While Lovecraft appreciated all of the stories in this collection, even he hadn't necessarily read all of them in their entirety. In some cases he had to rely on anthologized excerpts, digests, and encyclopedia entries, and while all of these stories influenced him to some degree or another, some of them are obscure and challenging. For an audiobook which might get played on a computer or a car stereo or an iPod or wherever with varying degrees of control, and for those who might not be familiar with all of these stories, we wanted to provide some suggestions for ways to approach this collection. As with our audiobook volumes of Lovecraft's own fiction, for the thumb drive we decided the best choice was to put the files in alphabetical order, but provide some suggestions for other ways to hear them.
If you’re already familiar with these tales, we suggest you simply dive in and start listening to some of your favorite stories. If you’re new to these weird classics, we suggest you start with our RECOMMENDATIONS in the tab to the right — once you’ve heard those stories, you can explore the rest of them on your own. We have some other suggestions in other tabs here.
If you'd like to learn some more about several of the authors in this collection, may we point you to this very nice blog post.
These are some of our favorites from this collection...
The House and the Brain
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
The Story of a Panic
What Was It?
Here are some of the stories that HPL himself thought were the best...
The White People
Idle Days on the Yann
The Fall of the House of Usher
The Upper Berth
If you want to hear the stories in the order in which they were written, here's a guide.
The Vampyre (1819)
The Adventure of the German Student (1824)
The Tapestried Chamber (1828)
The Minister's Black Veil (1832)
The Venus of Ille (1835)
The White Wolf of the Hartz Mountains (1839)
The Fall of the House of Usher (1839)
What Was It? (1859)
The House and the Brain (1859)
The Signal-Man (1866)
The Man-Wolf (1876)
The Ghostly Kiss (1880)
One of Cleopatra's Nights (1882)
The Upper Berth (1886)
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886)
The Horla (1887)
The Phantom Rickshaw (1888)
The Middle Toe of the Right Foot (1891)
Lot #249 (1892)
The Yellow Wallpaper (1892)
The Ghost of Fear (1894)
The Yellow Sign (1895)
The Dead Valley (1895)
The Were-Wolf (1896)
The Monkey's Paw (1902)
The Shadows on the Wall (1903)
Count Magnus (1904)
The White People (1904)
The Willows (1907)
The Boats of the "Glen Carrig" (1907)
Idle Days on the Yann (1910)
The Story of a Panic (1911)
The House of Sounds (1911)
A Shop in Go-By Street (1912)
The Avenger of Perdóndaris (1912)
The Spider (1915)
The Death Mask (1920)
The Bad Lands (1920)
Seaton's Aunt (1922)
The Place Called Dagon (1927)
Skule Skerry (1928)
The Tale of Satampra Zeiros (1929)
The Black Stone (1931)
In addition to the stories, we have provided an audio Afterword and a file of Outtakes.
This first volume only begins to scratch the surface of classic weird fiction, and we will be bringing you additional volumes that will include tons of other great stories that HPL found important. We have a very long list to work from.
We began recording these stories in the early months of the COVID lockdown, working in isolation either at the HPLHS headquarters or in our own homes. It took well over a year to record them all.
It didn’t seem necessary to have one, as such. Each story is its own separate MP3 file, arranged alphabetically on the thumb drive (novel-length stories have been rendered in smaller numbered parts). If/when these stories become available via Audible, then things may change. Audible has its own way of organizing things and we have no control over it.
We took turns choosing. Somehow Branney got stuck with the novels.
Although that sounds like fun, please don’t post these on the internet or make digital copies. If you really want to use excerpts in some project, write to us and let’s talk.
There are some errors that arose in the process of recording these stories — those are solely our fault and we apologize for them. We fixed the ones we could, but some of them we had to let stand. You do not need to write in and tell us about any imperfections you may find — we just hope you, Mr. Lovecraft and all these great authors will forgive us. If you really want to point out a mistake you've found, here's where you can write to us.
We would like to thank Scott Marshall, Michael Feldman, Jay Stigdon, Allan Carey and Kevin Miller, who risked — and lost — precious sanity by doing a proof-listen.
We included genuine signatures (and birthdays) of several of the notable authors in this collection. We regret we didn't have room for everyone!
Edgar Allan Poe
Robert Louis Stevenson
Arthur Conan Doyle
Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Some Windows users have reported having an issue unarchiving their download. We are currently running tests to see what the problem might be and will replace the ZIP file if needed. Meanwhile, Windows users report having success using WinRAR to unarchive the download. A free trial version of WinRAR is available at the foregoing link. If you continue to have trouble with the download and WinRAR doesn't help, please do write to us and we will do our best to solve the problem.
"The Adventure of the German Student". 13:56. Written by Washington Irving and first appeared in his collection Tales of a Traveller in 1824. HPL says: "a slyly concise and effective presentation of the old legend of the dead bride" (SHIL).
