is research, and I am making efforts to finalize this and put feet to the mission to get the thousands of posts here into a more permanent and readable format. Brian Keene does this same thing with his blog - not that I am Mr. Keene - but he shows the way.

2011 will be a great year. It will be the start of the digital era, and we must be ready for it. 4G is here, so what will 10G be like? Surely the PC box on the desk will be gone by 2020. 100,000 TV channels will come - it just won't be "television" any more. It will be something very Star-Trekkian. By then there will most likely be 30 Lovecraft channels alone.

So, stay tuned to the blog as we chronicle this as long as we can - and have readers. Email Chrispy if you have new ideas, or need a little help once in a while, or you just want to tell a little story. I do enjoy getting mail! I try to answer every mail I get, though some weeks it gets a little tough.

Remember, in the scheme of things while to you Lovecraft looks huge - especially if you try to buy all the $100 books coming out - only several thousands of the billions of people alive are even yet aware of what a Lovecraft is - or care.

You are very special!

Thank you for reading the blog.


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