Bram Stoker – The man behind ‘Dracula’

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Abraham Stoker or Bram Stoker as most ‘Dracula’ fans know him, was born the 8th of November 1847. He died in 1912 at the age of 64. He Is an Irish author best known for the novel ‘Dracula.’  He published ‘Dracula’ at the age of 50. Bram spent the early part of his childhood confined to his bed because of a mysterious illness. Looking back on this part of his life Bram mentions that “I was naturally thoughtful, and the leisure of long illness gave opportunity for many thoughts which were fruitful according to their kind in later years.” Bram married Florence Balcome and they had only one child together. This child they named Irving.

Here are some interesting facts about Bram Stoker:

Bram Stoker was the third child of seven.

Even though bed-ridden for most of his childhood he later on excelled in athletics being named University Athlete at Trinity College in Dublin.

Before Florence Balcome married Bram Stoker she actually had another suitor interested in her. His name was Oscar Wilde. Florence chose to be with Bram instead of Oscar. This left Oscar upset enough that he left the country.

Henry Irving and Bram Stoker became close friends. This happened when Bram wrote a review of Hamlet that impressed Henry. A few years later Bram ended up managing Henry Irving’s theatre and career.

‘Dracula’ was inspired by an essay written by Emily Gerard called ‘Transylvania Superstitions.’ Stoker himself had never visited Eastern Europe so he spent a lot of time on research, 7 years in fact.

‘Dracula’ was originally titled ‘The Un-dead’ and ‘Count Dracula’ was originally going to be called ‘Count Wampyr.’

‘Dracula’ wasn’t the first story ever written about vampires. The story ‘Camilla’ written by Sheridan Le Fanu was about a lesbian vampire who stalked young women in 1871. There also happened to be a horror series by James Malcolm Rymer called ‘Varney the Vampire,’ that also came before ‘Dracula.’

Walt Whitman was one of his favourite authors.

Bram’s death didn’t attract much attention in 1912 because it was around the same time as the Titanic hit an iceberg. The Titanic was big news at the time.

There are many different opinions on what the final cause of Bram’s death was. Daniel Farson, Bram Stoker’s grandnephew says in his biography the cause of death was Locomotor Ataxy – know in those days as general paralysis of the insane.

Check out some of Bram Stokers other writing:

The Snakes Pass

Seven Golden Buttons

The Watter’s Mou

The Lair of the White Worm

The Lady of the Shroud

The Jewel of the Seven Stars

The Shoulder of Shasta

The Man (A.K.A The Gates of Life)

Lady Athlyne

The Mystery of the Sea

 

Short Stories:

Under the Sunset (Eight fairy tales for children)

Snowbound: The Record of a Theatrical Touring Party

Dracula’s Guests and Other Weird Stories

 

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James Herbert – The Man Who Knows How To Write An Exceptional Chiller!

James Herbert

James John Herbert was born on the 8th of April, 1943 in London, England. James is a horror/chiller writer with more than 54 million copies of his books sold worldwide. James left school at the early age of 15, but later on went to study at the Hornsey College of Art. After graduating he went on to join a small advertising agency.

In 1974 James published his first novel called The Rats which became an instant success. A lot of people were very critical of The Rats saying that it wasn’t literature. The readers of the time were appalled by the vivid depictions of death and violence that James had written. From this point forward James went on to write a book nearly every year.

James died on the 20th March 2013 at the age of 69. He is survived by a wife and three daughters.

Here are some interesting facts about James Herbert:

James designed many of his own book covers, this may be from the benefit of having worked at an advertising agency.

Herbert was afraid of the dark as a child, but later on in life his real fear was spiders.

In 2010 James was made Grand Master of Horror by the World Horror Convention and given an award by Stephen King.

James was also awarded Officer of the Order of the British Empire, giving him the title of OBE.

Supposedly he would make sure he was finished writing every night at 6 in time to watch The Simpsons and drink a glass of Vodka.

Four of his novels have been made into films. The Rats, The Survivor, Fluke and Haunted.

James never read any of his own books.

Something that Stephen King once said about his writing: “Herbert was by no means literary, but his work had a raw urgency… His best novels, The Rats and The fog, had the effect of Mike Tyson in his championship days: no finesse, all crude power. Those books were best sellers because many readers (including me) were too horrified to put them down.”

