Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Weird Tales Announcement: Steven Archer Art

WEIRD TALES is proud to present a visual-art project of epic proportions: "365 Days of Blasphemous Horrors," a year-long, daily online series of all-new, Lovecraft-inspired artworks by the Baltimore-based mixed-media artist Steven Archer (also known as half of the musical duo Ego Likeness).

The collaboration was announced Saturday evening at Balticon, the Baltimore-area science fiction convention, where attendees enjoyed a sneak peek at the first several weeks' worth of material.

Today marked the official debut of "Blasphemous Horrors" at www.WeirdTalesMagazine.com, where new works will be unveiled every day for the next year.

WEIRD TALES, the world's first magazine of fantastic literature, was originally founded in 1923. In its early years, H.P. Lovecraft was the magazine's creative superstar; in later years, many writers and artists have striven to build upon the horrific ideas and aesthetics that comprise Lovecraft's popular Cthulhu Mythos.

"365 Days of Blasphemous Horrors" is the first major Lovecraftian creative work presented by WEIRD TALES since the magazine undertook a top-to-bottom revamp in 2007. Not only will readers of WeirdTalesMagazine.com be able to view the "Blasphemous Horrors," they'll have the opportunity to own the original artworks. Archer will be selling each piece (with occasional exceptions) for a flat fee to the first bidder, as detailed at the website. All the pieces in the series are a combination of oil paint, paper, graphite, acrylic paint, scotch tape, and ink. They are mounted on the inside of hardcover book covers and vary in size from 5×8 to 7×10 inches.

"An awful lot of Lovecraft fans are going to be blown away by Steven Archer's artwork," says WEIRD TALES editorial & creative director Stephen H. Segal. "There's no lack of shiny Mythos art out there, sure -- but this stuff is really different. It's intimate, primordial. Not only does Archer have a unique visual style, his work has a passionate urgency that bleeds through every piece with a sense of mystery, pathos, and creepiness. By the time these 365 days have passed, I think the Cthulhu culture will know his name well."

Steven Archer is an artist and musician who happens to share the same birthday as H.P. Lovecraft. When not recording songs, D.J.-ing, or producing art, he and his wife, author Donna Lynch, tour with their dark electronic rock band, Ego Likeness; their fourth album is scheduled for a 2008 release. Archer has a B.F.A. from the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, DC, and has shown his work at galleries and other venues along the East Coast, as well as on album covers and in magazines.

He has also written and illustrated a children's book, Luna Maris, which was published by Raw Dog Screaming Press earlier this year.

FURTHER INFORMATION:Contact: Stephen H. Segal, editorial & creative director, segal@weirdtales.netWeird Tales: www.weirdtalesmagazine.comSteven Archer/Ego Likeness: www.egolikeness.com and http://ego-likeness.livejournal.com

Cthulhu Food

Cthulhu food found by Jeff Barnes!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Limbonaut Comments on Lovecraft as Chemsit

The issue of Limbonaut XXIV (click here) has a brief note on HPL and chemistry.

For the documents mentioned, use the "search feature" on this blog.

Lovecraft and Chemistry
On his blog for May, Chris Perridas posts scans of
census and other data about Lovecraft. For example, here is a copy of his draft registration, which is unreadable unless one is willing to tempt heroic eye strain.
The most interesting document is the census form for 1910. Under a column for trade or profession or particular kind of work Lovecraft, age 19, is listed—and this is blurry—as a student; while the next column (“general nature of industry, business, or establishment in which the person works”) has the word “chemist.” (Apparently, by this time astronomy had been replaced by chemistry as the thing he wished to identify himself with.)
There are three columns for education. The first two ask about the person’s ability to read and write, and the answer to both is “yes.” But there is also a “yes” to the query “Attended school any time since Sept. 1, 1909.” Does this mean that Lovecraft was working on his high school credits— it wouldn’t have been college—during the fall or spring? Or perhaps we glimpse, in these answers about occupation and education, how Mrs. Lovecraft wanted to present her son, if she were the respondent to the questions.
This was my reasoning thus far. Then I consulted Joshi’s H.P. Lovecraft, and that clarified matters. During the time of the census Lovecraft was taking a correspondence course in chemistry. Going by this situation, Lovecraft could fairly call himself a student.
Astronomy has received much more publicity than chemistry in the life of HPL. It is more obvious, as in his writing those newspaper astronomy columns and in its connection through many of his famous stories, with things coming from the stars and the overarching concept of cosmic horror. Yet you don’t have to peer too hard to find the science of chemistry in several tales, from the early (1908) “The Alchemist” to “Herbert West, Reanimator,” The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, and “The Colour out of Space.” More could be named.

... the 53rd issue of The Criticaster (for August 2007, Esoteric Order of Dagon mailing 139) by Steve Walker ... published on the Net as The Limbonaut (no 24).

More: "At Home with Lovecraft" - news

Joanna just dropped us a note. The illustrations we've all fallen in love with are part of her work at the School of Visual Arts in New York. Neew Cthulhu illustrations will be exhibited in November 2008 at the SVA Gallery. Stay tuned as the date gets closer for more updates.

