Zealia Bishop

Zealia Brown-Reed Bishop (1897–1968) was an American writer of short stories. Her name is sometimes spelled ‘Zelia’. Although she mostly wrote romantic fiction, she is remembered for three short horror stories she wrote in collaboration with H. P. Lovecraft.
Among her works are three horror stories she wrote in collaboration with H. P. Lovecraft (The Curse of Yig, Medusa’s Coil, and The Mound). Her stories appeared in the magazine Weird Tales. However, they were extensively revised by Lovecraft to the point of being ghostwritten.
Arkham House published her volume The Curse of Yig (1953) which contains the three horror stories by Bishop and Lovecraft, as well as two profiles by Bishop, one about H. P. Lovecraft and the other about August Derleth. That on Lovecraft has been reprinted in Peter Cannon’s collection of essays on Lovecraft, Lovecraft Remembered. The three Lovecraft-Bishop revision stories also appear in The Horror in the Museum and Other Revisions.

Bishop’s preference was for romantic fiction, of which she wrote and published far more than she did of the weird. She lived in Kansas City with her husband D.W. Bishop,took an active role in the National Federation of Press Women, the New England Historic Genealogical Society and the Missouri Women’s Press Club. She authored a historical series about Clay County, Missouri.

The Curse of Yig

The Curse of Yig
By H. P. Lovecraft and Zealia Bishop

In 1925 I went into Oklahoma looking for snake lore, and I came out with a fear of snakes that will last me the rest of my life. I admit it is foolish, since there are natural explanations for everything I saw and heard, but it masters me none the less. If the old story had been all there was to it, I would not have been so badly shaken. My work as an American Indian ethnologist has hardened me to all kinds of extravagant legendry, and I know that simple white people can beat the redskins at their own game when it comes to fanciful inventions. But I can’t forget what I saw with my own eyes at the insane asylum in Guthrie.

I called at that asylum because a few of the oldest settlers told me I would find something important there. Neither Indians nor white men would discuss the snake-god legends I had come to trace. The oil-boom newcomers, of course, knew nothing of such matters, and the red men and old pioneers were plainly frightened when I spoke of them. Not more than six or seven people mentioned the asylum, and those who did were careful to talk in whispers. But the whisperers said that Dr. McNeill could shew me a very terrible relic and tell me all I wanted to know. He could explain why Yig, the half-human father of serpents, is a shunned and feared object in central Oklahoma, and why old settlers shiver at the secret Indian orgies which make the autumn days and nights hideous with the ceaseless beating of tom-toms in lonely places.

It was with the scent of a hound on the trail that I went to Guthrie, for I had spent many years collecting data on the evolution of serpent-worship among the Indians. I had always felt, from well-defined undertones of legend and archaeology, that great Quetzalcoatl—benign snake-god of the Mexicans—had had an older and darker prototype; and during recent months I had well-nigh proved it in a series of researches stretching from Guatemala to the Oklahoma plains. But everything was tantalising and incomplete, for above the border the cult of the snake was hedged about by fear and furtiveness.

Now it appeared that a new and copious source of data was about to dawn, and I sought the head of the asylum with an eagerness I did not try to cloak. Dr. McNeill was a small, clean-shaven man of somewhat advanced years, and I saw at once from his speech and manner that he was a scholar of no mean attainments in many branches outside his profession. Grave and doubtful when I first made known my errand, his face grew thoughtful as he carefully scanned my credentials and the letter of introduction which a kindly old ex-Indian agent had given me.

“So you’ve been studying the Yig legend, eh?” he reflected sententiously. “I know that many of our Oklahoma ethnologists have tried to connect it with Quetzalcoatl, but I don’t think any of them have traced the intermediate steps so well. You’ve done remarkable work for a man as young as you seem to be, and you certainly deserve all the data we can give.

“I don’t suppose old Major Moore or any of the others told you what it is I have here. They don’t like to talk about it, and neither do I. It is very tragic and very horrible, but that is all. I refuse to consider it anything supernatural. There’s a story about it that I’ll tell you after you see it—a devilish sad story, but one that I won’t call magic. It merely shews the potency that belief has over some people. I’ll admit there are times when I feel a shiver that’s more than physical, but in daylight I set all that down to nerves. I’m not a young fellow any more, alas!

“To come to the point, the thing I have is what you might call a victim of Yig’s curse—a physically living victim. We don’t let the bulk of the nurses see it, although most of them know it’s here. There are just two steady old chaps whom I let feed it and clean out its quarters—used to be three, but good old Stevens passed on a few years ago. I suppose I’ll have to break in a new group pretty soon; for the thing doesn’t seem to age or change much, and we old boys can’t last forever. Maybe the ethics of the near future will let us give it a merciful release, but it’s hard to tell.

“Did you see that single ground-glass basement window over in the east wing when you came up the drive? That’s where it is. I’ll take you there myself now. You needn’t make any comment. Just look through the moveable panel in the door and thank God the light isn’t any stronger. Then I’ll tell you the story—or as much as I’ve been able to piece together.”

We walked downstairs very quietly, and did not talk as we threaded the corridors of the seemingly deserted basement. Dr. McNeill unlocked a grey-painted steel door, but it was only a bulkhead leading to a further stretch of hallway. At length he paused before a door marked B 116, opened a small observation panel which he could use only by standing on tiptoe, and pounded several times upon the painted metal, as if to arouse the occupant, whatever it might be.

A faint stench came from the aperture as the doctor unclosed it, and I fancied his pounding elicited a kind of low, hissing response. Finally he motioned me to replace him at the peep-hole, and I did so with a causeless and increasing tremor. The barred, ground-glass window, close to the earth outside, admitted only a feeble and uncertain pallor; and I had to look into the malodorous den for several seconds before I could see what was crawling and wriggling about on the straw-covered floor, emitting every now and then a weak and vacuous hiss. Then the shadowed outlines began to take shape, and I perceived that the squirming entity bore some remote resemblance to a human form laid flat on its belly. I clutched at the door-handle for support as I tried to keep from fainting.

The moving object was almost of human size, and entirely devoid of clothing. It was absolutely hairless, and its tawny-looking back seemed subtly squamous in the dim, ghoulish light. Around the shoulders it was rather speckled and brownish, and the head was very curiously flat. As it looked up to hiss at me I saw that the beady little black eyes were damnably anthropoid, but I could not bear to study them long. They fastened themselves on me with a horrible persistence, so that I closed the panel gaspingly and left the creature to wriggle about unseen in its matted straw and spectral twilight. I must have reeled a bit, for I saw that the doctor was gently holding my arm as he guided me away. I was stuttering over and over again: “B-but for God’s sake, what is it?”

