Saturday, December 31, 2005

Lovecraft Publicity Shy?

The Gallomo correspondence (Galpin, Moe & Lovecraft) contains an interesting - albeit prophetic - note. To Galpin on September 30, 1919, Lovecraft discusses what might happen should his private correspondence be released to his public.

"Concerning posthumous publication of epistles, I sincerely hope that no one may ever be fatuous enough to embalm my folly thusly! ... You must realize that the Gallomionistic Tibaldus {Lovecraft's pseudonymn} is not the stern ascetick {sic} whome the rest of the world knows. ... For one thing - no one but Galmo {sic} ever beheld a word of profanity from my pen. The Kliecomolo {Kleiner, Loveman, et. al. correpondence} is frankly written with a view of semi-publicity, but not this closer document Gawd, no! I can't kick if Galba wants to keep these outbursts of microcephaly, but I can at least adjure him to keep 'em private."

[Letters to Alfred Galpin, ed. Joshi & Schultz, isbn 096732159x, p.55]

Friday, December 30, 2005

Lovecraftian Story

First, thanks! to a special friend who has assisted me through my technofumbles of modern blogging and code.


Now, just for you, fellow bloggers. I did this a few years ago. It's a quick read. Hope you enjoy.


Recently, due to some repairs, I had to trudge through numerous inherited items, long left unattended. One was a trunk of my grandmother's. Lifting it the hinge snapped off from ages of decay spilling some of the contents. Rifling through her letters brought to my mind her fascination with the occult all those years. Among the dried correspondence was an uncancelled 3-cent stamp dating back to Franklin Roosevelt's administration. Having nowhere else to put it, thinking it might have some small value, I placed it in my wallet and promptly forgot about it.

Several days later, after a long day at the office, I was in no mood for television, so I pulled out my worn copy of Lovecraft. So familiar were the stories, his biography, I took to reading between the lines.

"Ah, that was after his visit to Elizabeth, New Jersey. Hmm, that smacks of his correspondence with Loveman."

I scratched my head through The Shunned House wishing that I, like so many had in their day, could pick up a pen and jot down a note to the old fellow now gone from us nearly seventy years.

I thought, then, why not? It could be a fun exercise!

I ran to my word processor and typed:

Dear Mr. Lovecraft:

I am a fan of yours. I have read all of your stories many times, but the Shunned House is a particular favorite. As an amateur writer, I wondered how you came to use your sources. For instance, how much did Charles Skinner's The Green Picture influence this tale?

I am sure you are busy, but I do look forward to receiving a reply.

Sincerely –

I placed the printout into an envelope. I chuckled to myself, but to where shall I send this? Of course, Swan Point, the cemetery in Rhode Island! I scrounged a reference book for the address and scrawled it across the envelope. Then I remembered the stamp! How fitting: a stamp of his own era for a letter to my hero. I licked the old glue and fixed it to the letter.

The next evening, I came home feeling foolish at such a childish trick, chalking it up to the stress of running the business. The letter was not on my office desk, so I asked my wife had she seen it. Indeed, she had glanced at it, thinking it real mail she dropped it in the letter office with numerous bills.

Well, I thought, it is either lost for good or will return with postage due. Someone at the post office will get a weird expression when they see that.

Several more days went by but business headaches continued. Arriving home, finding the mail still in the box, I sorted it out. Sandwiched between three catalogs, a musty, yellowed envelope spilled out.

I looked over the article with a scrawled, smudged return address. Opening it, the cribbed handwriting was unmistakable.

Dear -,

I read with fond appreciation your kind comments to an old man such as I. That my trifles entertain pleases me to no end. As to your excellent question, Charles Skinner's book and the mentioned story within are quite familiar to me. Most of the stories I knew, before reading that edition, through my aunts and my late grandfather. The incidental colorings I picked from time to time to give depth to my stories should in no way distract you from the main plot. Feel free to write any time, as I am

Yr Obdt. Servnt.
H. P. Lovecraft.

