Sunday, August 18, 2013

Lovecraft-Inspired Music

In my younger days, I used to call this avant garde.  That dates me.  But here are some cool music downloads ...

They include radio voice overs (some use of expletives in some narratives), narratives, electronic music, percussion, and other forms of music.

Tales from the Doorstep cover art

You may want to start with: Hail Zeon! - Super Science

Tales From The Doorstep
4 haunting tales of magic and super science. Join Hail Zeon!, Richard Pickman and Durka Dub on a journey along knowledge and madness.
A full sized sequel to the "Doorstep EP", Tales From Doorstep is a creepy mix of strange Space Opera from The Masters Of Space Opera.

The Doorstep EP cover art

I suggest you start with Chapter XV - Revenge Spells prt​.​2

The Lovecraftian EP, featuring Hail Zeon! and Richard Pickman , takes Space Opera through dusty libraries, distant times and even Antarctica.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Weird Tales: Like a Phoenix; Reborn!

From the hand of renowned Marvin Kaye and numerous others, the venerable and beloved Weird Tales has returned.

My post is a bit late, but hopefully I can still be part of the congratulations celebration.

My first concern when I pick up a post-modern periodical.  So many of these new magazines and web sites for horror are red print on black, or some other unreadable format.  So I asked:  Can my 57 year old eyes read this thing?


The pages of my electronic format review copy was precisely formatted with a wonderfully readable font, and a wonderful contrast of black ink on soft white.

Thank you!

The illustrations are well chosen from a variety of authors, and issue 360 includes some wonderful Fabian illustrations.  Poetry, too, is represented.  In the case of issue 360:  "Mummified" by Jill Bauman, "In Shadowy Innsmouth" by Darrell Schweitzer, "The Country of Fear" by Russell Brickey, and "Country Midnight" by Carole Buggé.

There is an example of a more radicalized story.  "To Be a Star" by Parke Godwin is part-illustration and part narrative in a style that has a doodled on, antiquarian typescript (circa 1945), feel to it.

Notable and legendary names appear within the covers.  And why wouldn't one want to hide under the covers with fear with the likes of "The Long Last Night" by Brian Lumley, "The Runners Beyond the Wall" by Darrell Schweitzer, and "The Empty City" by Jessica Amanda Salmonson.

I have to admit this.  I am a sucker for flying saucers and aliens, so I b-lined right to page 85 and read "Alien Abduction" by M. E. Brines.  I am not sorry.  It takes a great flash fiction writer to pull off humor, genre homage, terror, and ethical philosophy all at once, but Brines does it with panache.

The greatest part of this issue is the wonderful Ray Bradbury tribute.  We already miss him, and this reminds us why.  A great treasure is now reprinted, a "lost" Martian Chronicle.  This writer managed to track down one of the remaining issues of Fantasy and Science Fiction that had this, and now Weird Tales makes it available for the first time in about 3 generations.

This issue is phenomenal, and a blessing for horror fans.  Buy it.  If you only receive one hour of fun, then it is well worth the price, but I suggest you will have months of pleasure out of reading and re-reading.  Maybe you should buy two copies, because likely you will read the cover off of issue 360.


Here is information:

 Advertising & promotional inquiries: WeirdTalesBox (at)
 Webmaster/Web Site: WeirdTalesBox (at)

Weird Tales:  Facebook page:

Basic Weird A one-year, four-issue subscription for just $20 — that’s more than 30% off the cover price!
Deluxe Weird Four issues, plus a special cosmically horrific bonus, for just $30!
International Subscriptions Enjoy Weird Tales delivered to your home outside of the U.S.!
Back Issues Recent and classic issues of Weird Tales, mailed to your home!
E-book editions now available!

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Pearls Before Swine: Very "Howard Lovecraft" This Week

One suspects that Howard Lovecraft felt in New York the way Rat does in the strip.

For More "Pearls" and Stephan Pastis ... Go Comics!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

New Comic Strip: Don't Pick the Flowers by David Hurley

Ok, not Lovecraftian.  But, hey, Mr. Lovecraft, it's my blog, too.

Sometimes when you're stressed you need horror.  Other times you need funny.  In rare occasions as with Mike McCarty you get both.  I discovered a comic recently from a fellow Kentuckian, and you should check it out.

I'm a sucker for funny animals, usually with Garfield and Daffy Duck at the top of my list.  In my humble opinion, David Hurley has created a breakout character in "Pekin Duck".

He is featured at gocomics, and his web site is Don't Pick the Flowers.  Or you can support him on facebook here.

