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HP Lovecraft and His Work

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  • No pain: write, write-on, krakenten!
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    • Ah, Hell! seems the Lovecraft/Ancient Astronauts thing has already been noted and discussed in Wikipaedia!

      Just another illustration of Lovecraft's power in literature. The test of fantastic fiction is seeing it taken for fact.

      The writing is less than stellar, but the ideas are pretty important.

      People will jeer at Stephen King-like he cares-but the man has sold a lot of books. People have enjoyed them(me among 'em). His work has considerable merit, and it's unpredictable as the deuce.

      And he acknowledges a debt to HPL.

      When an author's fiction is often cited as fact, said author is doing SOMETHING right, doncha think?

      And now, I will open the NECRONOMICON-for the newbies, it means Book of the Customs/Laws of the Dead-scatter some of thje Powder of Ibn Ghjazi and set about trying to revisit the Mythos very strange country. One of my old editors is interested in perhaps reviving the auld magazine

      He commands, and I obey.

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      • Originally posted by krakenten View Post
        Ah, Hell! seems the Lovecraft/Ancient Astronauts thing has already been noted and discussed in Wikipaedia!
        One person is behind this alleged connection. Click through to the entry for the book ("The Morning of the Magicians") that is supposed to link Lovecraft's aliens to von Daniken's "theories" and learn the evidence consists of claiming ideas in "The Morning..." are "so close" to those of Lovecraft that it is "probable" his works directly inspired it.

        That's thinner than a whippoorwill's wing feather.

        P.S. If you're a PC user, press the "Ctrl" and "I" buttons at the same time to turn italics off (or on). Alternatively, look for "B I U" up in the left corner of the text editor and click the I.
        Last edited by Heresiologist; 03-16-2015, 11:39 PM.

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        • Thank you, Mr. H!

          As to this connection, it seems quite probable to me. In the Goblin Universe, it doesn't take much to start a legend.

          Once started, it never really ends-it just lies quiet for a while, until someone revives it.

          Then it'll rampage around the world of spookery for a while, before being debunked again.

          Witness the Vile Vortex farrago recently brought forth-again-by the History Channel. Originally the brainchild of Ivan Sanderson, it was published in the sensational part of 'Argosy' magazine, they loved paranormal stories.

          It was supposed to tie in with the Bermuda Triangle. Except, when the vile vortex map was drawn, many of the locations were free of paranormal reports. The theory(read crock) sputtered and quietly died.

          It was not forgotten, though. These things never are.

          Lovecraft dreamed some powerful dreams.

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          • In support of my statement, I would mention the Eternal Ice Theory, again.

            This began with an epiphany-there never was any evidence-and soon found itself a part of orthodox Nazi science.

            Nazi science, like Soviet science was bad,full of wishful thinking and half-baked ideas. Himmler was easily lead by these ideas, and being sort of Hitler's court magician, well, the rest is history.

            Lovecraft's imaginary cosmos didn't spring forth without help. He seems to have had a good grounding in Classical myth, perhaps in the Celtic otherworld, too. HPL knew the works of Chambers, Bierce, Poe and Machen quite well-he used them to bolster his Mythos.

            And none of it has one shred of actual evidence, it's folklore, moonshine and sighs. But, oh, lordamassey, is it complex! And full of alternate versions, contradictions and inconsistancies, too. Rather like the Bible, if you read too much of it at a sitting.(how did Judas die?).

            If a tale, no matter how fantastic, falls upon willing ears, it will gather power. Just like Flying Saucers-a disinformation operation designed to discourage citizens from taking note of things they saw in the sky.

            Muddy waters can conceal much-and remember, the SR-71 and U2 flew in the early sixties. We've been had!

            I was there for the birth of the Mothman-and see what a mighty crock that has become. Just one book, and a confused one at that, spawns a cycle of myth in a few decades. The movie was good....

            This is Goblinland, the rules are strange here.

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            • I hope I didn't bore anyone, tooooo much.

              I learned from this discussion. It sent me on paths I did not suspect existed.And for my final statement:

              I do not believe in the supernatural-but I do acknowledge the preternatural (things we don't understand, yet.)

              I know that HPL was a racists. But he's DEAD.

