Sticking Together

  • March 19, 2020

We're all in this together. Please stay safe and help others stay safe. We are still here at headquarters, working on fun diversions you can enjoy in your own homes!

Featured Member

  • March 3, 2020

Our Member of the Month for March, 2020 is Mark O. Martin of Tacoma, Washington.

Mark says: "I was born in Compton, California, and raised in North Long Beach. To stay away from the bullies, I spent a lot of time in libraries. My older brother Jack was my literary guide, and he adored (and adores) all things Gothic. So when I was ten years old, Jack got me reading HPL. I was really, really taken by many of HPL's tales (while ignoring the unsavory things that appeared from time to time). "At the Mountains of Madness," "The Whisperer in Darkness," and "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward" remain my favorites.

I was never a gamer, and was always a bit of a loner, but HPL was always with me, and took me to Bierce, Machen, and Blackwood.

So after getting my degrees from UCLA and Stanford, I became a college professor, and am an Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. My wife Dr. Jennifer Quinn is quite a 3D printing fan (and a fine mathematician), so she made me a bust of HPL, and even painted HPL using the bioluminescent bacteria that I study in my laboratory. Here in town, my friends Jason and Robyn Alexander love HPL and related topics, and have made their tiki cocktail bars reflect that, with cocktails like "The Terrible Old Dram," and "The Arkham Investigator." If you are ever in Tacoma, and visit either "Devils Reef" (for "The Third Oath") or their soon to open "Gilman House," I would be happy to buy you a powerful beverage and discuss all things eldritch!"

New Garments!

  • February 18, 2020

We are very happy to announce some new garment designs just released in our online store.

First up is the second in what is planned as an ongoing series of shirts that feature "book cover" designs of classic Lovecraft tales. The first was The Dunwich Horror, now out of print. Artist Darrell Tutchton has returned to illustrate a book cover for At the Mountains of Madness, modeled in the photo above by our own Kevin Stidham. We've printed a limited run of these 4-color shirts and when they're gone we don't expect to make any more. Get them while you can!

And in response to popular demand we've released some Miskatonic "spirit wear". Our new t-shirt, sweatshirt and zip-up hoodie all sport the name and graphic for the Miskatonic Myrmidons, the mascot for the M.U. athletic department. You'll find them all here!

Our thanks to photographer (and former shipping shoggoth) Jacob Lyle for taking the photos seen here and a lot of other new pix to freshen up our garment offerings, and to his very friendly models, Brandon, Ali and Kiki, and our beloved shipping shoggoth Kevin!

Commonplace Book

The Commonplace Book

  • February 18, 2020

Now being printed and shipping soon is our new typographical replica of Lovecraft's Notes & Commonplace Book.

A “commonplace book” is simply a collection of memorabilia, or a kind of privately-compiled encyclopedia. Lovecraft started his in 1919 when he began to turn from writing essays to writing fiction, using a blank cash account book. For the next fifteen years he added pencilled entries to this growing list of story ideas and inspirations—some of which came directly from his dreams—along with notes about his developing theories on writing weird literature.

In 1934, Lovecraft exchanged his well-used handwritten original commonplace book for a fresh typed version by his young Floridian friend Robert H. Barlow. HPL added more handwritten notations in his new “black book” for an additional year. Lovecraft kept another handwritten black book, using a recycled calendar for 1927. In this notebook he wrote out his own plot summaries of classic works of supernatural horror fiction by Poe, Machen, Dunsany, Blackwood, M.R. James and others, along with analytic lists of weird ideas and suggestions for how to write a weird tale. Barlow also prepared a typed transcription of this material in 1934. (Lovecraft’s originals and Barlow’s transcriptions are now in the collection of the John Hay Library at Brown University.)

In his final instructions, HPL named Barlow as his literary executor. Not long after Lovecraft’s death, Barlow found himself residing with the Beck family of Lakeport, California. The Becks had a small printing business, The Futile Press, that had printed small editions of works by Clark Ashton Smith. Barlow was eager to publish an edition of Lovecraft’s work and with the Becks combined elements from both “black books” to print seventy-five numbered copies of The Notes and Commonplace Book of H.P. Lovecraft in 1938. Two copies, numbered 9 and 10, were deposited at the U.S. Library of Congress in Washington D.C. After the Futile Press edition, the Commonplace Book was not printed again until Necronomicon Press released an edition in 1978, and another in 1987 edited and extensively annotated by David E. Schultz.

Quite recently, HPLHS member Robert S. Marshall visited the Library of Congress and took photos of the two copies of the Futile Press edition deposited there. He very kindly sent those photos to the Society for the benefit of his fellow members. As the Futile and Necronomicon Press editions are now both scarce and expensive (copies of the 1938 edition can go for tens of thousands of dollars), we thought perhaps the stars were right to warrant a new edition. We have created a painstakingly detailed typographic replica of the 1938 original, augmented with never-before-published material based on the original documents. Get yours here!