In the meantime check out Joanna's web site: http://www.joannaneborsky.com/


Friday, May 23, 2008

Octopus Tossing: Cthulhu Would Not Be Pleased

Why the octopus still won't twirl in Detroit
By Greg Wyshynski
Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals
on Saturday night - angst over one of the postseason's biggest controversies continues to linger in the Motor City: The NHL's decision to ban octopus twirling on the ice.
Tossing octopi on the ice has been
a Detroit hockey tradition dating back to 1952, and longtime arena operations manager Al Sobotka has been whipping around cephalopods to whip Wings fans into a frenzy since 1991.
Back in the first round of the playoffs, the NHL vowed to hit the team with a $10,000 fine if Sobotka or anyone else dared twirl an octopus thrown onto the playing surface. The decision sparked massive and immediate fan protests, but the policy has remained in place.
This week, NHL Commissioner
Gary Bettman defended the League's decision on WDFN's "The Stoney and Wojo Show," claiming the twirl ban is an issue of safety:
"Actually, there's a very good reason for it. We haven't fined or given a delay of game penalty for the throwing of the octopus because we understand and respect the tradition. Having said that, when you swing the octopus around - and I don't know the exact term for it -- but octopus 'gunk' gets on the ice and occasionally has gotten on the players -- the goaltenders -- as it goes by. Occasionally, when it freezes on the ice, it creates a potentially hazardous situation for the players. It's not about interfering with a tradition; it's about making sure nobody gets it in their eyes, like a goaltender nearby, or that nobody blows out a knee getting caught on some frozen gunk."
Somehow, blowing out a knee on octopus goo has escaped us on injury reports for the last 17 years.
The Detroit News has
a terrific mini-documentary that details octopus tossing history, and the passion, the sights and the smells that go along with it. While Sobotka's great on-ice tradition has been halted, the News reports he can still swing the octopi on the concourse.
Here is the origin: The birth of the octopus toss stems back to 1952, where brothers Pete and Jerry Cusimano, who were storeowners in Detroit's Eastern Market. It took only 8 wins to take the championship, thus the tradition was born.

Tales of the Plush Cthulhu

Jeff Barnes once again has found a gem ... watch this "slide show" drama.

All of the show here.


Jeff Barnes' eagle eyes spied this.

Here's his note.
I'm sure that most, or at least many of you, are familiar with the various lolcat images. They are funny photos of cats (and sometimes other animals) with badly spelled captions and bad grammar. It was only a matter of time before someone started using Cthulhu and other horror images for this purpose. Here are the ones I've found so far.

Lovecraft in Comics

What a great line up. 1975. Those were the days. :)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Vagrant 1919

From the seller (epegana):

THE VAGRANT - December, 1919

Published by W. Paul CookW. Paul Cook was one of the most influential individuals in Howard Phillips Lovecraft's life. Early on Paul Cook recognized Lovecraft's writing abilities and published some of his finest poetry & early fictions (Cook was not overly fond of HPL's poetry, but enthusiastically printed his fiction writing) in his excellent Amateur 'Zine - "THE VAGRANT" .This issue of "THE VAGRANT" contains one of Lovecraft's better poems - "The Nightmare Lake" which later was reprinted in the Arkham House book, COLLECTED POEMS.This copy is complete including the string-tie but lacking the rear cover. These early "VAGRANT's are rare as only enough were printed to satisfy the Amateur Journal Association membership.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Bill & Sue-On's ERBzine

This Fantasy Worlds chapter on Lovecraft may not be directly ERB-related, but on the other hand, Lovecraft collaborated with E. Hoffman Price on a Randolph Carter story. E. Hoffman Price collaborated with Otis Adelbert Kline on a Dr. Morgan Universe story and Kline's Doctor Morgan universe arguably is the same place as the Burroughs Universe.

Or, how about this: Randolph Carter, Lovecraft's recurring protagonist, is modeled in part on, and inspired by John Carter. A John Carter is actually named as a character from 17th century New England in the Case of Charles Dexter Ward (where Randoph Carter is also mentioned), implying that the two may be related. Burroughs John Carter is ageless, so he might well be the same John Carter from Charles Dexter Ward.

Paul Carrick

At http://www.nightserpent.com/ or just click here. you'll find some incredible artistic renderings of Lovecraft and his world - or at least the way Carrick imagines it!
Check out his illustrations!

Dr. Evans on folklore, horror, and Lovecraft

Dr. Timothy H. Evans, associate professor of folk studies, has been researching Lovecraft and his relationship to folklore, a vast relationship encompassing the folkloric influences on Lovecraft and the subculture his writings spawned.

“I was a fan of Lovecraft when I was a teenager. I liked his stories a lot, but I read them all, then I moved on to other things. Then in the mid 90’s, a new biography was published, and I read that and it revived my interest.”


(or see comments section below)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Galpin parts with his HPL correspondence (3 Sept 1970)

The seller (epegana) states:


"My old friend and neighbor August Derleth has given me your name as a collector of Lovecraftiana....I recently retrieved from Derleth the sheaf of papers I had left with him years ago, and am planning to orgnize what I have...with the double aim:

1. Of selling some of the material and

2. Of writing out more fully than in my "Shuttered Room" article

...the above mentioned sheaf of papers consists mainly of 28 autographs letters from HPL

...8 post-cards, and a wedding announcement

....In addition, I have a certain number of books or periodicals

...a copy of "The Outsider & Others" plus other printed material I would sell".

Alfred Galpin was one of H. P. Lovecraft's earliest and closest friends and a famous member of his "Lovecraft Circle". The letter is signed "Alfred Galpin".

L Sprague de Camp & Roy Squires Correspondence

This has interesting anecdotes about Sonia and other points.


The seller (epegana) states:


In 1975 L. Sprague de Camp's book- "LOVECRAFT: A Biography" - was published by Doubleday. De Camp never knew Lovecraft and did not come to his fiction until ten years after the author's death - "I read the Science Fiction magazines and was not a reader of 'Weird Tales'. De Camp however was a tireless researcher intensively researching for two years and was fortunate enough to contact many of HPL's friends & associates by letter, telephone, and face-to-face in some instances, gaining a firsthand familiarity now lost to us. Publisher, bibliographer, friend to Clark Ashton Smith and one of Sonia Greene Lovecraft's last friends, Roy A. Squires was approached by de Camp for copies of HPL's letters to Clark Ashton Smith.
Squires declined; copies of these letters are currently being assembled & transcribed at Brown University.
This letter of one-and-a half pages is signed in full by de Camp.When the book appeared in 1975 it was panned by Lovecraft devotees because of de Camp's criticisms, conclusions and "amateur psychological analysis" of HPL's work habits, his lifestyle, his personality & unusual upbringing. If you've read S. T. Joshi's bio, you'll find variant approaches, conclusions & information in de Camp's book that deserves your attentions. If you're an HPL enthusiast you can come to your own conclusions.The scan is intentionally incomplete, but the letter is complete to the winner.