I nearly laughed aloud. Some secretary at the funeral office was attracted by my quaint letter, therefore was pulling a rib on me. So be it! I hustled to the computer, typed out a brief letter, and sealed the envelope. I rifled through our postage drawer and fixed a stamp to the envelope, dropping the letter off in a letterbox on the way to work the next day.

Several more days passed, when a crisp letter from Rhode Island arrived. The form letter with letterhead inside was briskly to the point.

Dear -,

Our office is flooded with letters to the late Mr. Lovecraft. Honestly it is a distraction to our business, but we want to be courteous, so we state this fact. Should another of your letters arrive to our office, it will be destroyed unopened.

The Management

Stunned, I could not fathom what was happening. Then a cold chill ran through me. I had used an old stamp the first time, but a modern one the second time. No doubt the old stamp was flagged by one of the office pranksters before the usual secretary opened the mail. I could still have a bit of fun if another old stamp might be lying in grandma's old trunk.

After sorting through miscellaneous dried four-leaf clovers, birthday cards and a 1949 calendar, I found two more uncancelled stamps.

It was late, but I sat down and printed a new copy of my former letter, sealed it and stamped it. I sat it aside without addressing it.

In a hurry the next morning, it slipped my mind to finish the process, but coming home that evening, I discovered that it had been mailed, unaddressed, along with numerous weekly bills.

Ah! What a loss, I thought. My gag would have to wait for the last stamp.

Life became busy, what with cost escalations to fight at work, so days zipped by. Arising late on Saturday, I pulled the mail out of the box. There, a wizened old letter appeared mixed with a lawn service bill and a request for a charitable donation.

It was quite padded with seven cents of postage affixed. The friable paper gave quickly to expose the contents, nearly eight pages front and back of the tiniest, abbreviated lettering I could imagine. In some cases, the writing expanded down and across the margins. It took hours, but I finally made out 99% of the scribbles that answered nearly every imaginable question I could have considered. In one portion of the text, an outline for a new story was exposited.

I sat flabbergasted. Everything appeared authentic to the withered paper. My name appeared several times through the text, each time I encountered it with a shudder of goose flesh. Once the old writer coined a pun on my name, as I knew he often did as a harmless endearment.

Mulling over this weird event, I wondered who might be intercepting my letters and imparting such intensive detail into them. I sat looking at the ancient paper. This person, knowledgeable about Lovecraft beyond my ability, able to fake ancient documents, a forger of handwriting, someone watching closely for my letters before the usual routine would intercept and destroy them. This no longer was a game. Whoever this person was, they had my address.

With this troubling concern on my mind, I finally went to bed, but slept fitfully. The reason was the nightmare.

Setting in a circle like Christ and his disciples, were Lovecraft in his Virgil Finlay portrayal, and twelve other men. Their names were clear, all once young correspondents of Lovecraft, all his disciples, but all very deceased. Below, I lay in my opened grave: arms folded, coffin lid removed, my corpse immobile.

One said, "Damned amateur! Who does he think he is corresponding with you? Away with him, let us sick the legions of Hell upon him."

"Please," Lovecraft defended me, "his correspondence is refreshing after all these years of silence though his pedant behaviour has me annoyed. His prodding has led me to a new story, my first in some time. Leave the gentlemen to my good designs."

I awoke with a start, sweat pouring from my brow, the sheets soaked as if I had a raging fever, but instead I shook with fear. It took a great while to realize it was but a dream – it had seemed so real, so terrifying.

After about two weeks, the incident faded in memory. The strange thing, is that each time I went into my home office, the stamp lay on my desk. Once I threw the thing away, yet the next evening it remained. The last night, not only did I find the stamp lay out, but an envelope with it. The computer was on, the cursor blinking on a new document.

In a trance, I began to type:

Dear Mr. Lovecraft:

This is my last stamp. I will send no more letters to you. If you are truly H. P. Lovecraft, long deceased, send me a sign that this is real. If I receive anything other than a convincing response, I shall be forced to contact the authorities of this impersonation.

