Herbert West, Re-animator—A 1922 Novella of Horror by H. P. Lovecraft in Six Parts…

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Herbert West, Re-animator

H. P. Lovecraft, 1922


Part 1: From the Dark

Of Herbert West, who was my friend in college and in after life, I can speak only with extreme terror. This terror is not due altogether to the sinister manner of his recent disappearance, but was engendered by the whole nature of his life-work, and first gained its acute form more than seventeen years ago, when we were in the third year of our course at the Miskatonic University Medical School in Arkham. While he was with me, the wonder and diabolism of his experiments fascinated me utterly, and I was his closest companion. Now that he is gone and the spell is broken, the actual fear is greater. Memories and possibilities are ever more hideous than realities.

The first horrible incident of our acquaintance was the greatest shock I ever experienced, and it is only with reluctance that I repeat it. As I have said, it happened when we were in the medical school where West had already made himself notorious through his wild theories on the nature of death and the possibility of overcoming it artificially. His views, which were widely ridiculed by the faculty and by his fellow-students, hinged on the essentially mechanistic nature of life; and concerned means for operating the organic machinery of mankind by calculated chemical action after the failure of natural processes. In his experiments with various animating solutions, he had killed and treated immense numbers of rabbits, guinea-pigs, cats, dogs, and monkeys, till he had become the prime nuisance of the college. Several times he had actually obtained signs of life in animals supposedly dead; in many cases violent signs but he soon saw that the perfection of his process, if indeed possible, would necessarily involve a lifetime of research. It likewise became clear that, since the same solution never worked alike on different organic species, he would require human subjects for further and more specialised progress. It was here that he first came into conflict with the college authorities, and was debarred from future experiments by no less a dignitary than the dean of the medical school himself — the learned and benevolent Dr. Allan Halsey, whose work in behalf of the stricken is recalled by every old resident of Arkham.

I had always been exceptionally tolerant of West’s pursuits, and we frequently discussed his theories, whose ramifications and corollaries were almost infinite. Holding with Haeckel that all life is a chemical and physical process, and that the so-called “soul” is a myth, my friend believed that artificial reanimation of the dead can depend only on the condition of the tissues; and that unless actual decomposition has set in, a corpse fully equipped with organs may with suitable measures be set going again in the peculiar fashion known as life. That the psychic or intellectual life might be impaired by the slight deterioration of sensitive brain-cells which even a short period of death would be apt to cause, West fully realised. It had at first been his hope to find a reagent which would restore vitality before the actual advent of death, and only repeated failures on animals had shewn him that the natural and artificial life-motions were incompatible. He then sought extreme freshness in his specimens, injecting his solutions into the blood immediately after the extinction of life. It was this circumstance which made the professors so carelessly sceptical, for they felt that true death had not occurred in any case. They did not stop to view the matter closely and reasoningly.

It was not long after the faculty had interdicted his work that West confided to me his resolution to get fresh human bodies in some manner, and continue in secret the experiments he could no longer perform openly. To hear him discussing ways and means was rather ghastly, for at the college we had never procured anatomical specimens ourselves. Whenever the morgue proved inadequate, two local negroes attended to this matter, and they were seldom questioned. West was then a small, slender, spectacled youth with delicate features, yellow hair, pale blue eyes, and a soft voice, and it was uncanny to hear him dwelling on the relative merits of Christchurch Cemetery and the potter’s field. We finally decided on the potter’s field, because practically every body in Christchurch was embalmed; a thing of course ruinous to West’s researches.

I was by this time his active and enthralled assistant, and helped him make all his decisions, not only concerning the source of bodies but concerning a suitable place for our loathsome work. It was I who thought of the deserted Chapman farmhouse beyond Meadow Hill, where we fitted up on the ground floor an operating room and a laboratory, each with dark curtains to conceal our midnight doings. The place was far from any road, and in sight of no other house, yet precautions were none the less necessary; since rumours of strange lights, started by chance nocturnal roamers, would soon bring disaster on our enterprise. It was agreed to call the whole thing a chemical laboratory if discovery should occur. Gradually we equipped our sinister haunt of science with materials either purchased in Boston or quietly borrowed from the college — materials carefully made unrecognisable save to expert eyes — and provided spades and picks for the many burials we should have to make in the cellar. At the college we used an incinerator, but the apparatus was too costly for our unauthorised laboratory. Bodies were always a nuisance — even the small guinea-pig bodies from the slight clandestine experiments in West’s room at the boarding-house.

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Near-Death Experiences—What Would You Do?

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(from Varieties of Religious Experience, New York Times, December 24, 2016)

‘It’s Christmas; indulge me.

One of my hobbies is collecting what you might call nonconversion stories — stories about secular moderns who have supernatural-seeming experiences without being propelled into any specific religious faith. In some ways these stories are more intriguing than mystical experiences that confirm or inspire strong religious belief, because they come to us unmediated by any theological apparatus. They are more like raw data, raw material, the stuff that shows how spiritual experiences would continue if every institutional faith disappeared tomorrow.