 

Some writing by James Herbert you should check out:

Novels

Ash            The Fog                The Rats                        The Magic Cottage                    Fluke

The Survivor                   The Dark                 Shrine                      The Spear                     The Jonah                   Lair

Moon                 Nobody True                   Haunted                  Domain                  Sepulchre              

Portent                  The Secret of Crickley Hall                Once                  Creed                   The Ghosts of Sleath

’48                 Others       

 

Short Stories

They Don’t Like Us                    Breakfast                  Maurice and Mog             

Halloweens Child                 Cora’s Needs                   Extinct

 

Bell Night

 

 

 

The Stephen King of Children’s Books: R .L. Stine

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Robert Lawrence Stine was born on October 8th 1943. Many people will know him as the author of many children’s series like, Goosebumps, Mostly Ghostly, Fear Street, and The Nightmare Room. Robert began writing at the age of 9 when he discovered a typewriter in his attic. Roberts father was a shipping clerk at a warehouse and his mother would stay at home to look after the children. Robert had two other siblings.

He later went on to achieve a degree of a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in English. He then moved to New York and became a writer and editor. His books have now sold over 400 million copies worldwide.

Some interesting facts about R. L. Stine that you may not have known:

His mother would read scary stories to him as a child like the original version of Pinocchio.

When he was a child he wanted to become a cartoonist.

Something strange about Robert is that the only green thing that he will eat is green mint ice-cream.

Supposedly Robert doesn’t have a very good memory.

Robert tried to make sure that he was writing every day when he was a teenager.

Robert wrote his first book in 1986 and it was called Blind Date.

In 1986 he wrote a children’s book called Miami Mice

Stine is married to a Jane Waldhorn and they have a son together and his name is Matt Stine.

Some writing you should certainly check out by Robert is:

Space Cadets

Jerks-in-Training                  Losers in Space           Bozos on Patrol

Goosebumps Series 2000

Cry of the Cat           Bride of the Living Dummy                  Creature Teacher

Invasion of the Body Squeezers, Part I                        Invasion of the Body Squeezers, Part II

I Am Your Evil Twin             Revenge R Us                 Fright Camp

Are You Terrified Yet?             Headless Halloween          Attack of the Graveyard Ghouls           Brain Juice

Return to HorrorLand          Jekyll and Heidi          Scream School         The Mummy Walks

The Werewolf in the Living Room         Horrors of the Black Ring        Return to Ghost Camp

Be Afraid – Be Very Afraid!       The Haunted Car           Full Moon Fever      Slappy’s Nightmare

Earth Geeks Must Go!          Ghost in the Mirror

Give Yourself Goosebumps

Escape from the Carnival of Horror         Tick Tock, You’re Dead!         Trapped in Bat Wing Hall

The Deadly Experiments of Dr. Eeek      Night in Werewolf Woods          Beware of the Purple Peanut Butter

Under the Magician’s Spell          The Curse of the Creeping Coffin       The Knight in Screaming Armor

Diary of a Mad Mummy         Deep in the Jungle of Doom        Welcome to the Wicked Wax Museum

Scream of the Evil Genie       The Creepy Creations of Professor Shock      Please Don’t Feed the Vampire!

Secret Agent Grandma        Little Comic Shop of Horrors       Attack of the Beastly Baby-sitter

Escape from Camp Run-for-Your-Life       Toy Terror: Batteries Included          The Twisted Tale of Tiki Island

Return to the Carnival of Horrors              Zapped in Space          Lost in Stinkeye Swamp

Shop Till You Drop…Dead!         Alone in Snakebite Canyon        Checkout Time at the Dead-End Hotel

Night of a Thousand Claws           Invaders from the Big Screen           You’re Plant Food!

The Werewolf of Twisted Tree Lodge          It’s Only a Nightmare           It Came from the Internet

Elevator to Nowhere        Hocus-Pocus Horror            Ship of Ghouls

Escape from Horror House        Into the Twister of Terror          Scary Birthday to You

Zombie School         Danger Time           All-Day Nightmare

Give Yourself Goosebumps: Special Edition

Into the Jaws of Doom          Return to Terror Tower          Trapped in the Circus of Fear

One Night in Payne House        The Curse of the Cave Creatures

Revenge of the Body Squeezers        Trick or…Trapped!         Weekend at Poison Lake

 

Fear Street

The New Girl     The Surprise Party      The Overnight          Missing

The Wrong Number        The Sleepwalker         Haunted      Halloween Party

The Stepsister     Ski Weekend        The Fire Game         Lights Out

The Secret Bedroom         The Knife         The Prom Queen

First Date        The Best Friend         The Cheater        Sunburn

The New Boy       The Dare       Bad Dreams       Double Date

The Thrill Club         One Evil Summer       The Mind Reader

Wrong Number 2        Truth or Dare             Dead End

Final Grade          Switched         College Weekend           The Stepsister 2

What Holly Heard       The Face         Secret Admirer       The Perfect Date

The Confession          The Boy Next Door       Night Games         Runaway

Killer’s Kiss        All-Night Party          The Rich Girl            Cat

Fear Hall: The Beginning        Fear Hall: The Conclusion

Who Killed The Homecoming Queen?        Into The Dark      Best Friend 2

Trapped

 

New Fear Street

The Stepbrother         Camp Out

Scream, Jennifer, Scream!          The Bad Girl

 

Fear Street Super Chiller

Party Summer         Silent Night        Goodnight Kiss

Broken Hearts         Silent Night 2      The Dead Lifeguard

Cheerleaders: The New Evil         Bad Moonlight

The New Year’s Party        Goodnight Kiss 2          Silent Night 3

High Tide        Cheerleaders: The Evil Lives!

