“Pigeons from Hell” by Robert E. Howard, with Discussion

Walpurgisnacht:
A popular piece of pulp fiction with one hell of an ending.
-The Voice before the Void

“Pigeons from Hell”

Robert E. Howard

I. The Whistler in the Dark

Griswell awoke suddenly, every nerve tingling with a premonition of imminent peril. He stared about wildly, unable at first to remember where he was, or what he was doing there. Moonlight filtered in through the dusty windows, and the great empty room with its lofty ceiling and gaping black fireplace was spectral and unfamiliar. Then as he emerged from the clinging cobwebs of his recent sleep, he remembered where he was and how he came to be there. Continue reading

The Ball in the Basement, and The Radio in the Dark

Halloween:
We were drinking Cuba Libres and telling stories.
-The Voice before the Void

The Ball in the Basement, and The Radio in the Dark

Alsazzi Terrato and The Voice before the Void

Sophie, the Ghost of Harvey, North Dakota: Interview with Carolyn Feickert at the Harvey Public Library, and “Sophie’s Legend Lingers in Harvey Library” from Dakota Mysteries and Oddities by William Jackson

2016-august-north-dakota-harvey-public-library-sophia-eberlein-sophie-ghost-haunted-folk-lore-legend-usa-nd-photo-by-the-voice-before-the-void2016-august-north-dakota-harvey-house-1-sophia-eberlein-sophie-crime-ghost-haunted-folk-lore-legend-spooky-tree-usa-nd-photo-by-the-voice-before-the-void 2016-august-north-dakota-harvey-house-2-sophia-eberlein-sophie-crime-ghost-haunted-folk-lore-legend-for-sale-usa-nd-photo-by-the-voice-before-the-void 2016-august-north-dakota-harvey-house-3-sophia-eberlein-sophie-crime-ghost-haunted-folk-lore-legend-creepy-front-door-usa-nd-photo-by-the-voice-before-the-voidHalloween:
An interview with the lovely librarian Carolyn Feickert in August, 2016, in the very busy Harvey Public Library in Harvey, North Dakota, along with the story of Sophia Eberlein from William Jackson’s first book of North Dakota lore, and some thoughts about folklore, tourism, and small town economies.
Fair use of copyrighted material is claimed under U.S. copyright law for the purposes of education and commentary.
-The Voice before the Void

Interview with Carolyn Feickert at the Harvey Public Library in Harvey, North Dakota

The Voice before the Void

and

“Sophie’s legend lingers in Harvey library”

from Dakota Mysteries and Oddities

William Jackson

Also mentioned:
Gorman UFO Dogfight over Fargo, North Dakota
Hazel Miner of the 1920 North Dakota Blizzard

SasWhat podcast and SmallTownMonsters.com
Fouke, Arkansas and the Beast of Boggy Creek
Inverness, Scotland and the Loch Ness Monster
Deadwood, South Dakota and Aces over Eights
Roswell, New Mexico and the Roswell UFO Crash

Harvey, North Dakota
Harvey Public Library
Ben Franklin store in Harvey
Tastee Freez restaurant in Harvey

“The Room in the Tower” by E.F. Benson

Halloween:
A cold reading of what has instantly become a new favorite Halloween story.
-The Voice before the Void

“The Room in the Tower”

E.F. Benson

It is probable that everybody who is at all a constant dreamer has had at least one experience of an event or a sequence of circumstances which have come to his mind in sleep being subsequently realized in the material world. 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

“Sims, North Dakota” from Wikipedia

Walpurgis Night Special:
Visit North Dakota.

“Sims, North Dakota”

Wikipedia

Sims is a ghost town in Morton County, North Dakota, United States. The town was founded in 1883, and Sims Scandinavian Lutheran Church was constructed the following year. Today, the church has been restored and still worships every other Sunday. The church parsonage has also been restored and is home to the Sims Historical Society Museum.

During her trip to North Dakota in October 2008, First Lady Laura Bush visited Sims and toured its church.

History

Sims was founded in 1883 as a coal town. Coal mining and the town’s brickyard helped Sims grow to a population of more than 1,000 people. However, the 1910 Census recorded a population of just 86 people. The population fluctuated over the years, with an estimated 98 people in 1940.

The post office was founded in 1883 and closed in 1947, with mail routed through Almont, North Dakota, to the south.

Sims Scandinavian Lutheran Church was built in 1884 as a combination church and residence. A new church was built in 1896 next to the parsonage. The church is reportedly North Dakota’s oldest Lutheran church west of the Missouri River. The congregation still has roughly 50 members, even though they do not live in Sims. Locals report, however, that the town does have one remaining resident: a former pastor’s wife who died between 1916 and 1918. Dubbed the “Gray Lady Ghost,” her spirit is reported to haunt the old parsonage, wandering the rooms and playing the organ.

“The Witch of Coös” by Robert Frost

Halloween Special:
Insanity, horror-haunted by adultery and murder, with secrets and lies and talking with the dead, from America’s favorite poet.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“The Witch of Coös”

Robert Frost

I staid the night for shelter at a farm
Behind the mountain, with a mother and son,
Two old-believers. They did all the talking.

