Category Archives: Lovecraft

Haunter of the Dark: A tale of woe for Halloween

The Haunter of the Dark   H.P. Lovecraft (1935)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    October 24, 2017

 

Gulf of night. Shroud of dust …

“I see it—coming here—hell-wind—titan-blur—black wings …”

We are in Providence, Rhode Island. Robert Blake, a writer and painter, is currently writing a novel on a witches cult in Maine. In his newly rented room, his desk window gives him a view of a vacant and deserted  ‘ould church on Federal Hill. This is a man wholly devoted to dream, terror, and superstition. The dark church fascinates him and his imagination begins to take over. Or is it his imagination? He decides he must go inside this church to investigate the crumbling black spires and mesmerizing windows that seem to keep calling him.

What if …  this church was previously a place of devil worship, something along the lines of the Starry Wisdom sect back in 1877? The members of the Church of Starry Wisdom believed in the Haunter of the Dark. Who is the Haunter? He is summoned from the black gulfs of chaos, a powerful evil that was banished by light.

What if … inside this dark and shadowy church there existed a glowing crystal, an ancient artifact known as the Shining Trapezohedron that could summon evil power, summon an actual creature, out of depths of time and space?

What if … this evil creature knew all things?

 

 

And what if  … this Haunter of the Dark knew YOU were watching it?

This story is said to be the last story written by Lovecraft, part of the Cthulhu Mythos, and  is a sequel to “The Shambler from the Stars” by Robert Bloch. I consider it to be one of Lovecraft’s best for prowling around an abandoned church and exploring leftover cults. It is classic horror, a foreboding story, perfect for a Halloween read. The writing is 5-star with evocative images, atmospheric, and high suspense.

 

 Note on Starry Wisdom: The cult was founded in Providence, Rhode Island circa 1844 by the archaeologist and occultist Professor Enoch Bowen. The cult used a sacred relic known as the Shining Trapezohedron to summon the Haunter of the Dark, who demanded outrageous sacrifices in return for limitless knowledge of the universe. The cult had a membership of 200. More  at MeasureLesseons: https://measurelesseons.wordpress.com/pulling-the-strings/church-of-starry-wisdom/ 

 

 

Read the short story at HPLovecraft.com.

Listen to the audio (1 hour), read by the famous David McCallum, and wonderful for your Halloween party. Go to The Haunter of the Dark at   YouTube.com 

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”  H.P. Lovecraft

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, supernatural, ghost stories,  suspense, crime, sci-fi, and ‘quiet horror.’

Follow or sign up to join me in reading two short stories every month. Comments are welcome.

  

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror

HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine   Chuck Windig’s Terrible Minds

HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian      HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

 

 

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Filed under classic horror stories, dark fantasy, demons, fiction, ghost story blogs, Gothic fiction, Gothic Horror, haunted houses, horror, horror blogs, literary horror, Lovecraft, occult, paranormal, quiet horror, Reading Fiction, READING FICTION BLOG Paula Cappa, short stories, short story blogs, soft horror, supernatural fiction, supernatural mysteries, supernatural thrillers, tales of terror

Lizardmen and Venusian Crystals

In the Walls of Eryx  by H.P. Lovecraft and Kenneth Sterling (1939)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   July 14, 2015

Ready for a mysterious and glowing adventure on the planet Venus?

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Photo Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA/SDO, solar dynamics.

Kenton Stanfield is a prospector on the planet Venus in the region of Eryx (Erycinian Highland), a jungle of heavy plant growth and carnivorous blossoms. Our narrator is in search of crystal orbs to be brought back to Terra Nova  and used as a power source for Earth. The crystals are guarded by skulking ‘man lizards,’ some of them eight feet tall—and of course they are primitive and prepared to attack any human with their glow torches.

Lizard-man

“When they drew nearer they seemed less truly reptilian — only the flat head and the green, slimy, frog-like skin carrying out the idea. They walked erect on their odd, thick stumps, and their suction-discs made curious noises in the mud. These were average specimens, about seven feet in height, and with four long, ropy pectoral tentacles.”

As if that isn’t enough, Stanfield comes across a human corpse, and in the man’s hand is a crystal.

“I recognized him as Dwight, a veteran whom I had never known, but who was pointed out to me at the post last year. The crystal he clutched was certainly a prize — the largest single specimen I had ever seen.”

The cause of death? The man lizards? Or suffocation?

“The corpse was a rather bad sight — wriggling with sificlighs, and with a cloud of farnoth-flies around it. Something had pushed the helmet away from the face, and it was better not to look at it.”

 

Stanfield now realizes he is trapped inside an invisible, yet solid, maze. Blocks of glassy walls, corridors, parallel doorways, and circular rooms gives way to a maddening search out of the crystal maze before the dark vapors set in, and the man lizards discover his location.