 

 

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George R R Martin: The Master of Character Writing

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George Raymond Richard Martin was born in Bayonne, New Jersey, USA on September 20th 1948. He is a fantasy, sci-fi and horror writer most recognised for his books A Song of Ice and Fire. These books became an epic fantasy series which is also now a television show called Game of Thrones.

George developed an early appreciation for stories and story writing. As a child he would sell his writing to other children of his neighbourhood. George also liked to watch television shows such as The Twilight Zone and Thriller. In his teenage years George had an avid interest in comic books and enjoyed creating new superheroes of his own.  George went on after high school to the Northwestern University, Evanston, Illionois to earn his degree in Journalism. During this time he sold his first professional story to Galaxy. This story was called The Hero.

George met his first wife Gale Burnick while at a science fiction convention. They became divorced in 1979 and had no children. In February 2011, George married his second wife Parris McBride.

Here are some interesting facts about George R R Martin that you may not have known:

George is against fan fiction and believes that it is stealing someone else’s work and that it is not something that aspiring writers should get into.

George likes to collect little medieval figurines.

He has read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and enjoyed it.

George has a deep affection for wolves. He is a supporter of the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary in New Mexico. If you have read some of his books, you will also notice a large presence of wolves throughout them.

George during the Vietnam War was drafted but instead of going to war opted to do alternative service work for two years.

George is a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

George has made sure over the years to make a regular appearance at conventions for his fans.

Supposedly George has told the producers of Game of Thrones all the plots and twists coming up in case he dies before he finishes the books.

One of the many reasons George R R Martins books have become so popular is because of his complex characters and in-depth story lines. Unlike many other writers his characters are not black and white, straight good vs. evil. He has managed to let the very essence of humanity shine through in his character descriptions.

Some of George R R Martins writing that you should check out:

Fevre Dream               Windhaven           Dying of the Light                 A Song for Lya 

Hunter’s Run                Sandkings                    Songs the Dead Men Sing          Nightflyers

Tuf Voyaging              Portraits of His Children                The Hedge Knight            

The Sworn Sword          The Mystery Knight                 Quartet                   

 Songs of Stars and Shadows       The Armeggedon Rag                 

A Game of Thrones                  A Clash of Kings              

A Storm of Swords               A Feast for Crows                   A Dance with Dragons           

The Winds of Winter                A Dream of Spring                        Dream Songs

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Richard Matheson – We Will Remember You!

 

Richard Matheson

Richard Burton Matheson passed away June 23 this year (2013) at the age of 87. It is always sad to hear when a great author dies. For those of you who didn’t have the pleasure of knowing much about Richard Matheson here is an article dedicated to him:

Richard Burton Matheson was born in Allendale, New Jersey, USA on February 20th 1926. He was a writer best known in the genres of horror, fantasy and science fiction. His most well-known novels also turned into films would be I Am Legend, The Twilight Zone, The Shrinking Man and Hell House.

Richard was the third child of Norwegian immigrants of Bertolf Matheson and Fanny Matheson. Richard published his first short story in The Brooklyn Eagle when he was 8 years old. After graduating high school in 1943, Richard went on to join the military. He served as an infantry soldier during World War II. Then he studied a Bachelor of Journalism at Missouri University. The first story he made money from was Born of Man and Woman. This was published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Richard then went on in the years after to write many popular novels and screenplays.

“He is one of the most important writers of the 20th Century” – Ray Bradbury

Here are some facts that you may not have known about Richard Matheson:

His novel The Beardless Warriors described some of his experiences from war.

Something that Richard said in an interview about George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead: “… I watched it one night on television and thought to myself, gee, that’s awfully close to I am Legend. He I guess prefers to believe that it’s just derivation, but it seems pretty close to me.”

He married his wife Ruth Ann Woodson in 1952

The story Duel was inspired from an incident in 1963 after Richard was tailgated by a truck. It started when he was playing a game of golf and heard the news of President J.F.Kennedy being assassinated. He stopped playing his game and began to return home. On his journey home a truck tailgated him for a long period of time. Duel was then later adapted for a television-movie by Spielberg. This was the beginning of Spielberg’s career.

He nearly wrote the screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. Richard didn’t agree with Hitchcock about the actual birds. Richard believed that the audience shouldn’t see the birds very often. Where as Hitchcock wanted them seen a lot.