1923 Cleveland Invite / H P Lovecraft President

This is a fun piece of ephemera. Read the sellers comments (epegana, i.e. Terrence McVicker):


I (epegana) offer a rare piece of Lovecraft ephemera - an original card of invitation to attend the forty-eighth convention of the Natational Amateur Press Association. With Lovecraft's interest in his own writing taking more and more of his time, HPL gradually began withdrawing from his amateur activities, but an unusual event pulled him back in again and he was persuaded to take over as interim president...former president William Dowdell had deserted his post to run off with a show-girl!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Vhoorl site - Video and Lovecraft tribute

Neat "At the Mountains of Madness" Tribute at http://www.3x6.net/vhoorl/

The Tiger Lillies with Alexander Hacke and Danielle de Picciotto in a musical tribute to the Mountains of Madness. Sheer mad yumminess in this desperately too short trailer:

Click here.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Wilfred Blanch Talman & An Amazing Anecdote of Intrigue

From the auctioneer:

THE POOL: RECOMMENDATIONS FOR REVISIONS - SYNOPSIS" [short story]. AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT (AMs). 12 pages. Handwritten on six sheets of plain 8 1/2 x 11-inch paper. Undated, but probably 1930.

Book Description: Extensive notes for a re-write of a horror story by Wilfred Blanch {? sp}Talman about a huge ancient creature in a pool who is summoned from the underworld by human sacrifice. Lovecraft basically writes the story from different perspectives in this "synopsis." Together with typed manuscript, 12 sheets of 8 1/2 x 11" paper, typed on rectos only, this being a transcription of the above manuscript.

The transcription was made by Mark Chapman, the assassin of John Lennon, who, while serving his term of 20-to- life in Attica Correctional Facility in New York had struck up a correspondence with Jerry de la Ree based on their mutual interest in fantasy and science fiction.

Chapman takes pains to replicate the sometimes scattered arrangement of HPL's handwritten copy, which has revisions, cross-outs and belated insertions of text.

In a letter to the editor of CRYPT OF CTHULHU No. 47 (Roodmas 1987), containing a story based on the synopsis, de la Ree relates the transmission of HPL's text from HPL to Talman (who had informally mentioned to HPL that he was having trouble with the composition of a short story), thence to de la Ree (who was Talman's neighbor in New Jersey), thence for transcription to Chapman (whose identity is veiled in the letter, as per Chapman's request) and back to de la Ree, thence to E. Hoffmann Price "in hopes he could find a Lovecraft scholar or fan capable of creating a finished piece of work [from the notes]", thence to Donald R. Burleson (who indeed did write such a story, printed in the same issue of the Crypt of Cthulhu) and back to de la Ree, and, on his decease, to the present book dealer.

The synopsis itself was published in CRYPT OF CTHULHU No. 49 (Lammas 1987).

If objects retain impressions of the human spirits who have come in close contact with them (as generations of weird writers would have us believe), then the present documents could generate a roomful of ghosts! and the shades of Lennon and Lovecraft could meet, finding only three degrees of separation between them.

"The Pool" is envisioned in HPL's notes (and to some extent, presumably, in Talman's original draft) as a story about a malign portal between this world and the next (guarded by an unspeakable gelatinous Thing) through which the spirits of the unburied dead, denied entrance to the next world by the usual method of burial, try to sneak -- usually with unpleasant consequences for themselves. Also trying to penetrate it are the "un-dead" (more fully defined perhaps in the Talman draft; vampires?). A third class is constituted by the foolish mortals occasionally drawn there from curiosity or lust for forbidden knowledge, both repelled and fascinated by the legends surrounding it.

A summary of the plot is difficult since the whole point of Lovecraft's tutorial is to examine various possibilities that Talman might follow, both as to plot and narrative technique. The general idea seems to involve, besides the pool, an inn, an innkeeper, an old man (one of the un-dead), a curious young boy, and a plot to summon all the neighboring un-dead to a witches' Sabbat and offer a sacrifice to lure the Guardian from the pool so that the un-dead can enter it when It is not paying attention. Things don't go as planned, and the inn and surrounding area are devastated by the Thing. Lovecraft shifts back and forth between the critic, advising Talman how to write his story, and the author, writing it for him. We feel his tug-of- war between restraint and enthusiasm, between standing back and diving in. We watch as Grandpa, the kindly old professor, theriomorphs into Abdul Alhazred, the mad spinner of dangerous tales, then changes back again. The tone of this hybrid narrative impresses one as both tentative and insistent (rather like one of those un-dead spirits repeatedly probing the forbidden portal to find a way through: the un-read?) The result is an unusual chance for us to see Lovecraft at work behind the scenes, clambering among the scaffolding, darting in an. Bookseller Inventory # 108102 $8,500.

Emil Petaja

Still trying to find gleanings from letters for auction. A few interesting anecdotes in the auctioneers text below.