              The impact of HPL on literature is considerable-we revere Hemingway, for all his faults, why not HPL?

              HPL is a cultural force-there are several businesses dedicated to producing Lovecraft themed items. Some of this must be credited to the gaming community, who embraced the Cthulhu Mythos.

              The legacy of HPL goes on-it's become a trope, and can serve to frame a story. Not too many authors ever do that.

              And so, as I prepare to enter my Mi-Go brain cylinder and depart for the Ghooric Zone, I wish to thank all who contributed so courteously to my pomo ravings and helped me see some truth.
              Cthulhu F'taghn

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              • I've found a handle on my thoughts. I did a "Thought Experiment", as Einstein did, and took a journeyto the heart of the weird.

                My conclusion(the unified field is still beyond my grasp,alas) is that the whole thing has been manufactured. Total buzunga, fore and aft.

                So many of these incidents are humbugs-news stories whipped up on slow days to sell papers. Notice, they always occur a long way off from where they are reported? In the pre-internet days, cross checking such stories was difficult, now, the reports can be exploded in hours.

                (Example: W.C. Fields, to a sucker, "Ah, yes, it was in Woonsocket, Rhode Island...Ever been to Woonsocket? "Why yes, I was born in Woonsocket!", a frown by Fields, "Well, perhaps it was Lizard Lick, North Carolina, then....)

                Or the scientific approach, with the meters and instruments. What proof is there that these devices actually detect 'paranormal' activity? None.

                There's the famous restless coffins of Barbados-I managed to find a picture of said vault, and it's fairly easy to see that it would be prone to flooding in tropical rains. Also, there was the layer of fine sand put down to detect people entering the vault. If the chamber flooded slowly, and drained naturally, the sand might well have appeared undisturbed.

                Almost all reports of 'supernatural' incidents are inflated by reporters and authors who trim the story to fit, and omit inconvenient facts.

                Ambrose Bierce, who was a pretty good journalist' wrote at least one story I have seen cited as fact. It appears that Lovecraft has influenced the entire genre, and that in turn, people think Lovecraft's stories are true.

                And would that have irked the lifelong atheist and materialist!

                Just a few days ago, I began a story about the Black Knight Object, a farrago so obscure that nobody knows when it started, or where the name came from.

                There's so much bull-jive associated with this thing, it could almost be true! Look it up, my hands are tiring.

                "sides, the tales are so much more fun!

                If I had invested any belief(besides a very healthy skepticism) in this stuff, today, I would be crushed.

                Until the next great mystery came along.

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                • At one point, the idea of "crystal skulls" was really an obscure little corner of unusual artifacts connected with both alien origin and supernatural origins. It grew, with a very close correlation to the growth of the internet, to a fairly common story among the paranormal. It grew until crystal skulls became the theme of the only Indiana Jones movie i did not see.

                  Same with many tales and locations of the paranormal. In the last two decades we have all been able to see thousands of hours of "research" into ghosts and whatnot, beasties what go bump in the night. To me, the glaring point of ALL these "investigations" has been that there exists no proper instrumentality to detect, record or quantify ANY of these phenomenae. Why would an infra-red camera be any better than a set of eyeballs to "see a ghost"? How about all the medical and psychological tools that DO exist and detect, record and quantify all of the indices they are designed to detect, and do so reliably and across paradigms of testing? MRIs and PET scans, for example, seem to work just fine.

                  They simply do not detect the paranormal. Remember "ectoplasm"? That was a very big deal. Especially to the charlatans who made lots of money from inventing or buying what was, essentially, a fog machine. Now, fog machines can be rented at party stores or rock concert equippers. All the very literal bells and whistles of the Victorian Era through WW2 connected with seances, paranormal phenomenon, talking to the dead and so forth have been pretty thoroughly debunked. As a psychologist (my primary occupation before my back exploded and prevented any useful work) the array of the paranormal has always been a part of my studies. One of my favorite teachers, Louise Ludwig, was a fairly big-time researcher into the paranormal, ESP, all the Sixties-on left-wing radical frippery; out of which came some very pertinent and useful research and results.