Richard came up with the idea for I Am Legend when he was 16 after seeing Dracula. He didn’t write the book until 1952.

Something that Richard said about screen-writing once: “One of my pet peeves is the fact that when people win awards – Academy Awards, notably – if it’s based on a novel, they never mention it. It’s as if the novel never existed. The screenwriter acts as if he’s made it up out of his own head. Sometimes even the director acts as if he’s made it up out of his own head. It’s an ego problem, of course, but it’s tremendously unfair as well.

Richard had four children and three of them have become writers.

Richard Matheson has left a great mark on the world. He will always be remembered.

Some of Richard Matheson’s writing that you should check out:

Novels

I Am Legend                               A Stir of Echoes                     Someone is Bleeding                    Fury on Sunday             7 Steps to Midnight

The Shrinking Man              Hell House                    Hunger and Thirst                              The Gunfight                   What Dreams May Come

The Beardless Warriors               Earthbound                Woman                Shadow on the Sun              Passion Play            Camp Pleasant     

Other Kingdoms                 Generations               Hunted Past Reason               Now You See It…          Abu and the 7 Marvels         

Come Fygures Come Shadowes

 

Short Stories

Born of Man and Woman                   The Test                   Blood Son                 Miss Stardust               Interest                  The Thing      

The Last Day              Deadline                Slaughter House              Wet Straw                Death Ship               The Edge            A Drink of Water

One for the Books            Pattern for Survival               The Holiday Man               The Doll                Getting Together         Shoo Fly

 

Films

Tales of Terror                 The Box               Real Steel               The Devil Rides Out            The Incredible Shrinking Man             House of Usher

The Young Warriors           Master of the World                 The Raven                   The Last Man on Earth               The Pit and the Pendulum

De Sade              Loose Cannons                 Fanatic            The Legend of Hell House             What Dreams May Come          Burn Witch Burn

The Comedy of Terrors       

 

Bell Night

 

Peter Straub: An author to add to your horror collection!

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Peter Francis Straub was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 2nd 1943. He is an author and poet, best known for his work in the genre of horror. He was the eldest of three sons, his mother was a nurse and his father was a salesman. Straub began his writing career by publishing two small books of poetry and by writing two novels in the 1970’s. These novels were called Marriages and Under Venus. These two novels were not very successful, but in spite of that Straub continued writing. A lot of Stephen King fans will recognise the name Peter Straub because of his collaboration with him on the novels The Talisman and Black House.

Here are some interesting facts that you may not have known about Peter Straub:

Fans will be excited to hear that there are rumours of Straub and King doing a third Talisman book.

Straub’s parents had higher ambitions for their son other than becoming a writer. Straub’s father wanted him to become a professional athlete.

Straub is a great fan of Jazz, Opera and other kinds of classical music.

His wife’s name is Susan.

When Straub was seven years old his was temporarily paralysed after being hit by a car. He was in a wheelchair for a little and had to re-learn how to walk. He early on became aware of his own mortality.

In 1981 his novel Ghost Story was loosely adapted into a film. One of the main actors in this film was Fred Astaire.

To name just some of Straub’s favourite authors: Stephen King, Raymond Chandler, Muriel Spark, Donald Harington and John Crowley.

Straub has had his novels translated into more than twenty languages.

Something wise that Straub once said: “I wish I’d known at the beginning that all I really had to do is trust myself. Everything would work out as if by magic once I actually leaned back into my imagination and just let it work, and not question it and not fret about it.”

If you are a horror fiction fan and need something new to read, pick up a book by Peter Straub. Well worth the read!

Novels to read:

Koko       

Ghost Story                

If You Could See Me Now                

Mystery

Shadowland          

Julia                   

The Throat               

The Hellfire Club        

Mr X.                 

Under Venus             

Marriages             

Floating Dragon      

Lost Boy, Lost Girl                

In the Night Room             

A Dark Matter

Peter Straub and Stephen King:

The Talisman                  

Black House

Poems:

Open Air                      

My Life in Pictures

Ishmael

Lesson Park and Belsize Square: Poems 1970 – 1975              

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Brian Lumley – Continuing on the Legacy of H.P. Lovecraft

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Brian Lumley was born December 2nd, 1937. Brian started off in the royal military police, and later on after he retired became the author he is today. While doing long shifts he would be reading his favourite literature. These books were usually of the macabre style, some of it good and some of it bad. This is when Brian decided that maybe he could write better than some of the authors works he was reading. His biggest influence and inspiration was H.P. Lovecraft. Brian started writing short stories based ‘after’ Lovecraft. These were published with great success. He then went on to write many other novels and stories. The series of novels that he is probably most famous for is the Necroscope series.