Sincerely -

My hand trembled as I applied the stamp. I refused even to address the thing. There was a compulsion, though, to immediately place the envelope in a corner letterbox, one that I followed through on.

Pulling back into the driveway after mailing the letter, I noticed the mailbox opened. I walked to it. Peering tentatively inside, it glowed eerily phosphorescent. I reached my hand into the gaping mouth and extracted a single post card.

Not able to wait to look at it inside, I kneeled, held it in the beam of the headlights. The obverse side was a crude cartoon of a cemetery with ancient gravestones. On the reverse were simple lines.

Dear -:

It was good to hear from you again. So sorry you cannot correspond more, but the invitation is open to visit me at any time – in fact I insist! Until our meeting, which will certainly be soon, I remain,

Yr Obt Servnt,
H. P. Lovecraft

I barely held the card in my shaking hand. I reversed the postcard to look closer at the crude cartoon. One tombstone, simpler than the rest, stated merely "H. P. Lovecraft".

I looked closer. Behind the marker was a hideous thing that made me begin to weep at the loss of my sanity. There, standing with a sickening grin, its slobbering teeth exposed, was a long-snouted, froggish beast, it's gnarled finger pointing directly toward - me.

Lovecraft Statistics

There is a theory in semiotic studies and deconstruction that relates the usage of words by a mature writer as distinctive as fingerprints.

A few years back, another HPL fan and I studied this with HPL. The spreadsheets and extensive graphs are not easily presented on a blog, but I will summarize a few numbers here.

In essence, the use of articles, key verbs, conjunctions, prepositions and how frequent a writer uses them is unique. Characteristically, women use words very differently than men. More surprising, is that a mature writer will use the same distribution pattern of words over an entire lifetime.

So, I took Colour out of Space, Dunwich Horror, Whisperer in the Dark, and Mountains of Madness.

Lovecraft's most common words by far are the usual ones: the, a, an, and, that, to, of, & had. If you want to know more specifics on this, post below and I'll put it in a reply or a post in the future.

What is remarkable is HPL's usage of "he/him/his" and "she/her".

.........he/him/his.......she/ words

In addition, HPL has certain words he adores. You've no doubt noticed.

dark(14), down(15), deep(0), black(9), ancient(9), old(20)

dark(12), down(27), deep(9), black(15), ancient(0), old(46)

dark(13), down(16), deep(0), black(19), ancient(0), old(20)

dark(0), down(45), deep(0), black(0), ancient(21), old(64)

The original point of this was to see what HPL's semiotic profile was and to see if we could use it to determine what passages he wrote in his revisionism, and if we could tell his actual work from spurious texts. HPL did a lot of ghost writing, and later others took his notes and wrote new stories, particularly August Derleth.

One suspects, though, that if cyclopean, domdaniel, cacodaemoniacal, and a few others pop up in a story, it is either Lovecraft or one of his fans!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Lovecraftiana: Anna Helen Crofts

In The Tomb and Other Tales, Ballantine/Del Rey, 19th ed. 1992 > 1970 1st edition, some of Lovecraft's early tales are listed.

I'll have a great deal to say about The Beast In The Cave soon. I've explored this in depth, and have done a redaction analysis of it. I feel strongly that this (like other HPL stories) went through two editions. Joshi says the same, so I'm in outstanding company.

I also admire The Transition of Juan Romero. HPL turned his back on it, and evidence shows he didn't read Ambrose Bierce before he wrote it, but there are some very interesting similarities between it and Bierce. So we'll discuss that later, too. maybe he did know Bierce earlier than suspected.

However, what struck me odd is Derleth's inclusion of Poetry and the Gods as a Lovecraft work. If you know HPL, does this sound like him? " was, just after the close of the Great War, when Marcia found herself alone with strange thoughts and wishes ...". Hmm.

This was a collaboration with Anna Helen Crofts. HPL (and I promised, soon, I would show you some semiotic statistics of his writing) rarely spoke of women. Even in his collaborative work with women - and to some he was probably romantically inclined - the female perspective is weak or non-existent.

