Sunday, December 31, 2006

Commentary on The Hound Part 7

"A locked portfolio, bound in tanned human skin, held certain unknown and unnamable drawings which it was rumoured {sic} Goya had perpetrated but dare not acknowledged."

Most texts of the story have this, but in the original manuscript it read, "held the unknown and unnamable drawings of Clark Ashton Smith."

C. M. Eddy had read this text and insisted it be removed since he believed that becuase he was pressing Weird tales to take Smith's work, they (Henneberger, Wright) would think it gratuitous and pushy to mention Smith in the story. Lovecraft complied.

Lovecraft believed that (Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes) Goya (1746-1828) had the horror too thickly laid on, but did enjoy his works. See Goya's illustrations on this post.

n. 6, p. 380, H P Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories, Penguin, 1999.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

New Clue: Could HPL Have Ever Been a Spy?

The answer apparently is yes. However, not between 1923 and 1926 with Houdini (we are still searching for THAT smoking gun) but in 1917 !!

Faig (1) reports in his 1999 essay that a 1948 memoir by Michael White (d. 1960) entitled "Fond Memories that Linger On" (The Fossil, January 1948) states Lovecraft collaborated with a paid British agent to exacerbate an Irish enclave of activists. Lovecraft presented the United Amateur Press Association at a Boston literary club in 1917 to which White was in attendance. White states that he knew of Demarest Loyd, a dandy-dressed English sympathizer was paid to out Irish (IRA) sympathizers. He enlisted Lovecraft's help - or they at least stumbled into one another's arms.

As usual, HPL was inconsistent in his vehemence, though. He adored Lord Dunsany, and probably did not know he was an IRA sympathizer. He attacked (2), though a series of published letters, John T. Dunn - a freind - and some of HPL's vitriolic spume spilled into the pages of The Conservative. White, himself, was a sympathizer. White was a close friend to Edith Miniter after HPL introduced the two of them. (Miniter once fancied by Lovecraft - see blog entry). Miniter's mother was keen on writing verse in Irish fashion.

This tantalizing bit of "historicical" gossip shows that Lovecraft was quite capable of espionage leanings. He was never shy about berating those he keenly felt were wrong-headed and dangerous to his personal belief systems.

Loyd had a Kentucky connection, having been stationed at Camp Zachary taylor in Oct 1918. He was born in Chicago in 1883 making him older than HPL - always a plus, since Lovecraft gravitated to older men. Both of his degrees were from Harvard making him a Boston mainstay. Lovecraft's Uncle lived in Boston. Loyd's British airs probably (?) reminded him of HPL's father.

1. Kenneth W Faig, Jr, The Unknown Lovecraft I: Political Operative, Crypt of Cthulhu 103, Vol. 19, No.,1, 1999
2. S T Joshi, "H P Lovecraft: Letters to John T Dunn", Books at Brown, Vol. 38&39, 1991-1992, published 1995, Providence, RI.

Commentary on The Hound Part 6

"St. John" and the locale set in England.

This is another in-joke. Lovecraft usually referred to his friends by cute nicknames. Rheinhart Kleiner was dubbed Randolph St. John after British author and political figure Henry St. John, Viscount Bolingbroke (1678-1751).

Kleinhart was part of the Kleicomo (Kleinhart, Ira Cole, Moe) circle and later the Kalem (K,L,M) club.

n. 2, p. 379, H P Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories, Penguin, 1999.

Lovecraft's Brilliance: Annecdote Submitted by Casper Kelly

In search of more clues as to why (if at all) HPL might have been selected by Houdini to assisst in battle against the Spiritualists, we have this gem. From Sonia's memoir, this quote is submitted by Casper Kelly.

"H.P. never called himself an American; he insisted that he was still an Englishman. Not only that, he regarded himself as a displaced Englishman, although he had never been in England. Apropos of this, he could describe thoroughly every part of London, Stonehenge, Stratford-upon-Avon, and many other places in England. In fact when he had ghost-written the story for Houdini he described Gaza so accurately that one would think he had been there."

It shows how impressive he was among his peers. In New York he associated with Hart Crane and other struggling artists luminaries, who were stunned by his affability on one hand and brilliance on the other. Recall elsewhere on the blog we mentioned that Houdini autographed his book to HPL "To my friend, Howard Lovecraft / Best Wishes, / Houdini / "My brain is the key that sets me free."

A Modern Vampire: Eerily Similar to Mercy Brown

In The Shunned House, HPL thinly veils Mercy Dexter (i.e. Mercy Brown of Exeter, Rhode Island) as a parody of Mercy Lea Brown. Space does not permit the full telling of the tragic story of the Brown family - and the long tradition of attempting to prevent tuberculosis by exhuming bodies and burning hearts in Rhode Island and Connecticutt. Perhaps in a future blog - but one can easily google on the tradition.

However, we know that HPL made use of the 1892 newspaper article raging about the superstition - perhaps found in Sidney Rider's books.

The tradition has a modern outbreak of note. In 2004, a farmer named Petre Toma died. Upon burial, a child in the village became ill and a group of panicked villagers exhumed the body, pried the rib cage open with a pitchfork, burned the heart and made a brew of the ashes and made the sick child drink it.

The story is long, and to save space, I'm putting them in the comments section attached to this post.