                  One early-on discovery was when I was working (among any student jobs I could grab - they paid poorly) as psychology lab dude. Tiny "lab", partly under a stairwell, no animals, some very basic equipment; an EEG, EKG, a couple of oscilloscopes that made pretty patterns and reminded people of The Outer Limits, chalkboards and, yeah, we could control the lights. One big study was attaining an alpha state - as determined on reading active EEG. Could one do so? How? This was 1971, practically the Stone Age. In short what was found was that an alpha state could be attained at will, with equal success in using prayer, meditation or the new technique that was being researched - biofeedback.

                  What has this to do with Lovecraft, other than my English teacher (who became a good friend) kept calling me "Lovecraft" as an aberration of my last name. Heck, even Mike made that mistake once! It was hilarious! This was part of the overall big interest in research at the time, altered states of consciousness. If one could achieve a quantified result such as the alpha state, and switch between this and a normal level of beta activity such as is seen in the normal waking mind and then back again, might not humans be able to generate much different and not so quantifiable states of mind and/or mood by and at will? What does this say about schizophrenia and other psychoses? Could psychosis be controlled? This was thrilling research to me, one of the reasons I pursued the field. We really were digging into the magic of the world! Sure, almost all of it was illusion or plain misunderstanding what was going on, but what about those tiny obscure nuggets of the unexplained?

                  We cannot know what substances HPL was exposed to, what might have been in his food, the air, or what he may have ingested on purpose. One thing we do know is that he isolated himself particularly when writing, and made definite and profound attempts to discipline his mind to produce what he called "visions" and "dreams". This is not at all different from a native American going on a vision quest, worshiping one's ancestors or having a friendly chat with a bush that happens to be on fire. The point is he secluded himself as well as he could without an isolation tank. I have no doubt whatsoever he produced plenty of "visions" "dreams" "nightmares" and the like. What may be unique is that he continued to function in a fairly normal manner, continued to learn and change, and also managed to not only write the result of these imaginings but to do so through a filter of what we might call "sane logic".

                  HPL may have had his personal shortcomings; don't we all? He also had some unique strengths. I doubt that in this time of somewhat better psychiatry (I strongly believe the whole field remains at the "stone knives and bearskins" level compared with what we could be doing) HPL would have become any more than a recluse with a tendency towards hypergraphia. He would have been "treated" at a young age right away from becoming an author of the mythic. That would have been seen as "symptoms".

                  Long post, but we've been discussing a complicated topic for a good while. I don't think we're quite finished, either.
                  Last edited by Miqque; 03-26-2015, 01:45 PM.
                  Miqque
                  ... just another sailor on the seas of Fate, dogpaddling desperately ...

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                  • The Crystal Skulls were another product of Argosy Magazine's Spookery.

                    There are small factories in Mesoamerica that turn out these skulls in batch lots-the Argosy spookytime crew were never much concerned with the truth-entertainment was the watchword.

                    They gave us the vile vortex, the crystal skulls and as I remember, bunch of Bigfoot bunkum.

                    Suddenly, this stuff is making sense-I always knew that it was kinda hinkey, and never really believed it(not after I turned 21 or so).

                    Behold, so great a deluge from so small a fount!

                    Gives a guy pause.

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                    • Oh, yes, as far as HPL was concerned, the boy was tetched.

                      Both his Mother and Father died in the loony-bin(probably syphillis).

                      He spent perhaps too much time in his Grand-daddy's private library, absorbing strange tales, many from "The Arabian Nights" This explains the strong middle-eastern elements in the Mythos.

                      Doesn't matter much, he was tetched, and that was that!

                      Be that as it may, his prose and ideas will go on for a long time.

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                      • Originally posted by krakenten View Post
                        Oh, yes, as far as HPL was concerned, the boy was tetched.

                        Both his Mother and Father died in the loony-bin(probably syphillis).
                        In the case of his father, probably yes. In the case of his mother, no.

                        He spent perhaps too much time in his Grand-daddy's private library, absorbing strange tales, many from "The Arabian Nights" This explains the strong middle-eastern elements in the Mythos.
                        Most of the stuff he read in Whipple's library was fairly conventional: Johnson, Addison, Steele, Pope, Gray's Anatomy, textbooks on astronomy.