I went to Joshi & Schultz's An H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia, for this blurb. [p. 208,209] "Written ... probably summer of 1920 ... published in the United Amateur (September 1920)... Nothing is known about the origin of the story (which HPL never mentions) nor about HPL's coauthor ... she may have written the tidbits of freeverse ... HPL despised free verse." Joshi concludes that "the prose of the rest of the story appears to be HPL's.

Lovecrafts modus operandi for revision work was to take minor snippets of the author's work and cycle some of his usual prose in whole cloth. It's likely that anything to do with daydreaming girlish thoughts and woozy passion was not HPL, but passages such as this one were his. "These the dreamer recognized ... the divine Maeonides, the avernian Dante, the more than mortal Shakespeare, the chaos-exploring Milton, the cosmic Goethe and the musalan Keats."

Polysyllabic obscuria and lengthy (overkill) listings were HPL's calling card.

I suspect that, "Many years have passed since Marcia dreamt of the Gods ... tonight she sits in the same spacious drawing-room, but she is not alone...", is Crofts work.

I found one note on the internet worth mention. To Autumn is listed as being published by her in Paul Cook's The Vagrant #7 of 1918. It seems to be a poem, but I can find no copy of it.

Her poetry would read like this excerpt, though:

"Moon over the tropics,
A white curved bud
Opening its petals slowly in the warmth of heaven ..."

Such intense and feminine sensuality! Gods of Pegana!

In fact, to be more lurid, I refer you to Joshi's A Dreamer and a Visionary [p. 128 - 130] that discusses the rumor that about the summer of 1920. Lovecraft was infatuated with one Winifred Virginia Jackson, 14 years his elder. She was having an affair at the time with a black poet, William Braithwaite, but HPL tended to be oblivious when he was in his own world.

It seems interesting that he was closely associated with two women from Massacusetts the same summer.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Lovecraftiana: Margaret Ronan

The world of HP Lovecraft is wide and varied. I picked up an old 1971 (2nd ed 1975) Scholastic copy of The Shadow Over Innsmouth and Other Stories of Horror, ed. by Margaret Ronan.

There is little I know of Margaret Ronan. She does include this in her introduction, "In one letter he {HPL} sent me, [he says] 'As it happens ... it is out of my right, not left shoulder that the ropy tentacles grow. What grows out of the left shoulder is one of my eyeless heads. This head is not to be confused with the one growing out of my right elbow (the one with the green fangs)'."

Lovecraft the jokester!

If anyone knows more about Margaret Ronan, please post below. Thanks.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Perusing the Bookstalls

Lovecraft loved going through old bookstores. Me, too. In Louisville, there was a wonderful place called Zimmerman's. Long gone. The books were so overflowing, that the elder gentleman had them stacked to the ceiling higgledy-piggledy. More fun to root!

In some places around the country, the chain store "Half-Priced Books" has brought that fun back. Just came back from there with an armload of antiques. One treasure was Shadows of Fear, vol. I, ed. David G. Hartwell.

There is a long essay on horror that is quite collectable and erudite. Sorry I can't post it due to its copyright. Maybe later, I'll post an abridged summary of it.

At the Mountains of Madness is included in this collection. The editor covers the usual summary of Lovecraft's erudition and excessive porse, his essay Supernatural Horror in Literature and Lovecraft's championing by Fritz Lieber and Derleth. Also, he mentions that Lovecraft has a strong following in France, and that MoM is a continuation of Poe's A. Gordon Pym and was published in Astounding Tales before Campbell took over editorship. It is one of the few early bridges between science fiction (then scientifiction) and horror.

What always makes me smile is how fictional trajectories flow. Poe was fascianted with Antarctica, so he wrote A. Gordon Pym. Lovecraft idolized Poe and wrote Mountains of Madness. Then in 1952, Howard Hawks directed Thing (From Another World) ; which incidentally lauched James Arness' career. The screen play was written austensibly by a Charles Lederer, but that was based on John W. Campbell Jr.'s - under the psuedonym, Don A. Stuart - Who Goes There?.

