Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Hana Ihaya's Wonderful Illustration of Ech Pi El as Alhazred !!

See more of Hana's art by clicking here.

Hana, I'll keep you at the top of the blog for a few days !!

Controversy Over Lovecraft's Copyright

Here is an Original handwritten letter on Airmail envelope to the editor of Dagon, Carl T Ford regarding an enquiry concerning the possible publication of a story "Satan's Servants"

This is one of three letters that a recent ebay seller (Ford) received from Robert Bloch while editing the Lovecraftian journal Dagon back in the 1980s.

It reads as follows:-

August 28/87

"Dear Mr Ford:

Thanks for yours of the 13th - but it's not proving to be a lucky number! I've already promised use of SATAN'S SERVANTS to someone else, and it will be appearing soon, I believe. Of course certain changes in the text - i.e. elimination of HPL's comments - will be made, since Arkham House claims ownership of his literary estate and the original SOMETHING ABOUT CATS is copyrighted by Derleth, which further complicates matters. Sorry the timing of your request dodn't work out - that all goes well with you!

Robert Bloch"

The seller states: Robert Bloch is the author of Psycho (made into the film by Alfred Hitchcock and based on the life of Ed Gein) and one of the Lovecraft circle whose Cthulhu Mythos and horror tales have delighted millions. Here is a rare chance to obtain a piece of unique correspondence from him - written and verified by Ford - the letter's recipient.

Prelude to Charles Dexter Ward?

On 7 November 1925 to Aunt Lillian, this tiny pericope stands out. "Loveman appeared, bearing as gifts two odd volumes of Jacob Brucker's "Historia Critica Philisophiae", printed at Leipzig in Latin in 1766 & containing chapters on the Cabbala {qabbala -CP} & Pythagorean mysteries. He thought they might have weird potentialies, tho' they turn'd out to be full of academic & historical matter rather than colourful formulae for evoking daemans."

Letters From New York

What Ink Pen Did Lovecraft Prefer?

Here is a nice note from HPL about a shopping trip he and Sonia took ...

"You'll recall that I obtained a pen apiece for SH (Sonia) & myself last October at a price of $1.28 ... we found the sale still on {&} the salesman still willing to make exchanges. obtain real satisfaction one must invest in a real Waterman ... I did not escape from the emporium till a $6.25 Waterman reposed in my pocket - a modern self-filler corresponding to the ancient $6.00 type which I bought in 1906 & lost seventeen years later amidst the sands of Marblehead in the summer of 1923 ... the feed is certainly a relief after sundry makeshifts - tho' I think I'll change this especial model tomorrow for one with a slightly coarser point - one less likely to scratch on rough paper. It is certainly good to be back among the Watermans again ..."

Letter of 30 January 1926 to Lillian Clark, p. 276-277, Letters From New York, Joshi & Schultz, 2005.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Lovecraft's Legacy: Some Notes On Interplanetary Fiction

It makes Chrispy shaky to think of James Blish, Donald Wolheim, KlarashTon, Ech Pi El, Frederick Pohl, Edmond Hamilton, and A. Merritt all in one fanzine. Great Gods of "Scientifiction" !

For many who don't know, the esoteric James Blish - the same one who wrote all those Star Trek novelizations from the screenplays - wrote one of the most definitive King in Yellow stories ever.


Here is a rare image of The JANUARY 1937 issue of the science fiction fanzine THE INTERNATIONAL OBSERVER, Volume 2 Number 7 Whole Number 19, featuring:

The President’s Message……………William S. SYKORA

Magazines of 1936……………Donald A. WOLLHEIM

Science Fiction and Society……………David H. KELLER, M.D.

I Dare To Prophesy! ……………Clifton B. KRUSE

The Standardization of Science Fiction……………Raymond A. PALMER

The Epigrams of Alastor……………Clark Ashton SMITH

The Science Fiction Motion Picture……………William S. SYKORA

Five Minues Slow! ……………J. Harvey HAGGARD

Sun-Spots……………Donald A. WOLLHEIM

Some Notes on Interplanetary Fiction……………H.P. LOVECRAFT

The ISA Hall of Fame: “Frederik Pohl” ……………William S. SYKORA

How Will Interplanetary Travel Affect Us? ……………Edward E. SMITH, Ph.D.

The Greatest Adventure……………Milton A. ROTHMAN

Has Science Fiction A Future? ……………Jack WILLIAMSON

Has STF Been A Help To Rocketry? ……………Laurence MANNING

More Realism in Science Fiction……………Edmond HAMILTON

The Honorable Bean……………Robert A. WAITE

Science and Witchcraft……………A. MERRITT

The Philadelphia Convention……………John B. MICHEL

How To Culture Amoebae……………Jim BLISH

The Science Fiction Special……………Frederik POHL

Read ‘Em and Weep……………Frederik POHL

Official Notices……………ISA Business

Excerpts……………The ISA Mailbox

The STF Exchange……………Donald A. WOLLHEIM

The Contaminator of Space……………Neuty & Deuty

A Matter of Velocity……………Daniel C. BURFORD

Cover by John B. MICHEL

It is sated that it was published monthly by the International Scientific Association - ISA (Long Island City, NY)

Editor: Frederik POHL

Associates: Donald A. WOLLHEIM, John B. MICHEL, David A. KYLE, Arthur L. SELIKOWITZ Publisher: William S. SYKORA

Associates: Walter KUBILUS, Harry DOCKWEILER, George H. HAHN, Jack RUBINSON, Jim BLISH

Stapled. 40 pages.

David A. KYLE writes of this issue: “That 1936 social 'convention' had a very important result. The ISA began preparations, under the vigorous leadership of Sykora and Michel, to have a return engagement in New York City in February of 1937. Wollheim and Pohl went about creating a 'special convention issue' of the club publication which appeared that January. That issue of The International Observer was truly remarkable -- a thick, large-size mimeographed fanzine with a fancy silk-screened cover that sold for ten cents! The contributors were almost a roll of honor: A. Merritt, Doc Smith, Edmond Hamilton, H. P. Lovecraft, Jack Williamson, Ray Palmer, and many others, both pro and fan. I don't remember my contribution and the copy I once had is now long gone.” (“Farewell, Teens, Farewell!”)

Monday, February 26, 2007

A Correllary to Lovecraft's Alchemist

The Alchemist, to Chrispy, shows two periods of composition. Soemtime, down the road, Chrispy will deconstruct it and show the redacted parts. (One man's opinion.) For instance compare the fourth paragraph tot he identical paragraph in The Tomb.

In any event, the bits about the 13th century (i.e. 1201-1299) is reflective of Susan Lovecraft's deep knowledge of French Literature. The story is so clever and well told, it appears to he historic. Lovecraft often parodied history in his post 1915 era.

However, other than a slight allusion to Jacques de Molay, where in the world did this story come from and what is its import? Just made up of whole cloth?

Chrispy think's not.

The story basically is an insertion, and follows this plot: A French peasant, Michel - Mauvais the Evil - looked for the Philosopher's Stone (the method of making gold) and the Elixir of Life (the means of eternal life). Charles, Michel's son, was the father's pupil.

** Interuption. Shades of Charles Dexter Ward Meets The Dunwich Horror ***

Michel burned his wife, allegedly. Then, the plot twists. Godfrey, son of Henri, came up missing and suspicion descended upon Michel and was slain by Henri. Then, Godfrey is found. Charles Le Sorcier - the sorcerer - proclaimed a curse.

** So far this is very reminiscent of the Capet line of French Kings**

Robert, the next count was found slain in a field.
His, son, Louis, was then found drowned in a moat.

Here we stop. Why? The latter, Louis, is extremely reminiscent of the ancient legend of the Rape of Maude. I suspect this is a very ancient legend that was part of some eerie folk tale that circulated in and out of France, Normandy, and England.

It is very long and can be found here ... click. I will also place it in "comments".

Basically, an innocent maid through a series of exotic and politically wrongful events is killed, her corpse impaled, and her mother burned.

A key pericope is, "Then in a fit of shame and sorrow she had killed herself, flinging herself into the brook. Of Godfrey Bowen it was assumed that as he had raped his own niece God had slain him. As was the custom and practice of the day, Maude Bowen was taken to the nearest cross-roads to where she had died, impaled with a stake of living wood and buried, lest she return as a vampire."

Read and please add any comments.

Cthulhu's Lair: Unveiled?

This psychedelic octopus was also found in the frigid waters off Antarctica, one of the world’s most pristine marine environments.


It seems so. HPL was an obsessive follower of the Antarctic exploration at the turn of the 20th century. He devoured A Gordon Pym by Poe.

Now with the loss of the Ross Ice Shelf new creatures have come to view.

