Friday, July 15, 2011

HP Lovecraft's Commonplace Book: entries 121-160

121 Photius tells of a (lost) writer named Damascius, who wrote
“Incredible Fictions”
“Tales of Daemons”
“Marvellous Stories of Appearances from the Dead”.
122 Horrible things whispered in the lines of Gauthier de Metz (13th cen.) “Image du Monde”.
123 Dried-up man living for centuries in cataleptic state in ancient tomb.
124 Hideous secret assemblage at night in antique alley—disperse furtively one by one—one seen to drop something—a human hand—
125 Man abandon’d by ship—swimming in sea—pickt up hours later with strange story of undersea region he has visited—mad??
126 Castaways on island eat unknown vegetation and become strangely transformed.
127 Ancient and unknown ruins—strange and immortal bird who speaks in a language horrifying and revelatory to the explorers.
128 Individual, by some strange process, retraces the path of evolution and becomes amphibious.
 Dr. insists that the particular amphibian from which man descends is not like any known to palaeontology. To prove it, indulges in (or relates) strange experiment.
129 Marble Faun p. 346—strange and prehistorick Italian city of stone.
130 N.E. region call’d “Witches’ Hollow”—along course of a river. Rumours of witches’ sabbaths and Indian powwows on a broad mound rising out of the level where some old hemlocks and beeches formed a dark grove or daemon-temple. Legends hard to account for. Holmes—Guardian Angel.
131 Phosphorescence of decaying wood—called in New England “fox-fire”.
132 Mad artist in ancient sinister house draws things. What were his models? Glimpse. [Pickman’s Model]
133 Man has miniature shapeless Siamese twin—exhib. in circus—twin surgically detached—disappears—does hideous things with malign life of his own. [HSW—Cassius]
134 Witches’ Hollow novel? Man hired as teacher in private school misses road on first trip—encounters dark hollow with unnaturally swollen trees and small cottage (light in window?). Reaches school and hears that boys are forbidden to visit hollow. One boy is strange—teacher sees him visit hollow—odd doings—mysterious disappearance or hideous fate.
135 Hideous world superimposed on visible world—gate through—power guides narrator to ancient and forbidden book with directions for access.
136 A secret language spoken by a very few old men in a wild country leads to hidden marvels and terrors still surviving.
137 Strange man seen in lonely mountain place talking with great winged thing which flies away as others approach.
138 Someone or something cries in fright at sight of the rising moon, as if it were something strange. [x]
139 DELRIO asks “An sint unquam daemones incubi et succubae, et an ex tali congressu proles nasci queat?” [Red Hook]
140 Explorer enters strange land where some atmospheric quality darkens the sky to virtual blackness—marvels therein.
141 Footnote by Haggard or Lang in “The World’s Desire”
“Probably the mysterious and indecipherable ancient books, which were occasionally excavated in old Egypt, were written in this dead language of a more ancient and now forgotten people. Such was the book discovered at Coptos, in the ancient sanctuary there, by a priest of the Goddess. ‘The whole earth was dark, but the moon shone all about the Book.’ A scribe of the period of the Ramessids mentions another in indecipherable ancient writing. ‘Thou tellest me thou understandest no word of it, good or bad. There is, as it were, a wall about it that none may climb. Thou art instructed, yet thou knowest it not; this makes me afraid.’
“Birch Zeitschrift 1871 pp. 61–64 Papyrus Anastasi I pl. X, l.8, pl. X l.4. Maspero, Hist. Anc. pp. 66–67.”
142 Members of witch-cult were buried face downward. Man investigates ancestor in family tomb and finds disquieting condition.
143 Strange well in Arkham country—water gives out (or was never struck —hole kept tightly covered by a stone ever since dug)—no bottom—shunned and feared—what lay beneath (either unholy temple or other very ancient thing, or great cave-world). [Fungi—The Well]
144 Hideous book glimpsed in ancient shop—never seen again.
145 Horrible boarding house—closed door never opened.
146 Ancient lamp found in tomb—when filled and used, its light reveals strange world. [Fungi]
147 Any very ancient, unknown, or prehistoric object—its power of suggestion—forbidden memories.
148 Vampire dog.
149 Evil alley or enclosed court in ancient city—Union or Milligan St. [Fungi]
150 Visit to someone in wild and remote house—ride from station through the night—into the haunted hills—house by forest or water—terrible things live there.
151 Man forced to take shelter in strange house. Host has thick beard and dark glasses. Retires. In night guest rises and sees host’s clothes about—also mask which was the apparent face of whatever the host was. Flight.
152 Autonomic nervous system and subconscious mind do not reside in the head. Have mad physician decapitate a man but keep him alive and subconsciously controlled. Avoid copying tale by W. C. Morrow.
153 Black cat on hill near dark gulf of ancient inn yard. Mew hoarsely—invites artist to nighted mysteries beyond. Finally dies at advanced age. Haunts dreams of artist—lures him to follow—strange outcome (never wakes up? or makes bizarre discovery of an elder world outside 3-dimensioned space?) [Used by Dwyer]
154 Trophonius—cave of. Vide Class. Dict. and Atlantic article.
155 Steepled town seen from afar at sunset—does not light up at night. Sail has been seen putting out to sea. [Fungi]
156 Adventures of a disembodied spirit—thro’ dim, half-familiar cities and over strange moors—thro’ space and time—other planets and universes in the end.
157 Vague lights, geometrical figures, etc., seen on retina when eyes are closed. Caus’d by rays from other dimensions acting on optick nerve? From other planets? Connected with a life or phase of being in which person could live if he only knew how to get there? Man afraid to shut eyes—he has been somewhere on a terrible pilgrimage and this fearsome seeing faculty remains.
158 Man has terrible wizard friend who gains influence over him. Kills him in defence of his soul—walls body up in ancient cellar—BUT—the dead wizard (who has said strange things about soul lingering in body) changes bodies with him . . . leaving him a conscious corpse in cellar. [Thing on Doorstep]
159 Certain kind of deep-toned stately music of the style of the 1870’s or 1880’s recalls certain visions of that period—gas-litten parlours of the dead, moonlight on old floors, decaying business streets with gas lamps, etc.—under terrible circumstances.
160 Book which induces sleep on reading—cannot be read—determined man reads it—goes mad—precautions taken by aged initiate who knows—protection (as of author and translator) by incantation.

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