The citations are: Massimo Pollidoro [1] & Seattle Times.

Commentary on The Hound part 5

"On October 29, we found ... underneath the library window a series of footprints utterly impossible to describe."

Chrispy believes that Lovecraft alluded to an event in Topsham, England on 7 February 1855.

Townspeople were shocked when they awoke to find unexplained footprints covering their yards, gardens, streets, and even roofs of their homes. Although other reports of unknown tracks are known to exist, this incident proved to be most unexplainable. The Times of London printed the following article on February 16, 1855.

Considerable sensation has been evoked in he towns of Topsham, Lympstone, Exmouth, Teignmouth, and Dawlish, in the south of Devon, in consequence of the discovery of a vast number of foot tracks of a most strange and mysterious description. The superstitious go so far as to believe that they are the marks of Satan himself; and that great excitement has been produced among all classes may be judged from the fact that the subject has been descanted on from the pulpit.It appears that on Thursday night last there was a very heavy fall of snow in the neighborhoods of Exeter and the south of Devon. On the following morning, the inhabitants of the above towns were surprised at discovering the tracks of some strange and mysterious animal, endowed with the power of ubiquity, as the foot prints were to be seen in all kinds of inaccessible places - on the tops of houses and narrow walls, in gardens and courtyards enclosed by high walls and palings, as well as in open fields. There was hardly a garden in Lympstone where the footprints were not observed.The track appeared more like that of a biped than a quadruped, and the steps were generally eight inches in advance of each other. The impressions of the feet closely resembled that of a donkey's shoe, and measured from an inch and a half to (in some instances) two and a half inches across. Here and there it appeared as if cloven, but in the generality of the steps the shoe was continuous, and, from the snow in the center remaining entire, merely showing the outer crest of the foot, it must have been convex [concave?].The creature seems to have approached the doors of several houses and then to have retreated, but no one has been able to discover the standing or resting point of this mysterious visitor. On Sunday lat the Rev. Mr. Musgrave alluded to the subject in his sermon, and suggested that possibility of the footprints being those of a kangaroo,; but this could scarcely have been the case, as they were found on both sides of the estuary of the Exe. At present it remains a mystery, and many superstitious people in the above towns are actually afraid to go outside their doors after night.

29 October 1922 was the Sunday before Halloween - the day kids would have celebrated it.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Henneberger, Weird Tales, Lovecraft, and Houdini?

As frequent HPLblog readers know, I've been slowly exporing whether Lovecraft was explicitly being watched and recruited by Houdini. Yes, Chrispy knows there is no smoking gun, and ... yet ... the circumstantial evidence is tantalizing.

As I uncover more "clues" I will post them. One must still diligently sort through annecdotes and memories and apocryphal stories !

This excellent site via Lars Klores, has some interesting new points of consideration.

J.C. Henneberger began Weird Tales in March of 1923 "to give the writer free rein to express his innermost feelings in a manner befitting great literature". From the beginning, it was clear that the magazine existed in its own abyss ... Poets and authors who favored the darker side, dream-spinners and troubled souls seeking an outlet, found one in its pages.

Henneberger, a journalist who had steeped himself in the dark, southern fantasies of Poe for much of his life, began by hiring well-known Chicago author Edwin Baird to serve as Weird Tales’ editor, assisted by Farnsworth Wright and Otis Adelbert Kline.

The pulp (cheap pulpwood paper it was printed on) struggled under Baird’s editorship and was uneven, and uninspired.

A discovery under Baird’s editorship was ... H.P. Lovecraft. While Baird purchased almost everything Lovecraft submitted, Henneberger has claimed that Baird disliked Lovecraft’s fiction and only purchased the stories under Henneberger’s orders. Baird’s rejection of similarly promising material (such as Greye La Spina’s classic, "Invaders from the Dark") would seem to bear this out. According to author E. Hoffmann Price, "Baird was an idea man. Once the idea was going, he swiftly lost interest in it."

{Elsewhere - search blog - we learn that Henneberger desperately wanted HPL to replace Baird as editor}

After 14 issues of uneven quality, Henneberger replaced Baird with Farnsworth Wright, who until then had served as the pulp’s chief reader of manuscripts. Wright, was a tall, gaunt man afflicted with Parkinson’s Disease.

So, here are two "clues". Henneberger quickly decided baird was not his man. Wright had Parkinson's - though he lasted for years as editor - and perhaps Henneberger was concerned over this issue?

The bigger element is the annecdote that Henneberger forced Lovecraft onto Baird. From all historical perspectives, Henneberger and Lovecraft were not close, but starting shortly after the magazine's inception, Henneberger desperately grasped for Lovecraft.

Weird Tales starts in 1923.

Houdini is a major player (but how? Just writing stories or more?) in Weird Tales from almost the inception.

C M Eddy meets HPL in August {much much more about this in future blogs posts}.
Henneberger/Houdini contracts a ghost-writing assignment for an astounding sum of cash.
Then, Henneberger decides he wants HPL as editor and woos him.
Frank Belknap Long is a witness to this.
Houdini invites HPL to his house, and then to a performance.
Houdini writes HPL that he will make intorductions for him to get jobs.
C M Eddy makes a few trips to NY - to see Houdini and to see HPL.
HPL does turn down editorship of Weird Tales.
More Houdini work comes to C M Eddy and Lovecraft including Cancer of Superstition.
Prior to Houdini's death, C M Eddy, HPL, and the Houdinis have dinner and Bess is poisoned.
HPL is invited to come with Houdini to be on stage - declines.
Houdini dies - or is he assasinated?