"The Avenger of Perdóndaris". 33:52. Written by Lord Dunsany in 1912 and appeared in Tales of Three Hemispheres in 1919. HPL loved Dunsany's work in general and the three Dunsany Stories in this collection were recommended for inclusion by S.T. Joshi.
"The Bad Lands". 27:48. Written by John Metcalfe and appeared in The Smoking Leg in 1920. HPL says: "contain(s) graduations of horror that strongly savour of genius."
"The Black Stone". 41:14. Written by Robert E. Howard and first appeared in the November issue of Weird Tales in 1931. Howard was a personal friend of HPL's and this is one of our favorite REH stories.
The Boats of the "Glen Carrig". 308:28 (divided into five parts) Written by William Hope Hodgson in 1907. HPL says: "The brooding menace in the earlier parts of the book is impossible to surpass, though a letdown in the direction of ordinary romance and adventure occurs toward the end." (SHIL)
"Count Magnus". 32:40. Written by M.R. James and appeared in Ghost Stories of an Antiquary in 1904. HPL says: "assuredly one of the best, forming as it does a veritable Golconda of suspense and suggestion". (SHIL)
"The Dead Valley". 24:56. Written by Ralph Adams Cram and appeared in Black Spirits and White in 1895. HPL says: "achieves a memorably potent degree of vague regional horror through subtleties of atmosphere and description". (SHIL)
"The Death Mask". 24:20. Written by Henrietta Everett and appeared in The Death-Mask and Other Ghosts in 1920. HPL says: "though adhering to very old and conventional models, occasionally reaches singular heights of spiritual terror in her collection of short stories." (SHIL)
"The Fall of the House of Usher". 48:20. Written by Edgar Allan Poe in 1839 and appeared in Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque (1840). HPL says: "those very summits of artistry whereby Poe takes his place at the head of fictional miniaturists". (SHIL)
"The Ghost of Fear". 24:10. Written by H.G. Wells in 1894 and first appeared under the title "The Red Room" in the March issue of The Idler in 1896. HPL says: "reaches a very high level".
"The Ghostly Kiss". 6:24. Written by Lafcadio Hearn in 1880 and appeared in Fantastics and Other Fancies in 1914. HPL says: "His Fantastics, written in America, contains some of the most impressive ghoulishness in all literature".
"The Horla". 62:20. Written by Guy de Maupassant in 1887. HPL says: "this tense narrative is perhaps without a peer in its particular department".
"The House and the Brain". 66:37. Written by Edward Bulwer-Lytton as "The Haunted and the Haunters" in 1859. HPL says: "hints of Rosicrucianism and at a malign and deathless figure perhaps suggested by Louis XV’s mysterious courtier St. Germain, yet survives as one of the best short haunted-house tales ever written". (SHIL)
"The House of Sounds". 65:54. Written by Matthew Phipps Shiel and appeared in The Pale Ape and Other Pulses in 1911. HPL says: "deserves a place among the foremost things of its kind". (SHIL)
"Idle Days on the Yann". 39:22. Written by Lord Dunsany and first appeared in A Dreamer's Tales in 1910. Recommended by S.T. Joshi.
"Lot #249". 1:11:57. Written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and first appeared in Harper's Magazine in 1892. HPL says: "the reanimated mummy theme is used with more than ordinary skill". (SHIL)
The Man-Wolf. 216:52 (divided into three parts). Written by Erckmann-Chatrian in 1859 as Hugues-le-loup and translated into English by F.A.M. in 1876. HPL says: "Their power of creating a shuddering midnight atmosphere was tremendous despite a tendency toward natural explanations and scientific wonders". (SHIL)
"The Middle Toe of the Right Foot". 21:23. Written by Ambrose Bierce and appeared in Tales of Soldiers and Civilians in 1891. HPL says: "clumsily developed, but has a powerful climax". (SHIL)
"The Minister's Black Veil". 32:48. Written by Nathaniel Hawthorne and appeared in Twice-Told Tales in 1832. HPL says: "impl(ies) much more than (it) state(s)".
"The Monkey's Paw". 24:04. Written by W.W. Jacobs and appeared in The Lady of the Barge in 1902. HPL says: "that able melodramatic bit". (SHIL)
"One of Cleopatra's Nights". 88:24. Written by Théophile Gautier as Une nuit de Cléopâtre in 1838 and translated into English by Lafcadio Hearn in 1882. HPL says: "the Egyptian visions evoked ...are of the keenest and most expressive potency". (SHIL)
"The Phantom Rickshaw". 53:47. Written by Rudyard Kipling and appeared in The Phantom 'Rickshaw and Other Eerie Tales in 1888. HPL says: "despite ... omnipresent mannerisms, handled ...with indubitable mastery". (SHIL)
The Place Called Dagon. 485:33 (divided into five parts). Written by Herbert S. Gorman in 1927. HPL says: "A less subtle and well-balanced but nevertheless highly effective creation".