Here are some interesting facts about Brian Lumley that you may not know:

Brian Lumley tried to write under the pseudonym of Hagna S. Grey once, but was told by his publisher no, and that there was nothing wrong with his name. So unlike many authors, he decided to keep writing under his own name.

The death of Brian’s father inspired him to write Necroscope. Brian felt that he had missed out on many conversations with his father while he was alive. …”I would have like to tell him I loved him I suppose. So I went across to his local pub and brought two pints, one for him and one for me. I helped him drink  his, too, and I imagined I was talking to him. I got to tell him some of the stuff I should have told him a long time before. That was the germ of Necroscope. And the rest of it just growed.”

More than 13 countries have now published Necroscope and other stories by Brian Lumley. In America alone Necroscope has sold more than 3 million copies.

Brian Lumley loves to travel and has been to many different countries. These countries include: America, France, Italy, Cyprus, Germany, Malta, Canada, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Plus many of the Greek Islands.

If you haven’t read anything by Brian Lumley and you are a fan of H.P. Lovecraft than I strongly suggest you pick up one of his books and start reading!

Bell Night

Clive Barker – Not Just an Author!

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Clive Barker was born the 5th of October 1952. This author is best known for his horror and fantasy stories, many of which were turned into movies. The movies that he would be best known for are ‘Hellraiser’ and ‘Candyman’. The ‘Hellraiser’ series came from the novella ‘The Hellbound Heart’ and ‘Candyman’ came from a short story called ‘The Forbidden.’

Clive Barker started off in his career by publishing a collection of short stories called ‘Books of Blood. These soon became quite popular, which is unusual because short stories don’t normally kick-start a writer’s career. Clive Barker stated this also in an interview: …”I was surprised just because they were short stories and because the conventional wisdom of publishing says that you don’t publish short stories if you are unknown. So I was pleased and delighted by the response of those books.”

When these books first came there was a quote on the front covers by Stephen King saying: “I have seen the future of horror, his name is Clive Barker.” This is interesting considering later on in Clive Barker’s career he turns more towards fantasy.

Some interesting facts that you may not of known about Clive Barker:

At the age of four, he saw a french skydiver die during an air show in Liverpool. The skydiver’s name was Leo Valentin. Leo Valentin is referred to a few times in some of Barker’s stories.

Clive Barker has been openly gay since the 1990’s.

In 2012 Clive Barker went into an 11 day coma after a dentists visit caused blood poisoning. Hopefully this will have led to some interesting new stories.

Clive Barker is not only an author but also a painter, film director, screenwriter, actor, playwright, producer, visual artist and an illustrator. – It sounds a lot like he is Superman. Oh and he also created his own superhero comic books.

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Stephen King – An author everybody knows.

Stephen King

Stephen King is a name that even the most illiterate person knows. He has sold more than 350 million copies of his book and collaborated into turning most of these into movies and television shows. There is a reason people call him ‘The King of Horror.’

His first novel to be published was in 1974 called Carrie. Carrie is still to this day a huge success. The main character in this novel is a young, mistreated high school girl named Carrie, she develops telekenetic abilities and takes revenge on everyone that ever abused her. I’m sure something that many people would have liked to have done at one stage of their lives or another. Many of you have proabably seen and heard all this before, so I am going to tell you some interesting things about Stephen King that you might not know.

Stephen King is in a rock band called ‘Rock Bottom Remainders’ along with other writers like Matt Groening, Ridley Pearson and Dave Barry. Their motto is “We play music as well as Metallica writes novels.”

In the late 70’s or early 80’s, Stephen King wrote a series of novels under a pseudonym, Richard Bachman, this was an experiment to see if he could duplicate his own success again. He did.  Bachman was later exposed as King’s pseudonym. This led to a funny press release announcing the death of Bachman from ‘cancer of the pseudonym’. In 2007, King published an old manuscript of Bachman’s, Blaze, and announced that all proceeds would go the charity for ‘cancer of the pseudonym’, in memory of Richard.

Stephen King in 1999 was hit by a van not far from his house. He suffered from many injuries including a broken leg in 9 different places, a collapsed lung, a broken hip and a big gash to the head. After all this happened and he was better, he bought the van and attacked it with a baseball bat before sending it to a junkyard. You may have seen something similar in the television series Kingdom Hospital – also collaborated on by Stephen King.

He saw a friend get hit and killed by a train when he was a child.

Writing runs in the family for the Kings.

I hope you enjoyed learning something new from this post. If you haven’t already read anything by Stephen King, now is the time.