The fact that Campbell, editor of Astounding cribbed Poe and Lovecraft to create this thrilling SF tale is pretty interesting.

We have to then discuss that John Carpenter's 1982 remake resuscitated this theme.

Would love to hear your comments and thoughts on MoM , the various stories and the movies.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

One Way HPL Created Stories

I suspect that HPL had so little paper, he had to edit his stories in his head, and used his correspondents letters, too. He writes of his mundane circumstances in his pedantic, scientific way. He makes lists, takes inventory, always on the lookout for Georgian architecture or dark forbodings. He might be in the midst of reciting a list of some such and then - boom - he kicks into Lovecraft mode and spins a horrific passage. Very neat.

Darkness and "down deep under there" are constant companions. Later, I will blog some notes that a former correspondent and I worked on together. We took some of HPL's stories and counted his word uses and how consistently "she/her" was absent and how frequently "dark/black, under/below/beneath" semiotics were present.

But today, here is an extract of a letter to Aunt Lillian from November 6, 1924.

"..looking north ... the ancient churchyard with crumbling brownstone slabs (instead of slate in N.E.) dating back to the sixteen-hundreds, long before the present edifice was built. Here sleep the fathers - their stones of varying workmanship, their names variously spelt {sic}. Crane, Craine, Hetfield, Hatfield, ... & so on. In the rear are willow trees & grassy banks & impressive tombs. ... He goes on inventorying the scenery, and thinking, always thinking ... And what a river! Down to its sloping banks of grass & moss stretch the yards of the most ancient houses, gay with tangles of old-fashioned gardens, & grim with the great snakelike willows that bend out from the shore & lean far over the tranquil stream. Sime or Dore would revel in the sight - as did I in my humbler & unproductive fashion. ... colonial gables brood on every corner ... one now returns down the hill ... past the antediluvian chimneys by the river ... past many archaic rooftree ... past the old bridge ... at the foot of the street ... stands the ancient Hatfield house (1667) peaked & gabled ... a terrible old house - a hellish place where night-black deeds must have been done ... with blackish unpainted surface ... suffocatingly empowered in a tagle of ivy so dense that one cannot but imagine it accursed and corpse fed. .. its image ...causing me to write a new horror story with its scene in Providence & with ... the Babbitt house as its basis. "The Shunned House" ... I finished it last Sunday night."

It's fascinating to see the several repeated images of snakes, corpses, darkness, weirdness - and always old. Where Thoreau would have seen a wonderful quiet scene on a long woodsy walk, or a jazz-ager might have seen a blight and relic to be torn down to make a U.S. highway for his sports car, HPL saw a weird tale.

I think it is that mix of scientific and analytic - even impassionate - itemizing and looking through the world through rose-colored (blood colored?) glasses is interesting. Then he applies polysyllabic vocabulary and odd speliings, and voila! An HPL story emerges.

H. P. Lovecraft: Letters From New York, S.T. Joshi, p.81,82, [op.cit. below]

Thursday, December 22, 2005


over HPL’s letters, stories, and poems. We chill at his eerie words. It's good to recall that he, too, was a fan and worshipped Poe. In a future ‘blog entry, I plan to show where in The Alchemist Lovecraft freely alludes to The Cask of Amontillado and at least chapter three of A. Gordon Pym.

In the meantime, we shall set the stage with this May 1922 trip to visit his hero’s home.

"At Fordham - thank Pegana {*} - we found the Poe cottage open, and forthwith entered a small world of magic. Poor Poe, a creature of poverty driven from pillar to post in hired houses and with no stable, ancestral furniture, left very little with which to embelish the interior; but his own desk is there, and the chair in which he wrote ... There are several Poe busts, a couple of awkward stuffed ravens, and some good Poe portraits. There are specimens of his handwriting and a lock of his hair. The atmosphere grows on one and finally grips one - it is so terribly vivid - the 'forties recalled in every sombre {sic} detail. The pitiful poverty shows - something sombre broods all over the place. I seemed to feel unseen batwings brush my cheek as I passed through a bare, cramped corridor. ... the house is so pathetically small ... and such hideous things have been written there. Such was the home of the man to whom I practically owe every genuine artistic impulse and method I possess. My master – the great original whose titanic powers I can so feebly seek to copy ... Edgar Allen Poe."