LETTERS FROM H. P. LOVECRAFT TO EMIL PETAJA, 1934-1937. 28 letters, totaling 104 pages, of which approximately 95% is unpublished. 23 of the letters are entirely unpublished. Extracts, some very brief, from five of the letters are published in SELECTED LETTERS, volume V. Together with: TYPED MANUSCRIPT. Six leaves (of 10) of an unidentified short story by Petaja with holograph corrections throughout by Lovecraft. According to Petaja, the manuscript, missing the first four leaves was written around 1935. The story, which remains unpublished, is a reincarnation fantasy involving Antony and Cleopatra; TYPED MANUSCRIPT. "Alphabetical List of Fantasy Authors." typed by Petaja, with extensive handwritten notes by Lovecraft. 2 pages on 1 sheet mea

Book Description: Emil Petaja was admittedly one of the lesser satellites orbiting around H. P. Lovecraft. Still a college student in Montana when he sent him a fan letter in 1934, Petaja went on to carve out a small literary niche for himself in fantasy literature, primarily by using material from the Kalevala, the great epic of his ancestral Finland. Answering the boy's letter with characteristic generosity, Lovecraft sent back the requested autograph and snapshot, and went on to send him 27 more letters over the next two and a half years, the last a mere two weeks before his own death. Some are perfunctory, many are substantial and all have those characteristic felicities common to one of the great letter-writers of the 20th century. As a lot, they are of interest for documenting the entire span of one of HPL's literary friendships; for the fresh and full self- portrait required by the newness of the relationship; and by the rich, warm sunset tone found in some, when their author put aside his customary grandiosity and cynicism. Elsewhere the reader will find evidence of familiar virtues and idiosyncrasies. And everywhere we see Lovecraft, the person, at his best, in his patient encouragement and gentle tutelage of a wet-behind-the-ears youngster. Several letters contain de facto essays of moderate length that could easily be extracted for separate publication; in particular, letter #25 has a long and touching tribute to amateur journalism that should belong in any core collection of his nonfiction. A few highlights. Comparing himself unfavorably to the masters of weird fiction (Machen, Blackwood, etc.) leads to an unfavorable comparison of these to "the masters of general literature -- whose comprehension & reflection of the human scene are so much fuller & better-proportioned." Finding DRACULA overrated, he recalls the reaction to it by his friend Mrs. Miniter when she was offered (and turned down) the job of revising an early draft of it in 1893. Expounding his materialistic philosophy, he outlines the anthropological basis of superstitions and speculates on the possibility of extraterrestrial life. Answering the question of whether he had read the daring 1928 novel of lesbianism, THE WELL OF LONELINESS, Lovecraft expostulates at some length on the "homosexual vices" and other sexual depravities in ancient Greece and contemporary America. Mourns the death, in July 1936, of Robert E. Howard ("Two-Gun Bob"). Directing young Petaja's reading and informing him of the progress of one book or another on the postal book-lending circuit, he comments, sometimes at length, on a number of authors, including Machen, Blackwood, Shiel, Dunsany, Huysmans, Ibsen, Ellen Glasgow, Michael Arlen, James Branch Cabell, Hugh Walpole, Hodgson, Stapledon, Wilde, Homer, Plato, Aeschylus, Euripedes, Toksvig and Meyrink; as well as the contributors to Weird Tales (including, of course, himself), most of the important ones also being friends or at least acquaintances of Lovecraft -- "our weird gang." One of the most interesting items in the archive is Petaja's typewritten list of 169 names, titled "Alphabetical List of Fantasy Authors", with annotations by Lovecraft as well as his supplementary list of some 30 "High-Grade (more or less) Weird Writers" and 37 others, including himself, in an "Inferior Group -- the Pulp Writers." The former list by HPL will contain few surprises for anyone familiar with his essay on "Supernatural Horror in Literature", but Petaja's list contains a good many alluringly obscure names, including 75 not annotated by HPL or mentioned in his essay. Whether these were unfamiliar to him or unimportant to him is impossible to say without further study -- or even if all of them are, indeed, authors of fantasy fiction. But Lovecraft himself notes the foolhardiness of automatically discounting the unfamiliar, confessing that he had never heard of William Hope Hodgson until 1931 or read him until 1934. All in all, a significant cache of documents t. Bookseller Inventory # 108248 $35,000 !

Monday, May 12, 2008

Winfield Scott Townley Annecdote

Scott, Winfield Townley. TYPED LETTER SIGNED, dated 17 April 1944, to "Dear Mr [Samuel] Loveman, 1 page on letterhead of The Providence Journal / The Evening Bulletin. Forwards his article, "The Case of Howard Phillips Lovecraft of Providence, R. I," published in THE PROVIDENCE SUNDAY JOURNAL, 26 December 1943, "hoping it may have some interest for you... I don't want to be a nuisance, but if you should feel inclined to write me about HPL I should be very grateful indeed. -- I don't plan a book on him, but I do hope eventually to do a much more substantial article, both as biography and criticism, than this 'preliminary' piece enclosed." Scott notes that he has "been able to pick up a good deal of fact and impression about HPL, but I know little about his marriage to Sonia Greene and the New York episode. Do you know what ever became of her: where she is now? etc?" Loveman did correspond with Scott and Sonia Green did too. In addition to the full folio sheet (folded) of the issue of the paper printing Scott's 26 December article, there is a clipping of Sonia H. Greene's memoir, "Howard Phillips Lovecraft as His Wife Remembers Him," published in a version heavily edited by Scott, in THE PROVIDENCE JOURNAL, 22 August 1948. Scott went on to write "His Own Most Fantastic Creation," the first important biographical study of Lovecraft, and one that still retains considerable value today." - Joshi, H. P. Lovecraft: A Life, p. 635. Light horizontal fold, else fine. (#108223) Price: $150.00