Again, very tantalizing coincidences.

However, contra we have devilishly little evidence to connect the dots from the writings of Muriel Eddy and Lovecraft's correspondents or research from S T Joshi, or L Sprague de Camp.

Stay tuned!

Lovecraft's Signature in his Copy of Arthur Machen Book

This is an interesting variation on HPL's traditional signature. You can compare it to other signature's in our HPLblog (use search feature for more information) that I conveniently include here.
The collaborating text reads:
This is H.P. Lovecraft's copy of Arthur Machen's Far Off Things (New York: Knopf, 1923), from Lovecraft's library. HPL's bookplate is on the inside front endpaper, and he has signed it on the inside right front-endpaper. There is another inscription of the Providence, Rhode Island book collector Carlton Calderara on the title page. The book is VG; it lacks a dj, the paper label on the spine is worn, there are scattered dustmarks (perhaps HPL's fingerprints) on the cloth covers; front hinge slightly cracked. An extraordinary association copy; copies of Lovecraft's signed books are becoming increasingly scarce, and ones connected with his love of weird fiction are almost impossible to find. Lovecraft discusses purchasing this copy in his Selected Letters (Arkham House).

Commentary on The Hound Part 4

from 1904

from 1908

Prior to 1907

(note the cemetery to the side in the photos)

That aforementioned Dutch Reformed Church is illustrated by these post card ephemera.
Click on the images to slightly enlarge them.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Commentary on The Hound Part 3

Holland not only refers to the Dutch Reformed Church in Flatbush, but also van Helsing of Dracula.

"Dr. Van Helsing must be a good man as well as a clever one if he is Arthur's friend and Dr. Seward's, and if they brought him all the way from Holland to look after Lucy. "

The Hound is notable because this is the first mention of Necronomicon and it is referred to as written by Abdul Alhazred. Both Greek and Arabic are aberrations of etymology and construct - as pointed out often by Mr. Joshi, but we like them!

Ia! Yig Lives!

^ linked image^

^uploaded image^

Well, maybe. NASA has released these images of a stellar phenomena. I'll attach the long text in "comments" below so it will not take up so much room in the blogosphere arena.

Basically, the dust, stellar radiation, and gravitational effects have made an oddity that Lovecraft would have smiled over. And would have been outraged if someone had actually personified the optical illusion into a fiction - unless of course it was him, heh.

I almost always embed an image directly into blogger because I don't trust other web sites to maintain their files. So, above, are both the upload and linked image from the telescope. Enjoy the flash.

However, below I will link to the flash picture for fun. I'll attach the links in the "comments" section.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Commentary on The Hound Part 2

Lovecraft is obviously parodying Stoker's Dracula frequently in The Hound.

The whirring of big bats probably derives from this passage, "Between me and the moonlight flitted a great bat, coming and going in great whirling circles. Once or twice it came quite close, but was, I suppose, frightened at seeing me, and flitted away across the harbour towards the abbey. "

Other batty quotes from Dracula are:

But the fact is that whilst the Professor was talking there came a big bat and sat on the window sill.

Then I caught the patient's eye and followed it, but could trace nothing as it looked into the moonlight sky, except a big bat, which was flapping its silent and ghostly way to the west. Bats usually wheel about, but this one seemed to go straight on, as if it knew where it was bound for or had some intention of its own.

But I did not fear to go to sleep again, although the boughs or bats or something flapped almost angrily against the window panes.

One of those big bats that they call vampires had got at her in the night, and what with his gorge and the vein left open, there wasn't enough blood in her to let her stand up, and I had to put a bullet through her as she lay.

Can you tell me why in the Pampas, ay and elsewhere, there are bats that come out at night and open the veins of cattle and horses and suck dry their veins, how in some islands of the Western seas there are bats which hang on the trees all day, and those who have seen describe as like giant nuts or pods, and that when the sailors sleep on the deck, because that it is hot, flit down on them and then, and then in the morning are found dead men, white as even Miss Lucy was?"

We asked Vincent to what he attributed them, and he replied that it must have been a bite of some animal, perhaps a rat, but for his own part, he was inclined to think it was one of the bats which are so numerous on the northern heights of London.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas 1923 & Happly Holidays to YOU, the HPLblog Readers !

In The Festival, HPL wrote, "It was the Yuletide, that men call Christmas though they know in their heads it is older than Bethlehem and Babylon, older than Memphis and mankind."

Indulgent in alliteration, and effusive in atheistic mockery, Lovecraft looked ahead from his October 1923 writing tablet in Providence to the yule season a few months hence to place this horrific story. But what was the Yule season sitz im leben for HPL and Providence in 1923?

I thought it would be fun to think of "kewpie" dolls, and little model Ford cars, and art deco Christmas cards for this posting. Also, a snippet from a Norman Rockwell Cover of 1923's Saturday Evening Post. I thought the cat in the window of the card (above) would make HPL smile.

