Saturday, August 27, 2011

Lovecraft Pilgrimage Update

Unfortunately updates on my Lovecraft pilgrimage will have to wait, due to the unfortunate circumstance of my being caught in the middle of a hurricane. The good news is that I managed to visit HPL's grave and do a tour of Lovecraftian Providence before rushing back to New York. Am now hunkered down in my hotel (the Waldorf Astoria, no less!) but have limited internet access. The likelihood is that I'll be here for another week before my flight is rescheduled, so I'll be trying to use the time to compose posts to be uploaded on my return to Blighty.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Lovecraft Pilgrimage, Day 2

Again, just a very brief update. Made it to the Nicholas Roerich Museum today - great to experience firsthand some of the paintings that inspired what I consider to be Lovecraft's greatest work. I also took the opportunity to pick up about 20 postcards of Roerich's eerily evocative art (mostly the mountainous landscapes for which he's famed), including my personal favourite 'Himalaya - Pink Mountain' and a piece entitled 'Tibet - Himalayas' (which seems to have been a key influence on the imagery in AtMoM - I'll try to emded images of these paintings later). All of which will look very nice on the walls of my study once framed. I also bought a very reasonably priced copy of Roerich's travelogue Altai-Himalaya. If I'm not mistaken, this is the book in which Roerich details what some consider to be an early/pre-Kenneth Arnold UFO sighting over Tibet.

Time constraints meant that I wasn't able to make it to Lovecraft's old apartment in Brooklyn today, so have scheduled that for tomorrow, along with shopping trips to various bookshops in NY. I'm also planning a trip to the Compleat Strategist game store just on the off-chance that they have a copy of Fantasy Flight Game's newest Lovecraftian offering, Elder Sign (though I suspect this won't have made it into FLGS' until next week).

Later posts will include photos from my trip, hopefully accompanied with some more insightful commentary on my travels.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Lovecraft Pilgrimage, Day 1

Just a quick update on my Lovecraft pilgrimage: made it to New York without incident, but am feeling extremely jet-lagged (first time this has happened to me on a relatively-long haul flight). After checking in to my hotel, spent a few hours wandering around downtown Manhattan before heading back to base. Tomorrow I plan to visit the Nicholas Roerich museum with a view to seeinging the originals of a few of the pieces that inspired At The Mountains of Madness, and probably the tenement block in Brooklyn where Lovecraft stayed during his New York sojourn.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Radio Host Interviews Nyarlathotep?!!

Apologies in advance - there are no embedded links to the source material mentioned in this post. I’ll add these when I’m back from my Lovecraft pilgrimage in a week’s time.

Readers of this blog will not be entirely surprised by the claim that Lovecraft’s work has, for some time, been informing the current conspiracy zeitgeist. Indeed, a very useful summary of affairs can be found in a post from the Spooky Paradigm blog (in which the author of which was also kind enough to mention my Treadwell lecture series) from a couple of months back. I have to say, I’m very much in agreement with Spooky Paradigm that the current centre of conspiratorial gravity seems to be drifting towards a Lovecraftian and interdimensionalist interpretation of phenomenon such as UFOs.

To date, one of the most controversial offerings regarding the matter of a grand occult interdimensional demonic conspiracy comes in the form of Nick Redfern’s fascinating book Final Events, detailing the apparent existence of government think-tank who seek to establish a right wing Christian theocracy in order to combat the threat of UFOs (demonic incursions from other planes of existence whose entrance into our realm was precipitated by the shenanigans of Aleister Crowley, Jack Parson and L. Ron Hubbard). On a related matter, there is a very good academic article looking at the roots of ufology in Christian demonology by Christopher Partridge. Conspiracy theorist Adam Gorightly has also posted an interesting article here concerning related matters.

I’ve already noted some Lovecraftian predilictions expressed in Redfern’s cryptozoological writings, but will have more to say on the matter in a later post - although he’s missed a rich vein of source material in the work of the late lamented Kenneth Grant (I don’t recall Redfern mentioning Grant in Final Events). Interested readers in the Grant/Crowley/Lovecraft/UFO thing as viewed from a conspiratorial perspective might find this article by Adam Gorightly of interest.