Rare Lovecraft self-sketches

{Only three images available}

Lovecraft, Howard Phillips. FIVE DRAWINGS, INCLUDING FOUR EARLY INK SELF-PORTRAITS, ON FRAGMENTS OF LETTERS, FROM ARKHAM HOUSE PAPERS VIA THE DERLETH ESTATE, each on letter-size paper, one with writing on both sides, the others one-sided, all copy in manuscript form, all from 1915-1920, most if not all addressed to Rheinhardt Kleiner. Three of the images -- on the first or last pages of letters -- will be familiar to anyone who has perused the Arkham House SELECTED LETTERS, whose dust jackets feature a montage of them; two take up half the page, another occupies the top corner. The fourth self-portrait is a stand-alone drawing taking up an entire page; its probable date of 1915 makes it his earliest known self-portrait. It too was almost certainly (an enclosure) from a letter; it is reproduced as plate II in SL II). The fifth is an elaborate full-page drawing of a New England landscape framing a poem by HPL about the scene. All are early, dating from a period of about 1915-1920, and all share the same rich provenance: cannibalized from letters by August Derleth and kept in Arkham House office files for reproduction purposes, then dispersed by his estate. The verbal content of these letter fragments has not been published. Item #1: Fragment (page 1) of a letter to Rheinhardt Kleiner, dated "31st Mch 1716" (i.e., 31 March 1916) with a drawing showing HPL (in 18th-century garb) in his room, bookcase to one side, buried under manuscripts and letters, with the caption, "United Activity; or Why a Conservative Doth Not always answer his Letters with Promptness." The first word, a reference to the United Amateur Press Association, of which Lovecraft was an official of various rank, including president, during 1915-1926, is underlined. Rheinhart Kleiner, a New Yorker, was a fellow amateur poet, and one of HPL's earliest and most important friends. The letter fragment with the most writing is unpublished. Item #2: Fragment (page 1) of a letter to Rheinhart Kleiner (as "Aouian Bolingbroke," a nickname), dated "3/31/20" with a drawing in the upper right corner: a bust of HPL, head in profile, dressed in mid-19th-century fashion, in front of a desk with books and skull, captioned, "H. Poe Lovecraft, 1840." This has writing on both sides (about 650 words). Lovecraft laments his backlog of overdue correspondence, delayed mostly because of anonymous revision work on the poems of D. V. Bush, including a last-minute rush order to rewrite 18 poems (778 lines, at HPL's standard rate of $1 per 24 lines), which he executed in a 30-hour period (minus six hours for rest), for a total of $32.40. "It is my absolute commercial record. Never before have I made so much money in one attempt or in so short a time. And, believe me, I earned every penny of that sum!" This self-portrait, like the one in item #1 is reproduced in part on the dust jackets of the Arkham LETTERS. Both are also reproduced, in full, as plates of SELECTED LETTERS, 1911-1924. Item #3: Fragment (page 11, the last) of a letter, addressee and date unknown, but it mentions Brooklyn, where Kleiner lived, and is in HPL's early, less compact hand, which dates it in the mid-to-late teens. The odds seem in favor of this also having been addressed to Kleiner. The drawing, occupying the bottom half of the letter, shows HPL from the back, in 18th-century fashion, seated at a table in his room, with bookcase, astronomical gear and cat in background. The figure is signing, with a goose quill pen, a large sheet of paper, "H. Lovecraft." This also functions as HPL's signature to the letter, a clever little conceit. The form of the signature, "H. Lovecraft" rather than "H. P. Lovecraft" also dates the letter as early. This image forms the third component of the SL dust jacket montage. Item #4: Enclosure from a letter to Rheinhart Kleiner, dated 6 December 1915, a stand-alone full-page portrait, labeled, "H. Lovecraft, Esq. Ao. [Anno] 1715." A letter to Kleiner from that date, excerpted in SL I, pp. 18-19, states, "I always wanted to be able to draw, but I have no talent, and in one of my pictures you cannot tell a cow from a locomotive. But spurred on by your example, I have just been trying my hand and fountain pen in an endeavor to represent myself just as I would like to be -- a poet of two centuries ago, periwig and all. As you will note, I have adopted the old frontispiece engraving style, with little Pegasuses beneath me, and Apollo, Pan, and my family crest above me." The drawing in hand answers to this description in all particulars. As such, it is the earliest known self-portrait of Lovecraft. The portrait was first published in The Vagrant, no. 5 (June 1917), and was used later as an illustration (plate II) in SELECTED LETTERS II. Item #5: Fragment of a letter (page 4) of a letter, comprising the manuscript of a 28-line poem by HPL and a landscape scene framing it, addressee unknown (but quite possibly also Kleiner, who was one of his most frequent correspondents in this period), date unknown (but no later than June 1917, when the poem, titled "On Receiving a Picture of [the] Town of Templeton, in the Colonie of Massachusetts-Bay, With Mount Monadnock, in New Hampshire, shewn In the Distance," was printed in The Vagrant.) The drawing shows a small 18th-century figure in foreground, probably meant to be HPL. The poem is printed rather than cursive in style, and is signed (again, in early fashion) "H. Lovecraft, Gent." The heroic couplets of competent -- if instantly dated -- verse, form a panegyric to this landscape, praising the virtues of Anglo-Saxon tradition, and scorning change, decadence and aliens: leitmotivs found in many of his letters. Reproduced as plate III in an Arkham catalogue, BOOKS FROM ARKHAM HOUSE 1949 AND LATER. Faint fold creases, a little general rumpling, generally in excellent condition. (#111302)
Price: $9,500.00

L Sprague de Camp Annecdote (1972) Relating to His Lovcraft Biography

Found this in L Currey's inventory. Unfortunately, I know nothing of Maurer. I'm sure someone reading will add a comment.

De Camp, L. Sprague. TYPED LETTER SIGNED (TLs), to Peter J. Maurer, dated 22 March 1972, 1/2 page. De Camp is about to begin work on his biography of Lovecraft and asks if it would possible to obtain photocopies of Lovecraft letters Maurer owns. Light mailing creases, fine. Accompanied by the mailing envelope. (#108218) Price: $45.00

Ia! The Eye! The Eye! : Cthulhu Science

{These creatures are amazing. Is there any wonder Cthulhu took the image of the majestic and graceful rather than the indelicate primate homo sapien?)

