Call of Cthulhu classic prop set

More props for gamers!

  • March 9, 2022

For several months now we have been working hard on a new set of super realistic props to go with Chaosium's 40th Anniversary re-release of some classic Call of Cthulhu scenarios. We are very happy to say that all those props are now on their way to the printer! The collection will include a 16-page broadsheet newspaper that you can dismantle into over 40 individual clippings, some as big as an entire half page. There are large format maps, including a new map of Arkham itself and a nautical chart showing the location of R'lyeh. There are numerous pages torn from books, and even a couple of entire books! There are scads of handwritten letters, diaries, journals, and notebook pages, plus photos, legal and police paperwork, and more! There's even an 8-page contract for paranormal investigation and elimination services. It's insane.

We are now taking pre-orders for the set, and people who get in early will get three extra large format maps: Scotland, Austria, and the Belgian Congo. Once everything comes back from the printer we have a big job of organizing and filling boxes to do, but we expect to be shipping by April 15!

Shipping Shoggoth Promoted

  • March 8, 2022

Mike Dalager, longtime HPLHS collaborator, producer of The Dreams in the Witch House rock opera, and former Shipping Shoggoth, is also an active member of the US Coast Guard reserve, and was recently meritoriously promoted to First Class Petty Officer. Only five Enlisted are Meritoriously Advanced each year, and rarely a member of the USCG Reserve. We are enormously proud of Mike and hope you'll join us in congratulating him.

Featured Member

  • March 5, 2022

Our Member of the Month for March, 2022 is Noah Van Buhren of Vancouver, British Columbia.

Noah says: "Growing up in a frigid, shunned northern valley in the shadow of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, I have always been a seeker of strange things and strange places. My first early encounters with the Cthulhu Mythos came from furtive glimpses into the horror graphic novels in the local occult bookstore. Those grotesque images of blood drenched pulpy tentacles and of men going insane at the mere glimpse of the colossal ancient gods waiting to bring about the world’s destruction, were permanently seared into my childhood imagination. Since then my fate was sealed, and I have spent my life as a horror Artist, Animator and Filmmaker trying to recreate that same feeling of creeping cosmic dread in my work.

My literary appreciation for Lovecraft’s work grew even deeper when I moved to storm shadowed Vancouver, to study Animation and Film. While looking for dark creative inspiration for my animated student film, I procured for myself a copy and read ravenously through the complete fiction of H.P. Lovecraft. When I read “From Beyond”, with the mad scientist Tillinghast discovering deadly Interdimensional alien life forms, I had struck upon the story that would become my first film The Jovian Project (2017). I started out making a direct adaptation of the original set in the 1920s, but after watching a documentary on the creation of the Manhattan project I decided to set my film in the Atomic Era. Whereas the original Tillingast was only one desperate inventor experimenting alone, I imagined that it would be even more frightening if Tillinghast’s grandson had taken his grandfather’s early discoveries and now had the full resources of the military industrial complex behind him to conduct his ruthless experiments. But just like the Atomic scientists, they unleash a cosmic power that they can not hope to control.

While animating my film, I began searching for and collecting all of the best adaptations of Lovecraft’s work that I could find. That is when I first became acquainted with the works of the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society, watching their adaptations of The Call of Cthulhu (2005), and The Whisperer in Darkness (2011). The German Expressionist visuals and classic Pulp style of these films were very influential for me. Then when I premiered The Jovian Project at the 2017 Lovecraft Film Festival in Portland, I had the great pleasure of meeting and talking with Sean Branney and Andrew Leman over that weekend. That’s when I decided that I wanted to join the HPLHS. For myself this was akin to how I can imagine a young Robert Bloch or Frank Belknap Long felt when first joining the Lovecraft Circle. As an artist, going from working mostly on my own to being part of a group that is also incredibly passionate about Weird Fiction has made a huge difference for me and been an endless source of inspiration for my darkly creative endeavors. In this society I have found the support and camaraderie of fellow scholars and seekers of strange horrors in literature and in life, and true lovers of the Grotesque and Macabre!

