“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

“Gavon’s Eve” by E.F. Benson

Halloween:
Legend and mystery and scandal, a witch and a ghost, and a blasphemous ritual in a castle ruin in the autumnal midnight.
-The Voice before the Void

“Gavon’s Eve”

E.F. Benson

It is only the largest kind of ordnance map that records the existence of the village of Gavon, in the shire of Sutherland, and it is perhaps surprising that any map on whatever scale should mark so small and huddled a group of huts, set on a bare, bleak headland between moor and sea, and, so one would have thought, of no import at all to any who did not happen to live there. But the river Gavon, on the right bank of which stand this half-dozen of chimneyless and wind-swept habitations, is a geographical fact of far greater interest to outsiders, Continue reading

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

“Dewey Lake Monster” from Wikipedia

Dewey Lake Monster Sightings Anniversary:
In the Northern Hemisphere, June is when bipedal creatures are most active.
-The Voice before the Void

“Dewey Lake Monster”

Wikipedia

The Dewey Lake Monster is the name given to a large bipedal creature approximately 10 feet (3 meters) tall and weighing about 500 pounds (227 kilograms), which first gained wide notoriety in June 1964 after several reported sightings near Dewey Lake in Dowagiac, Michigan. It is also referred to as the Michigan Bigfoot and Sister Lakes Sasquatch.

Dewey Lake Monster Michigan Bigfoot Sister Lakes Sasquatch Garcon Train Sighting picture by The Terror Tales via WikipediaThe beast had already been known to locals in the area for several years prior to the June 1964 events and was rumored to dwell primarily along a 15-mile stretch of swamp-land extending from Dowagiac/Sister Lakes toward Decatur, Michigan (along Dewey Lake Street); however, in 1964 it gained national attention in the United States after several notable attacks and sightings prompted investigation by authorities, which in turn resulted in coverage by national newspapers and caused a flood of curious thrill-seekers and monster-hunters to besiege the local community in the summer of ’64. 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.

“A Genuine Ghost” from The Philadelphia Press

Walpurgis Night Special:
Totally genuine; no doubt.

“A Genuine Ghost”

The Philadelphia Press

Dayton, O., 1884 March 25.—A thousand people surround the grave yard in Miamisburg, a town near here, every night to witness the antics of what appears to be a genuine ghost. There is no doubt about the existence of the apparition, as Mayor Marshall, the revenue collector and hundreds of prominent citizens all testify to having seen it. Last night several hundred people, armed with clubs and guns, assaulted the specter, which appeared to be a woman in white. Clubs, bullets and shot tore the air in which the mystic figure floated without disconcerting it in the least. A portion of the town turned out en masse to-day and began exhuming all the bodies in the cemetery…. Continue reading

“Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp” from Wikipedia

First Reported Sighting of the Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp Anniversary Special:
Something’s out there.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp”

Wikipedia

The Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp (also known as the Lizard Man of Lee County) is a reptilian humanoid cryptid which is said to inhabit areas of swampland in and around Lee County, South Carolina, as well as sewers and abandoned subways in towns near the swamp.

1. Strange car mauling

In the summer of 1988, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office was called to the scene of a strange instance of vehicle damage. On the morning of July 14, deputies made their way to a residence located in a small rural community known as Browntown on the outskirts of Bishopville, South Carolina. When they arrived, homeowners Tom and Mary Waye showed them the vehicle in question. Police found that the chrome molding had been torn away from the fenders, the sidewalls were scratched and dented, the hood ornament was broken, the antenna was bent, and even some wires from the motor had been ripped out. Upon closer inspection, it appeared that parts of the molding had actually been chewed, as if an animal had used its teeth to inflict the damage. To further support the animal theory, the Wayes pointed out clumps of reddish colored hair and muddy footprints that had been left all over the car. However, while Sheriff Liston Truesdale was investigating the car, local residents informed him that there might be yet another, more bizarre possibility. Truesdale said, “While we were there looking over this situation, we learned that people in the Browntown community had been seeing a strange creature about seven feet tall with red eyes. 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

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

The Shadow over Innsmouth by H.P. Lovecraft, part 5

One of the great pulp fiction endings; one of the great literary endings.
⁓The Voice before the Void

The Shadow over Innsmouth

H.P. Lovecraft

edited by The Voice before the Void

part 5

It was a gentle daylight rain that awakened me from my stupor on the brush-grown railway bank, and when I staggered out to the roadway, I saw no trace of any prints in the fresh mud. The fishy odor, too, was gone. Innsmouth’s ruined roofs and toppling steeples loomed up toward the southeast, but not a living creature did I spy in all the desolate salt marshes around. My watch was still going, and told me that the hour was past noon.