Commentary on The Hound Part 1

On p. 284 (Joshi, H P Lovecraft: A Life) we learn that on the evening of September 16th {of 1922} Lovecraft and Kleiner went to the Dutch Reformed Church (1796) on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn.

Lovecraft "...from one of the crumbling gravestones - dated 1747 - I chipped a small piece to carry away. It ... ought to suggest soem sort of a horror-story. I must some night place it beneath my pillow as I sleep ... who can say what thing might not come out of the centuried earth to exact vengeance for his desecrated tomb?"

{This is from the letter of HPL to Lillian D Clark dated 29 September 1922)

Lovecraft finished the Hound before mid-October 1922

Among the fun in-jokes are listed within the text are:

*"damned thing ... mangled flesh" Ambrose Bierce's short story that also influenced The Colour Out of Space.

*"red death" His idol's - Poe's - short story.
*"oblong box" Another Poe story.
*"damp nitrous" an allusion to The Cask or Amontillado
- the word is found in describing the ancient tunnel
*"old manor house" an allusion to The Fall of the House of Usher

*."on the night of September 24, 19__" a tip to Poe's affectation in his story telling

*baying of Hound is a tip to Arthur Conan Doyle's Hounds of the Baskervilles
- the yew tree is mentioned a few times just before Baskerville is killed.

*Steven J. Mariconda has found many allusions to A Rebors by Joris-Karl Huysmans

Providence Views in Lovecraft's Youth

circa. 1911 Elmwood

Providence River, Circa 1907

Edward Dexter House, 19th Century (reminiscent ot Charles Dexter Ward)

Padelford House

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Ride of Cthulhu

Submitted by Fran Friel author of the pschological horror novella, Mama's Boy on sale at Insidious Reflections.

Cthulhu --- Found!! Breaking News 23 December 2006

Formally called Architeuthis, the giant squid can grow up to 60 feet in length. Little was known until recently about the creature that inspired the myth of the "kraken," a tentacled monster blamed for sinking ships off Norway in the 18th century

"Nobody has ever seen a live giant squid except fishermen," said team leader Tsunemi Kubodera of Japan's National Science Museum. The giant squid was caught on a baited hook laid 2,150 feet under the sea. Scientists captured it off the Ogasawara Islands, near Tokyo, on Dec. 4.

From: TOKYO (22 Dec. 2006) -- Its mass of reddish tentacles flailing, a giant squid fought a losing battle to evade capture in a video unveiled by Japanese scientists on Friday.
Images of the squid -- a relatively small female about 12 feet long and weighing 110 pounds -- were the ultimate prize for zoologists at the National Science Museum, who have been pursuing one of the ocean's most mysterious creatures for years.

Team leader Tsunemi Kubodera of the museum's zoology department said in an interview on Friday, "We believe these are the first ever moving pictures of a giant squid."

The Japanese research team tracked giant squid by following their biggest predators -- sperm whales -- as they gathered to feed near the Ogasawara islands, 620 miles south of Tokyo between September and December.

They succeeded in taking the first still photographs of a living giant squid in 2005, observing that it moved around in the water more actively than previously thought, and captured food by entangling prey in its powerful tentacles. The latest specimen, whose formalin-preserved carcass was displayed at a news conference at the museum in Tokyo, was caught on a baited hook laid 2,150 ft under the sea off the Ogasawara islands, on December 4, the scientists said.

A squid about 22 inches in length had been attracted by the bait and the giant squid was hooked when it tried to eat the smaller squid, the scientists said.

12/22/06 03:40 ET

Video Here.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Halloween 1922

In The Hound we read, "On October 29 {Sunday, C.P.} we found in the soft earth un derneath the library window a series of footprints uttery impossible to describe."

Lovecraft wrote the most incredible horror stories, but let's place his intensity in the sitz im leben {setting in life} of Halloween, October 31, 1922. Sunday would have probably been the day of celebration of Halloween that year, and the moon was gibbous - full moon was several days away.

Here are vintage images from advertisement, a dance card*, and a Saturday Evening Post illustration of Halowwen that year - 1922.

* The Dance Card comes from an Illinois High School from 1922. Lake Forest Academy, Personal Scrapbook of Edward Morgan Thomas, 1922, a student, 8 x 10 cm.

Fumocy: Full Moons During Lovecraft's Life

The Moon was very important to HPL. He spent hours studying it and thinking about it. It plays prominently in many of his stories.

The list is long, but in "comments" below I will post every full moon between 1900 and his death. I will keep researching - or have to calculate - the ones priior to that.

Fumocy is a modern term - an anagram - of "full moon cycles". See more here.

As HPL knew, the ancients were more focused on new moons, since it is very easy to see a new moon, but devilishly hard to spot a full moon. It easier to see when no light is reflected than 99.9% of full moon versus 99.7%. It took modern mathematicians to make the "full moon" easy to calculate. However, if you were a farmer the full moon was very important for harvesting and planting.

The Providence Train Depot

These were points of departure for many of Lovecraft's earthly adventures. These are vintage images of train depots in Providence (circa 1906 - HPL would have been a high school kid, age 16) as he might have seen them.