By RAY LILLEY, Associated Press Writer Wed Apr 30, 6:07 PM ET
WELLINGTON, New Zealand - Marine scientists studying the carcass of a rare colossal squid said Wednesday they had measured its eye at about 11 inches across — bigger than a dinner plate — making it the largest animal eye on Earth.
One of the squid's two eyes, with a lens as big as an orange, was found intact as the scientists examined the creature while it was slowly defrosted at New Zealand's national museum, Te Papa Tongarewa. It has been preserved there since being caught in the Ross Sea off Antarctica's northern coast last year.
"This is the only intact eye (of a colossal squid) that's ever been found. It's spectacular," said Auckland University of Technology squid specialist Kat Bolstad, one of a team of international scientists brought in to examine the creature.
"It's the largest known eye in the animal kingdom," Bolstad told The Associated Press.
The squid is the biggest specimen ever caught of the rare and mysterious deep-water species Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni, or colossal squid. When caught, it measured 26 feet long and weighed about 1,000 pounds, but scientists believe the species may grow as long as 46 feet.
"This is the largest eye ever recorded in history and studied," said Swedish Professor Eric Warrant of the University of Lund, who specializes in vision in invertebrates. "It has a huge lens the size of an orange and captures an awful lot of light in the dark depths in which it hunts."
The squids can descend to 6,500 feet and are known to be aggressive hunters.
Scientists using an endoscope to examine the stomach and other organs said later Wednesday on their blog that the squid was a female.
"We just found the ovaries — the specimen is a girl! The ovaries are full of several thousands of eggs!" the entry said.
Bolstad earlier said that females are believed to grow larger than the male.

Sonia, Hart Crane, Siegel & Shuster: Cleveland

In case you missed this comment by "Kusmi" it links Sonia, Hart Crane, and Siegel and Shuster, I'll reproduce it here.

Kusmi has left a new comment on your post "Sonia's 85th Birthday": I just wanted to thank you for posting all these great Lovecraftian tidbits. I was lucky to have found your blog- quite by accident! I'm in Cleveland, not far from where Sonia once resided. (Sadly, the apartment building was demolished in the 1960's.) But one cool thing I'll pass along- that old place, 1912 East 86th St., is only a mere 20 blocks or so from the old Glenville neighborhood, which is where two Jewish high school kids- Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created Superman in 1930. Lovecraft also wrote a pretty decent poem (a satire on Clevelander Hart Crane's work) about the neighborhood, Euclid Ave. He loved his short stay here, which is something to be proud of. Thanks again for you useful site!

Some Derleth Letters on Recent Auction

I was doing some research through the L Currey archives and found a few anecdotes tucked away ... here are extracts found there ... there are very controversial notes which I have no way of knowing about. Since a few elements are about Lovecraft, I thought they'd be good to preserve on the Lovecraft blog.

Derleth, August. SIX TYPED LETTERS SIGNED AND ONE TYPED POSTCARD, to Walter J. Coates, first letter dated 24 March, n.y. [but 1937], last 26 April, n.y. [but 1937], postcard not dated, postmarked 18 May 1937. Plus additional associated material, including a TYPED LETTER (not signed) from WEIRD TALES editor Farnsworth Wright, two TYPED LETTERS SIGNED from Marion Lee, a friend of Lovecraft and Coates, and several carbons of typed letters from Coates.

An interesting archive of material regarding Derleth's efforts to identify and collect Lovecraft's writings for the memorial "omnibus book" which became THE OUTSIDER AND OTHERS.

Coates was editor/publisher of Driftwind, a little magazine in Vermont that published a good deal of Lovecraft's poetry as well as his essay, "The Materialist Today."

Derleth and Donald Wandrei were hoping (expecting?) to find a commercial publisher for the memorial HPL book.

"Farrar & Rinehart have asked for first crack at the manuscript we are preparing." He also says, "We are planning to put out sometime next year a monumental book of Selected Letters, for as a letter-writer HPL ranks deservedly among the great in English letters."

Their failure to find a publisher for their memorial volume, of course, led to the founding of Arkham House in 1939, with Lovecraft's THE OUTSIDER ... as their first offering. Arkham House would publish HPL's Selected Letters, not in "a monumental book" but in five volumes spread over a period of years, though this still represents only about a tenth of the letters that Lovecraft wrote. Generally fine. (#108217) Price: $1,500.00

Derleth, August. THREE TYPED LETTERS SIGNED (TLsS). Each 1 page, dated 15 July 1963, 24 July 1963 and 3 August 1963, to "Dear Kirby McCauley" or "Dear Mr. McCauley," signed "August Derleth." On executive-size Arkham House stationery with Utpatel illustration at top.

These letters mainly constitute one half of a running argument between Derleth and McCauley about a civil rights issue involving a man in an exclusively white neighborhood who sold his house to a black, thereby breaking an agreement to not do so. McCauley apparently sided with the neighbors. Derleth's position seems a little squishier.

On the one hand, he writes, "I don't happen to be prejudiced," but elsewhere in the same letter, writes, "I think we can't doubt that the Negro is racially inferior; that is, he will probably not always stay that way, but as at present the race is generally inferior to the white. This may be due to evolutionary as well as socially and economically important factors."

{This alleged quote quite shocks me - Chrispy}

Elsewhere he writes that "Catholics aren't supposed to think, only do what the clergy directs."

A revealing look at racial attitudes circa 1963. The letters also deal in passing with minor Arkham House business matters, Derleth's writings, and McCauley's search for Henry Whitehead letters.

Price: $450.00

Derleth, August. TYPED NOTE SIGNED (TNS). 1 page (10 lines), dated 4 December 1962, to "Dear Kirby McCauley," signed "August Derleth." On Arkham House half-size letter stationery with Arkham House logo at top.

Derleth says he can't give out Ramsey Campbell's address, but can forward letters. Derleth had contacted McCauley earlier, perhaps with a view to finding an agent for the newcomer, whose first professionally published story, "The Church in High Street," appeared in DARK MIND, DARK HEART, an original anthology edited by Derleth, published by Arkham House in 1962.