Here are some public cases. Three decades ago A. J. Ayer, the British logical positivist and scourge of all religion, died and was resuscitated at the age of 77. Afterward, he reported a near-death encounter that included repeated attempts to cross a river and “a red light, exceedingly bright, and also very painful … responsible for the government of the universe.” Ayer retained his atheism, but declared that the experience had “slightly weakened” his conviction that death “will be the end of me.”

As a young man in the 1960s, the filmmaker Paul Verhoeven, of “RoboCop” and “Showgirls” fame, wandered into a Pentecostal church and suddenly felt “the Holy Ghost descending … as if a laser beam was cutting through my head and my heart was on fire.” He was in the midst of dealing with his then-girlfriend’s unexpected pregnancy; after they procured an abortion, he had a terrifying, avenging-angel vision during a screening of “King Kong.” The combined experience actively propelled him away from anything metaphysical; the raw carnality of his most famous films, he suggested later, was an attempt to keep the numinous and destabilizing at bay.

Barbara Ehrenreich, the left-wing essayist and atheist, had shocking, unlooked-for experiences of spiritual rapture as a teenager, which she wrote about in 2014’s don’t-call-it-religious memoir, “Living With a Wild God.” The “wild” part is key: Ehrenreich rejects the God of monotheism because the Being she encountered seemed stranger, less benign and more amoral than the God she thinks that most religions worship.

Lisa Chase, the wife of the late New York journalistic icon Peter Kaplan, wrote an essay for Elle Magazine last year about her experiences communicating, on her own and through a medium, with her husband after his 2013 death. There is no organized religion in her story whatsoever. But if you read the essay carefully, it’s clear that her quest was shaped by the fact that more than a few highly educated liberal Manhattan professionals have also had experiences like hers.

William Friedkin, the director of “The Exorcist,” had never seen an exorcism when he made his famous film. A professed agnostic, he decided recently to “complete the circle” and spent some time shadowing the Vatican exorcist Father Gabriele Amorth, just before Amorth’s passing at the age of 91. Friedkin recounted his experience in Vanity Fair this fall; it did not make him a Catholic believer, but it did seem to scare the Hades out of him.

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A Suggestion of Ghosts, Supernatural Fiction by Women 1854 – 1900, ed. by A. J. Mains, from Black Schuck Books

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Table of Contents

  • A Veritable Ghost Story by Susanna Moodie
  • The Spectral Rout by Frances Power Cobbe
  • A Legend of All-Hallow Eve by Georgiana S. Hull
  • The Ghost of the Nineteenth Century by Phoebe Pember
  • The Ghost Room by Clara Merwin
  • Miss Massereene’s Ghost by E.A. Henty
  • Vindication of the Supernatural by Manda L. Crocker
  • The Warneford Abbey Ghost by Ada Maria Jocelyn
  • A Speakin’ Ghost by Annie Trumbull Slosson
  • The Closed Cabinet by Lady Gwendolen Gascoyne-Cecil
  • The Little Green Door by Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman
  • The Death Spancel by Katharine Tynan
  • The House That Wouldn’t Let by Mrs Hattie H. Howard
  • At the Witching Hour by Elizabeth Gibert Cunningham-Terry
  • The Oakleigh Ghost by Annie Armitt

About the Book

British Fantasy Award-winning editor J.A. Mains presents an all-female anthology of supernatural stories, first published between 1854 and 1900. Mains has trawled the archives to find fifteen tales which have not seen print since their original publications. Featuring cover art from multiple time British Fantasy Award-winner Les Edwards, and an introduction by Lynda Rucker, A Suggestion of Ghosts is an important volume for those interested in the Victorian era of supernatural tales.

Black Shuck is very proud to announce the first of two ghost story anthologies from Johnny (A J) Mains, an all-female anthology of ghost stories written from 1826 – 1897. Johnny has been deep in the cobwebbed archives of decaying periodicals, collections and newspapers and has found British, Irish, American and Australian stories that have never been anthologized since their original publication up to 190 years ago. Mains is thrilled that he can also attribute the correct authorship to ‘The Closed Cabinet’ to Lady Gwendolyn Gascoyne-Cecil, which has been continuously published under the by-line ‘Anon’ since its original appearance in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine in January of 1895.

Mains feels that A Suggestion of Ghosts will be an invaluable book for those desperately seeking to read and research supernatural tales which have long faded away and have been forgotten about.

There will be a limited hardback edition of 100 numbered copies, with artwork by Edward Miller (Les Edwards) and Mike Mignola. The book will also be signed by Mains and Edwards. A Suggestion of Ghosts will also contain original publication dates of stories and biographies of the authors.