Story posted in "comments".

These deep-sea sea cucumbers, all moving in the same direction, were abundant in the area explored.

The collapse of the 5,000-year-old ice shelves over the last dozen years gave the scientists a unique opportunity to see new species, such as this amphipod crustacean.

Explorers off the coast of Antarctica found fast-growing sea squirt settlements, which apparently started colonizing the area only after ice shelves collapsed.


Sorry, Chrispy has been away! A little R&R, along with getting new stories ready and meeting other obligations. The new HorrorLirary story will be a near-novelette King in Yellow story. It has been months in writing, and I hope you enjoy it - if you are so inclined to read my fiction.

As always, I and my writer circle can be found featured at

I hope to get more on the Black Swamp trip up soon, and some details on alchemy and Lovecraft in the Alchemist and Charles Dexter Ward.

Thank each of you for making this a record breaking month on reads.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Lovecraft the Artist !

He had a nice, unique way of sketching.

From the Weird Tales publication, THE FANTASTIC WORLDS OF H.P. LOVECRAFT (1999, edited by James Van Hise)

Lovecraft's Legacy: 1999 (Weird Tales & Announcement of New HPL Story)

THE FANTASTIC WORLDS OF H.P. LOVECRAFT (1999, edited by James Van Hise) is 8 1/2 x 11, 192 pages with a full color wraparound cover by Robert Knox. Normally sells for $17.95. This paperback book examines Lovecraft's life and work from many perspectives, including a detailed examination of his career as a pulp writer. Will Murray has also provided an all-new 7,500 word article which reveals that a 1932 E. Hoffman Price story is a previously unknown Lovecraft collaboration, an assertion supported by extracts from Lovecraft & Price correspondence. There are also articles by August Derleth, S.T. Joshi, Peter Cannon, Donald Burleson, Ben Indick, Rusty Burke, Robert Weinberg and others. This book also includes some Lovecraft letters not included in the five volume SELECTED LETTERS. Artwork is also prominently featured here, with illustrations by Dave Carson, Ray Capella, Robert Knox, Allen Koszowski, Steve Fabian and Lovecraft himself. Plus there are ten illos reprinted from WEIRD TALES.
[1] HPL: Pulphound by Will Murray,
[2] Story Writing by HPL,
[3] Some Self-Criticism by H.P. Lovecraft,
[4] Lovecraft As An Illustrator by H.P. Lovecraft,
[5] Lost Lovecraftian Pearls: The 'Tarbis' Collaboration by Will Murray,
[6] Lovecraft In Astounding Stories by Robert Weinberg,
[7] Humour Beneath Horror by Donald Burleson,
[8] Lovecraft, Blackwood And Chambers: A Colloquium Of Ghosts by Will Murray,
[9] Howard Phillips Whateley? by Stanley C. Sargent,
[10] HPL: Problems In Critical Recognition by Peter Cannon,
[11] Weird Tales In Retrospect by August Derleth,
[12] A Weird Tales Lovecraftian Art Gallery,
[13] HPL Visits New YorkÐAnd Runs Screaming! by James Van Hise,
[14] Roots of the Miskatonic by Will Murray,
[15] In Search of Arkham Country I by Will Murray,
[16] In Search of Arkham Country II by Will Murray,
[17] An Allen Koszowski Art Folio,
[18] R.H. Barlow And The Recognition of H.P. Lovecraft by S.T. Joshi,
[19] Myths About Lovecraft by August Derleth,
[20] A Look At Lovecraft's Letters by S.T. Joshi,
[21] The Lovecraft/Robert E. Howard Correspondence by Rusty Burke,
[22] Chronological Listing Of H.P. Lovecraft Photographs: Where Reproductions Have Been Published by John Haefele,
[23] The History of the EOD by Ben Indick,
[24] A Pre-Lovecraft Cthulhu Dreamer by Leon L. Gammell,
[25] "Memory" adapted by Eric York, [26] Rusty Chains by John Brunner,
[27] MODERN LOVECRAFT FANDOM AFTERWORD: Amateur Affairs by Hyman Bradofsky

Friday, February 23, 2007

Prospect Terrace & Charles Dexter Ward.

^1904 View from Prospect Terrace^
Lovecraft would be 14 then, not a child.

^1914 View from Prospect Terrace^

Lovecraft would be 24 then, and the scene very different assuredly, from that of when he was 3 0r 4.

Today, the Providence Ghost Tour apparently meets at Prospect Terrace (Roger Williams Statue) on Congdon St a few streets above Benefit.

"He had been wheeled, too, along sleepy Congdon Street, one tier lower down the steep hill, and with all its eastern homes on high terraces. ... The nurse used to stop and sit on the benches of Prospect Terrace to chat with policemen, and one of the child's first memories was of the great westwardsea of hazy roofs and domes and steeples and far hills which he saw one winter's afternoon from that great railed embankment."

Lovecraft's Legacy: 1960


It was a published amateur fiction magazine by Chesapeake Publications, Baltimore, Maryland of 32 pages including cover.

Editorial by Jack L. Chalker,
The Doom that Came to Sarnath by H.P. Lovecraft,
Centaur: A Cleaning up,
Conspiracy Out of Dorwich by Howard St. John,
artwork by Phil Harrell,
Prosser, Donald Studebaker, publisher.

It was hard to track down, but here are some miscellaneous bits about a few of these folks.

At (click) I found: {Ned Brooks states} "It's February of 1993 and I am 55 years old ... {speaking of a cult comic} The Goon was a comic phenomenon of the fandom of the 1950s and 60s - the earliest of these tales is from 1956, and the latest (so far) from 1963. I had gotten into fandom in 1962, and remember seeing Phil Harrell's copies of some of this material. "

Only one tiny note on Studebaker: "John DeCles, pseudonym of Don Studebaker"

And a confirmation of: 1960, November, Kaleidoscope, Conspiracy Out of Dorwich, by Howard St. John at (click)

As stated before, Chlaker can be found at his web site & on wikipedia.

War of the Worlds: Global Dispatches

Chrispy had seen this book many moons ago, but when a used copy popped up on a recent trip to Half Price Book Store, I had to buy it.

"H. P. Lovecraft: To Mars and Providence" by Don Webb, seems to be a product of its era (circa 1995). The text is fluent with the numerous publications through Necronomicon Press, and much scholarly work done in the 70's, 80's and 90's.

Personally I think it is a little heavy handed on Susan Lovecraft, and takes a fanciful turn at the end slightly inconsistent with the previous narrative and exposition of the author. For 10-1/2 pages, it is an extraordinary piece of fiction and a true contribution to the anthology.

Here is a brief extract,"Down College Hill across the river and then hard work up toward St. John's Church on Federal Hill, which is where the cylinder had fallen... the great leathery wet glistening squamous head of the cylinder's occupant lunged out ...".

OK, no more, else I violate not only the spirit oc (c) ! and ruin the plot. Copies should be plenteous and for only a few shekels. Enjoy !

Bantam Spectra, ed. Kevn J Anderson, 1996, 0553575988

Lovecraft's Legacy: 2007

The popularity of Mr. Lovecraft continues to be cross-cultural. This interesting spin speaks of
Lovecraft Biofuels, a "Silver Lake auto shop that San Francisco native Brian Friedman opened smack in the middle of hipster heaven".

"Freshly painted chocolate brown with Lovecraft's Valentine heart logo, the 7-month-old shop at Sunset Boulevard and Sanborn Avenue specializes in converting cars, especially diesel-powered Mercedes built from 1975 to 1989, to run on 100% vegetable oil. "

"He named the business for the science-fiction {*} writer H.P. Lovecraft and aims to spread his message to all types. "I don't want to come off as an 'environmentalist.' That turns a lot of people off," he said. "If I can get truckers to burn thousands of gallons of vegetable oil, that's better than having hippies loving me."

{* The writer staes HPL as an SF writer, which is an interesting (California) cultural spin on Lovecraft's legacy}.

For more (click here).

Squid Video (Cthulhu?)

These video snags may or may not last long. I'm still learning about these, so bear with Chrispy.

Real Cthulhu Update: Giant Squid News !

Rare Squid Could Be Largest Ever Hooked: Massive Catch Has Rings the Size of Truck Tires

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Feb. 22) - A fishing crew has caught a colossal squid that could weigh a half-ton and prove to be the biggest specimen ever landed, a fisheries official said Thursday. (21 Feb 2007)

The squid, weighing an estimated 990 pounds and about 39 feet long, took two hours to land in Antarctic waters, New Zealand Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton said. The fishermen were catching Patagonian toothfish, sold under the name Chilean sea bass, south of New Zealand "and the squid was eating a hooked toothfish when it was hauled from the deep," Anderton said. The fishing crew and a fisheries official on board their ship estimated the length and weight of the squid: Detailed, official measurements have not been made. The date when the colossus was caught also was not disclosed.

