H. P. Lovecraft

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Anonymous

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#1
I am assuming there are a few Lovecraft fans on here...

Since re-reading a few of Lovecraft's stories recently (I read them originally when I was about 10) I am amazed at how many, supposedly "real", fortean and cryptozoological occurences seem suspiciously similar to Lovecraft's stories and underlying "mythology"... so does this mean that there are a lot of hoaxers and tellers of tall tales who have read Lovecraft, or does it mean Lovecraft himself based his stories on "reality" in the form of existing unexplained phenomena and legends?

A few examples (probably not all the ones I have noticed, but all I can currently think of):

# The Loveland Frog

# The Jersey Devil

# The monster of Glamis Castle

# The Canvey Island mystery carcasses

# The Fishman aka Lizardman

etc...

Also, slightly related question - did Lovecraft actually believe in the mythos that he created? At times he seems to see himself as some sort of revealer of hidden truth... are there any conspiracy theories based on Lovecraft's fiction genuinely taken as "real"?
 
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Anonymous

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#2
Been a long time since I read Lovecraft. I remember in the preface to one of his books that he said that the idea underlay his work was that a race of immensely powerful beings, the Old Ones, had been forced out of this universe a long time in the past, but they were constantly looking for a way back in. Lovecraft himself was promiscuous with his sources drawing on everything from the story of the Salem witch hunts in the Eastern US to Arabic literature.

I don't know if anybody thinks Lovecraft mytholgy was real (although it has influenced writers from Ramsey to Stephen King). I do know that 'Color Out of Space' scared me terribly when I first read it and that it inspired 'The Blob.':eek:
 

many_angled_one

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#3
Lovecraft himself only ever called himself a writer of fiction, fantasy and the weird but I know that he was a prolific reader and did throw all sorts of influences into the mix of his writings. He only ever admitted he made up the Necronomicon and that it wasnt really based on a paticular book.... although a lot of people seem to believe it was.
I do believe that he semi-based a fair bit of his writings on ancient beliefs (example: Dagon the fish-god was an actual god in real-life mythology not a creation of his), occurances and mths and legends from around the world. I dont know if it's because of this or just because of the way he thought about things but it's ALL too easy to imagine what he wrote about could just be actually true.... ancient civilisatiosn predating man living below the ground or the sea.... creatures that inhabit other dimensions etc
 
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Anonymous

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#4
heh heh heh
mabey thoese comic book guys were right and lovecraft realy did hang around charles fort when he was a little kid.
;)
the bit about the jersey devil though, well lovecraft was from that part of the country, so he had most deffinately heard the story just like everyone else he grew up with.
 
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Anonymous

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#5
The reason I mentioned the Jersey devil was because I was struck by some of the similarities to "The Dunwich Horror" - hideous monster which terrorises the area is rumoured to be the deformed child of an ostracised local woman with a connection to "Satanism", and the father is "the Devil", or, as Lovecraft would make it, one of the "Elder Things" or whatever...

Another story that could be related is the "lost city" of Nan Madol in the Pacific (thread started in Earth Mysteries) - could Lovecraft have heard of that?

His stories can be predictable, but the scary thing about them is their similarity to "real" events, once amplified by rumour etc...
 

many_angled_one

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#6
Also must not forge that Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu rule book lists Fortean Times as a good source for inspiration :)
 
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Anonymous

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#7
Many_Angled_One said:
Also must not forge that Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu rule book lists Fortean Times as a good source for inspiration :)
C. of C. was one of the few RPG's I really enjoyed playing. Lost all of my sanity points and spent six months in a peruvian mad house.
Plus you got to use the word 'eldric' a lot.
 

Jerry_B

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#8
You should've used 'eldritch' instead...muah ha ha....

I think Lovecraft's stuff is a combination of his interest in things weird and ancient, with a healthy dose of his phobic subconcious coming to the fore. Aside from his rascism, he seems to have phobias about water, fish, and lonely places. And that's just for starters. I still think that 'The Colour From Space' is one of the best pieces of horror fiction ever written - it relies on being odd without resorting to monsters to be effective, and to a certain extent has enough plot factors too make 'almost believable'. It still gives me the creeps as much as it did when I first read it as a 16 year-old.
 
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Anonymous

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#9
Aside from his rascism, he seems to have phobias about water, fish, and lonely places.
Also cold temperatures, inbred hillbillies, and probably much, much more...

I often doubt if old HP had as much of a unified mythology behind his work as later imitators made out. Often he seems basically to be telling the same story over and over again, trying to get it right. Also many of these overlapping mythologies only fit together in quite a loose way. All this 'race of primordial beings expelled from earth for practising black magic' stuff never really seems to get very close to why he was so scary to me. It's a bit like Blake; people often talk as if he had some kind of coherent super-mythology that his works slowly reveal, but it seems more like he was writing one thing at a time and later stuff supersedes what came before.
 
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Anonymous

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#10
I remember reading that Lovecraft had some weird temperature fixtation, and he couldn't leave this house if the temperature was out of his very narrow range.
Still, I read this in a book called <I>The Black Gods</I> (sorry, author forgotton) which was claiming that the lloigor and Yog Sothoth were real and responsible for Hitler and Men In Black, amongst otherthings, so I don't know how accurate that is.
 