Dr. McNeill told me the story in his private office as I sprawled opposite him in an easy-chair. The gold and crimson of late afternoon changed to the violet of early dusk, but still I sat awed and motionless. I resented every ring of the telephone and every whir of the buzzer, and I could have cursed the nurses and internes whose knocks now and then summoned the doctor briefly to the outer office. Night came, and I was glad my host switched on all the lights. Scientist though I was, my zeal for research was half forgotten amidst such breathless ecstasies of fright as a small boy might feel when whispered witch-tales go the rounds of the chimney-corner.

It seems that Yig, the snake-god of the central plains tribes—presumably the primal source of the more southerly Quetzalcoatl or Kukulcan—was an odd, half-anthropomorphic devil of highly arbitrary and capricious nature. He was not wholly evil, and was usually quite well-disposed toward those who gave proper respect to him and his children, the serpents; but in the autumn he became abnormally ravenous, and had to be driven away by means of suitable rites. That was why the tom-toms in the Pawnee, Wichita, and Caddo country pounded ceaselessly week in and week out in August, September, and October; and why the medicine-men made strange noises with rattles and whistles curiously like those of the Aztecs and Mayas.

Yig’s chief trait was a relentless devotion to his children—a devotion so great that the redskins almost feared to protect themselves from the venomous rattlesnakes which thronged the region. Frightful clandestine tales hinted of his vengeance upon mortals who flouted him or wreaked harm upon his wriggling progeny; his chosen method being to turn his victim, after suitable tortures, to a spotted snake.

In the old days of the Indian Territory, the doctor went on, there was not quite so much secrecy about Yig. The plains tribes, less cautious than the desert nomads and Pueblos, talked quite freely of their legends and autumn ceremonies with the first Indian agents, and let considerable of the lore spread out through the neighbouring regions of white settlement. The great fear came in the land-rush days of ’89, when some extraordinary incidents had been rumoured, and the rumours sustained, by what seemed to be hideously tangible proofs. Indians said that the new white men did not know how to get on with Yig, and afterward the settlers came to take that theory at face value. Now no old-timer in middle Oklahoma, white or red, could be induced to breathe a word about the snake-god except in vague hints. Yet after all, the doctor added with almost needless emphasis, the only truly authenticated horror had been a thing of pitiful tragedy rather than of bewitchment. It was all very material and cruel—even that last phase which had caused so much dispute.

Dr. McNeill paused and cleared his throat before getting down to his special story, and I felt a tingling sensation as when a theatre curtain rises. The thing had begun when Walker Davis and his wife Audrey left Arkansas to settle in the newly opened public lands in the spring of 1889, and the end had come in the country of the Wichitas—north of the Wichita River, in what is at present Caddo County. There is a small village called Binger there now, and the railway goes through; but otherwise the place is less changed than other parts of Oklahoma. It is still a section of farms and ranches—quite productive in these days—since the great oil-fields do not come very close.

Walker and Audrey had come from Franklin County in the Ozarks with a canvas-topped wagon, two mules, an ancient and useless dog called “Wolf”, and all their household goods. They were typical hill-folk, youngish and perhaps a little more ambitious than most, and looked forward to a life of better returns for their hard work than they had had in Arkansas. Both were lean, raw-boned specimens; the man tall, sandy, and grey-eyed, and the woman short and rather dark, with a black straightness of hair suggesting a slight Indian admixture.

In general, there was very little of distinction about them, and but for one thing their annals might not have differed from those of thousands of other pioneers who flocked into the new country at that time. That thing was Walker’s almost epileptic fear of snakes, which some laid to prenatal causes, and some said came from a dark prophecy about his end with which an old Indian squaw had tried to scare him when he was small. Whatever the cause, the effect was marked indeed; for despite his strong general courage the very mention of a snake would cause him to grow faint and pale, while the sight of even a tiny specimen would produce a shock sometimes bordering on a convulsion seizure.

The Davises started out early in the year, in the hope of being on their new land for the spring ploughing. Travel was slow; for the roads were bad in Arkansas, while in the Territory there were great stretches of rolling hills and red, sandy barrens without any roads whatever. As the terrain grew flatter, the change from their native mountains depressed them more, perhaps, than they realised; but they found the people at the Indian agencies very affable, while most of the settled Indians seemed friendly and civil. Now and then they encountered a fellow-pioneer, with whom crude pleasantries and expressions of amiable rivalry were generally exchanged.

Owing to the season, there were not many snakes in evidence, so Walker did not suffer from his special temperamental weakness. In the earlier stages of the journey, too, there were no Indian snake-legends to trouble him; for the transplanted tribes from the southeast do not share the wilder beliefs of their western neighbours. As fate would have it, it was a white man at Okmulgee in the Creek country who gave the Davises the first hint of Yig beliefs; a hint which had a curiously fascinating effect on Walker, and caused him to ask questions very freely after that.

Before long Walker’s fascination had developed into a bad case of fright. He took the most extraordinary precautions at each of the nightly camps, always clearing away whatever vegetation he found, and avoiding stony places whenever he could. Every clump of stunted bushes and every cleft in the great, slab-like rocks seemed to him now to hide malevolent serpents, while every human figure not obviously part of a settlement or emigrant train seemed to him a potential snake-god till nearness had proved the contrary. Fortunately no troublesome encounters came at this stage to shake his nerves still further.

As they approached the Kickapoo country they found it harder and harder to avoid camping near rocks. Finally it was no longer possible, and poor Walker was reduced to the puerile expedient of droning some of the rustic anti-snake charms he had learned in his boyhood. Two or three times a snake was really glimpsed, and these sights did not help the sufferer in his efforts to preserve composure.

On the twenty-second evening of the journey a savage wind made it imperative, for the sake of the mules, to camp in as sheltered a spot as possible; and Audrey persuaded her husband to take advantage of a cliff which rose uncommonly high above the dried bed of a former tributary of the Canadian River. He did not like the rocky cast of the place, but allowed himself to be overruled this once; leading the animals sullenly toward the protecting slope, which the nature of the ground would not allow the wagon to approach.

Audrey, examining the rocks near the wagon, meanwhile noticed a singular sniffing on the part of the feeble old dog. Seizing a rifle, she followed his lead, and presently thanked her stars that she had forestalled Walker in her discovery. For there, snugly nested in the gap between two boulders, was a sight it would have done him no good to see. Visible only as one convoluted expanse, but perhaps comprising as many as three or four separate units, was a mass of lazy wriggling which could not be other than a brood of new-born rattlesnakes.