Colossal squid, known by the scientific name Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni, are estimated to grow up to 46 feet long and have long been one of the most mysterious creatures of the deep ocean.

If original estimates are correct, the squid would be 330 pounds heavier than the next biggest specimen ever found.

"I can assure you that this is going to draw phenomenal interest. It is truly amazing," said Dr. Steve O'Shea, a squid expert at the Auckland University of Technology. If calamari rings were made from the squid they would be the size of tractor tires, he added.

Colossal squid can descend to 6,500 feet and are extremely active, aggressive hunters, he said.

The frozen squid will be transported to New Zealand's national museum, Te Papa, in the capital, Wellington, to be preserved for scientific study. Marine scientists "will be very interested in this amazing creature as it adds immeasurably to our understanding of the marine environment," Anderton said. Colossal squid are found in Antarctic waters and are not related to giant squid found round the coast of New Zealand. Giant squid grow up to 39 feet long, but are not as heavy as colossal squid.
See next post for the video.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Andre Norton

Chrispy knows this is far afield, but it is just too nice to pass up.

We have several objects in our house that belonged to our friend, author Andre Norton. We were away from home when she died. It wasn't unexpected since she was in her nineties and in poor health but it saddened my husband and me. We have two lamps that used to be in her office. She had closed her house and moved in with a caregiver a few months earlier and sent some of her things home with us. One of her lamps now sits on the dresser in our bedroom and the other down the hall in my husband's study. The first night we were home after her death, at around 4 am, both the lamps came on. This happened regularly a week or so apart up until around three months ago. One woman I told this story to said she had heard Andre often liked to write in the early morning hours, like around 4 am. I would love to think she visited us on those nights when her lamps came on and maybe she's still writing on the other side. --Holly

Here is a wonderful interview of the great writer (click) with this nice pericope: "The biggest book shop in Cleveland also had a sales table, where they placed books that hadn't sold during the Christmas season. One book which I recognized right away was The Outsider and Others by H. P. Lovecraft, the first Arkham House book. It was priced at $1.50. I bought it, and still have it today.”

Salute to Andre Norton !!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

History of the Necronomicon

Here are images of the rare commemorative of 1938.

This, seen for auction, is allegedly the original "History of the Necronomicon by H.P. Lovecraft" published by Wilson Shepherd of the Rebel Press, Oakman, Alabama, (1938). Limited Memorial Edition.

This piece is described as a single sheet folded to make four pages.

Only 80 copies were printed. (It is #I-A-13-a in the S.T. Joshi Lovecraft biblio. )

Below, is an image of the Necronomicon Press facsimile edition of "A History...", 1st printing, July 1980.

The text of this piece will be entered in comment below.

Whipoorwills V

Here are more "bird" death signs. It appears that birds, and sometimes animals in general, were a portent of death. Perhaps the whipoorwill was a specific instance of the generic legend.

The items below do not have the footnotes or dates collected to save space on the blog entry. (1)

If a bat gets in your house, there will be a death in the family.
If a cow bawls at night, someone in the family will die.
When you hear a dog howling, it is a sign of death.
A rooster crowing at midnight is a sign of death.
If a bird flutters against the window, it means a death to someone inside.
If a bird gets into the house, it is a sign that someone is going to die.
{This one was common in Chrispy's house when he was a small child.)
If a dove lights on your shoulder, there will be a death in the family.
If an owl hoots around the house, someone in the house will die.
A mockingbird singing at night is a sign of death.

Now that we see the mythemes (mythological themes) of "sounds" // "night" // "Alighting" // "Near a house", lets see how a typical oral legend ustilizes these themes.

My great-grandmother had been sick for quite a while, and so one night she couldn't sleep at all. She got up and went into the kitchen and was looking out the window when she noticed the strangest thing - the old rooster was perched on top of the fence. She watched for a few minutes and suddenly the rooster started crowing. She looked at the clock, and the time was only 3:00 AM. Very disturbed about the whole ordeal, she related this event to the family next morning. They seemed quite alarmed, too. Three days after this my great-grandmother died."

Note the use of "3". "3:00 AM" // "Three days" later !!

1. Montell, Ghosts Along the Cumberland: Death Lore in The Kentucky Foothills, 1975.

Lovecraft Conference: 26 April 2007

This breaking news from T Peter Park * :

(* Happy Birthday, T. Peter !!)
Weird Realism
Weird Realism: Lovecraft and Theory
26th April 2007, 11a.m. – 6 p.m.
Centre for Cultural Studies
Goldsmiths University
'A philosophy should be judged on what it can tell us about
Lovecraft...' (Graham Harman)
A unique one-day symposium dedicated to exploring H. P. Lovecraft’s
relationship to Theory.
The event will not follow the ordinary format of the academic
conference. Some written materials will be circulated beforehand, but
there will be no papers delivered on the day. Instead, there will be
structured discussions based on five of Lovecraft’s stories:
· ‘Call of Cthulhu’
· ‘The Shadow over Innsmouth’
· ‘The Dunwich Horror’
· ‘The Shadow out of Time’
· ‘Through the Gates of the Silver Key’
Themes to be discussed include:
· The Weird
· Fictional systems
· Lovecraft’s pulp modernism
· Houellebecq’s Lovecraft
· Lovecraft and hyperstition
· Lovecraft’s materialism
· Lovecraft’s racism and ‘reactionary modernism’
· Lovecraft and schizophrenia
· Lovecraft and the transcendental
· Lovecraft and schizophonia
Participants so far include:
Benjamin Noys (Chichester) – author of The Culture of Death and
Georges Bataille: A Critical Introduction
Graham Harman (Cairo) – author of Tool Being and Guerilla Metaphysics.
China Miéville – acclaimed author of Perdido Street Station, The
Scar, and other tales of the Fantastic.
Luciana Parisi (Goldsmiths) – author of Abstract Sex: Philosophy,
Biotechnology and the Mutations of Desire
Steve ‘Kode9’ Goodman (UEL) – author of the forthcoming Sonic Warfare
Dominic Fox – Poetix weblog
Mark Fisher (Goldsmiths) – k-punk weblog
Anyone wishing to attend should email Mark Fisher (k_punk99[at] Registration is free but places are limited. If anyone
wishes to lead discussion on any of the stories, please state in the
email which story you would like to talk about.

Whippoorwills IV

There are few folklore scholars as diligent and hard working as the now retired William Lynwood Montell formerly of Western Kentucky University. His Ghosts Along the Cumberland: Deathlore in the Kentucky Foothills set a new standard in scholarship. He also quotes the Frank C. Brown collection of North Carolina Folklore , Durham, 1952, which is noted in the brackets below when there is a parallel.

Whippoorwill death lore:

The cry of a whippoorwill is a sign that someone is going to die. [Taylor County, KY, 1966. The informant, female, born 1909 in Green County, KY.]

Montell states that Brown (coded #5330) also collected this logia “If a whippoorwill alights near a house and sings, it is a token of death. " Brown also mentions that this logia has traces in Europe and the United States. This same logia was located in Adair County, KY in 1963.

When a whip-o-will {sic} calls out at night, the number of times he calls will be the number of days before a death in the family. [Barren County, KY, 1966, female, born 1946 in Barren County]

If a whippoorwill stays near your home, there will be a death withing twenty-four hours. [Taylor County, KY, 1965, female, born 1937, Taylor County - - Brown #5332 states “If a whippoorwill cries at you back door, you will hear of a death within twenty-four hours."]

If a whippoorwill hollers close to the house, there will be a death in the family. [Taylor County, KY, 1966, male, born 1938, Taylor County.

If a whippoorwill lights on a sick persons’ bed post and sings, death will follow. [Green County, KY, 1967, female, born 1895, Green County].

Soo… we see that in both North Carolina and Kentucky the whippoorwill death legend was pronounced.

p. 40, 41, Ghosts Along the Cumberland: Deathlore in the Kentucky Foothills, University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, 1975

Monday, February 19, 2007

Rare Copy of The Fossil Features HPL's Last Recruit

The Fossil, Official Publication of The Fossils, Inc. The Historians of Amateur Journalism, Vol. 82, No. 3 – 250, April 1985

“Lovecraft’s Last Surviving Recruit: A Profile of Victor E. Bacon”
By Willametta Keffer

Victor Edward Bacon was living on Cheshire Street in Jamaica Plains in the Boston area in the early 1920’s, and attended some meetings of the Hub Club; in May 1923 he was listed as a member of the Club. In early 1924 he was sponsored for membership in the NAPA by J. Bernard Lynch, at the time president of the Club, by which time he had returned to his St. Louis home (3723 Sylvan Place) and his credential was “News Notes from Beverly Times”.