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An Author that Precedes Time and Space

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An author that precedes time and space. This person sounds like a time traveller right? Well in a way this writer is a time traveller. Lovecraft is a name that you may very well of heard of before today. Howard Phillips Lovecraft was born August 20th 1890 and died March 15 1937. He lived a short life of 47, yet accomplished so much within that frame of time. His wisdom in words indicated a knowledgeable man of perhaps 1000 years old that had seen and done extraordinary things. From another point of view this could have been a boy of 10 years old, that had a limitless imagination spanning the distance of the universe and beyond. H.P. Lovecraft was an author of horror, sci-fi and fantasy, even creating his own sub genre called weird fiction. The reason he was such a great author was due to the fact that his words flowed with a life of their own. It was a shame that the people of his era couldn’t truly appreciate or understand his writing, let alone the people of the 21st century. We are only scratching the surface in beginning to understand what a literary genius Lovecraft was. Here is a short story by H.P. Lovecraft called From Beyond:

Horrible beyond conception was the change which had taken place in my best friend, Crawford Tillinghast. I had not seen him since that day, two months and a half before, when he told me toward what goal his physical and metaphysical researches were leading; when he had answered my awed and almost frightened remonstrances by driving me from his laboratory and his house in a burst of fanatical rage. I had known that he now remained mostly shut in the attic laboratory with that accursed electrical machine, eating little and excluding even the servants, but I had not thought that a brief period of ten weeks could so alter and disfigure any human creature. It is not pleasant to see a stout man suddenly grown thin, and it is even worse when the baggy skin becomes yellowed or grayed, the eyes sunken, circled, and uncannily glowing, the forehead veined and corrugated, and the hands tremulous and twitching. And if added to this there be a repellent unkemptness, a wild disorder of dress, a bushiness of dark hair white at the roots, and an unchecked growth of white beard on a face once clean-shaven, the cumulative effect is quite shocking. But such was the aspect of Crawford Tilllinghast on the night his half coherent message brought me to his door after my weeks of exile; such was the specter that trembled as it admitted me, candle in hand, and glanced furtively over its shoulder as if fearful of unseen things in the ancient, lonely house set back from Benevolent Street.

That Crawford Tilinghast should ever have studied science and philosophy was a mistake. These things should be left to the frigid and impersonal investigator for they offer two equally tragic alternatives to the man of feeling and action; despair, if he fail in his quest, and terrors unutterable and unimaginable if he succeed. Tillinghast had once been the prey of failure, solitary and melancholy; but now I knew, with nauseating fears of my own, that he was the prey of success. I had indeed warned him ten weeks before, when he burst forth with his tale of what he felt himself about to discover. He had been flushed and excited then, talking in a high and unnatural, though always pedantic, voice.

“What do we know,” he had said, “of the world and the universe about us? Our means of receiving impressions are absurdly few, and our notions of surrounding objects infinitely narrow. We see things only as we are constructed to see them, and can gain no idea of their absolute nature. With five feeble senses we pretend to comprehend the boundlessly complex cosmos, yet other beings with wider, stronger, or different range of senses might not only see very differently the things we see, but might see and study whole worlds of matter, energy, and life which lie close at hand yet can never be detected with the senses we have. I have always believed that such strange, inaccessible worlds exist at our very elbows, and now I believe I have found a way to break dawn the barriers. I am not joking. Within twenty-four hours that machine near the table will generate waves acting on unrecognized sense organs that exist in us as atrophied or rudimentary vestiges. Those waves will open up to us many vistas unknown to man and several unknown to anything we consider organic life. We shall see that at which dogs howl in the dark, and that at which cats prick up their ears after midnight. We shall see these things, and other things which no breathing creature has yet seen. We shall overleap time, space, and dimensions, and without bodily motion peer to the bottom of creation.”

When Tillinghast said these things I remonstrated, for I knew him well enough to be frightened rather than amused; but he was a fanatic, and drove me from the house. Now he was no less a fanatic, but his desire to speak had conquered his resentment, and he had written me imperatively in a hand I could scarcely recognize. As I entered the abode of the friend so suddenly metamorphosed to a shivering gargoyle, I became infected with the terror which seemed stalking in all the shadows. The words and beliefs expressed ten weeks before seemed bodied forth in the darkness beyond the small circle of candle light, and I sickened at the hollow, altered voice of my host. I wished the servants were about, and did not like it when he said they had all left three days previously. It seemed strange that old Gregory, at least, should desert his master without telling as tried a friend as I. It was he who had given me all the information I had of Tillinghast after I was repulsed in rage.

Yet I soon subordinated all my fears to my growing curiosity and fascination. Just what Crawford Tillinghast now wished of me I could only guess, but that he had some stupendous secret or discovery to impart, I could not doubt. Before I had protested at his unnatural pryings into the unthinkable; now that he had evidently succeeded to some degree I almost shared his spirit, terrible though the cost of victory appeared. Up through the dark emptiness of the house I followed the bobbing candle in the hand of this shaking parody on man. The electricity seemed to be turned off, and when I asked my guide he said it was for a definite reason.