The actual reality of what I had been through was uncertain in my mind, but I knew that something hideous lay in the background. I must get away from evil-shadowed Innsmouth, and I began to walk along the muddy road to Rowley. Before evening I was in the village, getting a meal and clean clothing. I caught the next train to Arkham. I didn’t bother going to the authorities — who would believe me?

I wish there were nothing more to tell. Perhaps it is madness that is overtaking me, or perhaps something else. Continue reading

The Shadow over Innsmouth by H.P. Lovecraft, part 4

Attempt to escape — across rooftops, along railbeds — from the horror of Innsmouth.
⁓The Voice before the Void

The Shadow over Innsmouth

H.P. Lovecraft

edited by The Voice before the Void

part 4

The old man screamed horribly.

Before I could recover my scattered wits, he had let go of my shoulder and ran inland.

I glanced back at the sea… but there was nothing there. And when I reached the street and looked along it, there was no remaining trace of Zadok Allen.

I can hardly describe the mood in which I was left by this harrowing episode. Old Zadok’s insane earnestness and horror had communicated to me a mounting unrest that joined with my earlier sense of loathing for the town and its blight of intangible shadow. Continue reading

The Shadow over Innsmouth by H.P. Lovecraft, part 3

The horror draws closer.
⁓The Voice before the Void

The Shadow over Innsmouth

H.P. Lovecraft

edited by The Voice before the Void

part 3

It must have been some imp of the perverse — or some dark pull from hidden sources — that made me change my plans. I had long before resolved to limit my observations to architecture alone, and I was even then hurrying toward the Square in an effort to get quick transportation out of this festering city of death and decay; but the sight of old Zadok Allen set up new currents in my mind and made me slow my pace uncertainly. Continue reading

The Shadow over Innsmouth by H.P. Lovecraft, part 2

Arrival in Innsmouth, a hideous impression, and a tour of brooding streets.
⁓The Voice before the Void

The Shadow over Innsmouth

H.P. Lovecraft

edited by The Voice before the Void

part 2

Shortly before ten the next morning, I stood with one small bag in the town square waiting for the Innsmouth bus. As the hour for its arrival drew near, I noticed a general drift of the loungers to other places up the street, or to the lunchroom across the square. Evidently the ticket-agent had not exaggerated the dislike which local people had toward Innsmouth and its citizens. In a few moments, a small, dirty gray bus rattled down the street and stopped at the curb beside me, the half-illegible sign on the windshield saying: “Arkham-Innsmouth-Newburyport.” Continue reading

The Shadow over Innsmouth by H.P. Lovecraft, part 1

Walpurgis Night Special:
The repulsiveness and the allure of Innsmouth.
⁓The Voice before the Void

The Shadow over Innsmouth

H.P. Lovecraft

edited by The Voice before the Void

part 1

I am going to talk about this thing. I have an odd craving to whisper about those few frightful hours in that evil seaport of death and blasphemous abnormality. The mere telling helps to reassure myself that I was not the first to succumb to a contagious nightmare hallucination. It helps me, too, in making up my mind regarding a certain terrible step which lies ahead of me. Continue reading

“Walpurgisnacht” by The Voice before the Void

One of the two best nights of the year: an original poem.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Walpurgisnacht”

The Voice before the Void

Out of book-filled basement and attic dens
Clans of joking, sharing, joy-sorrow friends
Packing cheese and chocolate and hefting
Books of lyrics, covers leathern, musty,
Creep out of town-sight, each Walpurgis Night,
To stalk cemeteries, churchyards, crossroads – Continue reading

“The Enchanted Bluff” by Willa Cather

Of boys and dreams in a small town, Cather tells a masterful story rife with beauty and melancholy.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“The Enchanted Bluff”

Willa Cather

We had our swim before sundown, and while we were cooking our supper the oblique rays of light made a dazzling glare on the white sand about us. The translucent red ball itself sank behind the brown stretches of cornfield as we sat down to eat, and the warm layer of air that had rested over the water and our clean sand bar grew fresher and smelled of the rank ironweed and sunflowers growing on the flatter shore. The river was brown and sluggish, like any other of the half-dozen streams that water the Nebraska corn lands. On one shore was an irregular line of bald clay bluffs where a few scrub oaks with thick trunks and flat, twisted tops threw light shadows on the long grass. The western shore was low and level, with cornfields that stretched to the skyline, Continue reading