There’s no real essays or anything this week. Due to some massive time constraints, this is going to have to be primarily a mailbag.
Thanks for the quick response. I will be sure to check out
a few of those books. I received some Bukowski, Kafka, a
book about Cesar Chavez, and a book about Musical
Instument Design that I have to get through first before I
keep buying more books. I’m a pretty fast reader though. I
also wanted to let you know that I have read many of
Lovecraft’s writing as well – there is plenty of creepy
shit to be found in those books. I especially like the
story called the Music of Eric Zann. I have a couple
questions for you this week that I hope you can answer.
What sort of writing did Lovecraft do before he got into
the whole horror genre? I have heard that he wrote some
kind of white supremacist shit but I’m not so sure if this
is true. Also I would like to know about religions that
have apocalypse stories or stories that predict some kind
of armageddon. I’m aware of Revelations (John’s dream)
being interpreted as a prediction of armageddon and I was
wondering if perhaps it had evolved from other religious
stories or something. I enjoyed the article again. Keep up
the great work.
Every major religion has Armageddon. The Sumerians had Tiamat vs Marduk. The Christians have Revelations. The Norse has Ragnarok. Heaven’s Gate had their Hale Bopp. The Jews have their acharit hayami, and so on. Any religion you investigate will have an “end of days” story. In fact, if you go to your local comic store, Marvel Comis just ended their THOR series, will a great telling of Ragnarok.
As for Lovecraft, he never wrote any white supremist essays or articles. That’s an amazingly stupid rumour spread about him because god forbid to a 21st century reader, someone back in the 1890’s used the word “nigger” to describe an African American. Back then it was acceptible to use that term, even though today no one but a racist dumb ass would. This rumour about Lovecraft stems back from his early tale “The Rats in the Wall” because the main character had a black cat named “Nigger-Man.” Ignore what you hear about Lovecraft being racist, as by perusing through his letters and correspondence, you can easily see that’s not true
Really all Lovecraft ever wrote was weird terror (NOT horror) stories. Occasionally he’d dabble in non fiction, but that was the exception to the rule, and by no means the norm for him.
Hope these answers help Angelo!
And now a letter from the United Kingdom…
Greetings, noble sir,
I thought I’d write and tell you how much I enjoyed
your well-researched and informed article on the
‘Mummy’s Curse’ legend.
So much has been published about the various Egyptian
antiquity finds that it is often difficult to get to
the truth of some matters. I’ve been hovering around
amatuer Egyptology circles for a long time now, and
it’s truly amazing how often total fabrications are
created or propagated by supposedly reputable persons
Another favourite Egyptian-flavour myth of mine is the
oft-quoted legend that the Titanic had the mummy of an
Egyptian princess aboard, and that it was the
mysterious and terribly curse that caused the ship to
Total nonsense of course, the princess in question
didn’t even have a mummy available to transport, as
the only evidence of her existance that was found was
the front of her sarcophogus.
I always thing of what Howard Carter was said to say
when asked about the curse. He would draw himself up,
raise an eyebrow and say:
‘The answer is spherical and in the plural’
By the way, since I have my History Geek hat on:
‘None of the workers, and not the man responsible for
its unearthing, Harold Carter’
Shouldn’t that be ‘Howard Carter’?
Ah now, I’m sure this is merely a typo, but I’m in
pedant mode and can’t help myself. :)
I was also going to direct you towards some research
I’ve been reading about the ancient bacteria that was
found in some of the tombs, and it’s possible
continued viability, but I seem to have misplaced the
link. Sorry about that.
anyway, thanks for your article, was a nice read.
Becky ‘Skyblaze’ Duty
Yes, it’s Howard Carter. I made a typo and thank you for catching that. As for the bacteria in the tomb, you’re thinking of the theory that Carnarvon and others were brought down by Histoplasmosis, a disease that often attacks spelunkers and other explorers. Histoplasmosis is caused by a fungus that grows in guano, also known as bat shit. When the droppings of the bats dries out, it becomes a dust that when inhaled by a human produces a set of pneumonia like symptoms.
This theory has been around since the beginning of the curse and was started by R.G. Harrison, professor of Anatomy at Liverpool University. Harrison came up with his theory because he learned from local villagers in Luxor that during the first few months of exploring Tutankhamum’s tomb, bats would come into the openings and have to be shooed out. Because of this Harrison formed the theory of Carnarvon actually dying of histoplasmosis.
There’s just one really big problem with this theory. There are in fact, no bats at all, in the Valley of the Kings or Luxor. As well, there’s just no way bats could have created enough guano to cause histoplasmosis dust in just a few months. And bats, being amazingly timid creatures, would have never settled in the tomb for very long with all the disturbances going on with the excavation. They might have been curious once or twice but eventually, they’d have settled someplace else.
Glad you liked the column Becky!
One more letter…
thanks for mentioning the yellow sign in your latest column. it is also one of
my favorite non-lovecraft um lovecraft type stories. i was very pleased when
chaosium released a r w chambers collection based on the yellow sign among other
i’m enjoying your new work on insidepulse even if as i miss your video game
writing. maybe it’s for the best as i’ve spent too much money based on your
recommendations and haven’t been disappointed. and before i dip even further
into fan gushing praise, i’ll let you go. think i’ll read a bit tonight about
the king in yellow.
Okay, thanks for writing Mike. I’m glad Robert Chambers is starting to get a fanbase he so richly deserved a long time ago. I love the guy. Everything from the Repairer of Reputations on down. Just an amazing writer.
But this is worth addressing something here.