Johannes Mattsson

Stationery Treasures

  • February 3, 2020

Our deepest thanks to member Robert S. Marshall for the insanely generous donation to the society's library that arrived today.

The treasure trove included vintage books about Gregg Shorthand, native Australians, Elbert Hubbard, and Demosthenes, plus an issue of the Argosy from the 1930s and other vintage periodicals. Also vintage hotel stationery, antique office supplies including exactly the kinds of blank pocket notebooks that HPL used to use to jot notes in, a beautiful vintage wooden ruler case from the Brown & Sharpe Mfg. Co. of Providence, and more! All accompanied by hand-typed letters and telegrams. It will take us some time to appreciate it all.

Johannes Mattsson

Featured Member

  • February 1, 2020

Our Member of the Month is Johannes Mattsson of Umeå, Sweden.

Johannes says: "Lovecraft came into my life in my early teens after being recommended by some older friends who, like me, were heavily into roleplaying games at the time. “If you really want to have nightmares and suffer from lack of sleep, this is the guy to read.” they said. It sounded just great for me and I ran to the library and borrowed every Swedish translation of our favorite writer I could get my hands on. I spent a whole summer reading and enjoying those books and it didn’t take long after that until I dared to read the stories in Lovecraft's native tongue. I was now, like I think many of you, hooked on ghostly tales of forgotten monolithic ruins and ancient black magick.

The stories steered me towards the roleplaying game Call of Cthulhu by Chaosium and through that game I have taken many of my friends on horrific and fantastic journeys and the game remains my favorite one until this day.

Fire Koala

Visiting Dignitary

  • January 30, 2020

Headquarters was graced today by a visit from David Mersault (r), the talented actor who played Inspector Legrasse in our silent film production of The Call of Cthulhu.

David has been living for almost seven years now in Hong Kong, where he teaches English and does theatre. He was in the USA this week to attend to some personal belongings he had left in storage here, and had nothing but trouble getting them all sorted out. Now that they're taken care of, he will be returning to Hong Kong to sort out the civil unrest and public health crisis there. We were very glad to see him and wish him safe travels and the best of luck in his return!

Recent Library Acquisitions

  • January 7, 2020

The abundantly packed shelves of the society library groaned under the weight of several new acquisitions this holiday season!

Inspired by a recent episode of Voluminous in which shady 1920s archeologist Byron Khun de Prorok was mentioned, member Allison Rich of Providence, R.I. sent a first edition of his first book, Digging for Lost African Gods (1926). It's in wonderful shape and features some amazing photographs. It joins a first edition of Prorok's second book (1929) that we recently found on eBay.

Member Christopher Kalley of Bedford, Texas sent a copy of Satanism, Magic and Mysticism in Fin-de-siecle France (2012) to bolster our modern scholarship section.

Member Sue Hill of Hancock, Michigan sent Sean Branney a wonderful Eldritch Elf gift that included two amazing books. A 1932 copy of Goethe's Faust illustrated by Eugène Delacroix, and a lavish 19th-century book entitled Heroes of the Dark Continent (1889) richly illustrated with engravings and color plates of colonial-era Africa.

Member Chris Huning of San Leandro, California sent a bound set of Volume 1 of the metaphysical magazine The Channel. When we were making props many years ago for our motion picture of The Call of Cthulhu we used an article from this magazine as part of Professor Angell's files, and it was a treat to see it again in bound form!

And in another acquisition inspired by an upcoming episode of Voluminous, we recently stumbled on an interesting book (1999) about famed boxer Jack Dempsey and his place in the 1920s.

Our deepest thanks to the members who generously donate to the society's carefully curated library!

Fire Koala

Australian Bushfire Relief

  • January 5, 2020

Our friends at Chaosium are making the RuneQuest Glorantha Bestiary 'Pay-What-You-Want' on DriveThruRPG for the next seven days (regular price is USD$19.99). If you download it, instead of paying them, they encourage you to make a donation to the Australian fire-fighting and recovery effort.

As our friends say, Gloranthan beasts are special; but Australian animals are unique and precious - and real. It is estimated up to half a billion of them have perished so far in the devasting wildfires still raging across the continent. That number is expected to rise dramatically, as vast swathes of habitat have been consumed by flame.

Some places where you can donate:

WIRES is a wildlife rescue nonprofit rescuing and caring for thousands of sick, injured and orphaned Australian native animals. World Wildlife Fund Australia is directing its efforts towards koala conservation. Thousands have perished so far. The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital is raising funds to distribute automatic drinking stations in the burnt areas to help in koala and wildlife survival, and sharing the funds with other wildlife organisations in the fire affected regions. Other places to support: Australian Red Cross, New South Wales Rural Fire Service, Country Fire Authority Victoria.

Gina Stephens

Featured Member

  • January 2, 2020

Our Member of the Month is Gina Stephens of Los Angeles, California.

