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
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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


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