Don't Pick the Flowers

Don't Pick the Flowers

Don't Pick the Flowers

Don't Pick the Flowers

Don't Pick the Flowers

Don't Pick the Flowers

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Is Sesqua Valley a suburb of Yuggoth?

Ye olde Portland, Oregon, harbors the largest single organism on the planet:  A nearly 4 mile wide fungus that descends into the soil as deep as a grave.


It is kind of old news, but not mentioned much in Lovecraft circles.  It appeared about 2400 years ago, when the Buddha was still a young boy.  There is a whispered rumor that this fungus is intelligent in ways vastly different than our feeble human minds can grasp.  It lays in wait, until humans and other living things are buried, and then it feeds off the discarded life essence of those decaying corpses.  What is its ultimate mad purpose?  From whence did it come?  And will it stay in Portland, or does it have it's collective mentality on your home?

Oregon's monster mushroom is world's biggest living thing The largest living organism ever found has been discovered in an ancient American forest.

The Armillaria ostoyae, popularly known as the honey mushroom, started from a single spore too small to see without a microscope. It has been spreading its black shoestring filaments, called rhizomorphs, through the forest for an estimated 2,400 years, killing trees as it grows. It now covers 2,200 acres (880 hectares) of the Malheur National Forest, in eastern Oregon.

The outline of the giant fungus stretches 3.5 miles (5.6 kilometres) across, and it extends an average of three feet (one metre) into the ground. It covers an area as big as 1,665 football fields.

The discovery came after Catherine Parks, a scientist at the Pacific Northwest Research Station in La Grande, Oregon, in 1998 heard about a big tree die-off from root rot in the forest east of Prairie City.

Using aerial photos, Ms Parks staked out an area of dying trees and collected root samples from 112. She identified the fungus through DNA testing. Then, by comparing cultures of the fungus grown from the 112 samples, she determined that 61 were from the same organism, meaning a single fungus had grown bigger than anything anyone had ever described before.

On the surface, the only evidence of the fungus are clumps of golden mushrooms that pop up in the autumn with the rain. "They are edible, but they don't taste the best," said Tina Dreisbach, a botanist and mycologist with the US Forest Service in Corvallis, Oregon. "I would put lots of butter and garlic on them."

Digging into the roots of an affected tree, something that looks like white latex paint can be seen. These are mats of mycelium, which draw water and carbohydrates from the tree to feed the fungus and interfere with the tree's absorption of water and nutrients. The long rhizomorphs that stretch into the soil invade tree roots through a combination of pressure and enzyme action.

Below are some pictures that may startle your imagination.

Monday, May 13, 2013


It has been a while since I worked actively on this blog.

There are a few reasons for that.

The first is that so many other things are going on that HPL has to take a smaller role in my life.

The next is that there are already thousands of posts on this blog.  How much is enough?  I don't know, but it seems I am getting close.

There are many other HPL blogs now on the 'net and they are doing good work.  They are not doing precisely what I am doing, but then what I am doing is pretty old fashioned for the 21st century.  Like the old guy I am, I think old.  The world needs new ideas and needs to be done by those who are much better at this Internet thing.

Then there is my frustration with Lovecraft scholarship in general.  I participate minimally with the established groups.  The work that has been done is outstanding, no doubt.  It has been invaluable.  But there seems something too political about it.  From an historical perspective, it seems a bit too much, "I didn't like what Derleth did, so I'll show him".

It would be hubris to think that as good as the modern and post-modern scholarship is, that it is the end-all be-all of Lovecraft research.  As the Derleth, Long and deCamp biographical work seemed inadequate, so one day will the late 20th century biographical work be revealed to be just a little too biased, and a little too inadequate.

It will one day be surpassed, but probably not until mid-century.  It will likely start to look more like a wikipedia-YouTube multimedia presentation than a book.  Something that will appeal to 40-somethings who were born in the first decade of the 21st century 

I personally have found information that supersedes some aspects of published accounts of Lovecraft's life.  I know others have as well, and they have found information that augments information that has been published.

I think it highly unlikely that this new information will ever find its way in a book, and probably will never enter a Lovecraft journal or pamphlet.  Paper is rapidly becoming old school.  I do not know how all this Lovecraft information will enter the mainstream, or how it can or will be vetted in the future.  These are conundrums that are being worked out even by particle physicists and mainstream historians, much less a cottage industry like HPL.

So what is Chrispy going to do?

