Lovecraft, H P - Letter to Frank Belknap Long December 11, 1919
Type of Spiritual Experience
In most of his dreams Lovecraft remained at most a passive observer and at best an invisible one. Once the sinister denizens of Lovecraft's dream worlds notice him, the shock of the interaction wakes him up. Then an important breakthrough occurs in December 1919. In "The Statement of Randolph Carter" another Lovecraft hero faints, but not before he establishes communication with the other side. The basis of the story was once again a dream.
In a letter to Frank Belknap Long (dated December 11, 1919), Lovecraft writes of a vivid nightmare in which he and his friend Samuel Loveman "were, for some terrible yet unknown reason, in a very strange and very ancient cemetery."
The letter closes with a typical conclusion for a Lovecraft story: "Well, that's the whole damn thing! I fainted in the dream, and the next I knew I was awake--and with a prize headache!" (Selected Letters I, 95-97).
A description of the experience
It was very late in the night . . . . Loveman carried, slung over his shoulder, a portable telephone outfit; whilst I bore two spades. We proceeded directly to a flat sepulcher near the centre of the horrible place, and began to clear away the moss-grown earth which had been washed down upon it by the rains of innumerable years. . . . . Loveman took up his shovel again, and using it as a lever, sought to pry up a certain slab which formed the top of the sepulcher. […] Finally we loosened the stone, lifted it with our combined strength, and heaved it away. Beneath was a black passageway with a flight of stone steps. . . . Loveman picked up the telephone outfit and began to uncoil the wire, speaking for the first time as he did so. . . .
'I'll keep you informed of every move I make by the telephone--you see, I've enough wire here to reach to the centre of the earth and back!
[Loveman disappears down below only to communicate to Lovecraft by phone.]
'Lovecraft--I think I'm finding it. . . . I can't tell you--I don't dare--I never dreamed of this--I can't tell--It's enough to unseat any mind--wait--What's this?"
[The line goes dead and then another voice is heard in the receiver.]
'YOU FOOL, LOVEMAN IS DEAD!'
The source of the experienceLovecraft, H P
Concepts, symbols and science items
Activities and commonsteps
Sleep deprivation, insomnia and mental exhaustion