Jerry_B

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#11
He suffered from a condition called poikilothermism, which (IIRC) is where the blood is cooler than normal. Perhaps a reptilian throwback...? ;)
 

DaveVader2

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#12
Mountains of Madness

I have always thought that 'The Thing' and the origional 'The Thing From Outer Space'?? must have been inspired by The Mountains of Madness. Similarities that I have picked up on are Antartica obviously & Shoggoths/The Thing being a kind of shapshifting vegitable. Does anyone know if their is a link between these stories? BTW I think the giant penguins are far more scarry than the Shogoths - no idea why!
 
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Anonymous

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#13
Re: Mountains of Madness

Dave Vader said:
I have always thought that 'The Thing' and the origional 'The Thing From Outer Space'?? must have been inspired by The Mountains of Madness. Similarities that I have picked up on are Antartica obviously & Shoggoths/The Thing being a kind of shapshifting vegitable. Does anyone know if their is a link between these stories? BTW I think the giant penguins are far more scarry than the Shogoths - no idea why!

The script of the original 'The Thing From Outer Space' is based on the story "Who Goes There?" by John W. Campbell, written in 1938. He first published under the pseudonym Don A. Stuart.

The book and some reviews are in amazon here:-

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0899667341/ref=ase_houseofhorrors00/103-1702258-7671065

read the book here:-

http://www.outpost31.com/books/who.txt

read at the mountains of madness here:-

http://www.gizmology.net/lovecraft/works/mountains.htm

and have a look at the THING fansite here with a few more detailed comparisons between the texts and the films here:-

http://www.outpost31.com/books/books.html
 

ogopogo3

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#15
Lovecraft's story THE MUSIC OF ERICH ZANN is about as fortean as you can get. Ghosts, possesion, time/dimension slips, etc, neighborhoods with MC Escher-style architecture. Good stuff.
 
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Anonymous

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#16
I love 'Eric Zann' for it's total refusal to explain anything. Even to the point of having Mr Z write an explanation down, then have it blow away.

Some kind of Azathoth type affair, implicitly, I suppose.

Lovecraft was an atheist, BTW.
 
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Anonymous

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#17
Interesting about the poikilothermism - presumably that is what the story about the doctor who mysteriously kept his room colder and colder is based on. (It turned out to be because he had died years previously, but had been taught a way of "moving back into" his body after death, and so had to keep the body from decaying) - trying to find it on the Gizmology site, the title isnt obvious...
 

ninja_cat

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#19
I remember reading a book which had a table of the similarities between Lovecraft (still scared after reading Herbet West - re animator on a dark and stormy night :eek: ) and Aleister Crowley. When I get all my books out of storage I'll find the list.
 
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Anonymous

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#20
ninja said:
(still scared after reading Herbet West - re animator on a dark and stormy night :eek: )
Pardon? I found that story funny rather than scary. It was way OTT. The Colour Out of Space: now that's scary.
 
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Anonymous

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#21
Yep, I reckon HPL's greatest achievement was the ability to write something very rare: agrophobic horror.

Colour Out of Space ends (as I recall) with the narrator feeling disturbed by the sight of a starry sky. Something recalled in the latest issue of 'League of Extraordinary Gentlemen' (shameless off-thread plug for my favourite comic book).
 

ninja_cat

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#22
Zygon said:
Pardon? I found that story funny rather than scary. It was way OTT. The Colour Out of Space: now that's scary.
You weren't young - on a stormy night in Europe in a Tent with an active imagination :) Though the film they done of it - now that was pure comedy :)
 
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Anonymous

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#23
ninja said:
Though the film they done of it - now that was pure comedy :)
I've only seen it once, but I thought it actually quite faithful to the tone of the original story. But I do have a fairly dark SOH. Or so I've been told.
 
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Anonymous

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#24
did Lovecraft draw on any 'real' mythology or tradition for Yog-Sothoth (and my personal fave) the Goat with a Thousand Young, or was it pure inspiration? (or did he stumble upon the truth?)
 

Jerry_B

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#25
Well, it could be said that he drew on the myths of the Titans for the framework of the Cthulhu Mythos, but the actual gods he desrcibed in his work were from his own fevered imagination.
 

many_angled_one

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#27
Well he always did say that his works were total fiction, as was the necronomicon.

Although how do we know he was not just *saying* it was all fiction for some unnutterable :-o
 
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Anonymous

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#28
there's a claim in the Illumantus Triology that Lovecraft received anomoyous threats warning him to keep his mouth shut.
Fictional licence or is there a grain of truth in the claim
 

Jerry_B

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#29
I don't think there's any grain of truth in the mythology about the the Mythos itself. I also don't think Lovecraft thought that he was telling the truth in his stories. I think because the Mythos has a solid overall framework and is riddled with the ideas of secret things, people perhaps assume that there's more to it than meets the eye. They're good stories, nothing more IMHO.
 

many_angled_one

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#30
Can I just point out that HP Lovecraft never in all actuallity meant to invent any common universal mythos framework for his stories. This framework was invented by his friends and admireres rather than himself. All he ever clamed to have done was to write unconnected weird and fantastic stories with some common themes, that of horror, insanity etc and occasionally dropping in the names of some creatures that appear in other various stories.

Even the "Cthulhu Mythos" name was wrong in his opinion, he thought it should have been more properly called "Yog-sothothery" in reference to the fact that Cthulhu was rather less important that many entities he wrote about.
 
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