Saturday, January 02, 2016

Lovecraftian Thing A Day No.2: Swan Point Cemetery Map

Yesterday’s post dealt with beginnings; today I turn to the more dour Lovecraftian theme of the fragility of human existence. Thus I present a map of Swan Point Cemetery and the circumstances surrounding its acquisition. The map itself I received from an  officer of the Providence Cemetery Police (yes, that is a thing – or at least it was) during my first visit to Lovecraft’s headstone. That, sadly, occurred on a now notoriously historic date which made my pilgrimage all the more memorable - but for all the wrong reasons: September 11th 2001. The very same morning I had boarded a bus in New York and was fortunate to get out of the city - in the shadow of a vast pillar of smoke, dust and debris - before it was locked down.

The monotony of the bus journey was, rather traumatically, punctuated with (mostly garbled) radio reports regarding the events of that morning. These consisted of sensationalised and apocalyptic claims by almost-gleeful reporters that planes were dropping out of the sky left, right and centre - pretty much a Christian fundamentalist’s wet dream…one woman on the bus was frantically trying to contact her husband, who worked at the World Trade Centre. I'd visited the towers a couple of days earlier, and recall wondering whether the lift attendant I chatted with had survived.

Standing at Lovecraft’s headstone later that day, I was also aware that whilst all this had been going on, strange rites in honour of the Old Ones were being performed a continent away at the edge of the sea near a little village called Dunwich. The shade of Alhazred, having been evoked, was ushering in a truly terrible new aeon of Lovecraftian modernity.

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