[H. P. Lovecraft: Letter From New York, ed. S.T. Joshi & David E. Schultz, isbn 1892389371, p. 15]

* Lord Dunsany's mythical creation and a favorite of HPL.

The Cemetery by Tom Lera

By permission, here is an outstanding Lovecraftian story by the horror writer, Tom Lera. Enjoy!


My current employment (which pays my bills and allows me to travel) is VP of Manufacturing for a Wireless Company (data not voice).

I am a Fellow in The Explorer's Club (my avocation is worldwide cave exploring), an environmentalist and conservationist. Most recently, I have been exploring Mayan caves in Belize, Guatemala and Costa Rica and the surrounding jungles. When I have free time, which is usually on the airplane, I write.

Recently I have two entries in a new Encyclopedia of Cave and Karst Science published this year stories in the webzines MockfeaR, Whispering Spirits, Anotherrealm, Demonminds, Twilight Times and The Lightning Journal.


The Cemetery

The writer’s workshop had lasted almost 3 hours, 45 minutes longer than expected, and I was brain-dead after the intense discussion and analysis of American gothic writers. Relaxing as I drove through a chilly rain along a remote stretch of the Blackstone Road, my mind wandered to the night’s fraternity party. A deer darted out of the woods directly in front of my truck and I swerved to avoid hitting it, the front of my Xterra firmly met the thick trunk of a large oak tree. I did not feel seriously injured just unnerved and badly shaken I sat behind the wheel calming myself. Once I got out and examined the Nissan, I realized it would have to be towed. I had no choice but to hook it back to campus.

Blackstone Road was lightly traveled, and it was doubtful another motorist would drive past anytime soon. The idea of walking all the way to Brown University past Swan Point Cemetery didn't particularly appeal to me, especially since it was October 31st and already turning dark.

If this wasn’t enough to fuel my superstitious nature, the fresh memories of the horror workshop I’d just left pushed my imagination into overdrive. It would take at least a half-hour for me to walk to the nearest house where, if I was lucky, the owner would even open the door, never mind let me use the telephone. I buttoned my raincoat, grabbed my umbrella from the back seat and started walking.

After about twenty minutes I neared the sprawling expanse of Swan Point Cemetery. With entrances from both Blackstone Road on the south and Williamsburg Street to the north, I could cut straight through, save considerable time, and be dry in my University dorm room in no time.

However, the idea of walking through the graveyard in the dark of night on Halloween set the hairs on the back of my neck at attention. The rain had stopped, only to be replaced by a dense fog, making it difficult to see more than three feet ahead of me. I crossed my fingers and headed straight for the imposing wrought iron gates.

Absorbed in navigating the stone walkway, I was slow to notice there was a faint but persistent sound behind me. Was someone following me? I slowed to hear better and the sound became nearly imperceptible. I turned but no one was there. Damn my imagination! Shaking off my nervousness, I began to hum a cheerful tune, and started walking just a little bit faster.

There it was again! This time I was certain I heard something. I turned so quickly I almost twisted my ankle, but again saw nothing. “What the devil is it,” I asked myself, dismayed at my choice of words. I picked up my pace to a slow jog.

The noise grew louder, clearer, becoming the distinct rhythmic cadence of footsteps. I didn't turn around, afraid of what I would see, or afraid once again there would be no one there. One way or the other it didn’t matter, I decided as I sprang into a fast jog.

Now I heard the sound of crying join the echo of footsteps. I threw down my umbrella and broke into a dead run. In my near panic I tripped over a low gravestone, fell on my face, and rolled over onto my back. Through the darkness I could vaguely see a ghostly figure approaching me, although in the dense fog I could not discern a face. It could be no mortal being, I reasoned, as I had not been able to outdistance it.