As long as Google keeps Blogger going, I will add from time to time on the HPL blog.  I want to add to Lin Carter's early years as I find the time.  I want to finish the biography of Whipple Phillips.  I am trying to assume I have about a decade of good work left in me.  It already has been 10 years - hard to believe that in 2002 I learned who HPL was for the first time.  A lot of water under the bridge.

I have begun to think "What is Chrispy's legacy"?

I guess as a sometime writer of horror, and mostly known as a "Lovecraft blogger".

I believe that "Lovecraft blogger" is usually meant to be a pejorative, though not by all.

It comes from a time when all "good internet work" was allegedly "web site" work.  As many are finding out, web sites are so early 2000's.

I am proud that I was one of the first to realize that you could use eBay as a museum and capture auction images to preserve fleeting materials that passed quickly from collector to collector.  That Google's scanning project uncovered a wealth of HPL material before they began scaling it back.

But I hope that my biggest "legacy" will be to show HPL more in social context.  His own and ours.  When I finally upload all the Whipple Phillips biographical material, it will shed so much more light on Lovecraft and his family.  I believe that will be a game changer.  At least I think it will be.  

Whipple and Howard lived an eerie parallel life.

Whipple was a true orphan, and HPL was a sort-of-orphan though his Mom was alive.

Whipple became a dynamo of the Gilded Age, although a few historical setbacks kept him from becoming a Carnegie or Ford.  After his shocking political defeat resulting in bankruptcy, Whipple chose a path of stealth toward wealth and political power.

Howard became a success in his own way, and for many of the same reasons and due to many of the same skills he inherited from his grandfather.  His total failure on the math exam at Brown University caused him to choose a new path in science, and then his near death experience in 1910 led him to an identical path of stealth toward literary success.  Instead of becoming a Clyde Tombaugh, he became a different kind of legend.

Howard, though he struggled with mysterious and real illness, was a keen judge of character and had his own ability to masterfully manipulate people in his circle.  This is not a criticism, nor an ethical judgement.  But it should be acknowledged.  It is not good enough to be a genius, but one has to have people believe and promote that you are a genius.  Whipple had that unique Phillips skill before the age of 15, I think.  So did Howard.

No offence to the Lovecrafts, formidable though they were as a clan, but Howard was and should always be seen as a Phillips.  And specifically, as the last heir to Whipple's genetic gifts.

Whipple used his skill for business.  That was his world.

Lovecraft used his to create a unique new genre, and by sheer willpower assembled a group of individuals who would perpetuate that new genre.  That was a Whipple skill.  Even the great Houdini fell under his power for a while.  As did Derleth.  As did so many others.  It was not just literary genius, but being a keen judge of men that created Lovecraft's legacy.  That was the Whipple genius, too.

So, from time to time I will continue to check in here at this blog, but don't forget the other blogs I post to also.


Beast in the Cave: House of H Productions

Lately, a lot of folks have asked me to post on the blog. I do this as a service, and it does not mean I personally support the process. The blog is about Lovecraft and his legacy, and part of the second decade of the 21st century is about social networking and how Lovecraft's legacy interacts with that relatively new phenomenon. 

In a decade or so, this will be historical information for researchers, so I tend to post these requests unless there is a compelling reason not to do so.    

I do not really understand "kickstarter", but it seems to be a process to generate funding for start-up projects.  Interesting stuff, and this project already has some cool graphics including a video at the site.  I was unable to figure out exactly how to embed the video here.  Sorry.

The "Beast int eh cave" is a favorite story of mine, though it usually ends up very low on other people's lists.  I am fond of it because it features Mammoth Cave, Kentucky.  Rarely is it discussed, but the story underwent several revisions by HPL and was edited both before and after Whipple died.  I have spent hours dissecting the story to pull apart the revisions with some luck.  

I think the original story was about a big cat in the Mammoth Cave, and later - possibly under the influence of a lecture by Alphaeus Spring Packard Jr. - became a devolved man in the new revision. There are many Freudian and Jungian conclusions that could be derived from that story by scholars more capable than I.  

Here is an excerpt of the request.  The link is:

Dear Supporters,

We are a group of local film-markers in L.A. who love the works of H.P. Lovecraft. With that said we have decided to produce his short story, "The Beast in the Cave." We will be as faithful to Lovecraft's story as we can and do our best to bring you, our supporters, a great film that you will want to watch over and over. Our goal is for the film to premiere at either the Portland or Los Angeles H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival & Cthulhu Con.