The Mother
Folks think a witch who has familiar spirits
She could call up to pass a winter evening,
But won’t, should be burned at the stake or something. Continue reading

“Caterpillars” by E.F. Benson

Halloween Special:
Does knowledge of the world come through dreaming or waking?
Or both?
Or neither?
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Caterpillars”

E.F. Benson

I saw a month or two ago in an Italian paper that the Villa Casana, in which I once stayed, had been pulled down, and that a manufactory of some sort was in process of erection on its site.

There is therefore no longer any reason for refraining from writing of those things which I myself saw (or imagined I saw) in a certain room and on a certain landing of the villa in question, nor from mentioning the circumstances which followed, which may or may not (according to the opinion of the reader) throw some light on or be somehow connected with this experience.

The Villa Casana was in all ways but one a perfectly delightful house, yet, if it were standing now, nothing in the world–I use the phrase in its literal sense–would induce me to set foot in it again, Continue reading

“Legend tripping” from Wikipedia

Bunny Man Bridge Colchester Overpass Fairfax County Virginia at night photo by Secretsqurl

Walpurgis Night Special:
…out there in the dark.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Legend tripping”

Wikipedia

Legend tripping is a name recently bestowed by folklorists and anthropologists on an adolescent practice (containing elements of a rite of passage) in which a usually furtive, nocturnal pilgrimage is made to a site that is alleged to have been the scene of some tragic, horrific, and possibly supernatural event or haunting. Continue reading

“Lincoln’s ghost” from Wikipedia

Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday Special:
The spirit of Lincoln haunts the halls and paths of the United States, even if it doesn’t.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Lincoln’s ghost”

Wikipedia

There have been several stories about ghosts of former Presidents revisiting the White House. However, the most common and popular is that of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln’s ghost, otherwise known as the White House Ghost, is said to have haunted the White House since his death.

Lincoln’s premonitions

It is believed that Lincoln anticipated his assassination. According to Ward Hill Lamon, Lincoln’s friend and biographer, three days before his assassination Lincoln discussed with Lamon and others a dream he had, Continue reading

“Hexham Heads” from Wikipedia

What can be quite so creepy as shadowy sheep-men… in your house?
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Hexham Heads”

Wikipedia

The Hexham Heads were a pair of small stone heads, about 6 cm high, found in 1971 in the English town of Hexham. The heads became associated with alleged paranormal phenomena, and their exact origin is a point of controversy. Continue reading

“The Haunted House” by Pliny the Younger

Halloween Special:
The frugal and fearless, weird-seeking hero-philosopher Athenodorus is our kind of guy.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“The Haunted House”

from correspondence

Pliny the Younger

translated from the Latin by John Delaware Lewis and William Melmoth

edited by The Voice before the Void

The Greek Stoic Philosopher Athenodorus Rents a Haunted House by Henry Justice Ford Cananites Confronts the Spectre Pliny the Younger ancient ghost storyThere was at Athens a mansion, spacious and large, but of evil repute and dangerous to health. In the dead of the night a noise, resembling the clashing of iron, was frequently heard, which, if you listened more attentively, sounded like the rattling of chains, distant at first, but approaching nearer by degrees: immediately afterwards Continue reading

“North Dakota, Devils Lake, 2013 October” by The Voice before the Void

Halloween Special:
The fanciful horror of supernaturalism confronted by the visceral horror of mortality.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“North Dakota, Devils Lake, 2013 October”

The Voice before the Void

I awoke unnaturally, suddenly, opening my eyes, looking straight up. At the left side of my field of vision was a disembodied face.

I had been sleeping on my back on the sofa in the front room, where I usually sleep. I swivelled my eyes to look fully at the face. It was black and white: the planes of the face shone with white light; the lines of the face were dread-black. The pupils of the eyes were black and too large, almost but not quite filling the eye-slits, so that but small triangles of white shone at either side of the pupils. The nose was large and sharp and jutting, almost like a snout. The teeth were black and pointed, and the interior of the throat shone white behind them. 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

“Ten O’Clock at Night at Rivington Hall” by anonymous

Summer Vacation Special:
What do we seek at ten o’clock at night in Rivington Hall?
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Ten O’Clock at Night at Rivington Hall”

anonymous

It was with great pleasure that I heard, about a year ago, from my old friend Henry Danvers that he had succeeded to the Rivington Hall estate and an income of some thousands a year, on the death of a distant relation. Harry and I were school and college friends; and though of late years our paths in life had widely diverged, the old affection never slumbered. We met rarely, but we kept up a more constant correspondence than is usual even among brothers.

Our last meeting was on the occasion of his marriage to a charming girl, to whom he had long been attached; soon after which event he left the _____ Hussars, and went to live in Wales, near his wife’s family, till the death of his far-away cousin, old Luke Danvers, of Rivington Hall, put him in possession of a fine estate and ample income. Old Danvers died abroad, in some German town, where he had led a life of absolute seclusion for several years—nearly forty, I think. Harry came to London on business connected with the succession, and spent most of his time at my chambers in the Temple. His parting words to me were a cordial invitation to visit him at the old Hall as soon as he had made it habitable. It had been shut up since the late owner, a man of eccentric habits, retired somewhat suddenly abroad, Continue reading