In the July 1925 official organ of the United Amateur Press Assn. ( now through the 1969 merger, the United Amateur Press) he was sponsored for membership by Howard P. Lovecraft, a former President, then currently official editor of The United Amateur; and to the best of our research, Bacon is the last surviving a.j. sponsored by that legendary figure. VEB’s credential was given as “Reportorial and Editorial work.”

The UAPA did not hold a convention 1925, so election was conducted by mail. The president, Edgar J. Davis, a Bostonian, appointed VEB to the post of Official Editor, since none had been elected, and his first official action was to issue a mimeographed Special Bulletin with details of the mail election. His first issue of The United Amateur, dated September, ran to 8 pages, including membership list, but was not published or distributed until January 1926. His editorial in the second (May 1926) stated that copy had been prepared and mailed to the “official publisher (Harry Marlowe of Warren, Ohio) on August 16, 1925, and publisher reports he lost some of the copy in the post office or on a street car. After the issue was mailed, the lost copy was found in the returned manuscript of a fellow amateur editor. Repeated inquiries have failed to elicit a satisfactory explanation from the publisher as to the reason for the lapses of four months between the date he received copy and the date the issue was mailed.”

He located a publisher in St. Louis for the second and third (his final issued in July 1926), by which time his address was 5932 Julian Ave., St. Louis, his parents home. His sister Gladys, late an NAPA member, also lived there.

His personal paper was Bacon’s Essay; I/I Summer 1927 issued for both the UAPA and NAPA, had as its opening article by H.P. Lovecraft, “A Matter of Uniteds” which related how a 1912 merger attempt ended unpleasantly when a hotly contested election was not settled to the satisfaction of either ticket of candidates.

Only six issues of bacon’s Eassays are in our personal library, but we believe this to be the complete file. Two of them had gorgeously colored covers, and the paper won an Editorial Laureat. In the Sixth (Spring, 1931, IV/I) VEB amusedly referred to a statement in the Boaston Herald, edited by Edwin Hadley Smith, that after VEB “became editor of the UAPA Official Organ, that society never met again.” For the record, VEB stated, it had not held meetings for several years prior to his election, and that during his term he issued more copies than had been published in the entire preceding two years. For comparison: May 1924 (edited by HPL) was 16 pages & cover, including a membership list. The next, July 1925 (HPL editor) 14 printed pages including the two on the bac cover of the membership list.

He continued very active writing in the years after his return to St. Louis. A news item reported he had been chosen from a large field of …

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Whippoorwills III

First, the curse of the whippoorwills on Chrsipy is that he always wants to spell them "whipperwills", heh. The name is an onomotopoeia, as the name is the call the bird makes.

They are actually described thusly: The whippoorwill is about 10 inches (25 centimeters) long. Its spotted, brown feathers make the bird hard to see in the heavily wooded areas in which it lives. During the day, the whippoorwill usually rests on the ground or perches lengthwise on a log. It flies mostly at night. The bird uses its wide mouth rimmed with long bristles to catch flying insects. The female whippoorwill lays her two eggs among the leaves on the ground. The whippoorwill and its relatives, the chuck-will's widow and the poorwill, often help farmers. These birds eat insects, including those that harm crops.
The whippoorwill belongs to the goatsucker family, Caprimulgidae. It is Caprimulgus vociferus.

There is a loose association of whipporwills and devils in a Stephen Vincent Benet poem (that apparently Charlie Daniels' appropriated for a top 40 song hit): The Mountain Whippoorwill
(Or, How Hill-Billy Jim Won the Great Fiddlers' Prize).

In Europe, the "goatsucker" is a misnomer and refers to the legend that these birds somehow drank milk from goats.

The soul snatching, while Chrispy can't confirm his speculation, is no doubt due to their night time habit of swooping and snatching insects. A "goatsucker" is an allusion to a witch or devil action at night, a common medieval fear that an animal might get an infection or somehow go dry, depriving a critical resource of revenue (cheese, milk).

All these are devilish associations which descend upon the Dunwich Horror.

OK, next up, death myths.

Whippoorwills II

In the Dunwich Horror we read at the beginning, "The, too, the natives are mortally afraid of the numerous whippoorwills whcih grow vocal on warm nights. It is vowed that the birds are psychopomps lying in wait for the souls of the dying, and that they time their eerie cries in unison with the sufferer's struggling breath. If they can catch the fleeing soul when it leaves the body, they instantly flutter away chittering in a daemoniac laughter; but if they fail, they subside gradually in a disappointed silence."

Hmm. Is Lovecraft putting us on? He often does, and usually introduces his mocking parodies with, "... and the grandmothers tell us...".

This time, we have a bit more evidence to go on.

We turn to the incredible Mr. Joshi (1) who says this is, " actual legend in the Wilbraham area ... told to HPL by Edith Miniter or her friend Evanore Beebe ... {In HPL's 1934 essay on Miniter} ...I saw the ruinous, deserted old Randolph Beebe house where the whippoorwills cluster abnormally, and learned that these birds are feared by the rustics as evil psychopomps. It is whispered that they linger and flutter around houses where death is approaching, hoping to catch the soul of the departed as it leaves. If the soul eludes them, they disperse in quiet disappointment; but sometimes they set up a chorused clamour which makes the watchers turn pale and mutter - with that air of hushed, awestruck portentousness whcih only a backwoods Yankee can assume - 'They got 'im! {him}'.

Mr. Joshi is sure -as we are - that 'psychopomp' is Lovecraft's word from the Greek psychopompos - conductor of souls. Lovecraft used it in a 1918 poem of werewolves.

While Chrispy does not have direct lore from the Wilbraham locale, I do have independent sources of folklore with which to compare. This will be dealt with in parts III, &c.

It is also fun to see how HPL recalls nearly verbatim an incident that occurred in 1928 in a 1934 memoir. He tells Galpin (2) on 17 January 1936, "I was the guest of Mrs. M{imiter} and her cousin Miss Beebe in 1928. A spectral aura seemed to hang over the immeorial hills - though there were no outward evidences of change since I was there before. {on a mission with Cole to scatter the ashes of Mrs. Miniter's mother, Mrs. Dowe - who had died previously in 1919 - as a long due favor to Mrs. Miniter. Half the ashes went into a Wilbraham burying ground and half in a deserted garden once beloved by Dowe.}.

1. HP Lovecraft, The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories, Penguin, 2001, p, 412, n. 18


In a previous blog post (click to see) Chrispy mentioned Edith Miniter - a brief, I believe, romantic interest of HPL's. She donated the legendary "whipoorwill" to the Dunwich Horror.

In the antiquarian period Lovecraft so loved, there was a rush of English and Scottish peoples to America. Those of the midlands area, brought to the South the "ghost tale" and to Appalacia and New England many legends.

Lovecraft seemed not to realize this, thoguh he was a student of mythology and folklore. One issue is that he did not respect folklore so much as want to change it - and in some cases crush it, grind it to invisibility, and replace it with cosmic materialism.

Chrispy has numerous items in his collection on myth and folklore. One treasured rarity is Folklore of the Mammoth Cave Region.

Here, on p. 98 of the section, "Plants and Animlas in Folk Belief":

1. When you hear the first whipoorwill in spring, lie down right where you are, roll over three times, and make a wish; it will surely come true. (*)
2. Some people think that it is bad luck for a whipoorwill to sing on or near a house. (**)
3. When the first whipoorwill calles, it is time to go barefooted, to change from winter to summer underwear, to plant corn, or to go fishing.
4. If you kill a whipoowill, you will break your arm.

Miniter represnts the late 19th century folklore traditions of New England, and these are Mammoth Cave early 20th century, they have common Scotch-English lore blended with a bit of Native American traditions (Narangasett in Rhode Island; Cherokee in Kentucky). Still, there is a distillation and oral milieu that these folk values ride upon and are passed about over wide distances and geographic areas - prior to the emergence and influence of motion pictures, radio and television.

In a subsequent blog, Chrispy will recite death signs from other selections of his folklore collection - including the dreaded whipoorwill !!

Folklore of the Mammoth Cave Region, Gordon Wilson, Sr, and ed. Lawrence S. Thompson, Kentucky Folklore Series No. 4, 1968, Bowling Green, KY (autographed GW, 23 Oct 1969).

* The number three is story telling is powerful. It shows up in all folklore, and Lovecraft often subconsciously used the same pharses three times for emphasis. One, of course, knows that rubbing a magic lamp three times gets you three wishes, that Peter denied the Lord three times, and that in John 21, Jesus then asks Peter to feed his sheep, three times. The occurance of three would fill a zillion volumes of literature.