Campbell's story was heavily revised by Derleth (see Jaffery [1989], p. 62), who later sent the manuscript to McCauley. Derleth cautions McCauley to not refer to Campbell's "manuscript" [underlined] as "he would rightly think it a discourtesy for us to have released the MS. to show how much revision had been made in it between drafts."

He also mentions that he had successfully urged Campbell, just 16 at the time, to set his Lovecraftian tale in some other milieu than HPL's fictional town of Arkham.

Ramsey Campbell went on to become one of the more visible figures, both as author and editor, of supernatural fiction in the late-20th-century. This is an important document concerning the very beginning of his career.

(#102362) Price: $150.00

Derleth, August. TYPED NOTE SIGNED (TNS). 1 page, dated 15 October 1963, to "Dear Kirby McCauley," signed "August Derleth." On Arkham House note stationery with Utpatel illustration at top.

Mainly concerns the sale to McCauley of some drawings that Frank Utpatel had done for some Arkham House titles. A few other miscellaneous matters. (#102363) Price: $85.00

Derleth, August. TYPED NOTE SIGNED (TNS). 1 page, dated 25 March 1971, to "Dear Kirby [McCauley]," signed "August." On Arkham House half-size letter stationery with Arkham House logo at top.

Mostly concerns the somewhat complicated financial matters relating to the "publication of Don's book" (details unknown; a book project involving Derleth, but not an Arkham House publication).

{I suspect this is a Donald Wandrei book. I've seen mention of it elsewhere. - Chrispy}

Derleth also notes that he has sent McCauley six copies of THE ARKHAM COLLECTOR, five of which are to be forwarded to Robert Aickman and he criticizes a recent short story by "Vernon" (probably J. Vernon Shea).

(#102366) Price: $50.00

Friday, May 09, 2008

Artwork by Michelle Souliere

Michelle of Strange Maine (click here) is creating new art. If you're in Maine, you need to stop by and see her work.
She shares with us:
I'm working on pieces for an upcoming show of "non-traditional lighthouse art" for the same folks that hosted the Japanese Monster art show I did earlier this year. I just finished the first piece, and lo and behold, if it isn't Lovecraft related! I'm calling it "DAGON: We'll Leave a Light On."

The design is closely based on an old metal plaque from around 200 AD that supposedly depicts the Pharos of Alexandria, once deemed one of the Seven Wonders (from what I can tell). The Pharos of Alexandria is one of the earliest lighthouses on record, and certainly the most remarkable. Built around 300BC (if I recall correctly), it lit the waters around Alexandria from the island Pharos in the mouth of the Nile for 1000 years (!!!), and stood for another 500 before an earthquake felled it. It was reported to be 500 feet tall.

My design, of course, takes a bit of a tangential approach, and plants the piece in the netherworlds of HPL's imaginings , but ooohhh, how ominous and delicious!

Hope you enjoy.

Colors and Lovecraft

Our Google Group member, David, has this insight:

"'Moodus Noises are, according to Joshi, the inspiration for the noiseswithin Sentinel Hill in "The Dunwich Horror." Joshi, in his "AnnotatedLovecraft" hypothesizes that Lovecraft's source material on Moodus wasCharles Skinner's multi-volume "Myths and Legends of Our Own Land"(available through the Gutenberg Project website).

"'The great carbuncle is also in a Hawthorne story of the same name, setin the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I've always considered thecarbuncle (An archaic name for a deep red cabachon cut gemstone, usuallya garnet) to be a form of the "treasure protected by supernaturalforces" motif that was widespread in the New England regional folklore.Taylor's "The Early Republic's Supernatural Economy: Treasure Seeking inthe American Northeast, 1780-1830." (American Quarterly 38, 6-34, 1986)hypothesizes that that the legends were a sociological reaction to theshift from agrarian communities toward the Industrial Revolution. Thisis the same time period where the Dighton Rock is nearly destroyed touncover the alleged treasure buried beneath it and Joseph Smithdiscovers the golden tablets of LDS fame.'"

Tillinghast Graveyard (Exeter, Rhode Island)

Photograph Description: "Honor" // This is a photograph Cyril Place took in 2002 at the Tillinghast Family Graveyard in Exeter Rhode Island. Honor Tillinghast is the mother of Sarah Tillinghast, one of the Notorious New England Vampires. This Photograph was featured in the Emmy Nominated Film: "Ghost and Vampire Legends Of Rhode Island" Cyril Place Fine Art Photography World Class Black and White and Color Photographs

{For other Tillighast Info, click on the label tag below}

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Shunned House (2002)

Photograph Description
"Shunned House"
This is a photograph I took in 2002 of the imfamous Shunned House on Benifit St. Providence Rhode Island.
This cursed House was a subject of a Short Story by H.P. Lovecraft by the same name as this photograph.

Cyril Place Fine Art Photography
World Class Black and White and Color Photographs

T Peter Park: Speculation on Colour Out of Space

The ever thoughtful Fortean, T Peter Park sent this out to his Mythfolk Group.


I just thought of one possible inspiration for H.P. Lovecraft's story "The Colour Out of Space," where a mysterious meteorite landing on a New England farm poisons the soil and the well water, causing all living things on the farm including the farmer and his family to be permeated, possessed, and eventually killed by luminous, weirdly colored alien entities from the meteorite.The meteorite and its luminous malign entities might have been suggested in part by the legend of the luminous "pearl" or "carbuncle" allegedly responsible for the seismic "Moodus Noises" of East Haddam, Connecticut, supposedly found and removed by an English wizard or alchemist, "Dr. Steel," in the 1760's.

