“The Night Ocean” by R.H. Barlow and H.P. Lovecraft

Halloween:
Amidst brooding philosophy, the pieces of the horror lie unobtrusively throughout the story for us to fit together. A superb story.
-The Voice before the Void

“The Night Ocean”

R.H. Barlow and H.P. Lovecraft

I went to Ellston Beach not only for the pleasures of sun and ocean, but to rest a weary mind. Since I knew no person in the little town, which thrives on summer vacationists and presents only blank windows during most of the year, there seemed no likelihood that I might be disturbed. This pleased me, for I did not wish to see anything but the expanse of pounding surf and the beach lying before my temporary home.

My long work of the summer was completed when I left the city, and the large mural design produced by it had been entered in the contest. It had taken me the bulk of the year to finish the painting, and when the last brush was cleaned I was no longer reluctant to yield to the claims of health and find rest and seclusion for a time. Indeed, when I had been a week on the beach I recalled only now and then the work whose success had so recently seemed all-important. There was no longer the old concern with a hundred complexities of colour and ornament; no longer the fear and mistrust of my ability to render a mental image actual, and turn by my own skill alone the dim-conceived idea into the careful draught of a design. And yet that which later befell me by the lonely shore may have grown solely from the mental constitution behind such concern and fear and mistrust. For I have always been a seeker, a dreamer, and a ponderer on seeking and dreaming; and who can say that such a nature does not open latent eyes sensitive to unsuspected worlds and orders of being? Continue reading

Infinite Pages: 4 Stories by Jorge Luis Borges, from Wikipedia

Jorge Luis Borges’ Birthday:
Four stories of philosophy, touching upon fantasy, horror, and weirdness, and even H.P. Lovecraft.
Spoilers.
-The Voice before the Void

“The Aleph”

Wikipedia

“The Aleph” is a short story by the Argentine writer and poet Jorge Luis Borges. First published in September 1945, it was reprinted in the short story collection, The Aleph and Other Stories, in 1949, and revised by the author in 1974.

Plot summary

In Borges’ story, the Aleph is a point in space that contains all other points. Anyone who gazes into it can see everything in the universe from every angle simultaneously, without distortion, overlapping, or confusion. The story traces the theme of infinity found in several of Borges’ other works, such as “The Book of Sand.” Continue reading

“The Music of Erich Zann” by H.P. Lovecraft

H.P. Lovecraft’s Birthday:
Upon Brennan’s recommendation.
“Happy birthday, Mr. Lovecraft. And with that, let begin the season of Halloween.”
-The Voice before the Void

“The Music of Erich Zann”

H.P. Lovecraft

I have examined maps of the city with the greatest care, yet have never again found the Rue d’Auseil. These maps have not been modern maps alone, for I know that names change. I have, on the contrary, delved deeply into all the antiquities of the place, and have personally explored every region, of whatever name, which could possibly answer to the street I knew as the Rue d’Auseil. But despite all I have done, it remains an humiliating fact that I cannot find the house, the street, or even the locality, where, during the last months of my impoverished life as a student of metaphysics at the university, I heard the music of Erich Zann.

That my memory is broken, I do not wonder; for my health, physical and mental, was gravely disturbed throughout the period of my residence in the Rue d’Auseil, and I recall that I took none of my few acquaintances there. But that I cannot find the place again is both singular and perplexing; for it was within a half-hour’s walk of the university and was distinguished by peculiarities which could hardly be forgotten by any one who had been there. I have never met a person who has seen the Rue d’Auseil. Continue reading

“H.P. Lovecraft, An Evaluation” by Joseph Payne Brennan

H.P. Lovecraft’s Birthday:
Quite a prescient consideration.
-The Voice before the Void

“H.P. Lovecraft, An Evaluation”

Joseph Payne Brennan

MACABRE HOUSE
55 Trumbull St.
New Haven 10
Connecticut

Since the publication of my “H. P. Lovecraft: A Bibliography” (Biblio Press, 1952), I have been repeatedly urged to write out my opinion of Lovecraft’s work. I have been kept from doing so by the pressure of a full-time library job, plus my own creative work in the diverse fields of the horror story, the western story, and poetry, as well as the semi-annual publication of ESSENCE and other time-consuming activities such as an unending struggle against censorship groups which are violating Constitutional rights on both a local and national level.