This story was published after Lovecraft’s death. It is Lovecraft’s sole interplanetary frontier story set in the future.

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/Read Lovecraft’s In the Walls of Eryx  at  HPLovecraft.com

Listen to the audio version of In the Walls of Eryx at You Tube.

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I’ve always found crystals to be mysterious with their scientific values of piezoelectric qualities (spiral growth patterns) and their spiritual values as an aide in physical, emotional and psychological healing. I became interested in the power of quartz crystals when writing my novel The Dazzling Darkness, which features a quartz crystal skull.  Here is a very short video on the power of quartz crystals,  a demonstration on how quartz melts ice compared to other substances. “Demonstration of Quartz Crystals Healing Energies:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2onEsj7MtPc

 

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Bibliophilica       Lovecraft Ezine     HorrorAddicts.net  

Horror Novel Reviews    Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com        Sirens Call Publications

 Monster Librarian   Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com

 Rob Around Books     The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror classic authors.

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Filed under classic horror stories, fiction, horror, horror blogs, Lovecraft, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, tales of terror

Lovecraft for Christmas

The Festival   by H.P. Lovecraft (1925)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    December 2, 2014

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No one but Lovecraft could bring you to the dark and dreary yuletide of the season. Come to Kingsport, an old fishing town in Massachusetts. Willow trees. Graveyards. Crooked streets … “antiquity hovering on grey wings over winter-whitened gables and gambrel roofs; fanlights and small-paned windows one by one gleaming out in the cold dusk to join Orion and the archaic stars.” There are black gravestones in Kingsport that stick up “through the snow like the decayed fingernails of a gigantic corpse.”

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Not exactly glistening angels and the merry sparkles of Christmas trees. Charles Dickens’ gave us cranky old Scrooge on Christmas Eve, but Lovecraft brings us  into subterranean rituals. Are you ready for the opposite of merry, merry? Gloomy, gloomy. Our narrator tells us that four witches were hung in Kingsport in 1692. Lonely and far from home, he is looking for his relatives for the merry season. He finds his relative’s home on Green Street. A man answers the door, a man with a face like wax and eyes that do not move. Invited in, our narrator enters the house. No one speaks. All he can hear is the “whir of the wheel as the bonneted old woman continued her silent spinning, spinning” before the fireplace.

He participates in a procession through the streets to the Festival, led by voiceless guides to a church and yard. When he looks back, he finds there are no footprints in the snow of these night marchers … nor his own. What does this festival bring? And how does he survive it?

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imagesThe power of Lovecraft’s language here touches deeply into fear, not an emotion we associate with holiday time. Fear, loneliness, displaced from home can harbor its own madness. As Lovecraft tells us in Latin at the beginning of his story: Demons have the ability to cause people to see things that do not exist as if they did exist.

 

 

 

 

Creature Sketch Art by Jason Thompson: MockMan.com

 

Read the full text at H.P. Lovecraft.com

Listen to the audio version on YouTube with visuals. Turn out the lights and listen to this one!

Audio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjcM_sIDfUs Part 1

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62ICpQs9aac Part 2.

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Filed under Christmas stories, classic horror stories, demons, fiction, graveyards, horror, horror blogs, Lovecraft, occult, short stories, tales of terror

Are you a Stephen King Fan? “Revival” is his new novel.

Stephen King has a new novel out, Revival. There’s talk that this story is Lovecraftian. I’m dying to read it now.

Here’s an interview with King where he speaks about how fear of failure is still a struggle when he’s writing.

http://janefriedman.com/2014/11/11/stephen-king-still-fears-failure/

 

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Art by Oscar Oliva OA / DeviantArt

The Guardian’s Review of Revival : http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/oct/29/stephen-king-religion-dangerous-god-exists

 

 

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Unlocking Forbidden Gates: Lovecraft’s Thrilling Non-Mythos Stories

Pickman’s Model   by H.P. Lovecraft (1927)

Tuesday’s Tales of Terror   August 19, 2014

 

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This week is the anniversary birth date of H.P. Lovecraft (August 20th).

Lovecraft is held in high regard as a horror author even though he’s been called a racist and a sexist, accused of writing poor dialogue, overwriting his narratives—sinking into purple prose, Oh those adjectives!—convoluting his plots, and failing to create real-life characters that might breathe on the page. Some readers complain, his stories are too bleak, nihilistic, disgusting, and they don’t “get” it. And then there are those who called him one of the “truly great bad writers,”  “a master of the macabre,” “a writer of powerful and evocative language.”  Joyce Carole Oates said Lovecraft had “incalculable influence on succeeding generations of writers of horror fiction.” Stephen King  credits Lovecraft as the single largest figure to influence his fiction writing. No one can deny Lovecraft was a pioneer who fused supernatural with sci-fi, changing the landscape of horror forever. He created gods and worlds like no one else. And to think Lovecraft saw only one book of his work published in a small run before his death at age 46.