I did a Retrograding column as a Christmas present 2-3 weeks ago, and got flooded with emails. Half were saying “OMGWTF YES!!!1!!!!!ONE! Retrograding is Back!/Bring back RG!” and the other half are like this saying, “Nyogtha is the most intelligent thing on Inside Pulse. Please don’t stop writing it.” It baffled me because I wrote in the column that it was a one time thing just to give old readers who miss my video game babble a bit of nostalgia. Retrograding itself has become retro and I like the irony in that.
I’m glad to see a lot of people passionate about my two different styles of writing, but this is where I’m staying for quite some time except for the occasional dabbling back in video games. But in fact, I feel Nyogtha helps Insidepulse.com stand out a lot more than any of those other pop culture sites out there simply because it’s a little more highbrow, just like Retrograding was a lot more intellectual than your average VG column.
I appreciate the praise though. ;-)
And one final letter for the day,
Dear Mr. Lucard, (Alex’s note: What’s up with the formalities lately?)
I was a big fan of the Vampire Classifieds way back when, and recently a friend was telling me about this great new read he found called “Nyogtha.” He gave me a link and I was floored to see it was by you. I’m really glad you’re back writing about the undead, as I loved reading your weekly column back when you were on WBS. I’m guessing you don’t get as many people at Inside Pulse seriously asking you if you’re really Dracula or a real vampire writing under a pseudonym though! I’m currently in a “gothic literature” class and I want to eventually to my final paper on Abraham Stoker. I’m glad you’re back writing because you’re the one person who I know can answer my question: Can you get me a complete bibliography of what Stoker wrote besides Dracula and Lair of the White Worm? If anyone can do this, it’s you.
Well, thanks for the nostalgic praise Eric. And don’t worry, because the Icon, the Showstoppa, the Main Eventah won’t let you down. Here’s a complete list of all Bram Stoker had published.
1. The Duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions in Ireland (Civil Service Reference book)
2. Under the Sunset (Collection of children’s horror stories)
3. A Glimpse of America: A Lecture Given at the London Institution
4. The Snake’s Pass (Romance Novel heavily praised in its day involving buried treasure)
5. The Watter’s Mou (another Romance/smuggling novel)
6. Crooken Sands (Weird suspense thriller)
7. The Shoulder of Shasta (Romance Novel set in America with a character named Grizzly Dick. I can’t make this shit up.)
8. Dracula (Do you really need me to write anything about this book????????)
9. Miss Betsy (A romance novel later turned into a four act play)
10. The Mystery of the Sea (Romance novel with spies and the Spanish Armada)
11. The Jewel of Seven Stars (Third best known piece of work by Stoker. A huge fictionalization of Egyptian folklore, like Dracula was Eastern European folklore. Excellent tale, although after 1904, the ending was changed to a happier and far less gruesome ending. If you go to buy this, search for an edition with BOTH endings)
12. The Man (Feminist Romance Novel)
13. Personal Reminiscences of Sir Henry Irving (Biography)
14. Lady Athlyne (Romance Novel set is the American south)
15. Snowbound: The Record of a Theatrical Touring Party (collection of 15 short stories)
16. The Lady of the Shroud (Good spooky tale)
17. Famous Imposters (Nonfiction collection of famous impersonators)
18. Lair of the White Worm (The unabridged version was not printed until 1966. The original 1911 version was abridged and edited by publishers. Stoker’s last novel and it features a Snake woman who takes the form of a beautiful woman to feast and f*ck)
19. Dracula’s Guest and other Weird Stories (Collection of Horror stories. If you’re really lucky, you can find the original printing of this book which was actually titled Walpurgis Night.
20. The Bram Stoker Bedtime Companion (Ten short stories by Bram)
21. Midnight Tales (Another Anthology)
19-21 were published after Stoker’s death BTW.
Hope this helps. And as you can tell, Stoker wasn’t that much of a horror writer. He wrote tales for the ladies.
And that’s it for this week. Time for some food.
This week I thought I’d talk about Blueberries. If it was up to me, I would spend every summer in Maine. Cheap lobster and other seafood and limitless blueberries. Beautiful scenery and amazing weather. There’s no better place in America for a relaxing meandering fortnight in late August than in Maine. Camping, the Appalachian trail, whale and puffin watching, and oh my the food, the food, the food.
This recipe for blueberry pie actually comes from the Cod End Cookhouse up in midcoast Maine. It’s considered the best pie recipe in the state, so it only makes sense I choose this as my recipe of the week to share with you guys, right?
12 tablespoons lard, cut into chunks
three-fourth’s teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons boiling water
2 cups all purpose flour
5 cups fresh blueberries (of course Main ones if possible!)
three-fourths cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
one-fourth teaspoon cinnamon
one-eighth teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoon butter
1. For the crust, combine the lard and salt in a large bowl. Pour the boiling water over and work the mixture with a large fork until the lard is softened and the salt is mixed in. Add the flour and, using a fork or your fingertips, work the mixture together until you can squeeze the dough into a cohesive mass. Divide in half and shape into two flattened disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes or for up to 2 days.
2. Remove the pastry from the refrigerator 30 to 45 minutes before rolling out. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Roll half the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a 12 inch round. Ease into a 9 inch pie place. Roll out the top crust.
3. Pour the blueberries into the pie shell. In a small bowl, toss together the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the cinnamon sugar for sprinkling over the top crust. Sprinkle the remaining mixture over the berries, stirring gently to mix. Cut the butter into several pieces and distribute it over the top.
4. Cover with the top crust and trim the overhanging dough to three-fourths inch all around. Turn the edges under, and crimp or flute the dough to seal. Use a sharp knife to cut several vents in the crust and sprinkle with the reserved table spoon of cinnamon sugar.
5. Bake in the preheated over untilt he crust is a rich golden brown and the berry juices bubble through the vents. This should take about 45 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
A rather short column this week, but I swamped with IRL stuff. Sorry people. But I’ll see you next week with more babble about dead people’s writing or old nearly forgotten legends.