Rhode Island School of Design

A continuing series (search blog, in above search screen, for "School of Design") on Lovecraft's use of real locales. This one is the third in the discussion on the Rhode Island School of Design. In the Call of Cthulhu, Lovecraft features this prestigious institute. It had an ongoing series of exhibits that frequently were free to the public, and contained antiquarian treasures in it's recesses.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Arkham House Collector Issue 2 Part 2

Here is the summary:

Arkham House THE ARKHAM COLLECTOR Number Two Winter 1968 Limited Edition (Approx. 2500 copies) The Arkham Collector was a small periodical published by Arkham House starting in 1967. Each issue contained announcements of upcoming books, news clips, essays, poems, story segments, and much more. As such, they offer a fascinating historical insight to Arkham House and their work. Of note, is H.P. Lovecraft always plays a central role (as with the publisher). Some of the more interesting essays on Lovecraft, first appeared in the Collector. It was treated as advertising, and as such, issues were often thrown away, so even with a circulation of around 2500, copies are hard to come by. Remainder issues of The Collector were bound and sold in book form, again decreasing the number of individual issues.
This is issue number one of The Arkham Collector, published in the Winter of 1968 at 50 cents a copy. 28 pages.

Contents Include:
The Arkham Program (Future Publishing Plans)
H.P. LOVECRAFT: Notes on the Writing of Weird Fiction
Lorenzo's Visit by Arthur M. Sampley
Alas by Arthur M. Sampley
Down Endless Years by Joseph Payne Brennan
August Derleth and Jesse Stuart
The First PSI Annual Dinner
No Limit on Hippogrifs by David Drake
One of Le Brown Coye's illustrations for H.P. Lovecraft's Three Tales of Horror
The Origin of a Lovecraft Essay
H.P. Lovecraft by William Fagan
More Than Twice Told Tales by Edna Meudt
Bibliographical Notes
Hugo Gernsback Obit
Dunwich Productions, Inc. (H.P. Lovecraft Rock and Roll Band)
The Visitant by Manly Wade Wellman
Connaissance Fatale by Donald S. Fryer
Southey's Commonplace Book
Arkham House in London

The publications measures 5.25" x 7.75". Arkham House, Sauk City, Wisconsin. Nice condition, no writing or tears, just yellowing due to age and minimal edge wear. According to Leon Nielsen in his invaluable reference book Arkham House Books: A Collector's Guide the value of this Collector is listed at $40.00.

Arkham House Collector Issue 1 Part 2

Here is the text and content of a classic piece of history. The Arkham House Collector was a marketing tool that contained special, and hard to get information on HPL, along with advertising of forthcoming products of Arkham House.

Issue One Cover Text:

Arkham Collector, Number One, Summer 1967, 50 cents. The Arkham Collector is an experiment designed to replace the hitherto annual bulletin announcements. Judging by their indifferent response, we have come to feel here at Arkham House that many people who have been sent our bulletins in the past are not interested in receiving them, and it seems to us that it would be more efficient to send out announcements only to people who take the trouble to subscribe to them in this form though the Arkham Collector will not be confined to mere announcements of coming titles. Moreover, it has become too time-consuming to go through the address files year after year to check against purchases made from our lists during previous years. We propose henceforth to confine announcements to the present publication, which will be issued at least once a year, if not more often, as circumstances demand.
About The Shuttered Room in paperback. A few patrons of Arkham House have recently become irate about the appearance on newsstands of The Shuttered Room, by one Julia Withers. “A shattering story of Gothic Romance and terror – now an unforgettable motion picture. She was beautiful, young, and damned by the echoes of an unspoken curse.” - the typical Hollywood claptrap that is a far cry from The Shuttered Room familiar to collectors of Arkham House books.

Arkham House THE ARKHAM COLLECTOR Number One Summer 1967 Limited Edition (Approx. 2500 copies) The Arkham Collector was a small periodical published by Arkham House starting in 1967. Each issue contained announcements of upcoming books, news clips, essays, poems, story segments, and much more. As such, they offer a fascinating historical insight to Arkham House and their work. Of note, is H.P. Lovecraft always plays a central role (as with the publisher). Some of the more interesting essays on Lovecraft, first appeared in the Collector. It was treated as advertising, and as such, issues were often thrown away, so even with a circulation of around 2500, copies are hard to come by. Remainder issues of The Collector were bound and sold in book form, again decreasing the number of individual issues.
This is issue number one of The Arkham Collector, published in the Summer of 1967 at 50 cents a copy. 24 pages.

Contents Include:
Arkham Collector Introduction
About "The Shuttered Room" in Paperback
Graveyard in April by Joseph Payne Brennan
H.P. Lovecraft & Science Fiction
The Mrs. Ann Radcliffe Literature Award
Someone At The Pasture Gate by August Derleth from Nightshade
The Praed Street Irregulars
The Pontine Dossier
Nightmare by Walter Shedlofsky
A Bok Folio (on Hannes Bok)
The Key by Duane Rimel
Nocturne by Herman Stowell King
Necrology (On Clark Ashton Smith and H. Russell Wakefield) Bibliographical Notes
Colin Wilson
Coye Illustrates Lovecraft
The Lovecraft Letters
E. Hoffmann Price
Nightmares and Daydreams Nelson Bond
The Art of the Pastiche
The First Solar Pons Novel
The Projected Arkham House Program
Tintagel by L. Sprague de Camp
On Publication Dates

Lovecraft Letter to E Hoffman Price, 1934 Part IV

The front of the postcard shows the church made famous by Washington's attendence. The postcard front is shown here. Chrispy has also appended two other pieces of backgorund. A painitng, done quite after the fact, of Washington at the church, and also a scene of inside the church. Lovecraft the antiquarian would might been excited over such Federalist scene - and perhaps his keen imagination would have brought it to life.