As the phantom drew nearer, I scrambled backward crab-like, finally managing to get to my feet, and ran faster than ever before. I prayed, “Please let me make it to Williamsburg Street!” where there were streetlights and a well-lit Wendy’s less than two blocks from the graveyard’s north gate.

This short prayer became my mantra, as I raced full out. All at once the ground disappeared from beneath my feet. I floated briefly in mid-air then hit the dirt hard with a resounding thump. I had fallen into a freshly dug grave and was trapped, having the wind knocked out of me. My pursuer was getting closer. I could feel the cold, clammy apparition as it peered over the edge of the grave. When I saw its smoldering, yet lifeless eyes, I knew what true terror was!

“Someone help me, please!” I rasped, my throat constricted by fear. My cry for help sounded like a far away echo.

How long I lay there I had no idea. The fog had begun to dissipate and it was getting lighter. But that was impossible! Morning was still hours away, wasn't it? Or had I hit my head in the fall and been knocked unconscious for several hours? No, it was not my imagination; the night was giving way to daylight.

I blinked several times in succession. Could my eyes be playing tricks on me or was this person standing above me the icon I’d seen on book covers? Could this be H. P. Lovecraft?

As I stared at him in amazement, I could see he was profoundly sad. For some reason, I clearly understood he was there to say goodbye to me. With this knowledge, a sense of peace and contentment descended upon me, a heavenly calmness I'd never known in life. I rose and looked at the headstone at the head of the grave and was not surprised to see my name newly engraved upon its smooth marble surface.

What a great story this would have been for my workshop, I thought as a wry smile spread across my ghostly face!

© Thomas Lera, 2005

Author note – H.P. Lovecraft is indeed buried in Swan Point Cemetery on 585 Blackstone Blvd, Providence, Rhode Island.

[If you enjoyed this, you MUST check out his new story.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Lovecrfat Essay: His New York Crisis and He

My essay on Lovecraft's tragic stay in New York and how it culminated in the short story He is posted on The Horror Library. Click to go there.

Coming soon. May 1922: Lovecraft visits Poe's home. In his own words.

A Night On The Town with HPL & SHG

Thought you'd enjoy this little anecdote of the married couple (Howard and Sonia)out to dinner and movie.

Midnight, April 12/13, 1926 [From S. T. Joshi et. al. , H. P. Lovecraft: Letters From New York]

"At 5 PM we adjourned ... for dinner ... mine was grapefruit, soup, spaghetti, beef with ptato pancakes, sweet potato, & onions, cofffee, & spumoni. ... {and traveled to] Flatbush, the only undecayed spot in ... Brooklyn ...

"Arriving there whilst the evening was still young, we had ice cream ... (or rather I had ice cream whilst SH had two coca-colas.) & attended the ... theater ... the film was ... Stella Maris in the reissued form & aroused in my mind an interesting reminisce. I attended the old issue of this film in January 1918 ... but was forced to leave before it was half over because of a disgestive attack - my stomach was not then reliable as it is now. In that old film Mary Pickford was the star ..."

HPL's nutrition consisted of some high calorie stuff. He seemed to love ice cream !


Sunday, December 18, 2005

Rock and Roll?

Surely not? No doubt, H. P. Lovecraft would have considered R&R noise. He certainly had no love for jazz, and would have been intollerant of blues, so their hybrid would have been a dondaniel cacophany to his ears.

Yet, one of the least known aspects of Lovecraftiana is a small band that made waves along with Jefferson Airplane back in 1967. Yes, I was alive then, but just a boy.

I actually have the album set on cd and it is quite good - at least as good as the first few Jefferson Airplane albums, though they had some hits, and H.P. Lovecraft didn't. I recommend that you at least try out the clips.

There are two new releases that I have not gotten my hands on yet. They can be seen if you link over or google There is a brief blurb on the band on the internet, too.