It was during that same weekend at the Festival that I decided to begin work on my next film project The Old Gods. I wanted to create something in the same silent film style of the HPLHS Cthulhu film, and I wanted to animate the same blood drenched tentacles I saw in those comic books all those years ago. It has been a great artistic challenge, and by collaborating with stop motion animators I’ve been learning how to recreate the look of old stop motion in my 3D animation. The film is almost complete, with just a few more shots left to finish animating. I hope to have it ready to premiere at this year’s Lovecraft Film Festival. It has been a long project, but knowing that I could one day share it with my fellow HPLHS members and Cthulhu cultists around the world was a huge motivation. Here’s a link to the film as it looks so far. Password: TheOldGodsAwaken

I now work in Vancouver as a full time Creature VFX Artist. And whenever the HPLHS is next undertaking another cinematic venture, I would certainly love to be involved with helping to bring more of Lovecraft’s eldritch monstrosities to life.

Stay weird my friends, and keep making strange things!

Featured Member

  • February 7, 2022

Our Member of the Month for February, 2022 is Donald Frew of Berkeley, California.

Donald H. Frew is an Elder in the NROOGD and Gardnerian Traditions of modern Wicca, and High Priest of Coven Trismegiston in Berkeley CA.  Within the Gardnerian Tradition, he is known as a historian and theologian.  Working with his wife, Anna Korn, they compiled, edited, and in 2007 circulated a new edition of the Gardnerian Book of Shadows, incorporating material from their research in early Gardnerian texts and resulting in a Book of over 650 pages.

Frew’s coven is a member of the Covenant of the Goddess (CoG), the world’s largest religious organization of Witches.  He has served ten terms on CoG’s National Board, as Public Information Officer (PIO) and as First Officer (President).  As PIO, he served as a consultant on occult crimes for various law enforcement agencies.  This led to collaboration with the Committee for Scientific Examination of Religion, the FBI, and the Justice Department to create a report for law enforcement on so-called “Satanic” crime – Satanism in America: How the Devil Got Much More Than His Due (1989) – credited by the FBI with reversing the tide of the “Satanic Hysteria” in America.  (This is soon to be republished in an updated edition.) At the same time, Frew operated as a free-lance occultist, providing consultation for authors & others, investigating and dealing with “haunted” houses (and other places), and helping those believed to be “cursed”.

Frew is a National Interfaith Representative for the Covenant of the Goddess and has represented Wicca in interfaith work for over 35 years, on the Boards of the Berkeley Area Interfaith Council and the Interfaith Center at the Presidio, at all of the modern Parliaments of the World’s Religions (as a member of the Parliament’s Assembly of the World’s Religious & Spiritual Leaders), and as Vice-President of (and frequent contributor to) the online interfaith journal The Interfaith Observer.  He was the creator & organizer of the 2004 international Interfaith Sacred Space Design Competition – incorporating 160 designs from 17 countries – and editor of the resulting book, Sacred Spaces (2004).

On top of all that, Don was a playtester for the original Call of Cthulhu RPG and one of the authors of the CoC supplement The Stars are Right!. He co-authored an essay incorporating real astrology into the game, noting the planetary configuration that correlated to the rising of R'lyeh in "The Call of Cthulhu". The founder of Chaosium - Greg Stafford - was a good friend and traveled with Don to Egypt on one of his trips.

Don says: "I found Lovecraft when I was 11 years old, in the Scholastic Book Services edition of The Shadow over Innsmouth and Other Stories of Horror. I had no idea who Lovecraft was, but the book’s cover looked cool in the little catalogues from which my 6th Grade class used to order books each month. The book included only seven stories – an odd mix of classics, one-offs, and revisions – but in addition to the titular story, it included “Imprisoned with the Pharaohs”. This struck a chord with my lifelong love of Ancient Egypt and I vowed to visit the Pyramids some day and find those underground passages.

I have now visited Egypt seven times, entered and climbed those pyramids (back when that was legal), and crawled through passages beneath the Giza plateau. I’m keeping a running tally of tombs entered and it stands at eighty-three.

The gigantic tunnels of Lovecraft’s (and Houdini’s) imagination aren’t there, but there is plenty in Egypt to stir the Lovecraftian imagination in any enthusiast. My favorite such site is the baboon & falcon catacombs at Tuna el Gebil, the necropolis for Hermopolis, the city of Thoth. The first time I went there my Egyptian guide Ahmad, who was a devout Muslim, said that it was the one ancient site that he would not want to stay at after dark.  It’s a very lonely place out in the desert, and the maze of catacombs underneath can be disconcerting.  As Ahmad had said this, the wind was blowing across the sand accompanied by howls of wild dogs.  I could see what he meant, but he would still love to spend the night there.