Gina says: "Gina L. Stephens is a botched creation of the Mi-Go, sent to Earth in 1982 with instructions to "take care of things." The Mi-go, however, were a little vague on the details, so after wandering the west coast of the lower 48 states for a time, she settled down in Los Angeles and started a pet-sitting business. Taking care of things.

Gina discovered the writings of H. P. Lovecraft in her early 20s and felt a strange kinship with his love of the otherworldly and ancient. She picked up a set of the Selected Letters of HPL and learned all about his life and the context in which his stories were written, and eventually taught a fun class about HPL at UC Berkeley in 2004. Gina has a bachelor's degree in Earth and Planetary Sciences from UC Berkeley.

She now resides in Los Angeles, where she takes care of people's pets."

Pelton Memorial Stamp

Pelton Memorial Stamp

  • December 30, 2019

We are introducing a new bonus stamp for 2020: the Pelton Memorial. Suggested by member Christian Matzke, this stamp is in honor of Fred Lee Pelton, who was a LARPing pioneer in the 1930s/'40s at the University of Nebraska. Fred and his college friends role-played in the United Kingdom of Atzor, for which they created their own postage, currency, passports and other documents, including a dictionary of the official language of Atzor. They were profiled in a 1941 issue of Life magazine, and you can download the article in PDF form here.

Fred was a fan of the works of HPL and wrote A Guide to the Cthulhu Cult in 1946, an ambitious work of comparative scholarship. He also produced what might well be the very first prop Necronomicon ever created. The original was a highly elaborate hand-lettered and illuminated tome which now appears to be lost. Luckily, the text survived and was later published under the title "The Sussex Manuscript" by Armitage House in 1998 as an appendix to their version of Pelton's book.

Fred was born in 1921 and passed away at the tender age of 29 in 1950, after serving in the US Air Force during WWII. He was survived by his wife, Dorothy, and two sons, Fred Jr. and John. He had just been appointed as an instructor of nuclear and atomic physics at the University of Nebraska when he died of a sudden illness. We find Mr. Pelton to be an inspirational figure, and are happy to help keep the memory of him alive through this stamp. The stamp features a portrait of Pelton in character as Emperor Frederick II of Atzor. At the top of the stamp are a compass rose and a gear to symbolize the world-building he did.

In view of Fred's youthful interests, this stamp will be issued to members who demonstrate a particular enthusiasm for prop documents. This can be by making your own props and sharing them with us online or via e-mail, or by purchasing some of the various prop document products produced by the HPLHS. You can see a complete run-down in the bonus stamp section of the Member Sanctum.

ANT San Diego Solstice

A US Coast Guard Christmas!

  • December 11, 2019

Shipping Shoggoth Emeritus and Dreams in the Witch House impresario Mike Dalager (pictured third from left) is a member of the US Coast Guard and works with the Aids to Navigation Team (ANT) in San Diego, CA. He and his crew boat-hooked a startling collection of solstice tentacles and Mike was kind enough to send us this photo. He says this is how they ward off Deep Ones in southern California. All in a day's work for the USCG! We are proud of Mike and grateful to his mates.

Pictured, left to right: EM3 Johnson, MK3 Tso, MK2 Dalager, MK1 Bravo, BM2 Thigpen, Chief Beaudoin

Featured Member

  • December 5, 2019

Our Member of the Month is Christopher Rightmyer of Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Christopher says: "I was first introduced to HP Lovecraft in 1988 by a close friend and his brother who had recommended The Best of H.P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre. I have always enjoyed the classic horror stories and dark tales, however, when I stepped into the cosmic horrors of the Lovecraft universe there was no turning back. The repugnance of such stories as, "The Dunwich Horror" or the consternation of "At The Mountains of Madness" set my redoubtable desire for the outlandish cosmophobia. Reading the designs of his mind in books, however, was not enough, I wanted to be a part of his stories, investigating the paranormal, face the folk of Insmouth and attend classes at Miskatonic University. The game Call of Cthulhu was introduced to me in the late '80s as well, and I have been immersed in the caliginous world ever since."

Very Scary Solstice

Ogham Waite Carols!

  • November 28, 2019

Ogham Waite is famous for being the only known Deep One Hybrid lounge singer, as those who have heard his album "Live at the Gilman House" can attest. We recently discovered an additional recording from the Gilman House Lounge, in which Ogham and his Amphibian Jazz Band cover a beloved Solstice Carol. We are happy to make it available for listening for free to brighten your holidays. We are also very proud to announce that the entire Solstice Carol page of this website is now full of fun stuff, including this song. Go check it out for other carols, samples, videos, and sheet music! Click the red link above, or select it from the Productions/Music pull-down menu above!


Our New Podcast!

  • October 31, 2019

At last it can be told. We are releasing the very first HPLHS podcast, Voluminous: The Letters of H.P. Lovecraft. Each week Sean and Andrew will be reading one of Lovecraft's many thousands of fascinating letters, and then discussing it. If all goes as planned, you should be able to find it wherever you get your podcasts. You can also go check it out here!