Short Synopsis

The H.P. Lovecraft short story “The Beast in the Cave” is about a man touring Mammoth Cave who separates from his guide and becomes lost. His torch expires and he is given up hope of finding a way out of the pitch dark, when he hears strange non-human footsteps approaching him. Thinking it to be a lost mountain lion or other such beast, he picks up a stone.

Cave Example
Cave Example

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Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Our biggest challenge is simply to create a great short film that the H.P. Lovecraft community and others will want to see. Being true to Lovecraft's work is hard work and sometimes it's easier to make changes. But we are commited to being faithful to Lovecraft's vision.
Greatest thanks for your help!
Please send any queries to

Monday, March 25, 2013

Call of Cthulhu: The Musical

Interesting little project.  You may want to visit!

Here is the website link.  Click!

Call of Cthulhu - The Musical Act 2 1/7/2013

At some point during the round of self-congratulations for finishing the first act of this particular webcomic, it occurred to me that I was not quite a quarter of the way through the entire story and it had taken me about 6 months to get there. I had originally intended Call of Cthulhu - The Musical to be a short, precursor project before getting into the substantially longer science fiction story from which I take the name of the web site.

But, honestly, once I began writing the story, I began to feel a real empathy for my interpretation of Randolph Carter. I got excited about portraying the conflicts and interactions with Ward, West, Wilbur Whately, and the Waites (One thing that becomes apparent through reading Lovecraft's work is his love of the letter "W"). My short little half-baked idea spiraled into a sprawling epic that would make the late Robert Jordan say "Dude, no one has time to read all that!"

But, honestly, I don't mind. This has been a really thrilling and engaging project for me. My intention is not to rush through this story to get to the "real" project. I instead want to do the best work that I can with my limited time and even more limited brain.

I hope you enjoy what I have in store for Act 2. I should say that despite my affection for these characters, horrible, horrible things will happen to them. So, look forward to jokes in poor taste, the outright mangling of a number of popular songs, and a sense of impending doom...kind of like American Idol with tentacles.

Brian Hendrickson Station Manager

Littlest Lovecraft Children's Book

This is called a Kickstarter program.  You may want to check out the details here.

A collaborative full color illustrated children's book style adaptation of H. P. Lovecraft's The Call of Cthulhu.

Monday, March 04, 2013

The Strange Death of Sokullu Mehmed Pasha

This blog is reblogged by permission from journalist and writer Matthew W. Quinn:

The Strange Death of Sokullu Mehmed Pasha

From A New Look at Sokullu Mehmed Pasha, published at Miskatonic University.

The consensus of historians on the assassination of Grand VizierSokullu Mehmed Pasha on October 11, 1579 AD (or 20 Sha'ban 987 AH in the Islamic reckoning) is fairly well-known in our field. The Ottoman Sultan Murad III, alienated from the vizier who had served his father and grandfather so long and ably by his mother Narbanu Sultan and Venetian-born wife Safiye Sultan, took steps to reduce the vizier's influence on government. The vizier's allies were sent to faraway positions or assassinated. Ultimately, a mentally-unstable dervish talked his way into the vizier's office and stabbed him. This kind of intrigue was fairly common in the Ottoman Empire, especially during the period known as the Sultanate of Women.

However, some recent discoveries by Miskatonic University researchers of documents thought lost forever during the civil unrest that wracked Constantinople when the Janissaries were suppressed has shed new light on the circumstances of the vizier's assassination and an incident that took place in 1571.

These documents paint a far more sinister picture of the vizier. They include accusations of dealings with agents of Safavid Persia, with whom the vizier had counseled peace as opposed to the usual border wars, and even black magic. The documents accuse the vizier of, under the influence of an agent of Persian Shah Tahmasp I, acquiring a book of black magic from an Armenian merchant who had visited the long-vacant shrine of a corrupted Sufi order that had been destroyed by Turkish nomads not long before. The use of this book resulted in an incident in Constantinople that killed dozens of Ottoman soldiers, destroyed one war galley and forced the scuttling of a second, and caused significant damage to the Bayezit II mosque.

These accusations against Sokullu are not new, but have been long dismissed as the slanders from his political enemies. However, the mosque was damaged somehow, necessitating repairs by the famed Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan in 1573 and 1574. Furthermore, it is often said that converts make the best zealots. Safiye Sultan was a Catholic before she became a Muslim, while the most recent evidence suggests Narbanu was an Orthodox Greek from Corfu before her conversion. If Sokullu was involved in the dark arts, or was widely believed so, this could have provoked the ire of the Imperial women. They would not wish one so tainted to continue virtually ruling the Ottoman Empire in place of their son and husband. And the dervish orders might be willing to provide an assassin to dispose of the vizier, especially given his (tangential) connection to a Sufi order that had become warped by dark forces.