The following brief essay is an admittedly hurried and incomplete attempt to meet demands for a Lovecraft critique. An entire book, requiring many months of uninterrupted work, could be devoted to the project and I sincerely regret that circumstances do not permit me to undertake such a task. But I hope that my comments, in spite of their brevity, will be of some interest. Continue reading

“Nyarlathotep” from Wikipedia

H.P. Lovecraft encounters Nikola Tesla and dreams a nightmare.
-The Voice before the Void

“Nyarlathotep”

Wikipedia

Nyarlathotep is a name used for a character in the works of H.P. Lovecraft and other writers. The character is commonly known in association with its role as a malign deity in the Lovecraft Mythos fictional universe, where it is known as the Crawling Chaos. First appearing in Lovecraft’s 1920 prose poem of the same name, he was later mentioned in other works by Lovecraft and by other writers and in the tabletop role-playing games making use of the Cthulhu Mythos. Later writers describe him as one of the Outer Gods.

Although the deity’s name is fictional, it bears the historical Egyptian suffix -hotep, meaning “peace” or “satisfaction.” Continue reading

“Nyarlathotep” by H.P. Lovecraft

Few things are as fun as Lovecraft at the height of his powers.
Nary a word in excess here.
A wonderful evocation of the atmosphere of the End of the World.
-The Voice before the Void

“Nyarlathotep”

H.P. Lovecraft

Nyarlathotep… the crawling chaos… I am the last… I will tell the audient void…

I do not recall distinctly when it began, but it was months ago. The general tension was horrible. To a season of political and social upheaval was added a strange and brooding apprehension of hideous physical danger; a danger widespread and all-embracing, such a danger as may be imagined only in the most terrible phantasms of the night. I recall that the people went about with pale and worried faces, and whispered warnings and prophecies which no one dared consciously repeat or acknowledge to himself that he had heard. Continue reading

“At the Home of Poe” by Frank Belknap Long

Edgar Allan Poe’s Birthday:
A lilting story of a life.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“At the Home of Poe: A Poem in Prose”

Frank Belknap Long

To H. P. Lovecraft

The home of Poe! It is like a fairy dwelling, a gnomic palace built of the aether of dreams. It is tiny and delicate and lovely, and replete with memories of sere leaves in November and of lilies in April. It is a castle of vanished hopes, of dimly-remembered dreams, of sad memories Continue reading

“The Sorcery of Aphlar” by Duane W. Rimel with H.P. Lovecraft

The power of prayer… entreated upon odd things.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“The Sorcery of Aphlar”

Duane W. Rimel with H.P. Lovecraft

The council of twelve seated on the jewelled celestial dais ordered that Aphlar be cast from the gates of Bel-haz-en. He sat too much alone, they decreed, and brooded when toil should have been his lot. And in his obscure and hidden delvings he read all too frequently those papyri of Elder æons which reposed in the Guothic shrine and were to be consulted only for rare and special purposes. Continue reading

“The Hoard of The Wizarrd-Beast” by H.P. Lovecraft and R.H. Barlow

H.P. Lovecraft’s Birthday Special:
A decidedly Dunsanian fantasy adventure.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“The Hoard of The Wizarrd-Beast”

H.P. Lovecraft and R.H. Barlow

There had happened in the teeming and many-towered city of Zeth one of those incidents which are prone to take place in all capitals of all worlds. Nor, simply because Zeth lies on a planet of strange beasts and stranger vegetation, did this incident differ greatly from what might have occurred in London or Paris or any of the great governing towns we know. Through the cleverly concealed dishonesty of an aged but shrewd official, the treasury was exhausted. No shining phrulder, as of old, lay stacked about the strong-room; and over empty coffers the sardonic spider wove webs of mocking design. When, at last, the giphath Yalden entered that obscure vault and discovered the thefts, there were left only some phlegmatic rats which peered sharply at him as at an alien intruder.

There had been no accountings since Kishan the old keeper had died many moon-turns before, and great was Yalden’s dismay to find this emptiness instead of the expected wealth. The indifference of the small creatures in the cracks between the flagstones could not spread itself to him. This was a very grave matter, and would have to be met in a very prompt and serious way. Clearly, there was nothing to do but consult Oorn, and Oorn was a highly portentous being. Continue reading

“The Call of Cthulhu” by H.P. Lovecraft

1934 May 11 sketch of statue icon of Old One Great God Cthulhu by HP Lovecraft author creator in short story The Call of CthulhuCosmic horror.
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However phantasmical his narratives may be, Lovecraft’s assertion that it is horrific to ponder what immensities in our universe must lie hidden from us oozes through as profoundly true.
/
(R’lyeh might be the capital of North Carolina.)
⁓The Voice before the Void

“The Call of Cthulhu”

H.P. Lovecraft

Of such great powers or beings there may be conceivably a survival… a survival of a hugely remote period when… consciousness was manifested, perhaps, in shapes and forms long since withdrawn before the tide of advancing humanity… forms of which poetry and legend alone have caught a flying memory and called them gods, monsters, mythical beings of all sorts and kinds…
–Algernon Blackwood

I. The Horror in Clay

The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.

