Venture at your own risk into a realm where the sun sinks into oblivion-and all that is unholy, unearthly, and unspeakable rises. These rare, hard-to-find collaborations of cosmic terror are back in print, including
* Wentworth's Day A fellow figures his debt to a dead man is null and void, until he discovers just how terrifying interest rates can be.
* The Shuttered Room A sophisticated gentleman must settle his grandfather's estate, only to find that the house shelters dark secrets.
* The Dark Brotherhood A beautiful woman and her companion meet the likes of Edgar Allan Poe, in a tale as terrifying as anything Poe himself ever created.
* Innsmouth Clay A sculptor returns from Paris to create a statue not entirely of this world-and not at all under his control.
* Witches' Hollow A new schoolteacher puts his soul in peril while trying to save one of his students from a ravenous creature.
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October 13, 2008
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Excerpt from The Watchers Out of Time by H.P. Lovecraft
Certain houses, like certain persons, manage somehow to proclaim at once their character for evil. Perhaps it is the aroma of evil deeds committed under a particular roof, long after the actual doers have passed away, that makes the gooseflesh come and the hair rise. Something of the original passion of the evil-doer, and of the horror felt by his victim, enters the heart of the innocent watcher, and he becomes suddenly conscious of tingling nerves, creeping skin, and a chilling of the blood . . . --Algernon Blackwood
I had never intended to speak or write again of the Charriere house, once I had fled Providence on that shocking night of discovery--there are memories which every man would seek to suppress, to disbelieve, to wipe out of existence--but I am forced to set down now the narrative of my brief acquaintance with the house on Benefit Street, and my precipitate flight there from, lest some innocent person be subjected to indignity by the police in an effort to explain the horrible discovery the police have made at last--that same ghastly horror it was my lot to look upon before any other human eye--and what I saw was surely far more terrible than what remained to be seen after all these years, the house having reverted to the city, as I had known it would.
While it is true that an antiquarian might be expected to know considerably less about some ancient avenues of human research than about old houses, it is surely conceivable that one who is steeped in the processes of research among the habitations of the human race might occasionally encounter a more abstruse mystery than the date of an ell or the source of a gambrel roof and find it possible to come to certain conclusions about it, no matter how incredible, how horrible or frightening or even--yes, damnable! In those quarters where antiquarians gather, the name of Alijah Atwood is not entirely unknown; modesty forbids me to say more, but it is surely permissible to point out that anyone sufficiently interested to look up references will find more than a few paragraphs about me in those directories devoted to information for the antiquary.
I came to Providence, Rhode Island, in 1930, intending to make only a brief visit and then go on to New Orleans. But I saw the Charriere house on Benefit Street, and was drawn to it as only an antiquarian would be drawn to any unusual house isolated in a New England street of a period not its own, a house clearly of some age, and with an indefinable aura that both attracted and repelled.
What was said about the Charriere house--that it was haunted--was no more than what was said about many an old, abandoned dwelling in the old world as well as in the new, and even, if I can depend on the solemn articles in the Journal of American Folklore, about the primitive dwellings of American Indians, Australian bush-people, the Polynesians, and many others. Of ghosts I do not wish to write; suffice it to say that there have been within the circle of my experience certain manifestations which have lent themselves to no scientific explanation, though I am rational enough to believe that there is such explanation to be found, once man chances upon the proper interpretation through the correct scientific approach.
In that sense, surely the Charriere house was not haunted. No spectre passed among its rooms rattling its chain, no voice moaned at midnight, no sepulchral figure appeared at the witching hour to warn of approaching doom. But that there was an aura about the house--one of evil? of terror? of hideous, eldritch things?--none could deny; and had I been born a less insensitive clod, I have no doubt that the house would have driven me forth raving out of mind. Its aura was less tangible than others I have known, but it suggested that the house concealed unspeakable secrets, long hidden from human perception. Above all else, it conveyed an overpowering sense of age--of centuries not alone of its own being, but far, far in the past, when the world was young, which was curious indeed, for the house, however old, was less than three centuries of age.
I saw it first as an antiquarian, delighted to discover set in a row of staid New England houses a house which was manifestly of a seventeenth century Quebec style, and thus so different from its neighbors as to attract immediately the eye of any passerby. I had made many visits to Quebec, as well as to other old cities of the North American continent, but on this first visit to Providence, I had not come primarily in search of ancient dwellings, but to call upon a fellow antiquarian of note, and it was on my way to his home on Barnes Street that I passed the Charriere house, observed that it was not tenanted, and resolved to lease it for my own. Even so, I might not have done so, had it not been for the curious reluctance of my friend to speak of the house, and, indeed, his seeming unwillingness that I go near the place.