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                        • Originally posted by Miqque View Post
                          We cannot know what substances HPL was exposed to, what might have been in his food, the air, or what he may have ingested on purpose.
                          Sugar. And ONE time, on a visit to his oculist to remove some crap from his eye, a tiny smidge of cocaine.

                          One thing we do know is that he isolated himself particularly when writing, and made definite and profound attempts to discipline his mind to produce what he called "visions" and "dreams".
                          Well... "The Shunned House" was actually written or at least started during a walk. It wasn't that uncommon for im to write outdoors -- particularly letters. As for disciplining his mind to produce visions -- apart from his love of nightly walks that would obscure the signs of the modern age, and his preference of drawing the curtains so that he could pretend he was surrounded by the 18th century, I can't recall anything in particular.

                          I doubt that in this time of somewhat better psychiatry (I strongly believe the whole field remains at the "stone knives and bearskins" level compared with what we could be doing) HPL would have become any more than a recluse with a tendency towards hypergraphia.
                          HPL wasn't a recluse. For example, the very first time he met E. Hoffmann Price -- without even prior correspondence -- they spent 25 1/2 hours talking. He went to amateur journalist conventions, travelled up and down the eastern seaboard to visit his friends, and hung out with the Kalem Club almost every day while living in New York.

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                          • He was tetched!

                            He wasn't a shrieking loon, but he was indeed odd-people who write horror stories(even Stephen King) usually are. That's where the magic comes from.

                            To me, it seems like a line that runs from Poe, to Bierce, then to Lovecraft. King is at the head of that line, just now. Over simplified, for the sake of clarity.

                            Lovecraft thought of himself as a science fiction author-August Derleth brought previous notions back into the Mythos, alas, and twisted things. The whole concept was mauled by the weird-for-the-sake-of-weird vogue of the sixties, but managed to find its feet again.

                            We forget that there was a long dry spell in Lovecraftian matters, when a few people, like Gahan Wilson kept the whole thing afloat. The movie of 'The Dunwich Horror' was one of the few major Mythos outings, the whole thing was becoming obscure. It took me fifteen years to get hold of a copy of 'The King in Yellow' Dover press came through, they also provided me with 'Au Rebors and ''La Bas".

                            Then the gamers discovered Cthulhu, and everything changed.

                            This kind of fiction is buggardly hard to write well-even parody is difficult. I wrote a lot of it, and most of it was dung. But I've seen worse.

                            Tim Powers gifted us with ''Declare'', and the Mythos bloomed again. Charles Stross put Bob Howard on the board(I love those stories, and cannot tell you why)and Ian Tregellis brought forth his exquisite Milkweed Trilogy. Anyone who hasn't read that one, really ought to.

                            As for myself, poor soul that I am, I think the future of the Mythos is in the madness, paranoia and excess of the Cold War, and the Terror War.

                            This is an Age of Horror!

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                            • Originally posted by Ningauble View Post
                              Originally posted by Miqque View Post
                              I doubt that in this time of somewhat better psychiatry (I strongly believe the whole field remains at the "stone knives and bearskins" level compared with what we could be doing) HPL would have become any more than a recluse with a tendency towards hypergraphia.
                              HPL wasn't a recluse. For example, the very first time he met E. Hoffmann Price -- without even prior correspondence -- they spent 25 1/2 hours talking. He went to amateur journalist conventions, travelled up and down the eastern seaboard to visit his friends, and hung out with the Kalem Club almost every day while living in New York.
                              I seem to remember reading that HP walked a 10 mile round trip in order to get his favourite ice cream.

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                              • Last night, after I drifted off to sleep while watching '12 Monkeys'-a good show, but I was exhausted-I woke up again, and had a thought.

                                Intelligent design. Lovecraft thought of Intelligent Design-an idea that has bankrupted a school district near my old home town. From my recent researches(strictly amateur and not to be trusted), HPL's ideas have lurked in the culture, then come forth in surprising forms.

                                Of course, it might be the other way around, HPL was exposed to the Intelligent Design theory and folded it into his Mythos, I have no idea how old the theory is.

                                Evolution makes a lot of sense, but when you see the variety of life forms on Earth, and the many strategies for survival they use it's quite difficult to put it down to chance.

                                Time is the key.

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