** In this case, bad luck is the worst that happens.

Breaking Tsathoggua News

Actually, this is a frog recently found in Mexico that could have been preserved in amber for as long as 25 million years.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Finds At The Used Book Store: 13 February 2007 Part 3

Chripy recently got a wonderful find at Half Price Book Stores: A $2 copy of Great Untold Stories of Fantasy and Horror, Pyramid Books, 1969, 3rd ed. 1970.

Sam Moskowitz says, "One of the paradoxes of Lovecraft;s admirers is the annoyance they have felt when that talented author was referred to as a majot science fiction writer as well as a master of the supernatural.

"... The paradox rests in the strong efforts some of these same people have made to show tha The Dreams in the Witch-House is as much science-fiction as it is supernatural. ... H P Lovecraft ... in the context of the story referred to Einstein's theories, the space-time continuum, "the elements of high atomic weight which chemistry was absolutely powerless to identify. The possibility of stepping from the third to the fourth dimension and back again, extra-dimensional geometry was considered, and finally the statement 'the alien curves and spirals of some ethereal vortex whcih obeyed laws unknown to physics...

"The truth was that H P Lovecraft did not believe in the supernatural. Never did and never would to the day of his death and felt that many of his readers didn't and attempted to offer the possibility that there was some scientific rather than supernatural explanation for witchcraft to make his stories more convincing."

Peter Worthy's Interviews

Must see interviews and more. Mr. Worthy is a writer, editor, and artist. Interviews with Stanley Sargent and Franklyn Searight are among those.

Go there by ... clicking here.

Lovecraft's Legacy: 1947

^ The Lurking Fear & Other Stories Avon #136, 1947^

^TERROR At NIGHT Avon Books #110, 1947^
(this copy including stories by Bram Stoker, Lord Dunsany, and other authors)

Lovecraft's Legacy: 1939

This is the one that launched it all. About 2 years after Lovecraft's death, Arkham wrangled a deal to get Lovecraft in the hands of G.I. Joe. These are rare!

H. P. Lovecraft - The Dunwich Horror And Other Weird Tales #730 (Armed Services Edition - two copies, 1939)

Lovecraft Legacy: 1946

ATRES ARTES, Vol. 1 #3 (Final Issue) '46, various publishers and editors, six extremely interesting special issues devoted to H.P. Lovecraft.
The cover shows a vampire bat night gaunt !
So here we have at the dawn of VJ day, more Lovecraft amateur interest.

Lovecraft Legacy: 1942

FANFARE Vol. 2, #2 (Whole #8) February 1942
This is a wonderful WWII era graphic. The "Liberty" angular design and modern art look is spectacular for an amateur 'zine. Aaron Copelan had just published his "Fanfare for the Common Man" this year - so one wonders if that is a connection.
Chrispy has no information other than this image.

Lovecraft Legacy: Jack Chalker

The left profile was popular, and many fan aritists were inspired to sketch Mr. Lovecraft in homage.

KALEIDOSCOPE Volume 1 #2 Jack Chalker editor and publisher, ("All that a Wonder Story can ever be..." HP quote on Cover) Vol. 1 #2

Jack L. Chalker (1944-2005) Jack L. Chalker passed away peacefully at 11:12AM EST on February 11, 2005. Jack was hospitalized for congested heart failure on December 6. Although there were ups and downs, his condition had been poor during the intervening two months and his kidneys and lungs had failed near the end. He was receiving care in the ICU at Bon Secours in Baltimore, MD.

Biography condensed from

Since 1978 he made his living solely by writing and published over 60 science fiction or fantasy novels and anthologies. During their years of publication, Jack wrote a regular column on SF/fantasy small press for Fantasy Review and continued the column on an irregular basis in Pulphouse magazine.

Lovecraft Legacy: 1960's era

HPL, Meade & Penny Frierson, s print run of 1,000 circa 1960's
This shows that the incubation of Lovecraft and Mythos was beginning to inspire fan artists.

Lovecraft's Legacy: 1956

CANFAN #29 June 1956 ... Ah, Lovecraft enters the mimeograph era. Chrispy well remembers working in a small room, filled with heady ink solvent fumes and rotating the drum on the high school amateur fiction magazine. It looked much like this, and if you had a flood (that mean a lot of dark covering a wide area) the page would be soaked and take forever to dry. That was probably 35 years ago!
There are no other details can I find on this 'zine. Canfan is the nickname of Canadian Sci-Fi fans.

Lovecraft's Legacy: 1972

Ec'h-Pi-El Speaks, Gerry de la Ree, 1972 #477
Gerry de la Ree was a Virgil Finlay friend and fan. He was a 1976 World Fantasy nominee.

Lovecraft's Legacy: 1966

In 1966, this British edition continued the legacy of Loevcraft into the Beatles' era !! Mini-skirts, Petula Clark, and Cthulhu - yeah, baby!

(F&SF began 12 years after HPL's death in 1949, and competed against Astounding and Galaxy but was more on the adult end of the S.F. market. )

Chrispy always liked the covers, very imaginative and often - in those days - had a NASA, far away look to them, like this cover does.

This one's Lovecraft conenction is an eighteen page profile of H.P.Lovecraft by J.Vernon Shea. Unfortunately, it is not in Chrispy's collection, so the text is unavailable.

The rest of the issue is filled with lower tier luminaries, with the sometimes breakout Ron Goulart. Asimov and Merrill usually had the science column (Asimov was always witty and profound) and book reviews.

Asimov is allegedly famous for his revile of Lovecraft, though it was years before I heard of it. Of course, in 1966 I barely knew the name Lovecraft - it was only about 2002 my passion for his work became incindiary.


Friday, February 16, 2007

Very Rare Image of The Lovecrafter (1936)

^seen on ebay^
If this is truly a sheet from The Lovecrafter, it is a shame to see it in such an historic state. See notes below.
The ebay seller states: This is an auction for a cut out poem entitled "A Sonnet" from The Lovecrafter by H.P. Lovecraft. The text is legible, and in good condition. The poem is from a August 20, 1936 issue, Volume 47 Number 1.

^A recently seen internet (not Ebay) auction.^

Donald Wolheim and Wilson Shepard – perhaps printed out of Oakman, Alabama – printed The Lovecrafter for the 20 August 1936 birthday celebration of their friend. It is described as the one and only available edition of 203 mm x 126 mm. Only 16 copies were known to be printed – one on rag paper and 15 on regular paper. The rag and one paper were all allegedly given to Lovecraft and are said to reside in the Lovecraft collection of the John Hay Library. The other 14 copies were widely dispersed and, if they exist, are in collectors’ hands.

The poem is from sonnet number XXX (30) of The Fungi from Yuggoth. ). The broadside is from 1936. The date on the broadside is in honour of HPL's 46th birthday, not the actual date of publication.

A recent copy for sale was starting bid at $3000.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Cthulhu Prayer Society !!

The online newsletters seem to have been discontinued, but you must read their archives. Perhaps the principal editor is the poet Brett Rutherford, but in event, the layout and content is of the first class caliber.

Please go visit ... click here.

And whie you are there, enjoy the poetry and the experience of these wonderful aesthetes.

Salute !!

P.S. There is a triumphant expedition to the Dark Swamp with a long letter published to Frank Belknap Long. I will blog on it soon and add it to our Black Swamp HPLblog exposition.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Lovecraft's Legacy: 1969 (Lancer)

At the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, HPL had a legion of new Baby Boomer fanatics. The Psychedelic Colour of the Meteor was Groovy, Baby. :)

This one is stated to be Lancer 75248. March 1969, 3rd edition

Lovecraft's Legacy: 1963 (Lancer)

Copies of these books (during the JFK generation) led the triumphal Baby Boomers into the clutches of the Gentleman from Providence. (Lancer 75247)

More On the Fluorescing Squid

The film captured the squid in action: 1. The squid swims towards the bait; 2. It spreads its arms wide; 3. It swims around the bait, twisting its body; 4. It grabs the bait with its eight arms.

Cthulhu Attacks !! Ia!!

Well, maybe Chrispy exagerates. However, here is breaking Squid news.

The video link (as long as it is active) is at this site ... click.

By Rebecca Morelle
Science reporter, BBC News

Japanese scientists believe the creatures use the bright flashes to disorientate potential victims.

Writing in a Royal Society journal, they say the squid are far from the sluggish, inactive beasts once thought.

In fact, the footage, taken in 2005 - the first time T. danae had been captured on camera in their natural environment - reveals them to be aggressive predators.