Theosophists have guessed at the awesome grandeur of the cosmic cycle wherein our world and human race form transient incidents. They have hinted at strange survivals in terms which would freeze the blood if not masked by a bland optimism. But it is not from them that there came the single glimpse of forbidden eons which chills me when I think of it and maddens me when I dream of it. Continue reading

“Ex Oblivione” by H.P. Lovecraft

The dark fantastical dream; the great dream.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Ex Oblivione”

H.P. Lovecraft

When the last days were upon me, and the ugly trifles of existence began to drive me to madness Continue reading

“The Nightmare Lake” by H.P. Lovecraft

Halloween Special:
Cool weird horror poetry.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“The Nightmare Lake”

H.P. Lovecraft

There is a lake in distant Zan,
Beyond the wonted haunts of man,
Where broods alone in a hideous state
A spirit dead and desolate;
A spirit ancient and unholy,
Heavy with fearsome melancholy,
Which from the waters dull and dense
Draws vapors cursed with pestilence. Continue reading

“Nemesis” by H.P. Lovecraft

H.P. Lovecraft’s Birthday Special:
A great, dark poem.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Nemesis”

H.P. Lovecraft

Through the ghoul-guarded gateways of slumber,
Past the wan-mooned abysses of night,
I have lived o’er my lives without number,
I have sounded all things with my sight;
And I struggle and shriek ere the daybreak, being driven to madness with fright. Continue reading

“Bothon” by Henry S. Whitehead with H.P. Lovecraft, part 5

A view of the end.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Bothon”

Henry S. Whitehead with H.P. Lovecraft

part 5

“We depart straight this night, for the great mountains of A-Wah-Ii,” answered Bothon, “if so be the four great forces allow us possession of a war chariot. And, to that end, your ring, my beloved.”

The Lady Ledda nodded again, understandingly, and removed from the middle finger of her right hand the ring of the two suns and the eight-pointed star which, as a member of the Royal Family, she was entitled to wear. Bothon received it, and slipped it upon the little finger of his right hand.

The sentinel on guard before the barracks Continue reading

“Bothon” by Henry S. Whitehead with H.P. Lovecraft, part 4

Pulpy goodness.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Bothon”

Henry S. Whitehead with H.P. Lovecraft

part 4

In ten minutes the house nurse fetched in a small tray. On it was a tumbler, a mixing spoon, and a freshly put up eight-ounce bottle containing a reddish colored, pleasant tasting syrup.

Twenty minutes later, Meredith, who had compromised on three teaspoons, was deeply asleep on his bed; and the General, Bothon, in the innermost dungeon chamber of the great citadel of Alu, was standing poised in the center of that dungeon’s smooth stone floor, tensed to leap in any direction; while all about him the rending crashes of thousands of tons of the riven and falling masonry of the citadel itself was deafening him against all other sounds except the incessant and indescribably thunderous fury of the now utterly maddened ocean. Continue reading

“Bothon” by Henry S. Whitehead with H.P. Lovecraft, part 3

Is “Recovered Ancient Memories” in the DSM-5?
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Bothon”

Henry S. Whitehead with H.P. Lovecraft

part 3

Not only not within the memory of living men, but, as the records indicated, during its entire history over thousands of years as the metropolis of the civilized world, had there been any previous hostile manifestations against the great city of Alu. That anything like this terrible campaign which the renowned General Bothon of Ludekta set in motion against her might come to pass, had never even remotely occurred to anyone in Alu. So promptly did Bothon launch his attack that the tortured bodies of the members of his delegation to the Emperor had not yet ceased writhing on their row of crosses before he had penetrated, at the head of his trained legionaries, to a point within two squares of the Imperial Palace which stood at the center of the great city. Continue reading

“Bothon” by Henry S. Whitehead with H.P. Lovecraft, part 2

Into ancient Atlantis, with love and war.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Bothon”

