Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Mound - Newspaper References (1925-1926)

Moreover, what a monstrously exact explanation it gave of all the baffling phenomena of the mound-of the seemingly meaningless and paradoxical actions of diurnal and nocturnal ghosts, and of the queer cases of madness and disappearance! It was even an accursedly plausible explanation—evilly consistent—if one could adopt the incredible. It must be a shocking hoax devised by someone who knew all the lore of the mound. There was even a hint of social satire in the account of that unbelievable nether world of horror and decay. Surely this was the clever forgery of some learned cynic—something like the leaden crosses in New Mexico, which a jester once planted and pretended to discover as a relique of some forgotten Dark Age colony from Europe. The Mound, Zealia Bishop and H P Lovecraft [somewhat dated as December 1929 through early 1930]

Lovecraft reached back to a series of newspaper articles dating back about 4 years and paraphrases them nicely and succinctly.

Purport To Chronicle The Arrival Of Roman Jews There In 775 A.D.
[New York Times, December 13, 1925]

TUCSON, Ariz., Dec. 12 -- After investigation by a number of scientists, first announcement was made here today of the excavation near Tucson of cast lead swords, crosses and other objects bearing Latin and Hebrew inscriptions which, taken at their face value, are held to mean that Roman Jews crossed the Atlantic in the Dark Ages, penetrated to Arizona and founded a kingdom which lasted from about 700 A.D. to 900 A.D.
Neil Merton Judd, curator of American archaeology of the United States National Museum, said he believed that no hoax or fraud was involved, but he thought the date later than that of the Spanish conquest of 1540 A.D.

The entire article has been conveniently transcribed at

However there is more.

"An avalanche of newspaper articles about the lead artifacts, more than twenty-five in three months, began on Sunday, December 13, 1925, with a full front-page spread in the New York Times (fig. 32). Another six-column front-page story appeared there on December 14, and additional stories on December 15 and 20. The December 13 New York Times story reported extensively on the excavations, identified the people involved, and quoted a number of individuals, including Cummings, Judd, and the work by Laura Coleman Ostrander" [From Romans in Tucson? The Story of an Archaeological Hoax.]

The local newspapers began to sense a fake.

"Further evidence that tends to strengthen the probability that the alleged "Roman-Hebrew" artifacts found on the Silverbell road were really the work of a young Mexican student and sculptor named Odohui, was revealed today with the information that the young man, who resided with his parents at the lime kiln where the relics were unearthed, had in his possession an extensive library including volumes of the Hebrew and Roman classics.... (Tucson Citizen, January 15, 1926)"

"The Citizen Locates Man Who Confirms Leandro Ruiz's Story of Probable Origin of Leaden Relics Found Near City (Tucson Citizen, January 18, 1926)"

The NYT had a headline (SAY MEXICAN MADE ARIZONA 'RELICS') on this naming one "Timotio Odohui" and it is dated 20 January 1926

It seems probable that HPL had access to the NYT articles, or
their derivatives.

No comments:


Blog Archive


Google Analytics