The squid, which can measure over 2m (7ft) in length, deftly swim backwards and forwards by flapping their large, muscular fins. They are able to alter their direction rapidly by bending their flexible bodies.

The films, taken at depths of 240m to 940m (790 to 3,080ft), also show the cephalopods reaching speeds of up to 2.5m (8ft) per second as they attack the bait, capturing it with their eight tentacles.

However, the intense pulses of light that accompanied the ferocious attacks surprised the research team.

Dr Tsunemi Kubodera from the National Science Museum in Tokyo, who led the research, told the BBC News website: "No-one had ever seen such bioluminescence behaviour during hunting of deep-sea large squid."

The footage reveals the creatures emitting short flashes from light-producing organs, called photophores, on their arms.

Writing in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the team said: "[The bioluminescence] might act as a blinding flash for prey."

The light would disorientate the squid's intended prey, disrupting their defences, they added.

It could also act, the scientists commented, "as a means of illumination and measuring target distance in an otherwise dark environment."

However, further investigation revealed the light bursts may also serve another, quite different, purpose away from the hunting field - courtship.

As the squid drifted around torches that had been attached to the bait rig, they emanated long and short pulses of light.

The team believe the torch lights may have resembled another glowing T. danae , and the squid were possibly emitting light as courtship behaviour.


Deep-sea squid - once thought to be legendary monsters of the sea - are notoriously difficult to study, and little is known about their ecology and biology. Several species prowl the ocean depths.

T. danae is thought to be abundant in the tropical and subtropical oceans of the world. The largest reported measured 2.3m (7.5ft) in length and weighed nearly 61.4kg (134.5lbs).

Larger species of giant squid belong to the Architeuthidae family: females are thought to measure up to 13m (43ft) in length.

But the aptly named colossal squid ( Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni ) is thought to be the largest of all - possibly reaching up to 14m (46ft) long.

Lovecraft's Centennial (1990)

Handbook on the Weekend of Events of HPL's 100th birthday. This was issued for thje weekend events that took place on College Hill, Providence, RI. on Friday August 17,1990 - Monday August 20, 1990.

CELEBRATING THE LIFE & WORK OF HOWARD PHILLIPS LOVECRAFT A GENTLEMAN OF PROVIDENCE: Handbook includes Interview with Famed Horror Writer and Lovecraft Correspondent, ROBERT BLOCH. Also shown are 2 Bookmarks with Silouette of HP himself that were given away by BROWN BOOKSTORE (Published by Montilla Publications)

Finds At The Used Book Store: 13 February 2007 Part 2

In Great Untold Stories of Fantasy and Horror (1), Sam Moskowitz introduces a story byCount Leigh de Hamng: A Study of Destiny. While this 1897 story is of passing interest as a morality play set in Egypt, there is a close Lovecraft connection.

Moskowitz states, "... In the January 1926 issue of Weird Tales ... Muriel E. Eddy ... commenting on {a story named} Lukundoo by Edward Lucas White which had appeared in the November 1925 issue ... said, 'It calls to my mind a story I read years ago (by a titled Englishman) entitled The Hand of Fate,' {Muriel says, and then Moskowitx continues that she} goes on to give a description of the plot which is close to A Study of Destiny."

Moskowitz - always a keen student of the history of horror - goes on to say that she probably remembered the title of a book titled The Hand of Fate in 1898 and is probably the American edition of this story.

What is interesting for our part is several fold.

1. Despite the concerns scholars have of her 1960's memoir of Lovecraft, in her day she obviously was a student of the genre. Her - and CM Eddy's - credentials as a fan of horror seem in tact and facile.

2. Lovecraft would have met them in 1923 and perceived a family that was interested in the same things as he - though he would have had a higher threshhold of what was horrific.

3. This is one more element of the Eddys being intimately connected to Weird Tales. Baird (or Wright) would immediately noted the letter and published it as insightful, and a bit of a free publicity to fans of the Eddys in Providence.

4. Since this is during Lovecraft's sojourn in New York (November 1925) the Eddys were still explicitly active with Weird Tales independent of HPL. Their controversy from the May, June, July 1924 issues on the Loved Dead would still be fresh in the fans' minds, too.

Lovecraft actually mentions the November issue, and indicates a very intimate knowledge if what is hapening. He says "The Wells tales (2)- so far very mediocre, as I view them - are very early work ... in the 90's {1890's - CP} ... so Wright thought them a good investment {since they were unpublished in the US} ... when Weird Tales London agent brought them to his notice." He mentions the Lukundoo, "The Edward Lucas White tale appears to have been a regular contribution - whether or not through a literary agent I can't say...". (3)

While it seems unlikely Lovecraft and the Eddy's mentioned it to one another but they were obviously in intimate contact ... (4) Lovecraft says, "ever since the Indiana senate took action about poor Eddy's "Loved Dead", he has been in a continual panic about censorship."

Interesting HPL says 'Eddy's Loved Dead', when it was obvious he wrote a good portion of it.

1. 3rd edition 1970, pp.10-11.
2. The Stolen Body was originally in Strand November 1898 and Weird Tales November 1925; and The Valley of Spiders was originally Pearson's magazine March 1903 and Weird Tales December 1925.
3. Letters From New York, p. 242, to Lillian D. Clark on 7 November 1925.
4. Letters From New York, p. 252, to Lillian D Clark on 13 December 1925.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Finds At the Used Book Store: 13 February 2007

Always fascinating, used book stores are realms of imagination, history and wonder. For the sum of $2.00, I found a rare copy of the 1969 (October) paperback [This is the 3rd Printing November 1970] Great Untold Stories of Fantasy and Horror. Were paperbacks ever 75 cents?

Moskowitz muct have done a number of these anthologies over the years, mainly eeked out of Weird Tales back issues, it seems.

This one is chock full of side notes. Not to tease, but over the next few days I will discuss these. This is two-fold: so that I am scholarly and include these to advance our work here at the HPLblog, and I really, really do try not to just copy ad hoc or is that en masse? :)

Besides placing little points that you might not otherwise come across in your research, and they are tucked away for my plans of doing future research and essays on HPL.

OK, enough of that. The first thing is right on the copyright page. AS some know, there has been decades of squabbling about Loevcraft's copyrights. In general, it is pretty much understood that Lovecraft has virtually no personal copyrights - that he had signed them all over to family members or the magazines. Since most fan magazines of the 20's and 30's have went to public domain those copies are pretty much up for grabs.

However, Arkham House retains many copyrights on Lovecraft stories becuase of the venue in which they have published, and the work done to clean up the copy of the texts and manuscripts means they indeed have rights. If one publishes the Dead Sea scrolls, they are not copyrighted, but the scholar's work is, and so is the book.

On the page it states, "The Dreams of the WitchHouse by H. P. Lovecraft, copyright 1933 by the Popular Ficion Publishing Company. Copyright renewed 1961 by August Derleth for Arkham. Reprintedby permission of the copyright owners."

There is no doubt that this was a mandatory blurb forced by the controversy over the copyright issue.

Lovecraft's Legacy: 1944

Just seven years after HPL's death and during WWII, he is getting mainstream recognition.

The seller states these points on the book.

Published January 1944 Stated First Edition Forum Books EditionThe World Publishing Company Cleveland
Hardcover; Blue cover boards with gilt embossed decoration on front cover; Gilt embossed lettering on spine; No dj 525 pages5 1/2 X 8 1/4 Some fading to book cover; Some foxing to inside front and rear covers; Inscription to former owner on 1st blank page; Binding is tight may be read without taking any particular care; This book is in otherwise GOOD CONDITION
A collection of 20 spine-chilling stories, several of which appear in the great shudder pulp, WEIRD TALES, by modern authors, wherein things that can't happen and ought not to happen do happen. Selected by one of the masters of the genre and including major heavyweights such as:

{The "gang" is well represented here.}

...and many others...

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Black Swamp of Chepachet: Part 10

There are a few modern day places in the wet areas of Chepachet that may have led to the legend of the Dark Swamp. CM Eddy and Lovecraft had gotten about 3 miles down Putnam Pike and saw a number of farms before they stopped looking.

HAWKINS POND (On Putnam Pike (Rte. 44) in West Glocester)

How To Get There: Head west on Route 44 and continue approximately 6 miles from northern junction of Routes 44 and 102 in Chepachet; right onto Pulaski Road; use trail on immediate left.

Hawkins' Pond, nearly 10 acres in extent, and its system of streams are the most prominent features of this 71-acre site. There are also areas of mature pine forest, with some exceeding 75 feet in height. (80 years ago, these may have not been so pronounced - CP) At the upper (northeast) end of the pond, there are extensive wetlands which support an impressive variety of plant species. Below the spillway are numerous natural seeps which have been enhanced by the impounding of the pond to a depth exceeding 22 feet. These seeps cause local variation in the habitat for both plants and animals within a relatively small area, and they support a diversity of ferns and flowering plants which bloom in succession from early spring well into the summer.