Anxious to save Walker from a trying shock, Audrey did not hesitate to act, but took the gun firmly by the barrel and brought the butt down again and again upon the writhing objects. Her own sense of loathing was great, but it did not amount to a real fear. Finally she saw that her task was done, and turned to cleanse the improvised bludgeon in the red sand and dry, dead grass near by. She must, she reflected, cover the nest up before Walker got back from tethering the mules. Old Wolf, tottering relic of mixed shepherd and coyote ancestry that he was, had vanished, and she feared he had gone to fetch his master.

Footsteps at that instant proved her fear well founded. A second more, and Walker had seen everything. Audrey made a move to catch him if he should faint, but he did no more than sway. Then the look of pure fright on his bloodless face turned slowly to something like mingled awe and anger, and he began to upbraid his wife in trembling tones.

“Gawd’s sake, Aud, but why’d ye go for to do that? Hain’t ye heerd all the things they’ve been tellin’ about this snake-devil Yig? Ye’d ought to a told me, and we’d a moved on. Don’t ye know they’s a devil-god what gets even if ye hurts his children? What for d’ye think the Injuns all dances and beats their drums in the fall about? This land’s under a curse, I tell ye—nigh every soul we’ve a-talked to sence we come in’s said the same. Yig rules here, an’ he comes out every fall for to git his victims and turn ’em into snakes. Why, Aud, they won’t none of them Injuns acrost the Canayjin kill a snake for love nor money!

“Gawd knows what ye done to yourself, gal, a-stompin’ out a hull brood o’ Yig’s chillen. He’ll git ye, sure, sooner or later, unlessen I kin buy a charm offen some o’ the Injun medicine-men. He’ll git ye, Aud, as sure’s they’s a Gawd in heaven—he’ll come outa the night and turn ye into a crawlin’ spotted snake!”

All the rest of the journey Walker kept up the frightened reproofs and prophecies. They crossed the Canadian near Newcastle, and soon afterward met with the first of the real plains Indians they had seen—a party of blanketed Wichitas, whose leader talked freely under the spell of the whiskey offered him, and taught poor Walker a long-winded protective charm against Yig in exchange for a quart bottle of the same inspiring fluid. By the end of the week the chosen site in the Wichita country was reached, and the Davises made haste to trace their boundaries and perform the spring ploughing before even beginning the construction of a cabin.

The region was flat, drearily windy, and sparse of natural vegetation, but promised great fertility under cultivation. Occasional outcroppings of granite diversified a soil of decomposed red sandstone, and here and there a great flat rock would stretch along the surface of the ground like a man-made floor. There seemed to be a very few snakes, or possible dens for them; so Audrey at last persuaded Walker to build the one-room cabin over a vast, smooth slab of exposed stone. With such a flooring and with a good-sized fireplace the wettest weather might be defied—though it soon became evident that dampness was no salient quality of the district. Logs were hauled in the wagon from the nearest belt of woods, many miles toward the Wichita Mountains.

Walker built his wide-chimneyed cabin and crude barn with the aid of some of the other settlers, though the nearest one was over a mile away. In turn, he helped his helpers at similar house-raisings, so that many ties of friendship sprang up between the new neighbours. There was no town worthy the name nearer than El Reno, on the railway thirty miles or more to the northeast; and before many weeks had passed, the people of the section had become very cohesive despite the wideness of their scattering. The Indians, a few of whom had begun to settle down on ranches, were for the most part harmless, though somewhat quarrelsome when fired by the liquid stimulation which found its way to them despite all government bans.

Of all the neighbours the Davises found Joe and Sally Compton, who likewise hailed from Arkansas, the most helpful and congenial. Sally is still alive, known now as Grandma Compton; and her son Clyde, then an infant in arms, has become one of the leading men of the state. Sally and Audrey used to visit each other often, for their cabins were only two miles apart; and in the long spring and summer afternoons they exchanged many a tale of old Arkansas and many a rumour about the new country.

Sally was very sympathetic about Walker’s weakness regarding snakes, but perhaps did more to aggravate than cure the parallel nervousness which Audrey was acquiring through his incessant praying and prophesying about the curse of Yig. She was uncommonly full of gruesome snake stories, and produced a direfully strong impression with her acknowledged masterpiece—the tale of a man in Scott County who had been bitten by a whole horde of rattlers at once, and had swelled so monstrously from poison that his body had finally burst with a pop. Needless to say, Audrey did not repeat this anecdote to her husband, and she implored the Comptons to beware of starting it on the rounds of the countryside. It is to Joe’s and Sally’s credit that they heeded this plea with the utmost fidelity.

Walker did his corn-planting early, and in midsummer improved his time by harvesting a fair crop of the native grass of the region. With the help of Joe Compton he dug a well which gave a moderate supply of very good water, though he planned to sink an artesian later on. He did not run into many serious snake scares, and made his land as inhospitable as possible for wriggling visitors. Every now and then he rode over to the cluster of thatched, conical huts which formed the main village of the Wichitas, and talked long with the old men and shamans about the snake-god and how to nullify his wrath. Charms were always ready in exchange for whiskey, but much of the information he got was far from reassuring.

Yig was a great god. He was bad medicine. He did not forget things. In the autumn his children were hungry and wild, and Yig was hungry and wild, too. All the tribes made medicine against Yig when the corn harvest came. They gave him some corn, and danced in proper regalia to the sound of whistle, rattle, and drum. They kept the drums pounding to drive Yig away, and called down the aid of Tiráwa, whose children men are, even as the snakes are Yig’s children. It was bad that the squaw of Davis killed the children of Yig. Let Davis say the charms many times when the corn harvest comes. Yig is Yig. Yig is a great god.

By the time the corn harvest did come, Walker had succeeded in getting his wife into a deplorably jumpy state. His prayers and borrowed incantations came to be a nuisance; and when the autumn rites of the Indians began, there was always a distant wind-borne pounding of tom-toms to lend an added background of the sinister. It was maddening to have the muffled clatter always stealing over the wide red plains. Why would it never stop? Day and night, week on week, it was always going in exhaustless relays, as persistently as the red dusty winds that carried it. Audrey loathed it more than her husband did, for he saw in it a compensating element of protection. It was with this sense of a mighty, intangible bulwark against evil that he got in his corn crop and prepared cabin and stable for the coming winter.

The autumn was abnormally warm, and except for their primitive cookery the Davises found scant use for the stone fireplace Walker had built with such care. Something in the unnaturalness of the hot dust-clouds preyed on the nerves of all the settlers, but most of all on Audrey’s and Walker’s. The notions of a hovering snake-curse and the weird, endless rhythm of the distant Indian drums formed a bad combination which any added element of the bizarre went far to render utterly unendurable.