"Seaton's Aunt". 73:19. Written by Walter de la Mare and appeared in The Riddle and Other Stories in 1923. HPL says: "in which there lowers a noxious background of malignant vampirism". (SHIL)
"The Shadows on the Wall". 27:23. Written by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman and appeared in The Wind in the Rose-Bush in 1903. HPL says: "we are shewn with consummate skill the response of a staid New England household to uncanny tragedy." (SHIL)
"A Shop in Go-By Street". 19:27. Written by Lord Dunsany in 1912 and appeared in Tales of Three Hemispheres in 1919. Recommended by S.T. Joshi.
"The Signal-Man". 30:19. Written by Charles Dickens and appeared in the Christmas edition of All the Year Round in 1866. HPL says: "a tale of ghostly warning conforming to a very common pattern and touched with a verisimilitude which allies it as much with the coming psychological school as with the dying Gothic school". (SHIL)
"Skule Skerry". 36:10. Written by John Buchan and appeared in The Runagates Club in 1928. HPL says: "with its touches of sub-arctic fright, being especially remarkable". (SHIL)
"The Spider". 47:22. Written by Hanns Heinz Ewers and appeared in the collection Die Besessenen in 1908, translated into English in 1915. HPL says: "contain(s) distinctive qualities which raise (it) to a classic level". (SHIL)
"The Story of a Panic". 52:21. Written by E.M. Forster and appeared in The Celestial Omnibus in 1911. HPL says: "dealing with a glimpse of Pan and his aura of fright, may be said to hold the true element of cosmic horror". (SHIL)
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. 153:16 (divided into two parts). Written by Robert Louis Stevenson in 1886. HPL says: "despite an atrocious tendency toward jaunty mannerisms, created permanent classics". (SHIL)
"The Tale of Satampra Zeiros". 34:20. Written by Clark Ashton Smith in 1929 and appeared in the November issue of Weird Tales in 1931. Smith was a personal friend of Lovecraft's and this tale contributes Tsathogghua to the Cthulhu Mythos. HPL says: "I must not delay in expressing my well-nigh delirious delight at The Tale of Satampra Zeiros—which has veritably given me the one arch-kick of 1929! Yug!...What an atmosphere!" (Letter to CAS)
"The Tapestried Chamber". 35:47. Written by Sir Walter Scott in 1828 and appeared in The Keepsake for MDCCCXXIX in 1829. HPL says: "Sir Walter Scott frequently concerned himself with the weird" (SHIL)
"The Upper Berth". 46:31. Written by F. Marion Crawford and appeared in Wandering Ghosts in 1886. HPL says: "Crawford’s weird masterpiece; and is one of the most tremendous horror-stories in all literature". (SHIL)
"The Vampyre". 50:05. Written by John Polidori in 1819. HPL says: "some excellent passages of stark fright, including a terrible nocturnal experience in a shunned Grecian wood". (SHIL)
"The Venus of Ille". 63:36. Written by Prosper Mérimée in 1835 and translated into English by Myndart Verelst in Tales Before Supper in 1887. HPL says: "terse and convincing prose". (SHIL)
The Were-Wolf. 99:47. Written by Clemence Housmans in 1896. HPL says: "attains a high degree of gruesome tension and achieves to some extent the atmosphere of authentic folklore". (SHIL)
"What Was It?". 34:41. Written by Fitz James O'Brien and appeared in the March Harper's magazine in 1859. HPL says: "the first well-shaped short story of a tangible but invisible being". (SHIL)
"The White People". 92:53. Written by Arthur Machen in the 1890s and appeared in The House of Souls in 1906. HPL says: "a triumph of skilful selectiveness and restraint, accumulates enormous power as it flows on in a stream of innocent childish prattle". (SHIL)
"The White Wolf of the Hartz Mountains". 57:29. Written by Frederick Marryat and appeared as chapter 39 of The Phantom Ship in 1839. HPL says: "a memorable contribution". (SHIL)
"The Willows". 121:11 (divided into 2 parts). Written by Algernon Blackwood and appeared The Listener in 1907. HPLS says: "Here art and restraint in narrative reach their very highest development, and an impression of lasting poignancy is produced without a single strained passage or a single false note." (SHIL)
"The Yellow Sign". 42:45. Written by Robert W. Chamber and appeared in The King in Yellow in 1895. HPL says: "achieves notable heights of cosmic fear". (SHIL)
"The Yellow Wallpaper". 35:31. Written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and first appeared in the January issue of The New England Magazine in 1892. HPL says: "rises to a classic level in subtly delineating the madness which crawls over a woman dwelling in the hideously papered room where a madwoman was once confined". (SHIL)