Back home, my day-to-day life involves work with the Wiccan community, the interfaith community, and the intersection between these two. One way this manifests is through a private Pagan library I am opening in the San Francisco East Bay – the Adocentyn Research Library. The Library has recently reached capacity with over 15,000 volumes on its shelves and has now negotiated to triple its space. In addition to the occult subjects one might expect of a Pagan library, Adocentyn has special collections in Egyptology, esoteric Islam, Central American indigenous traditions, and Arthurian Studies, and – with the expanded space – will be adding a large collection of Lovecraft Studies.

I recently went back to school at UC Berkeley to study Middle Egyptian and have completed three years of study. I have some thoughts about the “correct” rendering and translation of Nephren-Ka that I’ll share soon. (BTW, I have visited a temple dedicated to Nitocris, but it’s dedicated to a 25th Dynasty priestess of Amun, not the infamous 6th Dynasty Ghoul-Queen of legend.) I am also managing a micro-crowd-funded Egyptology project to gather small amounts of money in the US to fund small but necessary archaeological projects in Egypt.  This project has built structures at Karnak and Luxor, but doesn’t yet have a name."

Ryan American

HPL's first published piece

  • January 31, 2022

HPLHS Member Joe Ryan has made a number of contributions to the society's library over the years, and this week he generously made another one. This copy of the Scientific American from August 25, 1906, includes a letter to the editor from HPL which was Lovecraft's first piece published by someone other than himself. HPL wrote to the magazine to suggest that astronomers should be searching for a planet in our solar system beyond Neptune. Astronomers did search for one, and 24 years later Clyde Tombaugh located Pluto.

Ryan American

Baby Shoggoth!

  • January 26, 2022

Our beloved Shipping Shoggoth Kevin Stidham and his wife Sarah Van der Pol became the proud parents this morning of a beautiful new baby son. Kevin and Sarah will be familiar to Dark Adventure Radio Theatre listeners for their numerous spectacular performances. Everyone at the HPLHS wishes them blissful happiness and unending good health!

DART recording session

The Next Dark Adventure now in Production!

  • January 13, 2022

After well over a year of script development, we have now begun recording principal vocals for the next thrilling episode of Dark Adventure Radio Theatre! Under COVID-compliant conditions, the DART company began returning to the studios today. Pictured here is Andrew Leman reflected in the glass of his isolation booth, snapping a photo of Sean Branney on the studio floor communicating with Larissa Gallagher who is joining the recording session from her own home via Zoom.

Damaged books

Literature of Lovecraft now shipping!

  • January 11, 2022

We have received the first shipment of fancy faux books for our Literature of Lovecraft audio book, and are now shipping to customers who ordered the deluxe USB collector edition. As you can see from this photo, some of the shipment was wiped out (we think it was stabbed with a forklift), but most survived unscathed. We have a second shipment coming via boat which should get here in a few more weeks. If you haven't already checked it out, be sure to pay a visit HERE.

Featured Member

  • January 6, 2022

Our Member of the Month for January, 2022 is Jean-Philippe Ranger of Fredericton, New Brunswick.

Jean-Philippe says: "I came to Lovecraft later in life, but in many ways, it seemed that I had been preparing myself to love his work long before. In my first university degree, I studied Latin Literature and Classical Archaeology, so I quite liked the characters in Lovecraft’s stories. For many decades, I had been a fan of fin de siècle decadent literature, so I recognized some of Lovecraft’s tropes and style and felt at home in many of his stories. Four of my favorites are “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward,” “The Dunwich Horror,” “Dreams in the Witch House,” and “The Thing on the Doorstep”. I love the idea of cosmic horror, combined with the notion that in order to be able to fully grasp knowledge of the inner workings of this bizarre cosmos that we are part of means that we lose some of our humanity. I don’t believe this is the case, but I think it makes for good stories!

From Lovecraft and through others who enjoy his stories, I have come to discover other authors who influenced him like Arthur Machen, Robert W. Chambers, and M.R. James. Lovecraft’s stories have opened a whole world that was unknown to me before.

I first heard of the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society through one of the early episodes of the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast and I quickly became a fan. I have many of their DART adaptations and a few pieces of apparel. I make sure to wear my Arkham Sanitarium lab coat for all my kitchen experiments, my Miskatonic Antarctic Expedition Hoodie for my arctic travels (I live in Canada’s maritime provinces, and it gets quite cold in the winter) and my Miskatonic Metaphys. Ed T-Shirt when I practice my calisthenic exercises in the summer. My family like to laugh at my two favorite Christmas decorations: a Cthulhu ornament as well as a Miskatonic University Antarctic Expedition commemorative ornament. I like to carve and print old alchemical images, some would have been in books that HPL’s characters pour over.