Notwithstanding this strain, several festive gatherings were held at one or another of the cabins after the crops were reaped; keeping naively alive in modernity those curious rites of the harvest-home which are as old as human agriculture itself. Lafayette Smith, who came from southern Missouri and had a cabin about three miles east of Walker’s, was a very passable fiddler; and his tunes did much to make the celebrants forget the monotonous beating of the distant tom-toms. Then Hallowe’en drew near, and the settlers planned another frolic—this time, had they but known it, of a lineage older than even agriculture; the dread Witch-Sabbath of the primal pre-Aryans, kept alive through ages in the midnight blackness of secret woods, and still hinting at vague terrors under its latter-day mask of comedy and lightness. Hallowe’en was to fall on a Thursday, and the neighbours agreed to gather for their first revel at the Davis cabin.

It was on that thirty-first of October that the warm spell broke. The morning was grey and leaden, and by noon the incessant winds had changed from searingness to rawness. People shivered all the more because they were not prepared for the chill, and Walker Davis’ old dog Wolf dragged himself wearily indoors to a place beside the hearth. But the distant drums still thumped on, nor were the white citizenry less inclined to pursue their chosen rites. As early as four in the afternoon the wagons began to arrive at Walker’s cabin; and in the evening, after a memorable barbecue, Lafayette Smith’s fiddle inspired a very fair-sized company to great feats of saltatory grotesqueness in the one good-sized but crowded room. The younger folk indulged in the amiable inanities proper to the season, and now and then old Wolf would howl with doleful and spine-tickling ominousness at some especially spectral strain from Lafayette’s squeaky violin—a device he had never heard before. Mostly, though, this battered veteran slept through the merriment; for he was past the age of active interests and lived largely in his dreams. Tom and Jennie Rigby had brought their collie Zeke along, but the canines did not fraternise. Zeke seemed strangely uneasy over something, and nosed around curiously all the evening.

Audrey and Walker made a fine couple on the floor, and Grandma Compton still likes to recall her impression of their dancing that night. Their worries seemed forgotten for the nonce, and Walker was shaved and trimmed into a surprising degree of spruceness. By ten o’clock all hands were healthily tired, and the guests began to depart family by family with many handshakings and bluff assurances of what a fine time everybody had had. Tom and Jennie thought Zeke’s eerie howls as he followed them to their wagon were marks of regret at having to go home; though Audrey said it must be the far-away tom-toms which annoyed him, for the distant thumping was surely ghastly enough after the merriment within.

The night was bitterly cold, and for the first time Walker put a great log in the fireplace and banked it with ashes to keep it smouldering till morning. Old Wolf dragged himself within the ruddy glow and lapsed into his customary coma. Audrey and Walker, too tired to think of charms or curses, tumbled into the rough pine bed and were asleep before the cheap alarm-clock on the mantel had ticked out three minutes. And from far away, the rhythmic pounding of those hellish tom-toms still pulsed on the chill night-wind.

Dr. McNeill paused here and removed his glasses, as if a blurring of the objective world might make the reminiscent vision clearer.

“You’ll soon appreciate,” he said, “that I had a great deal of difficulty in piecing out all that happened after the guests left. There were times, though—at first—when I was able to make a try at it.” After a moment of silence he went on with the tale.

Audrey had terrible dreams of Yig, who appeared to her in the guise of Satan as depicted in cheap engravings she had seen. It was, indeed, from an absolute ecstasy of nightmare that she started suddenly awake to find Walker already conscious and sitting up in bed. He seemed to be listening intently to something, and silenced her with a whisper when she began to ask what had roused him.

“Hark, Aud!” he breathed. “Don’t ye hear somethin’ a-singin’ and buzzin’ and rustlin’? D’ye reckon it’s the fall crickets?”

Certainly, there was distinctly audible within the cabin such a sound as he had described. Audrey tried to analyse it, and was impressed with some element at once horrible and familiar, which hovered just outside the rim of her memory. And beyond it all, waking a hideous thought, the monotonous beating of the distant tom-toms came incessantly across the black plains on which a cloudy half-moon had set.

“Walker—s’pose it’s—the—the—curse o’ Yig?”

She could feel him tremble.

“No, gal, I don’t reckon he comes that away. He’s shapen like a man, except ye look at him clost. That’s what Chief Grey Eagle says. This here’s some varmints come in outen the cold—not crickets, I calc’late, but summat like ’em. I’d orter git up and stomp ’em out afore they make much headway or git at the cupboard.”

He rose, felt for the lantern that hung within easy reach, and rattled the tin match-box nailed to the wall beside it. Audrey sat up in bed and watched the flare of the match grow into the steady glow of the lantern. Then, as their eyes began to take in the whole of the room, the crude rafters shook with the frenzy of their simultaneous shriek. For the flat, rocky floor, revealed in the new-born illumination, was one seething, brown-speckled mass of wriggling rattlesnakes, slithering toward the fire, and even now turning their loathsome heads to menace the fright-blasted lantern-bearer.

It was only for an instant that Audrey saw the things. The reptiles were of every size, of uncountable numbers, and apparently of several varieties; and even as she looked, two or three of them reared their heads as if to strike at Walker. She did not faint—it was Walker’s crash to the floor that extinguished the lantern and plunged her into blackness. He had not screamed a second time—fright had paralysed him, and he fell as if shot by a silent arrow from no mortal’s bow. To Audrey the entire world seemed to whirl about fantastically, mingling with the nightmare from which she had started.

Voluntary motion of any sort was impossible, for will and the sense of reality had left her. She fell back inertly on her pillow, hoping that she would wake soon. No actual sense of what had happened penetrated her mind for some time. Then, little by little, the suspicion that she was really awake began to dawn on her; and she was convulsed with a mounting blend of panic and grief which made her long to shriek out despite the inhibiting spell which kept her mute.

Walker was gone, and she had not been able to help him. He had died of snakes, just as the old witch-woman had predicted when he was a little boy. Poor Wolf had not been able to help, either—probably he had not even awaked from his senile stupor. And now the crawling things must be coming for her, writhing closer and closer every moment in the dark, perhaps even now twining slipperily about the bedposts and oozing up over the coarse woollen blankets. Unconsciously she crept under the clothes and trembled.

It must be the curse of Yig. He had sent his monstrous children on All-Hallows’ Night, and they had taken Walker first. Why was that—wasn’t he innocent enough? Why not come straight for her—hadn’t she killed those little rattlers alone? Then she thought of the curse’s form as told by the Indians. She wouldn’t be killed—just turned to a spotted snake. Ugh! So she would be like those things she had glimpsed on the floor—those things which Yig had sent to get her and enroll her among their number! She tried to mumble a charm that Walker had taught her, but found she could not utter a single sound.