Of course Lovecraft did some things wonderfully right, actually lots of that going on or we wouldn’t still be reading him. I’d be curious to see the percentage of people who still read Poe vs. Lovecraft stories today. A quick look on Amazon sales rankings shows Poe is still outselling Lovecraft. I read Lovecraft stories for his atmospherics, isolation, madness, despair, high imagination, his visionary ideas and themes, and the most unsettling way that he opens that gate to the big FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN.  Am I trading off some technically faulty writing for a thrilling story? No writer is perfect in all aspects of this creative art, not even Poe who sometimes had dense and wooden prose and was no stranger to clumsy sentences—Oh those adjectives! For me and for many readers, it’s the imaginative force of a story that is so compelling.

What I don’t read him for is the alien god-creatures or his cosmic horrors, but that’s just me. I’m not a big mythos fan (Great Old Ones, Cthulhu [which is now a stuffed toy for kids. Really?]), as I prefer Lovecraft’s more conventional supernatural tales. My favorites are The Music of Erich Zann and Dreams in the Witch House. Today I’m spotlighting Lovecraft’s non-mythos stories and begin with Pickman’s Model (1927). This story, like many Lovecraftian stories, unlocks that forbidden gate.

 

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Richard Upton Pickman is an artist in Boston who is said to know “the anatomy and the physiology of fear.” Most galleries and clubs refuse to exhibit his horrific, graphic paintings, especially the one titled Ghoul Feeding. Pickman claims he wants to paint “human ghosts.” And so he does, and much more.

If some painters are motivated to draw the beauty of life, why not some motivated to draw the terror of life? Pickman paints in the dark cellar of his house, away from all daylight where his inspiration is the thickest. And so our narrator, Thurber, takes us down the cellar steps into Pickman’s studio. There is more here than just morbid art or demonic portraits. There are faces … and tunnels and …. what Lovecraft loved to write about …. “the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability.”

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If you are going to enjoy reading Lovecraft, keep in mind that HP was also a poet and loved history, so he naturally employed an antiquated style of language. You are reading a master of horror with a rich imagination, telling you stories that will likely resonate a wave in your own imagination. This is the secret to reading Lovecraft: surrendering your own imagination into his—surrender to his images, his language, his descriptions, his characters who struggle to grasp at the line between reality and the supernatural, and let it bled out into the deepest dark world. That is, if you have the courage.

 

Read Pickman’s Model at HP Lovecraft Archives

Listen to the audio (30 minutes) at Archive.org

Below is a list of non-mythos titles, and if you have any additions please post in the comments. I’m sure there are more.
Cool Air
Dreams in the Witch House
Herbert West: Re-Animator
In the Vault
Picture in the House
The Alchemist
The Cats of Ulthar
The Evil Clergyman
The Moon-Bog
The Music of Erich Zann
The Outsider
The Statement of Randolph Carter
The Street
The Thing on the Doorstep
You can access all these stories at HP Lovecraft Archives

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Bibliophilica       Lovecraft Ezine

Horror Novel Reviews    Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com       Sirens Call Publications

 Monster Librarian  Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

 Rob Around Books    The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror classic Authors.

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Filed under fiction, horror, horror blogs, Lovecraft, short stories, supernatural

H.P. Lovecraft: Dreams of an Accidental Shaman

If you are fascinated by Lovecraft’s fiction, this is a fascinating and informative article.  From Lovecraft Ezine, one of my favorite sites.

 

H.P. Lovecraft: Dreams of an Accidental Shaman.

 

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Filed under classic horror stories, horror, horror blogs, Lovecraft, tales of terror

Night Cats by the River Skai

The Cats of Ulthar by H.P. Lovecraft  (1920)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror     August 20, 2013

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Egyptian priests believed that cats possessed magnetic forces of nature.  In the West, witches believed that black cats could share their magical secrets. Mistresses of Runecraft wore cat skins to inspire clarity in reading the Runes. What is striking about any cat is that if you watch it while sleeping, all curled up into a perfect little circle, frequently the head touching its tail, it forms a shape similar to the ouroboros, a symbol of rebirth or immortality.

Cats are a favorite in literature, their bewitching grace often used as a symbol or metaphor. T.S. Eliot is famous for his Bustopher Jones, A Cat About Town.  Poe had Pluto in The Black Cat. Yeats wrote his Cat and the Moon. Lovecraft was a true cat lover too. In his The Cats of Ulthar he gives us a dark and moody tale about fear and revenge.