However, I digress. On listening to an episode of the US based internet radio show Ground Zero Live I was a little taken aback to hear host Clyde Lewis mentioning having interviewed on air an MiB either claiming to be (or perhaps just using the moniker of)Nyarlathotep! Apparently this may also exist as a recording online (if anyone is able to track it down, I’d be very grateful if you could furnish me with the link). Further investigations into the matter have uncovered two online articles by Lewis here and here which elaborate somewhat on the matter, including his claims - a la Redfern - that the US Government have been engaged in interdimensional research with the aim of contacting entities not dissimilar to Lovecraft’s Old Ones. In the second of these articles, the Simon Necronomicon is invoked (although Lewis seems to attribute the text to Lovecraft himself) and used to identify the Lovecraftian extraterrestrial Elder Gods with Sumerian deities as per Zecharia Sitchin’s theories regarding the Annunaki.

The Sumerian connection that crops up with alarming regularity up in a lot of contemporary ufology and conspiratorial discourse is a rather interesting phenomenon, as is the recent fascination with the Jinn of Islamic folklore amongst conspiracists and paranormal resrearchers - especially those of a right wing bent. In light of which, I find it difficult not to see these intriguing set of intersections as linked to the recent Orientalist post-millenial fears regarding Islam whipped up by the War on Terror. In the context of the ‘paranoid style’ of contemporary conspiratorialism, these fears concerning the West’s perceived assimilation by an 'alien other' are apparently being liberally and literally translated into a fear of alien gods. Almost inevitably, it seems, such fears also end up being conjoined with the toxic substrate of anti-semitism which seems to underpin so much of conspiracy culture. In this respect, it is sadly the case that the spectre of HPL’s racism lives on in modern day appropriations of his pseudomythology: even the British Nationalist Party have gotten in on the act (evidently there’s a talk on Lovecraft by BNP speaker Jonathan Bowden available on YouTube – I haven’t yet had the heart to listen to it). It is likely that I shall also have more to say on this matter when I come to examine Lovecraft’s influence on the contemporary Grail /’Holy Bloodline’ conspiracies.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Happy Birthday HPL!

Today being Lovecraft's birthday, I thought it would be propitious to announce the resurrection of Whispers from the Ghooric Zone. After nearly two years of inactivity (not including my rather enigmatic post from August 2010), the essential saltes have been gathered up, the requisite formulae incanted, and the inchoate ruminations of yours truly have once more been called up to ye liveliest awfulness from deep within the silent staring void that is the blogosphere.

This will form part of a wider phase of increasing creative activity and writing output (opportunities for which have been minimal over the past few years as I've had to focus on work). This creative resurgence will, I hope, also culminate in the completion of a book provisionally titled Lovecraft's Monsters: The Pulp Roots of the Paranormal. A preliminary outline has been drafted, with some initial work already started on the early chapters. More of this later as I present some of the ideas and source material relevant to book in forthcoming posts (which I hope to upload on a basis of around 2-3 weekly).

Needless to say, I shall also be using the blog as the means of inflicting my varied and curmudgeonly ruminations regarding Lovecraftian culture and occulture on anyone who cares to read them! It is also likely that the blog may include some ranting, fist-shaking and general bigotry regarding my current inability to win a game of my current obsession, Malifaux - a skirmish scale miniatures game which incorporates some Lovecraftian elements.

The provisio to all of the above is that, while I mean to try and post something substantial in the next day or so to get things started (possibly regarding an apparent encounter with Nyarlathotep), this coming Monday (22nd August) I'm flying to New York; thence to Providence on 25th August for my second pilgrimage to Lovecraft's grave (or rather the memorial in the Lovecraft plot at Swan Point). I'll be taking my handy little netbook with me and, if circumstances allow, will post updates regarding my travels. Otherwise, expect full service to be resumed during the last week of August.

Be seeing you.