The noisy ticking of the alarm-clock sounded above the maddening beat of the distant tom-toms. The snakes were taking a long time—did they mean to delay on purpose to play on her nerves? Every now and then she thought she felt a steady, insidious pressure on the bedclothes, but each time it turned out to be only the automatic twitchings of her overwrought nerves. The clock ticked on in the dark, and a change came slowly over her thoughts.

Those snakes couldn’t have taken so long! They couldn’t be Yig’s messengers after all, but just natural rattlers that were nested below the rock and had been drawn there by the fire. They weren’t coming for her, perhaps—perhaps they had sated themselves on poor Walker. Where were they now? Gone? Coiled by the fire? Still crawling over the prone corpse of their victim? The clock ticked, and the distant drums throbbed on.

At the thought of her husband’s body lying there in the pitch blackness a thrill of purely physical horror passed over Audrey. That story of Sally Compton’s about the man back in Scott County! He, too, had been bitten by a whole bunch of rattlesnakes, and what had happened to him? The poison had rotted the flesh and swelled the whole corpse, and in the end the bloated thing had burst horribly—burst horribly with a detestable popping noise. Was that what was happening to Walker down there on the rock floor? Instinctively she felt she had begun to listen for something too terrible even to name to herself.

The clock ticked on, keeping a kind of mocking, sardonic time with the far-off drumming that the night-wind brought. She wished it were a striking clock, so that she could know how long this eldritch vigil must last. She cursed the toughness of fibre that kept her from fainting, and wondered what sort of relief the dawn could bring, after all. Probably neighbours would pass—no doubt somebody would call—would they find her still sane? Was she still sane now?

Morbidly listening, Audrey all at once became aware of something which she had to verify with every effort of her will before she could believe it; and which, once verified, she did not know whether to welcome or dread. The distant beating of the Indian tom-toms had ceased. They had always maddened her—but had not Walker regarded them as a bulwark against nameless evil from outside the universe? What were some of those things he had repeated to her in whispers after talking with Grey Eagle and the Wichita medicine-men?

She did not relish this new and sudden silence, after all! There was something sinister about it. The loud-ticking clock seemed abnormal in its new loneliness. Capable at last of conscious motion, she shook the covers from her face and looked into the darkness toward the window. It must have cleared after the moon set, for she saw the square aperture distinctly against the background of stars.

Then without warning came that shocking, unutterable sound—ugh!—that dull, putrid pop of cleft skin and escaping poison in the dark. God!—Sally’s story—that obscene stench, and this gnawing, clawing silence! It was too much. The bonds of muteness snapped, and the black night waxed reverberant with Audrey’s screams of stark, unbridled frenzy.

Consciousness did not pass away with the shock. How merciful if only it had! Amidst the echoes of her shrieking Audrey still saw the star-sprinkled square of window ahead, and heard the doom-boding ticking of that frightful clock. Did she hear another sound? Was that square window still a perfect square? She was in no condition to weigh the evidence of her senses or distinguish between fact and hallucination.

No—that window was not a perfect square. Something had encroached on the lower edge. Nor was the ticking of the clock the only sound in the room. There was, beyond dispute, a heavy breathing neither her own nor poor Wolf’s. Wolf slept very silently, and his wakeful wheezing was unmistakable. Then Audrey saw against the stars the black, daemoniac silhouette of something anthropoid—the undulant bulk of a gigantic head and shoulders fumbling slowly toward her.

“Y’aaaah! Y’aaaah! Go away! Go away! Go away, snake-devil! Go ’way, Yig! I didn’t mean to kill ’em—I was feared he’d be scairt of ’em. Don’t, Yig, don’t! I didn’t go for to hurt yore chillen—don’t come nigh me—don’t change me into no spotted snake!”

But the half-formless head and shoulders only lurched onward toward the bed, very silently.

Everything snapped at once inside Audrey’s head, and in a second she had turned from a cowering child to a raging madwoman. She knew where the axe was—hung against the wall on those pegs near the lantern. It was within easy reach, and she could find it in the dark. Before she was conscious of anything further it was in her hands, and she was creeping toward the foot of the bed—toward the monstrous head and shoulders that every moment groped their way nearer. Had there been any light, the look on her face would not have been pleasant to see.

“Take that, you! And that, and that, and that!”

She was laughing shrilly now, and her cackles mounted higher as she saw that the starlight beyond the window was yielding to the dim prophetic pallor of coming dawn.

Dr. McNeill wiped the perspiration from his forehead and put on his glasses again. I waited for him to resume, and as he kept silent I spoke softly.

“She lived? She was found? Was it ever explained?”

The doctor cleared his throat.

“Yes—she lived, in a way. And it was explained. I told you there was no bewitchment—only cruel, pitiful, material horror.”

It was Sally Compton who had made the discovery. She had ridden over to the Davis cabin the next afternoon to talk over the party with Audrey, and had seen no smoke from the chimney. That was queer. It had turned very warm again, yet Audrey was usually cooking something at that hour. The mules were making hungry-sounding noises in the barn, and there was no sign of old Wolf sunning himself in the accustomed spot by the door.

Altogether, Sally did not like the look of the place, so was very timid and hesitant as she dismounted and knocked. She got no answer but waited some time before trying the crude door of split logs. The lock, it appeared, was unfastened; and she slowly pushed her way in. Then, perceiving what was there, she reeled back, gasped, and clung to the jamb to preserve her balance.

A terrible odour had welled out as she opened the door, but that was not what had stunned her. It was what she had seen. For within that shadowy cabin monstrous things had happened and three shocking objects remained on the floor to awe and baffle the beholder.

Near the burned-out fireplace was the great dog—purple decay on the skin left bare by mange and old age, and the whole carcass burst by the puffing effect of rattlesnake poison. It must have been bitten by a veritable legion of the reptiles.

To the right of the door was the axe-hacked remnant of what had been a man—clad in a nightshirt, and with the shattered bulk of a lantern clenched in one hand. He was totally free from any sign of snake-bite. Near him lay the ensanguined axe, carelessly discarded.

And wriggling flat on the floor was a loathsome, vacant-eyed thing that had been a woman, but was now only a mute mad caricature. All that this thing could do was to hiss, and hiss, and hiss.

Both the doctor and I were brushing cold drops from our foreheads by this time. He poured something from a flask on his desk, took a nip, and handed another glass to me. I could only suggest tremulously and stupidly:

“So Walker had only fainted that first time—the screams roused him, and the axe did the rest?”