I am currently having great fun running the Horror on the Orient Express, Chaosium’s classic 1920’s era campaign.

In my spare time, I teach Ancient Greek Philosophy at a small liberal arts university. Secretly, I spend my days reading tomes of ancient lore in dead languages and strive to learn the wisdom that the Ancients have tried to impart on us.

Finally, I have a historical doppelgänger: Alexander Hermann, a 19th century magician. What was that story about the 'essential saltes'?"

2022 stamp

Who'll Stop the Rain?

  • January 4, 2022

We're pleased to be adding a fantastic new product to our online store. Our new friends at Vermillion Collection have produced a really spectacular Cthulhu umbrella. It's the kind of thing you don't even know you need until you see it. Now that it's the rainy season here at HQ, we expect to get some good use out of ours, but even in the sunshine it's a very spiffy accessory. Check it out by CLICKING HERE.

2022 stamp

Miskatonic Missives Update

  • January 4, 2022

We are forging ahead with finalizing the books for the Miskatonic Missives set. If you are a backer of our project on Kickstarter, please make sure you have submitted your BackerKit survey. Orders close there on January 12. The survey link was sent from BackerKit to the email address you used to back the project in Kickstarter. And if you missed the Kickstarter, but would still like to pre-order the books and/or some of the associated add-on items and ephemera, you can do that too by CLICKING HERE.

A New Solstice Carol

  • December 21, 2021

Several months ago member Doug Smith sent us the lyrics and sheet music to a new solstice carol he dreamed up. It was meant as a parody of the classic Bing Crosby/David Bowie duet from Bing's 1977 Christmas special, Bing Crosby's Merrie Olde Christmas. Bing died just before it aired, so it was his last television appearance. We thought it would be fun if Ogham Waite sang it as a duet with Robert Olmstead, bringing at least one new level of meaning to the lyrics. We present it here as our holiday gift to you!

Special thanks to Matt Foyer and Mike Dalager for returning to the microphones to reprise their Lovecraftian characters, and to Bryan Davis for mixing the music!

2022 stamp

2022 renewal stamp

  • December 9, 2021

The annual membership renewal stamps for 2022 are now here, and all new memberships and renewals starting from today will bear the new 2022 stamp. The new design features a burning torch of learning on a gold background.

Featured Member

  • December 2, 2021

Our Member of the Month for December, 2021 is Lee Villatoro Strand of Milton, Washington.

Lee says: "I was born in the great Golden State of California as the “middle child” of four siblings to a Mother from Oregon and Father from Guatemala. My family moved around a lot in my early childhood - at one point residing in Huehuetenango, Guatemala in the mid-90’s. Once I was a teen (or pre-teen) I lived in or around the Pacific Northwest- so I would say I grew up in the state of Washington.

I was still in High School when I first heard the name Howard Phillips Lovecraft, largely in relation to Cthulhu, but it would be some time before I actually read any of his stories. In fact, my interest in Lovecraft started with a different author with the name Howard - that is Robert E. Howard. I had read a small news article published in 2014 (or some time around then) featuring Robert E. Howard’s most famous creation, Conan the Barbarian. Like most people I was already familiar with the 1982 Arnold Schwarzenegger film but never really thought about the origins of the Conan character. I was genuinely surprised to find he was dreamed up by someone in a small Texas town back in the 1930s. My interest peaked, I picked up a collection of Conan stories, which bled through to reading further of Howard’s adventure stories like Solomon Kane and the like.

As I got more into Howard’s fiction, I learned of his connection to Lovecraft and that they had a legendary correspondence as pen-pals - a small part of a larger correspondence between similar Pulp writers in what was dubbed the “Lovecraft Circle”. A group of writers who were encouraged to share and adopt each other's ideas, building stories on each other’s styles and themes. Many of the monsters or nameless cults featured in the Conan stories were borrowed or inspired by his correspondences with Lovecraft. Subsequently, I decided to get a little more interested in reading Lovecraft’s work.

I can’t recall which of his stories I picked up first. It may have been “Dagon” or “The Statement of Randolph Carter”. I do recall the first story I really enjoyed was “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” and I’ve been a fan ever since. Reading his stories led me to search for further Lovecraftian entertainment in other media such as Stuart Gordon movies or different comic book adaptations. Eventually, my pursuit of all things Lovecraftian led me here to the HPLHS website. I would frequent the site to purchase the latest DART episodes or anything else that might catch my eye. Eventually I became a card-carrying member in 2017.