Of course, this is all just speculation. The documents describe how the soldiers killed in the incident were buried in a mass grave outside Constantinople that was given special attention by Muslim imams, Orthodox Christian priests, and even a Jewish rabbi, while the materials used by Sokullu in the incident were confiscated, burned, and abandoned in Persia. Should this mass grave or the dumping site be found, it would lend credence to the incident described in the documents.

So just why was the Grand Vizier assassinated, and is the author's theory about dark powers manifesting in Constantinople actually true? Read "The Beast of the Bosporus" on or on Smashwordsto find out!

Friday, February 08, 2013

Portland Lovecraft Art Show 2013

Below is a re-blog of Strange Maine's discussion of an important Lovecraft art show going on right now.  Michelle Souliere is one of the participants, and I am proud to own and display a portrait of H. P. Lovecraft which she created.  Please help spread the word, and if you live close, try to attend.


Thursday, February 07, 2013

Lovecraft's influence on Maine artists

Photographer Eric Pomorski surveys his fellow artists' work.
It will come as no surprise to readers that once again I and other Portland, Maine, artists (as well as a few guests from away) have fallen under the spell of Lovecraft. The result is an epic artshow, Lovecraft: A Darker Key, which is showing at Sanctuary's gallery here in Portland from Feb 1, 2013, to May 1st, 2013 (or, Candelmas to Beltane).

The show, curated by Carrie Vinette, Michelle Souliere, and Brandon Kawashima, features the works of: Eric Anderson, Tom Brown, Clayton Cameron, Brandon Kawashima, Max Leon, Marco, Christian Matzke, Corey Paradise, Eric Pomorski, Michelle Souliere, Dave Stelmok, Jason Thompson, and Carrie Vinette.

WHAT: Lovecraft: A Darker Key artshow
WHERE: Sanctuary, 31 Forest Avenue, Portland, Maine
WHEN: Feb 1 - May 1, 2013; viewing hours 11:00-7:00 Tues-Sat
FMI: Contact Carrie at Sanctuary: (207)828-8866

The artists involved range from illustrators to sculptors to photographers to painters, each showing his or her own interpretation of the elements of Lovecraft's stories. To quote Nicholas Schroeder of the Portland Phoenix, "Viewers, particularly those who haven't read Lovecraft, might look at 'A Darker Key'... as a richly involved visual glossary of profoundly alien terms."

Participants include such horror luminaries as Eric Anderson of the Shoggoth Assembly (who recently worked on effects for the local projects Ragged Isle and Hanover House), Mortimer Glum (currently working on art for Escape from Jesus Island), Jason Thompson (artist of the recently publishedDream-Quest of Unknown Kadath), and Tom Brown (artist of the recently publishedHopeless, Maine).

The classic weird fiction writing of author H.P. Lovecraft forms the dark heart of this delectable array of eldritch art. Each artist was inspired by the dreamlike vistas created by Lovecraft's pen in the brief window between the years of 1917 and 1935. The world of his fiction was one of contrast between cosmic horror and eerie beauty. The title of this show references one of the stories in his Dream Cycle, "The Silver Key." Appropriately, this art show bookends the anniversary of his early death, March 15 (1937).

Come, and peer through the eyes of artists at the vision of a master writer!

Those curious about the show will find an assortment of photos from the opening night here on my Flickr page:

Read more:
Blending Lovecraft and Modern Art, by Nicholas Schroeder, Portland Phoenix 02/07/13

“Lovecraft: A Darker Key” opens tonight at Sanctuary Tattoo [A discussion with Michelle Souliere], by Alex Steed, Bangor Daily News2/1/2013

Explore the artists' websites:
-- Eric Anderson of the Shoggoth Assembly special effects group:

-- Tom Brown, artist of Hopeless, Maine(Archaia, 2012)

-- Max Leon, illustrator and fine artist

Friday, January 04, 2013

Prospect Street, 1906.

This in from a reader:

 What about this one?  It's much closer to where HPL was actually living at the time.

Circa 1906. "Prospect Street. Providence, Rhode Island."

For more Prospect Street stuff, check out this link back:

140 Prospect Street

Exchange Place, 1910

Here is Lovecraft's world at age 20.  The image can be expanded by clicking, with amazing detail.  Or the link is here.

Westminster Street, 1903

Here is an almost teenaged Lovecraft's world.  It is expandable with great detail.  Click it, or go here:  (Link)


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