Henry S. Whitehead with H.P. Lovecraft

part 2

These dreams had been continuous and consecutive since their beginning several nights before, but on this night after the rather elaborate investigation of the words and syllables, Meredith began in earnest to get the affair of his environment in the strange city of the flames and conflicts and confusion and of a roaring ocean, cleared up with a startling abruptness. His dream impression that night was so utterly vivid–so acutely identical with the terms of the waking state–that he couldn’t tell the difference between his dream slumber and wakeful consciousness! Continue reading

“Bothon” by Henry S. Whitehead with H.P. Lovecraft, part 1

A weird pulp fiction fantasy adventure story of lost worlds and the Cthulhu Mythos.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Bothon”

Henry S. Whitehead with H.P. Lovecraft

part 1

Powers Meredith, at his shower-bath before dinner in the bathroom adjoining his room in his New York City club, allowed the cake of soap to drop on the tiled floor. Stooping to recover it he rapped the side of his head against the marble sidewall. The resulting bruise was painful, and almost at once puffed up into a noticeable lump….

Meredith dined in the grill that evening. Having no after-dinner engagement he went into the quiet library of the club, empty at this hour, and settled himself with a new book beside a softly-shaded reading lamp.

From time to time a slight, inadvertent pressure of his head against the chair’s leather upholstered back would remind him unpleasantly of his accident in the shower-bath. This, after it happened several times, became an annoyance, and Meredith shifted himself into a preventive attitude with his legs draped over one of the chair’s rounded arms.

No one else came into the library. Faint, clicking noises came in from the nearby billiard-room where a couple of men were playing, but, absorbed in his book, he did not notice these. The only perceptible sound was that of the gentle, steady rain outside. This, in the form of a soothing, continuous murmur, came through the partly-opened, high windows. He read on.

Precisely as he turned over the ninety-sixth page of his book, he heard a dull sound, like a very large explosion coming from a vast distance. Continue reading

“The Slaying of the Monster” by H.P. Lovecraft and R.H. Barlow

Dragons are for the benighted.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“The Slaying of the Monster”

H.P. Lovecraft and R.H. Barlow

Great was the clamour in Laen; for smoke had been spied in the Hills of the Dragon. That surely meant the Stirrings of the Monster—the Monster who spat lava and shook the earth as he writhed in its depths. And when the men of Laen spoke together they swore to slay the Monster and keep his fiery breath from searing their minaret-studded city and toppling their alabaster domes.

So it was that by torch-light gathered fully a hundred of the little people, prepared to battle the Evil One in his hidden fast-hold. With the coming of night they began marching in ragged columns into the foot-hills beneath the Continue reading

The Lost Continent of Mu from Wikipedia

Make up an extravagant, mysterious, elaborate idea, and it just might live for generations.
⁓The Voice before the Void

The Lost Continent of Mu

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mu is the name of a fictional continent that was once believed to have existed in one of Earth’s oceans, but disappeared at the dawn of human history.

map from The Lost Continent of Mu by James Churchward 1927The concept and the name were proposed by 19th-century traveler and writer Augustus Le Plongeon, who claimed that several ancient civilizations, such as those of Egypt and Mesoamerica, were created by refugees from Mu—which he located in the Atlantic Ocean. This concept was popularized and expanded by James Churchward, who asserted that Mu was once located in the Pacific. Continue reading

The Shunned House by H.P. Lovecraft, part 5

Witness incomprehensible horror, go home, order up a gas mask and some acid, write some poetry — then bring the thunder.
⁓The Voice before the Void

The Shunned House

H.P. Lovecraft

part 5

I had been lying with my face away from my uncle’s chair, so that in this sudden flash of awakening I saw only the door to the street, the more northerly window, and the wall and floor and ceiling toward the north of the room, all photographed with morbid vividness on my brain in a light brighter than the glow of the fungi or the rays from the street outside. It was not a strong or even a fairly strong light; certainly not nearly strong enough to read an average book by. But it cast a shadow of myself and the cot on the floor, and had a yellowish, penetrating force that hinted at things more potent than luminosity. This I perceived with unhealthy sharpness despite the fact that two of my other senses were violently assailed. For on my ears rang the reverberations of that shocking scream, while my nostrils revolted at the stench which filled the place. My mind, as alert as my senses, recognised the gravely unusual; and almost automatically I leaped up and turned about to grasp the destructive instruments which we had left trained on the mouldy spot before the fireplace. As I turned, I dreaded what I was to see; for the scream had been in my uncle’s voice, and I knew not against what menace I should have to defend him and myself.