The pond features an abundance of fish and water fowl, and its environs are frequented by deer, fox, coyotes, porcupines, raccoons, otters, muskrats, woodchucks, and opossum. Pheasant and partridge are present, and wild turkey thrive at the pond.

Beginning around 1750, the water provided by the pond powered a sawmill. (This makes it of antiquarian interst, too - CP) In 1873 a cotton mill was erected on the property. Succeeding years saw the pond used to power a woodworking mill and, again, a sawmill. Around 1924, Walter A. Hawkins, a self-educated mechanic, fashioned a generator and electrical system, and generated electricity for the area until 1936. (Perhaps this also intrigued Lovecraft in late 1923 had he heard about it).



How To Get There: Head west on Route 44, passing Pine Orchard Road; the area is across from pole #458, approximately 1/2 mile east of Sprague Hill Road.

On Route 44 in ChepachetThis 176-acre area abuts both Sprague Farm and Burton Woodland. Many of the trees have reached full maturity, resulting in a canopy that reaches 100 feet in some places. Dotted with streams and ponds, the area features a variety of habitats for both plants and animals, including the Blackthroated Blue Warbler, long thought to be extinct in Rhode Island.

Within this three-site area a pristine glacial fen and other wetland support many flowering plants which bloom in succession from early spring through fall. At three different locations, these trails cross permanent streams via beautifully constructed stone bridges. The immense capstones of these structures are testament to the skill and ambition of the early settlers.



How To Get There: Head west on Route 44 and continue approximately 2 miles from northern junction of Routes 44 and 102 in Chepachet; left onto Pine Orchard Road; use Haystack Trail on right at Pole #33.

On Pine Orchard Road in Chepachet( at telephone pole #33, across from 162 Pine Orchard Road) Sprague Farm abuts both Burton Woodland and Robert Huckins Woodland. It includes within its nearly 250 acres a variety of habitats for both plants and animals, including the Blackthroated Blue Warbler, long thought to be extinct in Rhode Island. Many of the trees have reached full maturity; among these is an impressive stand of Striped Maple. A pristine glacial fen and other wetland support many flowering plants which bloom in succession from early spring through fall. A grove of Atlantic White Cedar occupies a permanent swamp in the north-central region of the site.

Approximately 200 years of agricultural activity (which may have been of antiquarian interest to Lovecraft - CP) has left several open fields which help to diversify the habitat, as well as a clearly defined set of trails. At three different locations, these trails cross permanent streams via beautifully constructed stone bridges. The immense capstones of these structures are testament to the skill and ambition of the early settlers. (Definitely antuquarian -CP)

The Black Swamp of Chepachet: Part 9

King Philip's War & the Great Swamp.

King Philips' War was a traumatic colonial event that is virtually forgotten today. It rarely shows up in history texts, even. About 20 June 1675 along the southern border of the Plymouth Colony bands of Pokanoket-Wampanoag Nativesleft now-Warren, Rhode Islandto raid farms. In a year, 680 settlers (out of 52,000) {twise the % of the Civil War and 7 times that of WWII} were killed. Probably 3,000 of the 20,000 Natives were killed in the war. {10 times the English losses}.

The area south of Pawtuxett was virtually evacualted, and 72 houses in Providence were destroyed.

King Philip was the adopted name of the chief (sachem) and reluctant leader of the conflict which not only reshaped Rhode Island, but also deeply influenced the Salem paranoia leading to the witch trials.

In the month of December 1675, an intersetion of a Narangasett warrior band with Nipmuc and Wampanoag allies passed Providence, and set up fortifications and supplies in now-South Kingston at "the Great Swamp". On 19 December 1675, 1150 Mohawk and English attacked and routed the Narrangasett, who regrouped and scoured Rhode Island and elsewhere with a guerilla fury until the war finally exhausted itself.

Unfortunately, there seems no connection to Lovecraft, nor is this swamp the Dark Swamp of Chepachet.

King Philip's War: The History and Legacy of America's Forgotten Conflict, Eric B Schultz and Michael J Tougias, Countryman Press, Woodstock, VT 1999.

More On The Transition of Juan Romero & Ambrose Bierce

Bierce’s "The Night-Doings at ‘Deadman’s", has a slight element of connection. He narrates, "…For a moment there was silence, then, from somewhere among the pines, came the snarling yelp of a coyote…". Lovecraft narrates, "At two in the morning a lone coyote on the mountain began to howl dismally.

Elsewhere, there is the narrative fragment, "…In ten hours the Gulch [Deadman’s Gulch] was deserted…". In Juan Romero, Lovecraft narrates, "We encountered no living creature, for the men of the night shift had been released from duty, and were doubtless at the Dry Gulch settlement pouting sinister rumours into the ear of some drowsy bartender."

And compare Lovecraft’s, "A storm was gathering around the peaks of the range, and weirdly shaped clouds scudded horribly across the blurred patch of celestial light which marked a gibbous moon attempts to shine through many layers of cirro-stratus vapours…" with Bierce’s narrative, "The moon was moving mysteriously along behind the giant pines crowning the South Mountain…", and later, "There was no connection between the two incidents other than that the coyote has an aversion to storms, and the wind was rising; yet there seemed somehow a supernatural connection to the two …". Bierce repeats, "The wind was now fairly abroad, and the pines along the mountain-side sang with singular distinctness.". And elsewhere, Bierce speaks not of clouds, but of a fire’s vapours, "… projecting spectral shadows … shadows that moved mysteriously about…".

The last textual connection seems to be with Bierce’s "The Damned Thing: 1. One does not always eat what is on the table". Lovecraft narrates, "When I awakened, I was safe in my bunk and the red glow of dawn was visible at the window. Some distance away the lifeless body of Juan Romero lay upon a table, surrounded by a group of men, including the camp doctor. The men were discussing the strange death of the Mexican as he lay asleep … and an autopsy failed to show any reason why Romero should not be living…". Bierce narrates, "… for besides the reader, eight other me were present. Seven of them sat against the rough log walls, silent, motionless … not very far from the table … any one of them could have touched the eigth man , who lay on the table, face upward, partly covered by a sheet, his arms at his sides. He was dead." And later, "… he was a coroner … the inquest was now taking place." In Bierce’s story, which has clear connections with the "Colour From Out Of Space", the dead man had been killed by an invisible beast, a reporter and story teller (a doppelganger Bierce) being the only witness.

Gentle Reader, you be the judge !!

The Transition of Juan Romero

Lovecraft writes a western??


On 19 September 1919 Lovecraft penned this story. Chrispy has always thought it smacked of Ambrose Bierce, yet few others do. Lovecraft explicitly states that it was written as an exercise in copying Phil Mac - a story that was a "dull ... commonplace adventure yarn". (1)

Lovecraft did read Biere sometime in 1919 at Loveman's prompt. (2) In Early 1919 HPL wrote Beyond the Wall of Sleep, though in no way related to Bierce's Beyond the Wall. Still, it is a mighty interesting coincidence.

Compare just a few fragments ...

"Juan Romero" HPL
From the watchman's cabin however gleamed ...

"The Moonlit Road" AB
At that moment my attention was drawn to a light that suddenly streamed from an upper window of the house; one of the servants, awakened by what mysterious premonition of evil who can say, …had lit a lamp.

"Juan Romero" HPL
... A small square of yellow light like a guardian eye ...

"The Eyes of the Panther" AB
He could now dimly discern the aperture - a square of lighter black. Presently, there appeared at its lower edge two gleaming eyes that burned with a malignant lustre inexpressibly terrible!

And, as to the use of Transition by HPL, we read in Bierce, "A Jug of Sirrup" , where he narrates, "In brief, it was the general feeling in all that region that Silas Deemer was the one immobile verity of Hillbrook, and that his translation in space would precipitate some dismal public ill or serious calamity."

One must consider that someone had a very Biercean manner of speech - whether HPL copied it from Bierce, or from Phil Mac !!

1. p. 69, 9 Nov 1919 to Rheinhart Kleiner in Lord of a Visible World, Joshi & Scultz, Ohio Univ Press, 2000.

2. In April 1920, Lovecraft had a Civil War Dream that was inspired by him reading Bierce's Civil War stories.

Lovecraft's Legacy: 2006 (Shadows in the Asylum)

The presence of Lovecraft still exudes a powerful influence today. This book, a clear allusion to The Strange Case of Charles Dexter Ward, is Shadows in the Asylum: The Case Files of Dr. Charles Marsh, by D.A. Stern. Emmis Books, 2006.