“It would be too much… I would not dare,” he continued to mutter. I especially noted his new habit of muttering, for it was not like him to talk to himself. We entered the laboratory in the attic, and I observed that detestable electrical machine, glowing with a sickly, sinister violet luminosity. It was connected with a powerful chemical battery, but seemed to be receiving no current; for I recalled that in its experimental stage it had sputtered and purred when in action. In reply to my question Tillinghast mumbled that this permanent glow was not electrical in any sense that I could understand.

He now seated me near the machine, so that it was on my right, and turned a switch somewhere below the crowning cluster of glass bulbs. The usual sputtering began, turned to a whine, and terminated in a drone so soft as to suggest a return to silence. Meanwhile the luminosity increased, waned again, then assumed a pale, outrè colour or blend of colours which I could neither place nor describe. Tillinghast had been watching me, and noted my puzzled expression.

“Do you know what that is?” he whispered, “That is ultra-violet.” He chuckled oddly at my surprise. “You thought ultra-violet was invisible, and so it is – but you can see that and many other invisible things now.

“Listen to me! The waves from that thing are waking a thousand sleeping senses in us; senses which we inherit from aeons of evolution from the state of detached electrons to the state of organic humanity. I have seen the truth, and I intend to show it to you. Do you wonder how it will seem? I will tell you.” Here Trninghast seated himself directly opposite me, blowing out his candle and staring hideously into my eyes. “Your existing sense-organs – ears first, I think – will pick up many of the impressions, for they are closely connected with the dormant organs. Then there will be others. You have heard of the pineal gland? I laugh at the shallow endocrinologist, fellow-dupe and fellow-parvenu of the Freudian. That gland is the great sense organ of organs – I have found out. It is like sight in the end, and transmits visual pictures to the brain. If you are normal, that is the way you ought to get most of it… I mean get most of the evidence from beyond.”

I looked about the immense attic room with the sloping south wall, dimly lit by rays which the every day eye cannot see. The far corners were all shadows and the whole place took on a hazy unreality which obscured its nature and invited the imagination to symbolism and phantasm. During the interval that Tillinghast was long silent I fancied myself in some vast incredible temple of long-dead gods; some vague edifice of innumerable black stone columns reaching up from a floor of damp slabs to a cloudy height beyond the range of my vision. The picture was very vivid for a while, but gradually gave way to a more horrible conception; that of utter, absolute solitude in infinite, sightless, soundless space. There seemed to be a void, and nothing more, and I felt a childish fear which prompted me to draw from my hip pocket the revolver I carried after dark since the night I was held up in East Providence. Then from the farthermost regions of remoteness, the sound softly glided into existence. It was infinitely faint, subtly vibrant, and unmistakably musical, but held a quality of surpassing wildness which made its impact feel like a delicate torture of my whole body. I felt sensations like those one feels when accidentally scratching ground glass. Simultaneously there developed something like a cold draught, which apparently swept past me from the direction of the distant sound. As I waited breathlessly I perceived that both sound and wind were increasing; the effect being to give me an odd notion of myself as tied to a pair of rails in the path of a gigantic approaching locomotive. I began to speak to Tillinghast, and as I did so all the unusual impressions abruptly vanished. I saw only the man, the glowing machines, and the dim apartment. Tillinghast was grinning repulsively at the revolver which I had almost unconsciously drawn, but from his expression I was sure he had seen and heard as much as I, if not a great deal more. I whispered what I had experienced and he bade me to remain as quiet and receptive as possible.

“Don’t move,” he cautioned, “for in these rays we are able to be seen as well as to see. I told you the servants left, but I didn’t tell you how. It was that thick-witted house-keeper – she turned on the lights downstairs after I had warned her not to, and the wires picked up sympathetic vibrations. It must have been frightful – I could hear the screams up here in spite of all I was seeing and hearing from another direction, and later it was rather awful to find those empty heaps of clothes around the house. Mrs. Updike’s clothes were close to the front hall switch – that’s how I know she did it. It got them all. But so long as we don’t move we’re fairly safe. Remember we’re dealing with a hideous world in which we are practically helpless… Keep still!”

The combined shock of the revelation and of the abrupt command gave me a kind of paralysis, and in my terror my mind again opened to the impressions coming from what Tillinghast called “beyond.” I was now in a vortex of sound and motion, with confused pictures before my eyes. I saw the blurred outlines of the room, but from some point in space there seemed to be pouring a seething column of unrecognizable shapes or clouds, penetrating the solid roof at a point ahead and to the right of me. Then I glimpsed the temple – like effect again, but this time the pillars reached up into an aerial ocean of light, which sent down one blinding beam along the path of the cloudy column I had seen before. After that the scene was almost wholly kaleidoscopic, and in the jumble of sights, sounds, and unidentified sense-impressions I felt that I was about to dissolve or in some way lose the solid form. One definite flash I shall always remember. I seemed for an instant to behold a patch of strange night sky filled with shining, revolving spheres, and as it receded I saw that the glowing suns formed a constellation or galaxy of settled shape; this shape being the distorted face of Crawford Tillinghast. At another time I felt the huge animate things brushing past me and occasionally walking or drifting through my supposedly solid body, and thought I saw Tillinghast look at them as though his better trained senses could catch them visually. I recalled what he had said of the pineal gland, and wondered what he saw with this preternatural eye.

