The Dreams in the Witch House
Walter Gilman, a mathematics student at Miskatonic University, takes up lodging in Arkham's legend-haunted "Witch House." Before long, the room's weird architecture, dark history and disturbing sounds invade his psyche, and even his friends and fellow students can't help him. Is he going mad, or are his horrifying dreams somehow becoming reality?
Inspired by an academic lecture Lovecraft had attended about the size of the universe, The Dreams in the Witch House uses the supernatural forces of witchcraft and religion to tell a scientific story of dreams and dimensions and differential geometry. Written rather late in HPL's career, it includes many of his favorite themes—New England history and architecture, Arkham and Miskatonic University, the Necronomicon, Elder Things, Yog Sothoth and Nyarlathotep—and embodies Lovecraft’s cosmic vision and colossal imagination. After it was published in Weird Tales in 1933, editor Farnsworth Wright asked Lovecraft for permission to adapt it for radio. HPL rejected him outright, saying “What the public considers ‘weirdness’ in drama is rather pitiful or absurd... They are all the same—flat, hackneyed, synthetic, essentially atmosphereless jumbles of conventional shrieks and mutterings, and superficial mechanical situations.” But people have adapted it anyway, including several motion picture versions, and recently the HPLHS’ own Mike Dalager turned the story into a massive rock opera.
Lovecraft's expansive view of the universe is one in which science and magic and religion can all exist simultaneously, interacting with each other in complex, incomprehensible, and often disastrous ways. We hope that if HPL had the chance to settle into an arm chair with a cat on his lap and listen to our treatment of “The Dreams in the Witch House,” he might have felt a bit more hope for the potential of radio drama.
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