Lovecraft Letter to E Hoffman Price, 1934 Part 3

Autographed postcard by HPL on Ebay. You have toi love Ebay for its time-traveling abilities. Better than H. G. Wells' time machine.

The offering is accompanied by this text:

RARE Holographic Postcard H.P. LOVECRAFT to Author E. Hoffman Price, July 7, 1934, Christ Church Where Washington Worshipped, Alexandria, VA Postmarked Providence, Rhode Island

Truly a magnificent H.P. Lovecraft item. For those that know the Old Gent, they understand what a great epistler he was. In fact, one would find it difficult to find someone of any note that wrote as many letters as Lovecraft. Experts believe that he wrote over 100,000 letters during his lifetime, many of great length (a 50,000 word, one-hundred page letter was not out of the ordinary). It is also surmised that fewer than 10,000 of the letters still survive. Of those, a majority are held in Brown University's H.P. Lovecraft collection. In fact, their agressive acquisitions program for Lovecraft was (and is) so intense, that few letters remain in the hands of collectors. Some believe that less than two hundred letters and postcards are in still left in private hands, of these, few ever show up for sale. Considering that writing (postcards and letters) was Lovecraft's favorite form of communication, and that each epistle is a thoughtful tome in and of itself, an actual letter or postcard can be considered the cornerstone of a Lovecraft collection.

We here at Arkham Books now offer to the public, that very cornerstone. Since letters typically run into the thousands ($4000.00 and up is quite common), a postcard is a more affordable way to own a piece of Lovecraftian history.

This postcard was written to Weird Tales and Horror author E. Hoffman Price, Arkham House contributor, author, and stalwart friend of Lovecraft. Price corresponded extensively with Lovecraft (as did many of his contemporaries). This postcard is postmarked July 7, 1934 (or so it appears to be a "7", the postmark is partially obstructed by HPL's writing). It is postmarked from Providence at 6:00am (or so it appears, again, Lovecraft's extensive writing obstruct parts of the postmark). Postmark is from Providence, Rhode Island. The postcard is of "Christ Church where Washington Worshipped. Alexandria, VA." (No doubt picked up on one of Lovecraft's excursions.) One LOONNNGGG paragraph and approximately 250 words. Moreover, there is an additional note below Lovecraft's "Greetings and salutations from the green and serpent haunted sea to Malik Taus ..." Signed "B".

Price has added a note (or so I believe, and was told it was Price) that "Second signature probably "B" = Barlow " (for RH Barlow, friend of Lovecraft, and literary executor -- they also had a few story collaborations). The content is unpublished.


A Typical Opening Lovecraftian Flourish: "Greetings, O Right Hand of Sulliman ...."
Lovecraft also mentions the San Francisco area that Price Lives in, the Gates of an Old Mission and the Friars; Chinese Delicasies; Price's plan for a MA and PhD; A Two-Day Trip Lovecraft took to Virginia (where the postcard was no doubt acquired): Charleston, Richmond, and Fredericksburg; Philadelphia where he saw Poe's House; and more.
The card is signed in one of Lovecraft's favorite renditions of his initials, Arabic: "E'ch-Pi-El".
Truly a gem. With this, we offer a lifetime Certificate of Authenticity. Lovecraft postcards are become more and more rare, and soon, they just won't show up. (We have seen two on Ebay in the last year or so, one did not sell, and one--that we offered--sold for $950.00 (in October 2005)).

Lovecraft Letter to E Hoffman Price, 1934 Part 2

Amazing offering on Ebay. Now you can see the cramped handwriting of the master in all its splendiferous indecipherability. Imagine getting a letter like this!

Lovecraft Letter to E Hoffman Price, 1934 Part 1

Very special offering on ebay! For easier viewing of this ephemera, here are snippets of HPL's writing.
Here we see, "Greetings, O Right Hand of Sullivan", "young friend Belknap", and "Saw Poe's house".

... to be continued ...

Monday, December 18, 2006


"At the time his shrieks were confined to the repitition of a single mad word of all too obvious source: 'Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!'" At the Mountains of Madness

Most of us know this comes directly from Poe's Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of nantucket (1850), and occurs in several chapters, 22, 23, 25, "He could not be prevailed upon to touch it or go near it, shuddering when we attempted to force him, and shrieking out, 'Tekeli-li!'., and Ch. 26.

Poe was meticulous in producing the Tsalal language and (click to see online reference) Morrell's Narrative exemplify the vowel sounds and the process of reduplication characteristic of Malayo-Polynesian languages. Tregear gives tekelili (to shiver, to shake). But splitting Poe's word into tiki (god) and lili (angry) would also fit the context. (1)

However, in a priavte correspondence of several years back, it was called to Chrispy's attention that the word tekeli-li came from a play by Theodore Hook, entitled Tekeli; or The Seige of Montgatz. Poe's mother had acted a part in the production of this play. (2)

Lovecraft idolized Poe and would have absorbed every iota of Poe lore. He would have known these items, I'm sure.