“Yes.” Dr. McNeill’s voice was low. “But he met his death from snakes just the same. It was his fear working in two ways—it made him faint, and it made him fill his wife with the wild stories that caused her to strike out when she thought she saw the snake-devil.”

I thought for a moment.

“And Audrey—wasn’t it queer how the curse of Yig seemed to work itself out on her? I suppose the impression of hissing snakes had been fairly ground into her.”

“Yes. There were lucid spells at first, but they got to be fewer and fewer. Her hair came white at the roots as it grew, and later began to fall out. The skin grew blotchy, and when she died—”

I interrupted with a start.

“Died? Then what was that—that thing downstairs?”

McNeill spoke gravely.

“That is what was born to her three-quarters of a year afterward. There were three more of them—two were even worse—but this is the only one that lived.”

And now for something completely different: Cthulhu Tract

OK, for those who do not know what a chick tract is.. allow me to give a brief explanation? Chick tracts are short evangelical gospel tracts (cartoons) created and published by American publisher and religious cartoonist Jack Chick.

Although many of Chick’s tracts express views that are generally accepted within Christian theology, several tracts have expressed controversial viewpoints. Most notably, Chick tracts were known for expressing strongly anti-Catholic views, which are expressed in 20 of his tracts, as well as his criticisms of other religions including Mormonism. As a catholic and somewhat normal person I find that anything that condones or expresses hatred or ignorance towards a group of people that has a different belief system or lifestyle is wrong even in the name of “GOD”. With this said, I came across something I would like to share and these tracts make perfect sense. 

Media round up : Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown

Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown is a 2008 documentary film that examines the life, work, and mind of American writer H. P. Lovecraft, creator of the Cthulhu Mythos.The film features interviews with Guillermo del Toro, Neil Gaiman, John Carpenter, Peter Straub, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Ramsey Campbell, Stuart Gordon, S. T. Joshi, Robert M. Price, and Andrew Migliore.
The film was released on Blu-ray and DVD in the United States on October 27, 2009.
Johnny Butane of the website Dread Central gave the film a score of 4 out of 5, calling it a “solid documentary that’s sure to appeal to everyone from casual Lovecraft readers to the most hardcore of his fans”
The film won Best Documentary at the 2008 Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival.It was the official selection at: Cinema Du Parc in Collaboration With The Fantasia Festival 2008; Erie Horror Film Festival 2008; Buenos Aires Rojo Sangre Festival 2008; Shriekfest Horror Film Festival 2008; The H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival 2008; TromaDance 2009 and Porto Alegre, Brazil’s Fantaspoa Festival 2009.

Cthulhu in the bible and the Koran

In Arabic, Khadhulu means “abandoner” or “forsaker.” The term is thus used in the Koran 25:29 by Muhammed the Prophet, where it states, “For Mankind Satan [in Arabic, Shaytan] is Khadhulu.” Muslim commentators have traditionally taken this to mean that Satan is a forsaker of mankind – on Judgment Day, Satan will forsake those who followed him in this life. 

However, as Khadhulu is used extensively in the Arabic Necronomicon to refer to a powerful deity, and is translated by Theodorus as xthulu and by Olaus Wormius in Latin as Cthulhu, it is possible to translate this verse as “For mankind Satan is Cthulhu” thus identifying the entity Cthulhu, worshiped by a cult of pagan Arabs before Muhammed, with the Satan of Judeo-Christian tradition 


The Semitic cultures in particular, in all their various branches throughout the Middle East, retain vestiges of ancient Cthulhu worship. One of the oldest Semitic languages is Assyrian, which originated in the second millenium B.C. and which shows clear references to Cthulhu worship. A common word for “demon” in Assyrian is alu’u (1). When this word is combined with the Assyrian word khatu(2) meaning “ominous” or “evil”, the result is khatu alu’u, and is clearly related philogically to Cthulhu. An ancient Babylonian scribe makes reference to “alu’u lemnu sha pa la ishu atta,” meaning “The alu’ (demon) who has no mouth.” (3) This could refer to Cthulhu himself, whose face is a mass of tentacles, and therefor appears as a demon who has no mouth…. 

Hebrew, another Semitic language, also makes oblique references to Cthulhu worship. This identification must neccesarily remain tentative, since the oldest Hebrew texts we possess are of the Bible, the writers of which clearly and wisely would have been antagonistic towards any Cthulhu cultists. The prophet Isiah, who lived in the 8th centure BC, wrote “I shall look upon man no more among the inhabitants of Chadhel.” (Isaiah 38:11) 

Hebrew: Chadhel 

The Hebrew word at the end of this verse, Chadhel, is directly related semantically to the Arabic Khadhulu. This word is generally thought to be a euphemism for Sheol or Hell. (4) However, if the word is taken to be a proper name, the significance of the verse drastically changes. Chadhel is most likely an ancient Hebrew form of the word Cthulhu, as the Hebrew “dh,” in this case is, in linguistic terms, an emphatic equivalent to the English “th”, an aspirant form of the same sound. “The inhabitants of Chadhel” comes to mean “those who dwell with Chadhel” or “The people of Chadhel” (i.e. Cthulhu) and thus clearly refers to a cultist sect. The meaning of the verse should be “I shall look upon man no more among the people of Cthulhu”, a form or ritual and well-deserved cursing of the evil cultists. The name Chadhel had such horrendous overtones to the Hebrews that in medieval interpretations it became synonymous with Hell, giving rise to the faulty interpretation of the verse. 


1) Ignace J. Gleb, et. al. The Assyrian Dictionary (Chicago University Press, 1964, in progress), vol 2, pp 355Ff. 

2) Ibid., vol 6, p 158. Spoken swiftly and slurred (as is often done in human speech) it probably would sound like khatulu’u, easily recognizable as a variation of the word Cthulhu. 

3) Cuneiform Texts from Babylonian Tablets, 1627:8. 

4) Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon (Eerdmans, 1982) p 262

Conan and the Cthulhu Mythos

Conan, the black-haired, red-skinned Cimmerian, has become over the last twenty five years a different fellow than the legendary swordsman who walked off the pages of Weird Tales magazine and out of the imagination of Robert E. Howard.  First collections with pastiches by other writers, comic books, then films have changed Conan’s “public image” greatly, making him a veritable house-hold word as it increasing his size, reduced his intelligence and obscured the fantastic back-drop that was a part of all Robert E. Howard’s best works.
 The Hyborian Age, that time between the Fall of Atlantis and the rise of the world as we know it, is a vivid setting for the adventures of the Cimmerian who came down from the North to carve out an empire.  But behind the Hyborian Age, as behind the worlds of Howard’s other characters, like Solomon Kane, Bran Mak Morn and King Kull rests a macabre shadow, a world vision that is largely inspired by Howard’s correspondent, fellow contributor to the famous Weird Tales, and friend, H. P. Lovecraft.  The influence that Lovecraft had on the younger Howard was much greater than many recognize.
 Recently at a convention I asked L. Sprague de Camp, biographer of both Howard and Lovecraft, if he considered the Conan series to be part of what Derleth called “The Cthulhu Mythos”?.  Mr. de Camp only acknowledged a begrudged family resemble.  Though no one has claimed the Conan stories as part of the Cthulhu Mythos, that group of stories by HPL and his friends centered on Cthulhu and his kin, it does by proxy exist next to them.  One of the King Kull stories, “The Shadow Kingdom” (Weird Tales, August 1929) is a Mythos tale.  Kull lived in the age before Conan, thus, they exist in the same world, though at different times.  But this isn’t enough to place the Hyborian Age into the frame-work of the Mythos.  Howard did write at least six undisputed Cthulhu Mythos stories, “The Worms of the Earth” and “The Black Stone” being two of the best.  These tales name the beings of Lovecraft’s world, tell of new books and monsters, but none  feature the beloved Cimmerian.
 Howard’s concept of the supernatural in his fiction can be best summed up by this dialogue taken from “Shadows in the Moonlight” (Weird Tales, April 1934):  “‘What gods?’ he muttered./‘The nameless, forgotten ones.  Who knows?  They have gone back into the still waters of the lakes, the quiet hearts of the hills, the gulfs beyond the stars.  Gods are no more stable than men.’”
 Here we can see Howard has created a world that was once inhabited by wondrous and terrible creatures but most have fled, leaving only a few remote survivors, much as Lovecraft (or August Derleth) wrote: “All my stories … are based on the fundamental lore or legend that this world was inhabited at one time by another race who, in practicing black magic, lost their foothold and were expelled, yet live on outside ever ready to take possession of this earth again.”  Unlike HPL’s protagonists, Howard’s humans do not quail and go mad, but hurl steel and muscle against the unsettling forces of the supernatural — and one of the mightiest of these combatants is Conan. This key difference is the point of divergence for these two masters of weird fiction.
 In the de Camp edited tale “The Vale of Lost Women” (Magazine of Horror, Spring 1967) Conan shows us this underlying difference as he tells of the minions of the Dark:
 “A god,” she whispered.  “The Black people spoke of it — a god from far away and long ago!”
 “A devil from the Outer Dark,” he grunted.  “Oh, they’re nothing uncommon.  They lurk as thick as fleas outside the belt of light which surrounds this world.  I’ve heard the wise men of Zamora talk of them.  Some find their way to Earth, but when they do they have to take on some earthly form and flesh of some sort.  A man like myself, with a sword, is a match for any amount of fangs and talons, infernal or terrestrial…”
 How are such creatures to compare with: “   The thing can not be described — there is no language for such abysms of shrieking and immemorial lunacy, such eldritch contradictions of all matter, force, and cosmic order.” (“The Call of Cthulhu” 1926) Robert E. Howard wrote at a furious pace, making his living by knowing what editors of action-adventure magazines like Oriental Tales and Top-Notch wanted, often revising little or not at all.  He cannibalized names without much regard for past stories, knowing his audience cared little for such details.  The very first Conan story, not truly a tale of the Hyborian Age, was called “People of the Dark” (Strange Tales, June 1932) featuring a reincarnate Briton named ‘Conan of the reavers.’  Later, Howard would revise his unsold Kull story “By This Axe I Rule” featuring Conan the Cimmerian, beginning a series of seventeen stories to appear in Weird Tales between 1932 and 1936.  That Howard sold so many stories to the legendary pulp can only be attributed to the color with which he depicted the monster-haunted worlds of his imagination.  Few of the Conan tales lack some ‘squamous’ beast’ or ‘unearthly horror’, and those few that do feature other sorceries.
 In his revised tale, “Phoenix on the Sword” (Weird Tales, December 1932) Conan, while lost in dream, sees a strange unearthly place. “He shuddered to see the vast shadowy outlines of the Nameless Old Ones, and he knew somehow that mortal feet had not traversed the corridor for centuries.”  The similarity to the Great Old Ones, the Old Ones or Ancient Old Ones, of Lovecraft stories such as “At the Mountains of Madness”(1931) and “The Dreams in the Witch-House”(1932), which Howard may have seen in rough form, is obvious.
 Conan’s protector, Epemitrius the Sage, warns: “It is not against men I must shield you.  There are dark worlds barely guessed by man, wherein formless monsters stalk — fiends which may be drawn from the Outer Voids to take material shape and rend and devour at the bidding of evil magicians…”  Again a description that could as easily apply to HPL’s “The Call of Cthulhu”.
 The Nameless Old Ones may be the same Old Ones mentioned in “The Queen of the Black Coast” (Weird Tales, May 1934)
  “This was the temple of the old ones,” she said, “Look  — you can see the channels for the blood along the sides of the altar, and the rains of ten thousand years have not washed the dark stains from them.  The walls have all fallen away, but this stone block defies time and the elements.”
 “But who were these old ones?” demanded Conan.
 She spread her slim hands helplessly.  “not even in legendary is this city mentioned.”
  The monsters in Howard’s Conan stories are often very Lovecraftian in their repulsiveness.  Here in “The Slithering Shadow” (Weird Tales, September 1933) a horror stalks a city of opium dreamers.
  She saw a giant toad-like face, the features of which were dim and unstable as those of a specter seen in a mirror of nightmare.  Great pools of light that might have been eyes blinked at her, and she shook at the cosmic lust reflected there … Only the blinking toad-like face stood out with any distinctness.  The thing was a blur in to the sight, a black blot of shadow that normal radiance would neither dissipate nor illuminate…
 It towered above him like a clinging black cloud.  It seemed to flow about him.  His madly slashing saber sheared through it again and again, his ripping poinard tore and rent it; he was deluged with a slimy liquid that must have been its sluggish blood.  Yet its fury was no wise abated.