Two months after the publication of the hardback, there will be a simultaneous paperback and e-book release, this will contain two stories less than the hardback.

Read more: http://vaultofevil.proboards.com/thread/6591/suggestion-ghosts-mains#ixzz5TjqFSWHV

Link to Buy the Paperback

https://blackshuck.greatbritishhorror.com/a-suggestion-of-ghosts/

An Obscurity of Ghosts, ed. by J. A. Mains Hardback Coming Late 2018! (TOC + Link)

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Table of Contents

  • The Pin Ghost by E T Corbett
  • The Mysterious House by Mrs M C Despard
  • Not Exactly a Ghost Story by Mary Louisa Molesworth
  • A Bristol Ghost Story by Alice Horlor
  • The American Ghost by Lucretia P Hale
  • The Ghostly Lady by Harriet Elizabeth Prescott Spofford
  • The Room with the Staircase by Mrs E Fitzmaurice
  • Miss Tweed’s Ghost Story by Sarah Doudney
  • A Night in a Haunted House by (Mattie) May Jordan
  • The White Priest by Hélène Gingold
  • Grannie’s Ghost Story by Lucy Hardy
  • The Ghost of My Dead Friend by Wilhelmina Fitzclarence, Countess of Munster
  • Playing the Ghost by Mrs Edith E Cuthell
  • A Chestnutting Ghost by Margaret Barringer
  • The Phantom Ride by Lyllian Huntley

About the Book

Following the success of A Suggestion of Ghosts, British Fantasy Award-winning editor J.A. Mains presents a second all-female anthology of ghost stories written between 1876 and 1902. Mains has once again been trawling the archives to find another fifteen tales, fourteen of which have not been anthologised since their original publications.

Featuring cover art from multiple time British Fantasy Award-winner Les Edwards, and an introduction by Melissa Edmundson, AN OBSCURITY OF GHOSTS will be another important volume for those interested in the Victorian era of supernatural tales.

This hardback edition of AN OBSCURITY OF GHOSTS will be limited to 50 numbered copies, each signed by editor J.A. Mains and artist Les Edwards.

Link to Preorder

https://blackshuckbooks.co.uk/obscurity/

 

Silver Bullets—An Anthology if Werewolf Stories from 1831-1920, ed. by Eleanor Dobson (The British Library 2017) Excerpt + Intro + Link…

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Excerpt from Story 1: “The Man-Wolf” by Leitch Ritchie…

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Introduction by Eleanor Dobson…

(Click thumbnails to enlarge)

Buy the book here…

https://www.amazon.com/Silver-Bullets-Classic-Werewolf-Stories/dp/0712352201

Ghosts are what survive of love…what they’re really trying to prove is that love lasts forever…

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“Every ghost story begins with a love story, and usually more than one. Once they are untangled, you will always find eternal love, unbearable loss, and unconquerable fear.

Everywhere, every minute, people all over the world are desperately begging God and any other power they can think of to not take someone they love, their child, their husband or wife, mother or father or friend. And finally, at the end, don’t take me.

There is no spot on earth that is free from loss. On this street, or in this room, someone lay down or was put down and was no more. Someone held someone else for the last time here. Rivers and lakes and oceans are full of people who vanished beneath the surface and were never seen again. Wherever you are standing, wherever you call home, someone left the earth there.

Everyone we love dies and disappears.

Something more substantial than a memory must survive of all that love. It’s unthinkable that the dead are truly and completely gone. And if the dead are not completely gone, we, as every generation that came before, are compelled to look for whatever remains.

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What is death but the end of all we love? Ghosts are what survive of love. Real or unreal, they are a testament to love, and the hope that no matter what, love lasts.

The men and women of the Duke Parapsychology Laboratory were scientists. They never would have phrased it this way. But when all is said and done, as they tried to prove that death is not the end, what they were really trying to prove is that love lasts forever.

The problem was how to scientifically demonstrate that life and all the feelings that go with it survive death. A medium relaying messages of continuing love from a dead wife might be enough for an inconsolable widower, but it will never be enough for the scientific community, which demands not only more convincing evidence but also experiments that can be reliably repeated to produce consistent results. To move an idea out of the realm of belief and into the world of accepted fact, others must be able to verify your results. There are no shortcuts to this process, and no exceptions. Like those we pray to when death is imminent, the scientific method is immune to longing, hope, and pleas.”

7B9B371A-9356-4D86-84C8-51E6AE71249EStacy Horn, from the Preface to Unvelievable: Inveatigations into Ghosts, Poltergeists, Telepathy, and Other Unseen Phenomena, from the Duke Parasychology Laboratory (HarperCollins 2009)

[Image: Still from the 2017 David Lowry film A Ghost Story, starring Casey Affleck (mentor-less.com).]

Who Is Indrid Cold, Aka. “The Grinning Man”? A Creepy Tale from 1930s West’s Virginia…