Suddenly I myself became possessed of a kind of augmented sight. Over and above the luminous and shadowy chaos arose a picture which, though vague, held the elements of consistency and permanence. It was indeed somewhat familiar, for the unusual part was superimposed upon the usual terrestrial scene much as a cinema view may be thrown upon the painted curtain of a theater. I saw the attic laboratory, the electrical machine, and the unsightly form of Tillinghast opposite me; but of all the space unoccupied by familiar objects not one particle was vacant. Indescribable shapes both alive and otherwise were mixed in disgusting disarray, and close to every known thing were whole worlds of alien, unknown entities. It likewise seemed that all the known things entered into the composition of other unknown things and vice versa. Foremost among the living objects were inky, jellyfish monstrosities which flabbily quivered in harmony with the vibrations from the machine. They were present in loathsome profusion, and I saw to my horror that they overlapped; that they were semi-fluid and capable of passing through one another and through what we know as solids. These things were never still, but seemed ever floating about with some malignant purpose. Sometimes they appeared to devour one another, the attacker launching itself at its victim and instantaneously obliterating the latter from sight. Shudderingly I felt that I knew what had obliterated the unfortunate servants, and could not exclude the thing from my mind as I strove to observe other properties of the newly visible world that lies unseen around us. But Tillinghast had been watching me and was speaking.

“You see them? You see them? You see the things that float and flop about you and through you every moment of your life? You see the creatures that form what men call the pure air and the blue sky? Have I not succeeded in breaking down the barrier; have I not shown you worlds that no other living men have seen?” I heard his scream through the horrible chaos, and looked at the wild face thrust so offensively close to mine. His eyes were pits of flame, and they glared at me with what I now saw was overwhelming hatred. The machine droned detestably.

“You think those floundering things wiped out the servants? Fool, they are harmless! But the servants are gone, aren’t they? You tried to stop me; you discouraged me when I needed every drop of encouragement I could get; you were afraid of the cosmic truth, you damned coward, but now I’ve got you! What swept up the servants? What made them scream so loud?… Don’t know, eh! You’ll know soon enough. Look at me – listen to what I say – do you suppose there are really any such things as time and magnitude? Do you fancy there are such things as form or matter? I tell you, I have struck depths that your little brain can’t picture. I have seen beyond the bounds of infinity and drawn down demons from the stars… I have harnessed the shadows that stride from world to world to sow death and madness… Space belongs to me, do you hear? Things are hunting me now – the things that devour and dissolve – but I know how to elude them. It is you they will get, as they got the servants… Stirring, dear sir? I told you it was dangerous to move, I have saved you so far by telling you to keep still – saved you to see more sights and to listen to me. If you had moved, they would have been at you long ago. Don’t worry, they won’t hurt you. They didn’t hurt the servants – it was the seeing that made the poor devils scream so. My pets are not pretty, for they come out of places where aesthetic standards are – very different. Disintegration is quite painless, I assure you — but I want you to see them. I almost saw them, but I knew how to stop. You are curious? I always knew you were no scientist. Trembling, eh. Trembling with anxiety to see the ultimate things I have discovered. Why don’t you move, then? Tired? Well, don’t worry, my friend, for they are coming… Look, look, curse you, look… it’s just over your left shoulder…”

What remains to be told is very brief, and may be familiar to you from the newspaper accounts. The police heard a shot in the old Tillinghast house and found us there – Tillinghast dead and me unconscious. They arrested me because the revolver was in my hand, but released me in three hours, after they found it was apoplexy which had finished Tillinghast and saw that my shot had been directed at the noxious machine which now lay hopelessly shattered on the laboratory floor. I did not tell very much of what I had seen, for I feared the coroner would be skeptical; but from the evasive outline I did give, the doctor told me that I had undoubtedly been hypnotized by the vindictive and homicidal madman.

I wish I could believe that doctor. It would help my shaky nerves if I could dismiss what I now have to think of the air and the sky about and above me. I never feel alone or comfortable, and a hideous sense of pursuit sometimes comes chillingly on me when I am weary. What prevents me from believing the doctor is one simple fact – that the police never found the bodies of those servants whom they say Crawford Tillinghast murdered.

Whether you are a fan of horror, weird tales and the alike, there is no denying that H.P. Lovecraft will continue to be one of the best authors ever known.

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