Their best known and most creative song was based on the short story White Ship. In the mid-1960's, Lovecraft's stories were just getting their second wind. The WWII years saw Derleth and Wandrei send out thousands of copies of HPL's stories to G.I.'s. Then the G.I.'s baby boomer kids had a turn at the Gentleman from Providence.

Was there ever a more psychodelic concept for the 60's than Lovecraft's nihilistic materialism laced with eldritch magick from the stars?

Check out this groovy music. You'll grok it.

Lovecraft's Medical Ailment?

I am an avid collector of Lovecraftiana trivia. :)

I ran across this old copy of Horror Times Ten*.

In the special notes by Sam Moskowitz, he states, "Even in the most bizarre and far-fetched tales, a little research will usually uncover the fact that at least the beginnings of the idea were developed from the author's personal experience. H. P. Lovecraft's, Cool Air, which originally appeared in Tales of Magic and Mystery for March, 1928, opens with the lines: 'You ask me to explain why I am afraid of a draught of cool air, why I shiver more than others upon entering a cold room, and seem nauseated and repelled when the chill of evening creeps through the heat of a mild autumn day.' Friends of Lovecraft recognized those symptoms as belonging to the author [who] had suffered from a kidney ailment, as well as Bright's disease (also an affliction of those organs) which was eventually to prove a major factor in his death at the age of forty-seven. Since kidney disorders decrease the tolerance to cold in some people, it seems quite logical that for a man suffering from such a condition the term 'cool air' would evoke horror."

[Honestly, I've never read this particular disease factoid before. S. T. Joshi, at least to my knowledge, never mentions this, but has discussed St. Vitus Dance and Rheumatic Fever. Anyone know about this particular disease in conection to HPL? and why Moskowitz might have thought this was the case?]

I also liked the cute pun from the editor, Alden H. Norton, in his Introduction, Cool Air by the late master, H. P. Lovecraft, is literally a "chilling" tale, all the more so since it displays the humanity of the dead."

This little book has Robert Bloch, Robery Erwin Howard, August Derleth and Lovecraft within its pages.

[Fellow blogger, let me know if you've also read this book, have it, or would like to know more about it.]

* I try to be very careful about using copyrighted material. As is standard practice in research, I use due diligence in quoting my references and using the least amount of verbage to get my blog across.

Horror Times Ten, ed. Alden H. Norton, Berkeley Medallion, 1967, 6th ed. 1970.

Not In Kansas Anymore by Christine Wicker

You can read a full review and comment by Christine Wicker at my generic blog.

For the Lovecraft blog, I have to report that at the end of a long passage of how J.R.R. Tolkein's readers associated themselves with his mythological creations, she mentions Ursula LeGuin, Marion Zimmer Bradley and our favorite writer: "H.P. Lovecraft also captured the imagination of readers."

Yes, indeed he has!

Wicker has taken a journalistic slant at the mythical and magical in today's America. Red states or blue states - magic is everywhere and she has exposited and unveiled many of the interesting facets and dark corners of the magical world.

Buy her book! Read it! You won't be sorry. I think Ech Pi El would have loved it, too.

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Cult of Alien Gods by Jason Colavito

Colavito's thesis is that the belief in aliens visiting Earth was influenced by the works of H. P Lovecraft.

This blurb says it all: "Nearly half of all Americans believe in the existence of extraterrestrials. Shocking new evidence proves that the entire genre of ancient astronaut books is based upon fictional horror stories, whose author once wrote that he never wished to mislead anyone.

"Jason Colavito traces the origins of the belief in ancient extraterrestrial visitors to the work of horror writer H.P. Lovecraft (1890–1937). This amazing tale takes the reader through fifty years of pop culture and pseudoscience highlighting such influential figures and developments as Erich von Däniken (Chariots of the Gods), Graham Hancock (Fingerprints of the Gods), Zecharia Sitchin (Twelfth Planet), and the Raelian Revolution."

Everyone should also read his outstanding article!

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