Feel free to add your comemnts on this word, below !

(1) Quoted in [Text: J. V. Ridgely, "The Continuing Puzzle of Arthur Gordon Pym," from Poe Newsletter, Vol. III, no. 1, June 1970, pp. 5-6.] , [page 5, column 2:] , The Continuing Puzzle of Arthur Gordon Pym Some Notes and Queries , J. V. Ridgely, .Columbia University Edward , as Tregear's The Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary (Christchurch, etc., New Zealand, n.d. [c. 1890?]).
(2) Unfortunately the correspondence was damaged, and I only have the correspondent as "S C Jordan".

Lovecraft's Dreaming: Part VI (Did He Lucid Dream?)

To avoid a lengthy blog post, I will post a large part of this in the "comments" section. I hope this is not awkward for you.

Most of you will have access to The Statement of Randolph Carter. Compare this tot he Dream Lovecrfat had as recorded in his correspondence of his dream. HPL had corresponded with Samuel Loveman and had a huge focus on Loveman at the time he dreamed. This was to be one of his greatest friends.

Read the narrative of the dream, and then see if Lovecraft had a lucid dream.

See Comment. be continued ...

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Lovecraft's Dreaming Part V: Lucid Dreaming?

In George Noory's Worker in the Light, the concept of lucid dreaming is discussed. Lovecraft would be appalled by any paranormal or psedoscientific babble, but did he experience "thin-boundary" events?

Thin-boundary behavior is when a subject experiences an induced altered-state. Sleep deprivation, trauma, chemical stimulus, sleep paralysis, stress, and many other events can cause a person to experience a dream state or halucination that seems as real as if the event actually occurred. Lovecraft states in his letters to correspondents that this ocurred many times. His dreams were so real that he had headaches upon awakening, and they jarred him. Of course, many he turned into stories or story fragments.

... to be continued ...

Would HPL and Poe shudder??

OK, this is far afield of HPL and his legacy, but it is too juicy not to blog.

Eddy Daams, an entrepreneur from Holland has the next, new, new thing.

He takes you, puts you in a coffin, and you are burried five feet under for $90. There is plenty of oxygen, and a panic button if you become claustrophobic. "Nothing can go wrong", he states.

Uh, huh. Let's ask Randolph Carter for a statement on this.

A Kappa Alpha Tau Report.

HPL loved cats. Here is one to make him proud.

In Columbus, Ohio, K.A.T. member Tommy saved the cat's owner, Gary Rosheisen.

He was on the ground near his bed having fallen out of his wheelchair. Tommy hit the right buttons to call 911.

"I know it sounds kind of weird," Officer Patrick Daugherty said, unsuccessfully searching for some other explanation.

Rosheisen said he couldn't get up because of pain from osteoporosis and ministrokes that disrupt his balance. He also wasn't wearing his medical-alert necklace and couldn't reach a cord above his pillow that alerts paramedics that he needs help.

Hurrah for K.A.T. member, Tommy !

Saturday, December 16, 2006

10 November 1926: A Day In The Life of HPL

Lovecraft finished The Strange High House in the Midst* on 9 November. He was simultaneously writing and editing The Silver Key and The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath. Only days before, he had beem stunned by the death of Houdini (31 October) which dashed the hopes he and C M Eddy, Jr. had of completing The Cancer of Superstition.
The previous month of October had been very busy. He took a trip with Aunt Annie Gamwell to the "ancestral home" and met many who still recalled stories of his grandfather Whipple Phillips.

Here is a copy (from ebay) of the newspaper he would have read upon rising the day after he finished writing *TSHHITM - The Providence Journal of November 10, 1926 - (24 Pages)
Dunne's Vote Cut 161; Leads Hughes by 166

Eight Injured as Fierce Storm Sweeps Over State

Deputies Approve Execution of Foes of Fascists' Chief -- Mussolini Consents to Measure and to Second Unseating All Recalcitrant Assemblymen

11 Children Killed; Storm Razes School -- Twisting Wind Strikes Suddenly Out of Sultry
Maryland Sky -- Twenty Pupils Injured; Two Negroes Dead (La Plata, Md.) {Maryland's deadliest tornado occurred at a school in La Plata on November 9, 1926. Fourteen students died at the school, and three people were killed in nearby homes. -Chrispy}

Army - Notre Dame Game Tops Saturday's Card

Providence And Brown To Join Hockey League

Canton And Roller Versatile Elevens -- Players on National League Teams Which Clash Here Armistice Day Are Accustomed to Being Shuffled About Lineup - Many Are Stars (Canton Bulldogs and Steam Rollers will play tomorrow afternoon at Providence Cycledrome)

Ads for RED GRANGE in One Minute To Play .... and other ads on Vaudeville, movies, theatre.

Lovecraft's Dreaming Part IV

We see that the child, Howard, probably was traumatized by his grandmother's death. He had already broke from her by rejecting Jesus (and Santa Clause), but he snuck to the attic and precociously studied "religion" by reading Dante's Paradise Lost.

Amazingly, the child ignored the nude figures and decapitated torsos of Dore, and focused on the winged demons. These became his nightgaunts who tried to dsh him against mountains.

He conflates his childhood nightmare with his adult dreaming. These adult incidents are reminiscent of sleep paralysis - his "struggle to keep awake".