  What these descriptions show is that though it is never named as either a frog-like Servitor of the Outer Gods or a shoggoth (“The nightmare, plastic column of fetid, black iridescence oozed tightly onward … — a shapeless congerie of protoplasmic bubbles …”) it does bear a striking familiarity to both, difficult to see clearly, amorphous and black. These kinds of similarities can be found elsewhere.
 In “The Vale of Lost Women” Livia witnesses a decidedly Cthulhuian relative.
 … It hovered over her in the stars, dropping plummet-like earthward, its great wings spread over her; she lay in its shadow …Its wings were bat-like; but its body and the dim face that gazed down upon her were like nothing of sea or earth or air; she knew she looked upon ultimate horror, upon black, cosmic foulness born in the night-black gulfs beyond the reach of a mad-man’s wildest dreams.
  Yag Kosha, the imprisoned elephant being from “The Tower of the Elephant” (Weird Tales, January 1933) describes his people as travelling through space: “ …We swept through space on mighty wings that drove us through the cosmos quicker than light… But we could never return , for on earth our wings withered from our shoulders …”  A description that might apply equally to HPL’s Mi-Go in the “Whisperer in the Dark”(1930).  “The things come from another planet, being able to live in interstellar space and fly through it on clumsy, powerful wings which have a way of resisting the aether but which are too poor at steering to be of much use in helping them about on earth …”
 The beastly servants of Bit-Yakin in Howard’s “The Jewels of Gwahlur”(Weird Tales, March 1935) are faintly reminiscent of the Martenses in HPL’s “The Lurking Fear”(1922)
… He ate the food the priests brought as an offering to Yelaya, and his servants ate other things — I’ve always known there was a subterranean river flowing away from the lake where the people of the Puntish highlands throw their dead.  That river runs under this palace.  They have ladders hung over the water where they can hang and fish for the corpses that come floating through … At first they seemed like gray stone statues, those motionless shapes, hairy, man-like, yet hideously human; but their eyes were alive, cold sparks of gray icy fire.
 The fact that Howard mentions the eyes strongly suggests that “The Lurking Fear” may have been of influence, since it is the eyes in Lovecraft’s story that give it its final, terrifying clincher.
  What I saw in the glow of flashlight after I shot the unspeakable straggling object was so simple that almost a minute elapsed before I understood and went delirious.  The object was nauseous; a filthy whitish gorilla thing with sharp yellow fangs and matted fur.  It was the ultimate product of mammalian degeneration; the frightful outcome of isolated spawning, multiplication, and cannibal nutrition above and below the ground; the embodiment of all the snarling  and chaos  and grinning fear that lurk behind life.  It had looked at me as it died, and its eyes had the same odd quality that marked those other eyes which had stared at me underground and excited cloudy recollections.  One eye was blue, the other brown.  They were the dissimilar Martense eyes of the old legends, and I knew in one inundating cataclysm of voiceless horror what had become of that vanished family; the terrible and thunder-crazed house of Martense.
  With so many extraterrestrial beings invading Conan’s world, it is only fair to assume some scholarly mage has created the Hyborian Age’s equivalent of the dread Necronomicon.  The Book of Skelos is mentioned in “The Pool of the Black One” (Weird Tales, October 1933): “…He desired to learn if this island were indeed that mentioned in the mysterious Book of Skelos, wherein, nameless sagas —, strange monsters guard crypts filled with hieroglyphs — carved in gold.”  And in “The Devil in Iron” (Weird Tales, August 1934)  “…Conan had seen rude images of them, in miniature, among the idol-huts of the Yuetshi, and there was a description of them in the Book of Skelos , which drew on prehistoric sources.”
 One of most fascinating of Howard’s villain is Khosatral Khel from “The Devil In Iron”, a super-being with an Achilles’ Heel, which Conan discovers only in the nick of time.
 … he was seeing the transmutation of the being men called Khosatral Khel which crawled up from Night and the Abyss ages ago to clothe itself in the substance of the material universe … He became a blasphemy against all nature, for he had never known the pulse and stir of animate being … Strange and grisly were his servants, called from the dark corners of the planet where grim survivals of forgotten ages yet lurked.  His house in Dagon was connected with every other house by tunnels through which his shaven-headed priests bore victims for sacrifice.
  Here Howard clearly labels Khosatrel Khel as a terrible survival from another age, quite possibly one of Lovecraft’s other ages.  The use of the name ‘Dagon’ seems to be another allusion to Lovecraft’s 1917 story of the same name. Though the references are never overt, the Conan stories are filled with Lovecraftian atmosphere.  The best example is the strange inhabitants of Xuchotl in “Red Nails” (Weird Tales, July-October 1936). Though not stated, the story has a weird quality reminiscent of HPL, as does the insidious “crawler”, the giant devil-worm equated to Zogthuu in “Black Abyss”(a Kull story), and the Worm in Howard’s Mythos tale, “The Valley of the Worm” by Karl Edward Wagner in his excellent pastiche The Legion from the Shadows (1976).
 Conan was Howard’s last and greatest character.  The strong Lovecraftian elements shown in his early work had begun to fade with these final stories.  Perhaps with “Beyond the Black River”, his last completed Hyborian tale, Howard leaves Lovecraft behind for good, substituting his own Texas locale and American history into the background.  Ultimately this change had to occur with the divergent ideas in the Howard’s and Lovecraft’s fictional goals.  The world of Conan is a world of magic and muscle in conflict, a place where Lovecraft never dwelt.
   Carter, Lin.  Lovecraft: A Look Behind the Cthulhu Mythos.  New York, NY: Ballantine Books, 1972.
   Howard, Robert E.  Conan. New York, NY: ACE Books, 1967
   —————— Conan the Adventurer.  New York, NY: ACE Books, 1966.
   —————— Conan the Cimmerian.  New York, NY: ACE Books, 1969.
   —————— Conan the Freebooter.  New York, NY: ACE Books, 1968.
   —————— Conan the Usurper.  New York, NY: ACE Books, 1967.
   —————— The Dark Man and Others.  New York, NY: Lancer Books, 1963.
   —————— King Kull.  New York, NY: Lancer Books, 1967.
   —————— People of the Black Circle.  New York, NY: Putnam, 1977
   —————— Red Nails.  New York, NY: Putnam, 1977.
   Lovecraft, Howard Phillips. The Best of H. P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre. New York, NY: Ballantine Books, 1963.
   ————————— The Lurking Fear and Other Stories.  New York, NY: Ballantine Books, 1971.

   ————————— At the Mountains of Madness and Other Tales of Terror.  New York, NY: Ballantine Books, 1971.
This article originally appears here

The Whisperer in Darkness – Trailer

The Whisperer in Darkness is a 2011 independent film based on the H. P. Lovecraft short story of the same name, directed and produced by Sean Branney, Andrew Leman, and David Robertson and distributed by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society. It was shot using Mythoscope, a blend of vintage and modern filming techniques intended to produce the look of a 1930s-era film. According to the film’s website, the filmmakers intended to capture the look of “classic horror films of the 1930s like Dracula, Frankenstein and King Kong”