Yet after all, the sight was worse than I had dreaded. There are horrors beyond horrors, and this was one of those nuclei of all dreamable hideousness which the cosmos saves to blast an accursed and unhappy few. Out of the fungous-ridden earth Continue reading

The Shunned House by H.P. Lovecraft, part 4

Real ghosthunters pack flamethrowers.
⁓The Voice before the Void

The Shunned House

H.P. Lovecraft

part 4

On Wednesday, June 25, 1919, after a proper notification of Carrington Harris which did not include surmises as to what we expected to find, my uncle and I conveyed to the shunned house two camp chairs and a folding camp cot, together with some scientific mechanism of greater weight and intricacy. These we placed in the cellar during the day, screening the windows with paper and planning to return in the evening for our first vigil. We had locked the door from the cellar to the ground floor; and having a key to the outside cellar door, we were prepared to leave our expensive and delicate apparatus – which we had obtained secretly and at great cost – as many days as our vigil might need to be protracted. It was our design to sit up together till very late, and then watch singly till dawn in two-hour stretches, myself first and then my companion; the inactive member resting on the cot.

The natural leadership with which my uncle procured the instruments from the laboratories of Brown University and the Cranston Street Armory, and instinctively assumed direction of our venture, was a marvellous commentary on the potential vitality and resilience of a man of eighty-one. Elihu Whipple had lived according to the hygienic laws he had preached as a physician, and but for what happened later would be here in full vigour today. Only two persons suspect what did happen – Carrington Harris and myself. I had to tell Harris because he owned the house and deserved to know Continue reading

The Shunned House by H.P. Lovecraft, part 3

Nothing matches Lovecraft’s delight in macabre and mysterious historiography, piecing hints together into a horror better left unperceived.
⁓The Voice before the Void

The Shunned House

H.P. Lovecraft

part 3

It may well be imagined how powerfully I was affected by the annals of the Harrises. In this continuous record there seemed to me to brood a persistent evil beyond anything in nature as I had known it; an evil clearly connected with the house and not with the family. This impression was confirmed by my uncle’s less systematic array of miscellaneous data – legends transcribed from servant gossip, cuttings from the papers, copies of death certificates by fellow physicians, and the like. All of this material I cannot hope to give, for my uncle was a tireless antiquarian and very deeply interested in the shunned house; but I may refer to several dominant points which earn notice by their recurrence through many reports from diverse sources. For example, the servant gossip was practically unanimous in attributing to the fungous and malodorous cellar of the house a vast supremacy in evil influence. There had been servants – Ann White especially – who would not use the cellar kitchen, and at least three well-defined legends bore upon the queer quasi-human or diabolic outlines assumed by tree-roots and patches of mould in that region. These latter narratives interested me profoundly, Continue reading

The Shunned House by H.P. Lovecraft, part 2

Family history is all portent…
⁓The Voice before the Void

The Shunned House

H.P. Lovecraft

part 2

Not till my adult years did my uncle set before me the notes and data which he had collected concerning the shunned house. Dr. Whipple was a sane, conservative physician of the old school, and for all his interest in the place was not eager to encourage young thoughts toward the abnormal. His own view, postulating simply a building and location of markedly unsanitary qualities, had nothing to do with abnormality; but he realized that the very picturesqueness which aroused his own interest would in a boy’s fanciful mind take on all manner of gruesome imaginative associations. Continue reading

The Shunned House by H.P. Lovecraft, part 1

Lovecraft begins his particular version of a haunted house story with description of architecture; the description is precise, and real, and lulls us for what is to come…
⁓The Voice before the Void

The Shunned House

H.P. Lovecraft

part 1

From even the greatest of horrors irony is seldom absent. Some times it enters directly into the composition of the events, while sometimes it relates only to their fortuitous position among persons and places. The latter sort is splendidly exemplified by a case in the ancient city of Providence, where in the late forties Edgar Allan Poe used to sojourn often during his unsuccessful wooing of the gifted poetess, Mrs. Whitman. Poe generally stopped at the Mansion House in Benefit Street – the renamed Golden Ball Inn whose roof has sheltered Washington, Jefferson, and Lafayette – and his favourite walk led northward along the same street to Mrs. Whitman’s home and the neighbouring hillside churchyard of St. John’s whose hidden expanse of eighteenth-century gravestones had for him a peculiar fascination.

Now the irony is this. In this walk, so many times repeated, the world’s greatest master of the terrible and the bizarre was obliged to pass a particular house on the eastern side of the street; a dingy, antiquated structure perched on the abruptly rising side hill, Continue reading