As to what I’m doing now, currently I am working in the Medical field. I actually got hired for my position just as the COVID outbreak began. I’ve had a few different jobs before but the larger part of pursuing my current occupation was my desire to help people. During this time there have been some rough days but I’m impressed by how a lot of us have been able to pull together. My message to you all is to stay smart, stay safe, and stay healthy."

Mythopoeic Society Seminar

  • November 16, 2021

HPLHS member Phillip Fitzsimmons spreads this word: "THE FIRST MYTHOPOEIC SOCIETY ONLINE MIDWINTER SEMINAR will be held on February 4-5, 2022, and we are trying to spread the word near and far about both the event and the quickly approaching deadline for the Call for Papers.

"The seminar is sponsored by The Writers of the Rohirrim, a Mythopoeic Society Discussion Group. We invite you to embrace the darkness of those long winter nights and participate in The Inklings and Horror: Fantasy's Dark Corners.

Presentation proposals are being accepted through November 15 and you can see the details HERE.

CLICK HERE for registration information.

Miskatonic Missives Update!

  • November 16, 2021

Thank you so very much to all the 712 wonderful people who backed our Miskatonic Missives Kickstarter! It was our first foray into crowdfunding and it was beyond encouraging. The friendly folks at Helios House Press are now putting together the next steps for bringing the project to completion. We have a good head start, but there is indeed work to do! If you backed the project you should soon be receiving (if you haven't already gotten) an email with the details.

Happy Anniversary Call of Cthulhu

  • November 8, 2021

The Curse of Race Prejudice cover

The Curse of Race Prejudice

  • October 11, 2021

One of the most challenging aspects of running the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society is the fact that the man whose work we celebrate was a racist. Like the rest of us, Lovecraft was a complex and multi-faceted individual, but no matter how you look at his life you can’t get away from the fact that he believed in white superiority. His views were seldom challenged and often reinforced by the culture in which he lived, but—like the modern era—the ‘20s and ‘30s were not monolithic in their thinking, and he was on the intolerant end of the spectrum. To say he was “a man of his times” is no excuse: his times were very much like our times. Among his many correspondents there were a number who held opposing views on this topic, and perhaps none better represents those than James Ferdinand Morton, Jr.

Morton was, perhaps, an improbable person to become a friend of Lovecraft. Where the young HPL was an arch-conservative who deeply idealized the Georgian era of colonial history, Morton—20 years Lovecraft’s senior—was a progressive and an anarchist, advocating ideas such as civil rights for Blacks, voting and reproductive rights for women, environmental conservation and the single tax system. Where Lovecraft never graduated high school, Morton earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Harvard. Yet through their correspondence the two men discovered a mutual respect for each other’s intelligence, and their correspondence covered a vast range of ideas.

Among the ways in which Morton supported himself was by giving public lectures. On January 21, 1906 he gave a lecture entitled “The Curse of Race Prejudice” in which he made the argument that racial hatred is injurious both to its victims and its perpetrators. He argued that a culture which harbored racial prejudice was headed into contraction and decline. As an active member of the amateur press movement, it was only natural that Morton later published an expanded version of the lecture as a 78-page pamphlet, which he sold for twenty-five cents.

Inspired by a very thoughtful member of the HPLHS who told us that he had recently sought out that pamphlet at his local library and read it, we thought it would be worthwhile to reissue it so that others could read it too. Since the HPLHS is known for doing replicas of vintage documents, it seemed like a project we were well-situated to pursue. We are offering it for the same price that Morton charged over a hundred years ago: 25¢.

The issues of racial prejudice and social justice have generally progressed from the standards of 1906, but as one reads Morton’s essay it’s heartbreakingly apparent that many of the problems he cites have persisted. We celebrate the works of H.P. Lovecraft, whose cosmic imagination and dark fiction have inspired so many years of fascination for us. But we also celebrate the works of James F. Morton, whose passionate and inspiring humanity shines a brilliant, if sometimes painful, light on very real problems. There’s nothing we can do about Lovecraft’s racial views, but we can do something about our own.

You can get a copy HERE.

Lament for H.P.L.

  • August 1, 2021

When HPL's old friend Alfred Galpin learned of Lovecraft's death, he dedicated a piano composition he was working on to his memory, and called it "Lament for H.P.L." Andrew Leman recently commissioned Reber Clark, composer for several episodes of Dark Adventure Radio Theatre, to do an orchestral version, and we are extremely proud to share that recording with you above.