Nest, let's explore if Lovecraft practiced "directed dreaming". For that we will use George Noory's recent book, Workers in the Dark.

Lovecraft's Dreaming Part III

Lovecraft indicates that he experienced sleep paralysis (though he had no clue what that was).

A therapist describes it: Sleep paralysis is now being studied as an explanation for terrors in the night, which have been experienced by people across all cultures and for thousands of years. If one is looking for a purely physical and scientific explanation for these terrible nightmares, this one works quite well.

Sleep paralysis is a condition in which someone, most often lying in a supine (face up) position, about to drop off to sleep, or just upon awaking from sleep realizes that s/he is unable to move, or speak, or cry out. This may last a few seconds or several moments, occasionally longer.

People frequently report feeling a 'presence' that is often described as malevolent, threatening, or evil. An intense sense of dread and terror is very common. The presence is likely to be vaguely felt or sensed just out of sight but thought to be watching or monitoring, often with intense interest, sometimes standing by, or sitting on the bed. On some occasions, the presence may attack, strangling and exerting crushing pressure on the chest.

There are a number of historical and urban cultural myths, which can be, somewhat, explained by this experience. The Incubus, which appears in ancient literature, is one such example. In the book Incubus by Kiessling, It was described as half man half beast, attacking in the night. The word night "mare" has been derived from the word incubus. In Greek it was ephialtes, in Latin incubus, in German mar/mare, in Old English maire, Old Norse mara, Old Irish mar/mor, and all mean "one who leaps on, oppresses or crushes."

The demon of the night has also been called 'The Old Hag' a description and myth coming out of several cultures. The Old Hag was described in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.

The Old Hag attack is most closely associated with extreme pressure on the chest while sleeping on your back. People may also feel like they are being choked or even bitten. In his research, Al Cheyne of the University of Waterloo has discovered that between 25 and 30 per cent of the population reports that they have experienced at least a mild form of sleep paralysis at least once. It most often has an adolescent onset but can begin at any age.

Cheyne believes sleep paralysis to be an hallucination created by physical things occurring in the body as a result of a dysfunction or malfunction of the normal R.E.M. state of sleep. This malfunction may be brought on by life stressors or sleep deprivation. Cheyne has also discovered a much higher incidence of sleep paralysis for those who sleep on their back. He has found that changing sleep position can reduce the incidence of these nightmares. He also suggests getting up and physically moving around after having an episode as several can occur in one night.

Lovecraft's Dreaming Part II

Many sources are clear on how childhood nightmares occur.

One therapist states: A nightmare is a distressing dream which usually forces at least partial awakening. The dreamer has disturbing emotions such as anger, guilt, sadness or depression, but the most common feelings are fear and anxiety. Probably the most common theme is being chased - children are commonly chased by an animal or some fantasy figure.

The majority of children have nightmares between the ages of three and eight. These nightmares appear to be a part of normal development, and do not generally signal unusual problems. Some nightmares can be caused by certain drugs or medications, or by rapid withdrawal from them, or by physical conditions such as illness and fever. The nightmares of early childhood likely reflect the struggle to learn to deal with normal childhood fears and problems.

Many people experience nightmares after they have suffered a traumatic event, such as surgery, the loss of a loved one, an assault or a severe accident.

Some people experience frequent nightmares that seem unrelated to their waking lives. These people tend to be more creative, sensitive, trusting and emotional than average.

Nightmares tend to occur after several hours of sleep, screaming or moving about is very uncommon, the dream is usually elaborate and intense, and the dreamer realizes soon after wakening that he or she has had a dream.

Night terrors, on the other hand, occur during the first hour or two of sleep, loud screaming and thrashing about are common, the sleeper is hard to awaken and usually remembers no more than an overwhelming feeling or a single scene, if anything. Children who have night terrors also may have a tendency to sleepwalk and/or urinate in bed. The causes of night terrors are not well understood. Children usually stop having them by puberty.

Lovecraft's Dreaming Part I

HPL started dreaming early ...

"I began to have nightmares of the most hideous description, peopled with things which I called night-gaunts ... these figures came from an edition deluxe of Paradise Lost with illustrations by Dore ... it is fully fifteen years ... since I have seen a nightgaunt, but even now, when half-asleep ... I feel a thrill of fear ... & instinctively struggle to keep awake. That was my own prayer back in '96 - each night - to keep awake & ward off the night gaunts!"

This is when he was 6 years old and a bot after his grandmother passed.

referenced as SL.I. 34-35, note 4 in HP Lovecraft In His Time: A Dreamer and a Visionary, S T Joshi, Liverpool University Press, 2001, pp. 19-20. As an aside, this is an abridgement of HP Lovecraft: A Life, ST Joshi, Necronomicon Press, 1996,

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Dunwich Horror: Rare Newspaper Advertisement

Once again, thanks to Theo Paijmans for sharing this rare newspaper clipping. (Texas, Harlingen, Valley Morning Star, 1977-04-30).

The Dunwich Horror: Movie Ephemera

Some fun items, see next post for a very rare item by Theo Paijmans.

Look at me! I'm Sandra Dee,
Strangled by Wilbur Whateley,
I'm still pretty as can be,
Even though I'm in a horror movie.

(apologies to "Grease")


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