The 20th century became the visual age, and this certainly influences this book. There is a lot of text, but it is all kerneled into lots of sketches and photoshop elements. Tom Peters and others sort of pioneered this high graphics, get your attention, look with business books.

I did not get to read this book, but there are a number of online reviews of it.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Black Swamp of Chepachet: Part 8

Chrispy has tried to be diligent to search out how Lovecraft and CM Eddy would have heard about the swamp, why it was interesting to them, and what might have compelled them to ride off in search of it.

CM Eddy certainly, many years later, used it in a story.

Lovecraft would have been interested in the antiquities and antiquarian nature of quaint Chepachet. But a swamp? It did not seem his style.

However, there is a clear character to HPL's manner when he met a new writer. He was very much into noblesse oblige, and may have seen in CM Eddy a person that not only who he would bond with, but someone who he could "train" and "teach".

There are references in HPL's letters that indicate he considered CM Eddy more impoverished than himself, a lesser writer, and yet they seemed to hit it off immediately - these two men who had nothing in common except a chance to enjoy "the weird story".

From their (apparently) meeting in August 1923, they went on several day trips, one of the last on 27 December 1923.

In a few short months, Lovecraft would be in New York, married.

... next ... Part 9: King Phillips War?

The Black Swamp of Chepachet: Part 7

Sorry to make this a travelogue, but this story is too interesting to pass up. Lovecraft, who knew nearly all folklore of Providence, would surely have heard of this. Surely.

No history of the village of Chepachet would be complete without, at least, a brief mention of 'The Scouts of Glocester, or the Elephant Hunt in the Jungles of Chepachet'. It was in the summer of 1825, {1825 is stated, but unsure if it is the correct date ... CP} when Messrs. June, Titus, & Englebourne, three 'gripers of the people's cash', were perambulating the State, exhibiting a wonderful quadrupled for the amusement of the people, and the replenishing of their 'once fat pocket-books'. It was a large elephant, and the value of the aforesaid animile, trunk and all, was set down at the remarkably low figure of $16,000. On a beautiful day in June, this rich-caparisoned cavalcade, bedecked with all the paraphernalia of Eastern custom, might have been seen wending its 'slow length along' into the suburban precincts of Chepachet, or the 'Devil's Bag', in disguise. Soon a white canvas arose, like Aladdin's palace, an addition to the gable-end of a barn, and into this shelter from the gaping gaze of a motley crowd, the wonderful quadruped was thrust, and soon, at the half-concealed entrance, appeared the crier of the merits of the show: 'Pass right up on the inside, and see the greatest wonder of the age!' Not all, however were prepared with the necessary scrip to indulge their desire, or feast their eyes in wonderment upon this huge monster of the tropics. 'But where there's a will there's a way', and soon several parties were safely secreted within the aforesaid barn, and before the managers of the hippodrome were aware of their design, they had effected an aperture in the side of the barn against which the tent rested, and were enjoying the exhibition with as much zest of their more favored neighbors. This, of course, aroused the righteous indignation of the bosses of the show, and the landlord was persuaded to vacate the stable of its intruders. This was accordingly done, and the insatiate greediness of the 'Scouts' found expression in a determination to deprive the managers of the show of further livelihood, by killing the elephant. Threats of this character were made during the remainder of the day, but the proprietors gave it but a passing thought, and kept up the exaltation of the entertainment, and passing patrons upon the inside to see the wonders of the show.

At last the day was spent, and preparations were being made to pull up and move toward Woonsocket, where they were to open on the following day. Everything being in readiness, the elephant's trunk packed, tent safely secured, and bills paid, the unsuspecting showmen started, about twelve o'clock at night, for their morrow's field of action. Slowly, but bravely, they took up their line of march, and all 'went merry as a marriage-bell'. Meanwhile, the 'Scouts of the Jungle' had secretly concealed themselves in a building that stood near the bridge, and patiently awaited the approach of the huge monster of the glen. Stealthily the prey approaches, and, as the bridge is reached, the quick, red glare of the hunter's unerring rifle is seen, a volley of leaden hail pierces the brain of this 'greatest wonder of the age', and when the dense, dark cloud of smoke ascends, the writhing monster was seen in the last agonies of death. The indignation of the showmen knew no bounds, and the 'expletives their feeble aid to join' made 'night hideous', as they witnessed the last throbbing pulsations of that noble beast, and saw their avocation vanish in that last expiring breath. Morn came at last, and o'er the scene the sun poured his lurid rays, and the bending heavens hung with ghastly broodings. The owners of the defunct elephant set about the task of skinning the monster, while the vultures of the jungle hovered near,ready to pounce upon the mangled carcass. The 'Scouts' were subsequently apprehended, tried, and a verdict of heavy damages obtained against them.

This is an event to be remembered by the generations of Chepachet, and she claims to-day the honor of 'bagging the biggest game ever killed in the State of Rhode Island.'

The Black Swamp of Chepachet : Part 6

Now that we are far down this path, it might be of interest to see what CM Eddy and HP Lovecraft saw on their walk down Putnam Pike (Route 44).

Chepachet was basically a suburb (or bedroom community of Providence, and a town withing the greater Glocester.

Historic Chepachet was founded in the early 1700s when descendants of Providence Plantations' English Dissenters came to this distant wilderness. Often known as Seekers or Friends, and sometimes as Separatists or the New Lights, sought to worship simply and freely. This strong sense of independence and justice was recognized nationally during the Dorr Rebellion in 1842 when gunfire ripped through the historic Inn (presently the Stagecoach Inn) as the battle for expanded voter rights was waged against the entrenched Providence landowners.

Here are a few online notes of still existing structures they might or would have seen.

{We already saw this in Part 5, but here is a bit more} Sayles House - Rte 44, west side. Built in 1860, this house was owned by Leonard Sayles a decade later and then his brother, Henry Sayles by 1895. These brothers were capital owners of the Smith and Sayles Mill which manufactured woolen twill. The structure is of Italian Villa style, quickly becoming popular at the time with its symmetry and heavily bracketed cornice. There are few Victorian houses in Chepachet as the economy was declining when this architectural era gained prominence in New England.

Acote Hill, Rte 44, seen before entering the village. Site of Chepachet Cemetery containing graves of many Civil War veterans. In 1842, this hill was the site of the final Dorr Rebellion battle. On June 28, 1842, Governor Samuel Ward King sent a force of militia men to uphold the elected government legitimacy to confront the rebellious Dorrites. Only a cow was killed.

Chepachet Union Church - Rte 44 west side - built in 1846, this Greek Revival style has a portico resting on four fluted Doric columns. In 1938, the top story of the steeple was forever lost in the Hurricane.

Jeremiah Sheldon House - Rte 44 west side. In 1790, this gable roof house was built for Captain Israel Inman who ran it as an Inn. Ten years later, the owner was Simeon Sweet and by 1833, this Inn was known as the Jeremiah Sheldon House. In 1842, many of the Dorr rebels were housed here and a window still has the name of a Dorr follwer etched in it. A handsome doorway was added to enhance this stylish structure.

The Masonic Hall - Rte 44, east side. This attractive Federal style structure, erected in 1802, was used as a lodge upstairs while the main floor housed the Farmer's Exchange Bank. This was the first bank to open in the village, though its life was short running only from 1804-9. A dentilled cornice, large proportions, quoins add elegance to this building along with its tall doorway and fanlight.

Central Hotel, Franklin Bank- Rte 44, east side. These buildings were erected around 1800 and demonstrate the modest architecture found throughout much of the village. Porches were added towards the end of the 19th century.

Kimball House, Rte 44 east side. The oldest house in Chepachet Village demonstrates a slanted chimney with a pyramid cone marking in this 2 ½ story house. Built in 1750, it was owned by Asa Kimball in 1790 who was a colonel in the American Revolution.

Chepachet Free Will Baptist Church, Rte 44 east side. Constructed in 1821 by Clark Sayles, this church represents two architectural styles with its double pediments, three arched doorways, steeple. The mix of Greek Revival and classic reminder of Providence's Baptist Meeting House is interesting.

The Black Swamp of Chepachet : Part 5

Chrispy has uncovered an online anecdote that reinforces the "trip to find the black swamp".

LEONARD SAYLES HOUSE (c. 1850)This is the only example of Mediterranean Villa architecture in Glocester. Three generations of the Sayles family resided there. Henry Sayles became Town Clerk around 1912 and it was he who directed H. P. Lovecraft on his quest for the Dark Swamp in 1923.

So, there you have a local Glocester anecdote about the "dark swamp" !


Reference here (click).

Click here to read more on-line about H. P. Lovecraft and his visit to Glocester.


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