H.P. Lovecraft: creator, author, maniac


Ehren Barta, Staff Writer

On August 20, 1890, Howard Phillips Lovecraft was born in his family home of Providence, Rhode island, as an only child to Scott and Susan Lovecraft. Howard’s parents were of substantial means at the time of their marriage, as his grandfather, Whipple Van Buren Phillips, was involved in business ventures. Howard spent most of his life in England. He lived affluently, but his family’s wealth soon dissipated after his grandfather’s death. After this point, he and his mother lived in reduced financial conditions until she was institutionalized in 1919. He later became involved in pulp fiction, this led to his involvement in speculative fiction, and the creation of a group of writers called the Lovecraft circle. He would continue writing until his death at 46 due to intestinal cancer. His books changed modern horror and culture as we know it. This guy’s books have influenced games, books, movies, music, and everything else under the sun. It’s very hard to talk about this man’s life, because I don’t want to, so Instead I’m going to talk about his books, because I want to prioritize my mental health for this one at least.

 H.P. Lovecraft’s first published work in the Chtulhu mythos was a short story by the name of “The Alchemist”, the story is recounted by handsome white boy Count Antoine de C in the first person, hundreds of years ago, Antoine’s noble ancestor killed dark wizard, Michel Mauvais, the wizards son, Charles le Sorcier, swore revenge on all his descendants, cursing them to die at the age of 32. Antoine recounts how his ancestors all died in some mysterious way around the age of 32. The line has shrunk and the castle has been left to fall into disrepair, tower by tower. Finally, Antoine is the only one left, with one poor servant, Pierre, who raised him, and a tiny section of the castle with a single tower is still usable. Antoine is an adult now, and his 32nd year is almost here. 

After his servant dies in some totally mysterious accident, he decides to explore the ruins of his castle.

 In one of the oldest parts of the ruins, he finds a trapdoor, inside, there’s a passage with a locked door, just as he turns to leave, he hears a noise and turns around to see the door opened with a man at the entrance, the man tries to kill him, but Antoine manages to kill him first, in his dying breaths the man explains that he is Charles le Sorcier and that he had made a potion of youth and killed Antoine’s family for the better part of a few hundred years. While not great, it’s still a good start for Lovecraft and will come to shape his style in his next two books. 

The Call Of Cthulhu is another short story about an expedition that leads to them finding the big funny squid man Cthulhu. After a “nautical-looking negro” kills his great uncle, the narrator Francis Wayland Thurston looks through said uncles notes recounting a cult worshiping “the great old ones” after several women and children were kidnapped in a squatter community, they find the bodys “oddly marred” in a ritual where 100 men all of a  “mentally aberrant type” where “braying, bellowing and writhing” and repeatedly chanting the phrase: “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn”, classic cult stuff. After Mr. Uncle man kills 5 and some cop dudes arrest 47, the cultists confess that the chant they were repeating ment:  “In his house at R’lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.” After some more shenanigans one of the academics present at the meeting, William Channing Webb, a professor of anthropology at Princeton, states that during an 1860 expedition to the western coast of Greenland, he encountered “a singular tribe of degenerate Eskimos whose religion, a curious form of devil-worship, chilled him with its deliberate bloodthirstiness and repulsiveness”. Webb claims the Greenland cult possessed both the same chant and a similar “hideous” fetish, but c’mon, tell me you don’t crack open a sacrifice with the boys every now and then, y’know, start chanting about dreaming squids oh my god cthulhu’s an inkling from splatoon. Thurston reads about an article in which a crew was attacked “a queer and evil-looking crew of Kanakas and half-castes” in an armored yacht, after killing the “queer and evil-looking crew of Kanakas and half-castes” and commandeering the boat of the “queer and evil-looking crew of Kanakas and half-castes,” later landing on and island, on the island they find some trouble comprehending some non-euclidian geometry (lets ignore the fact the Lovecraft didn’t know what non-euclidian means) , one sailor does an oopsie and opens a big portal, opon foolishly opening said big evil portal, who else but cthulhu may come out to shoo the pesky mortals off his lawn. After a few sailors get smushed and yet more get driven insane by big squidus, gustaf johansen, the person recounting this story, decides to ram the boat Into Squidothy Von Brain Melter, turning the big squid into calamari, the head started immediately regenerating however, so I don’t think it did to much. After finishing the manuscript, Thurston realizes he’s now a possible target, thinking: “I know too much, and the cult still lives.”