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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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Black Figure, White-Faced

In the Court of the Dragon  by Robert Chambers  (1895, The King In Yellow Short Stories)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    April 25, 2017

Imagine you are sitting in a 100-year old church. Organ music is resounding throughout the pews. Then suddenly the harmonies and melodies turn sinister. You begin to feel that in the labyrinth of sounds now issuing from that organ, there is something being hunted. Up and down the pedals chase …something, or someone. Poor devil, you think. Whoever the victim is will not get away. But who is the victim?

 

 

We are in the Rue St. Honoré. In this story, our young narrator lives in Court of the Dragon, a narrow passage that leads from the Rue de Rennes to the Rue du Dragon. This day our young man is at St. Barnabé Church and as he listens to the organ music, as the tones grow angry and bleak, he is overwhelmed by sudden fear. The organist— black figure, white-faced—focuses his intense hatred on our young man. And so, our young man flees in his terror. But escape is not so easy.

Do you believe in mysterious entities of power?

 

 

 

 

Read In the Court of the Dragon at  Ebooks.Adelaide.edu (30-minute read) 

Listen to the audio on  YouTube.com (24-minutes)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robert Chambers, an American fiction writer, known for his horror and fantasy short stories in the collection The King in Yellow, published in 1895 during the rise of spiritualism. In H.P. Lovecraft’s Supernatural in Literature,  he wrote of Robert Chamber’s work: “Very genuine … brings fright, madness and spectral tragedy.”

Here is a taste of Chambers descriptive powers in his story The White ShadowThere it lay, a hasin of silver and blue. Sweetheart had started to her feet, speechless, one hand holding to my shoulder, the other clasped to her breast. And now, as the road wound through the hills and down to the coast, long stretches of white sand skirted the distant cliffs, and over the cliffs waved miles and miles of yellow gorse. A cluster of white and gray houses lay in the hollow to the left almost at the mouth of the river, and beyond, the waves were beating in the bar—beating the same rhythm which we were to hear so long there together, day and night. There was not a boat to be seen, not a creature, nor was there any sign of life save for the smoke curling from a cottage chimney below. The ocean lay sparkling beneath, and beyond its deeper blue melted into the haze on the horizon.

 

 

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

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    Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror

HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine

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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Thriller Author Mark Dawson http://markjdawson.com/

Dawson’s Book Marketing site: http://www.selfpublishingformula.com/

 

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Walking in Lovecraft’s Shadow

Lovecraft Unbound, Editor Ellen Datlow

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror, February 16, 2016  Women In Horror Month (WIHM)

In the Spotlight, author Caitlin R. Kiernan, House Under The Sea.

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If you’re an H.P. Lovecraft fan and looking to discover some new writers in this genre for Women In Horror Month reading, Lovecraft Unbound, is an anthology of Lovecraftian stories, edited by the award-winning (Hugo Award) anthologist Ellen Datlow. One of the authors you’ll find here is Caitlan R. Kiernan, her short story House Under the Sea.

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In House Under the Sea, we are not in Lovecraft’s famous Innsmouth, Massachusetts; we are in modern day California. Our narrator tells us about Jacova Angevine, former Berkeley professor, who led a cult of worshippers to their death into the sea. I found this story a bit choppy and fractured for my tastes but was glad I stayed with it to the end. This is a tragic love story mixed with weird and dreadful themes, and well plotted.

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Kiernan is the author of several novels, including World Fantasy and Shirley Jackson award-nominated The Red Tree and the Nebula and Bram Stoker award-nominated The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. She is a very prolific short-story author. Kiernan was recently proclaimed “One of our essential dark fantasy authors” by the New York Times. She has been named H.P Lovecraft’s spiritual granddaughter.

 

You can read House Under the Sea online at Nightmare Magazine.

Stop by Kiernan’s journal website for more insights to this author.

Visit Bookslut.com for an interview with Kiernan.

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There are plenty of modern women authors to choose from in this anthology of Lovecraft Unbound, and most of the stories are pretty amazing.  I especially enjoyed The Crevasse by Dale Bailey and Nathan Ballingrud (although not women writers, this story is compelling, remarkably atmospheric, and brilliantly written).

 

 

 

 

For a few more women writers in the Lovecraftian style, go to LovecraftEzine.com, and you’ll find a post of their Top Five Women Lovecraftian Authors.

 

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H.P. Lovecraft  (1890-1937.) is considered the world’s greatest horror and sci-fi writers. He is most famous for his The Call of Cthulhu and The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. He coined the literary terms, “cosmicism” or “cosmic horror.”  You can watch a short bio on YouTube.com.

 

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Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror. This is a compendium of over 170 short stories by over 100 master storytellers of mystery,  supernatural, horror, and ghost stories.

Join me in reading one short story every week!

Comments are welcome.

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Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Books & Such   Bibliophilica    Lovecraft Ezine     HorrorAddicts.net  

Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian     HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

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Why Do We Love Horror?

In the words of Arthur Conan Doyle ( and as a companion post with this week’s featured author, 1-5-2016 Tales of Terror, “The Horror of the Heights”),

“Where there is no imagination, there is no horror.”

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So, let’s see now, why do we love to read horror stories and terrifying suspense mysteries? Why do we watch horror movies? Is it to stimulate our imaginations? Is it because some of us love gore-watching or identifying with killers? Or maybe it’s because we like to face the unknown safely in our reading chairs or comfy movie theater seats. As an avid reader, film lover, and writer of supernatural, mystery, and horror, I ask these questions all the time.

 

Below is a link to  FilmmakerIQ.com John P. Hess’ 15-minute vimeo on this very subject.  Hess explores the “Psychology of Scary Movies” theories from contemporary scientific professionals to Freud, Jung, Aristotle and much more. When I came across this vimeo some time ago, I found it  informative and insightful. I hope you do too.

 


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/77636515″>The Psychology of Scary Movies</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/filmmakeriq”>FilmmakerIQ.com</a&gt; on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

 

We could say there is no single answer to the question, but if you have a theory, agreement or disagreement, please post.

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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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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

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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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