For centuries, the vicinity of East Haddam CT has been plagued by mysterious booming noises, nowadays usually explained by geological causes, but attributed to the demon "Hobomoko" by the Indians, and to Satan himself by the Puritans. The name "Moodus Noises" is derived from the traditional Indian name of the locality, Mackemoodus, "Place of Bad Noises." Anyway, a local legend claims that "Dr. Steel" made the noises stop by removing the "carbuncle" supposedly responsible for them.Here is the legend as described in a website on "The Moodus Noises" at:


All of these notions pale, however, in comparison with the imaginative theories inherent in the legend of Dr. Steel and the "carbuncle." As the story went, there arrived in East Haddam sometime in the 1760s a mysterious stranger who claimed that his name was Dr. Steel. They say he was an Englishman possessed of strange and magical powers, who had been sent to Connecticut by King George to lift the curse of the Moodus Noises, which had lately been reported to the monarch.The learned and aged physician built a crazy-looking house in a lonely spot on Mount Tom, near a cave that some said gave direct access to the realm of Hobomoko. Dr. Steel had determined that if he could find and seize the "great carbuncle" -- a pearl of gigantic size -- which blocked the mouth of the cavern, the Noises would temporarily cease and the countryside would have peace, at least for a time. After he retired behind the walls of the house, closing every window, crack and keyhole behind him, Dr. Steel and his research became mysteries as deep as the Noises themselves.While no one was admitted to the odd little building on Mount Tom, curious observers were intrigued by the clang of hammers issuing from the house all night, the endless showers of sparks from the chimney and the sulphurous odors emitted from within. Then, one night, all activity ceased. Dr. Steel emerged from his house and, walking along a path marked by a faint light which moved before him, made his way to the closed entrance of the singular cave.They say that as the ancient alchemist fell to his task of digging at the immense pearl that lay across the mouth of the pit, loud grew the Moodus Noises that night. Finally, with near superhuman effort, Dr. Steel pried the carbuncle from its resting place and removed it from the cavern mouth. What followed would be long remembered by astonished witnesses. From the depths of the cave a blood-red light shone forth, streaming into the heavens like a crimson comet or a spear of the northern aurora. It was, they believed, the flash of the great carbuncle, and all who looked through it said that the stars beyond appeared dyed in blood.When the sun rose the next day, the people of East Haddam discovered that both Dr. Steel and the monstrous pearl had departed earlier that morning on a ship bound for England. Later, news reached Connecticut that the magnificent stone had continued to bring evil to its surroundings, for the galley carrying the pearl and Dr. Steel had sunk in mid-ocean, with the loss of all hands. Ever since, so they say, from the depth of a thousand fathoms the crimson rays of the carbuncle have occasionally shone forth, lighting up a morning sky and striking fear into the hearts of sailors who have seen it.But in East Haddam, the residents were pleased that Dr. Steel's prophecy had come true. Before he sealed himself away in the funny house on Mount Tom, he had told the people that removal of the offensive carbuncle would quiet the Moodus Noises for years to come. And so, indeed, it did. Even decades later, when the sounds and shocks occasionally recurred -- and the Indians said the mountain was trying to give birth to another stone -- things never were as bad as they were in the days before Dr. Steel delivered them from evil.

Extremely Rare 1946 Lovecraft 1st Spanish Book

Carlos Abraham has been kind wnough to show our blog readers this antiquarian treasure. Carlos is a scholar and researcher trying to track down the earliest Robert E Howard and H P Lovecraft books translated into Spanish. A noble endeavor and we wish him well. If you have any help, I think the best way to contact him right now is to go to the antiquarian thread on the Horror Mall and post.

He has many Conan Spanish covers already posted at the antiquarian thread (which is over a 1,000 posts strong with hundreds and hundreds of antiquarian images, stories, and anecdotes.)


Carlos tell us: This is the cover of the (so far as I know) the first translation of Lovecraft in book form: "El que acecha en el umbral" (The Lurker at the Threshold"). Buenos Aires, Editorial Molino, 1946, 223 pages.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Derleth Signature in Lovecraft Story Book (1945)

I'm afraid I don't know who Don Lawton is. I think the writing says, "To Don Lawton - with the hope that _?_ {you?} may have many an eerie moment - Sincerely, August Derleth".

Description from the ebayeum by the seller:

Hardbound collection of HP Lovecraft. Published by World, Tower Books Edition, FIRST printing, April 1945.
•In the Vault •Pickman's Model •The Rats in the Walls •The Outsider •The Colour Out of Space •The Music of Erich Zann •The Haunter of the Dark •The Picture in the House •The Call of Cthulhu •The Dunwich Horrow •Cool Air •The Whisperer in Darkness •The Terrible Old Man •The Thing on the Doorstep
Autographed and inscribed on ffep by August Derleth who was the editor of this volume.
The paper is yellowed and brittle as was common for wartime books especially Tower editions. The title page has a tear near the spine. The page Derleth signed is not the same as the pulp paper of the text however. It has yellowed but it's a much better quality paper. The cover's corners are bumped and scuffed, but overall it's a tight, clean volume.

Photo of Lovecraft & Long Surfaces

From the ebayeum, the seller states:
Unpublished original photo of Howard Philips Lovecraft (1890-1937) & Frank Belknap Long (1903-1981?) Most probably taken by Wilfred Blanch Talman in Brooklyn, N.Y. Summer 1931. (see Lovecraft A Biography by L Sprague DeCamp, pgs 349-350 and 3rd pg of photo section (comparison photo referenced below)
On the reverse of the photo is written in ink in an unknown hand "H.P.L. & F.B.L. photo taken in B'klyn, N.Y. ca. 1931-32.
Matted with a separate piece of coated paper with original autograph of Lovecraft dated 1924. The autograph is most probably clipped from a book from Lovecraft's library.
Photo is scallop edged with image of approx 2"x3". Both photo and autograph have been doubled matted with acid free materials and framed under glass; overall measurements approx 9"x11".
Obtained in the mid 90's from the Lin Carter estate from Lin's widow.


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