Near the river Skai, in the countryside of Ulthar dwells and old cotter and his wife who delighted in slaying cats, which puzzles and frightens the local folk so much, they keep a clear distance from the evil couple.  One day a caravan of “dark wanderers” travel through the village. With them is their leader, a man with a headdress of two horns, and an orphaned boy named Menes. Menes’ only possession is his tiny black kitten.

catpeekingllus3-150x150At night, voices of screeching cats prevail. Menes awakes and cannot find his kitten.

Read the short story (15-minute read) at the H.P. Lovecraft Archives

http://www.hplovecraft.com/writings/texts/fiction/cu.aspx

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Portrait of H.P. Lovecraft with his cat.

If you’ve not experienced a story with “sand animation,” try this YouTube presentation of The Cats of Ulthar.  Narration is from Dagon & Other Macabre Tales, background music by Toshio Masuda. Only about 10 minutes long, this is a fun, artistic way to watch and listen to fiction.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hHTSTg1l_A

Do you have cats? Tell us their names.

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

GoodReads

WattPad

The Story Reading Ape Blog

Horror Novel Reviews

Hell Horror

Monster Librarian

For Authors/Writers: The Writer Unboxed

The BookshelfMuseBlogspot

TheInsatiableBookSlut

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Filed under dark fantasy, fiction, horror, literature, Lovecraft, occult, paranormal, quiet horror, short stories, soft horror, supernatural, tales of terror

The Haunted North Crag at the Sea

The Strange High House in the Mist  (1931)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror  June 25, 2013

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In the morning mist comes up from the sea by the cliffs beyond Kingsport. White and feathery it comes from the deep to its brothers the clouds, full of dreams of dank pastures and caves of leviathan.

Where are we? Come in a little closer …

In still summer rains on the steep roofs of poets, the clouds scatter bits of those dreams, that men shall not live without rumour of old, strange secrets, and wonders that planets tell planets alone in the night.

If you didn’t recognize this deep and delicious opening, we are in H.P. Lovecraft’s world. Can you feel the mystical whiteness surround you? Something mythical is floating in.  Look up at the ancient grey low-eaved house high on a sinister north crag. A nameless hermit dwells there—as the story goes—an Elder “One” who talks with the morning mists. Tales of fierce lightning shooting from the house and terrible shapes that flapped out of the mists haunt the little town of Kingsport. No one dares to ascend the cliff to the house perched on the rim of the earth with no path above the sea. The sea-folk often speak of the house’s gray peaked roof and the dim yellow lights that sometimes emit from the small windows.

Maybe, like me, you’re tempted to visit this strange house in the mists? What kind of creature could possibly live there? Man? Beast? Mighty One?

One summer, Thomas Olney, a philosopher comes to Kingsport and becomes more than just curious about the strange high house and the sea-folks’ rumours of old. What secrets are there? For Thomas, the high cliffs call him from cryptic ethers with bells sounding and wild cries. He decides he must go to the mountaintop. His climb is slow and perilous through caves, pathless woods, and a great chasm until he finds the grey cottage standing bold in the seaward vapors.

The bricks of the house are crumbling; the shingles are worm-eaten. No door on the landward side—only lattice windows. Thomas stands on the narrow rim of the cliff among the clouds and chaos. The sea’s mist thickens at thousands of feet above the thrashing waves. Poor Thomas, alone in the frightful sky, clinging to the cottage wall, wind bracing his face, he peers into the leaded bull’s eye windowpane. A halting sound strikes him with terror.

To find out what happens to Thomas Olney (and it’s quite a fantastical ride that you won’t want to miss, as only Lovecraft would deliver), you can read it here at HPLovecraft.com (short read at 3800 words).

http://www.hplovecraft.com/writings/texts/fiction/shh.aspx

Here’s a cool commentary by Chris Lackey and Chadd Fiffer at HP Lovecraft Literary Podcast; the posted comments are interesting interpretations. Stop by.

http://hppodcraft.com/2010/07/14/episode-49-the-strange-high-house-in-the-mist/

As to this amazing house on the crag, did the art catch your eye? It certainly captured mine. This art titled The High House in the Mist is compliments of award-winning artist Armand Cabrera. You can view his profile and web site below. Stop by his very popular blog site: ArtAndInfluence.blogspot.com

http://www.armandcabrera.com/profile.html

www.armandcabrera.com/illustration

Artwork by Armand Cabrera © 2013 All rights reserved.

 

If you have any thoughts about Lovecraft’s ending or the meaning of this story, I’d love to hear it. Please drop a line or comment.

http://www.hellhorror.com/links/

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Filed under dark fantasy, fiction, ghost stories, horror, Lovecraft, short stories, supernatural, tales of terror, weird tales