Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Earthquake that Uplifted R'lyeh

Exhibit RLY002 - The Charlevoix-Kamouraska earthquake

February 28, 1925 saw one of the strongest earthquakes in Canadian history. Dubbed the Charlevoix-Kamouraska earthquake (nice overview from Natural Resources Canada, source of the Le Soleil image above), it was centered in the St. Lawrence River Valley.

Damage was not severe, but was nonetheless notable, and the event caused considerable unease in a region not accustomed to earthquakes. Images and description of some of the damage.

It caused minimal damage in Providence, less so in New York where Lovecraft was living at the time. This event was the inspiration for the South Pacific earthquake of the same date in "The Call of Cthulhu," which pushes the peaks of R'lyeh above the waters of the Pacific, allowing Cthulhu's dreams to menace sensitive human minds across the globe. Aftershocks of the Canadian quake in fact continued frequently throughout this period, largely ceasing on the day the crew of the Emma do battle with the cultists of the Alert, and one day before they land upon R'lyeh itself, and in turn the continent sinks back under the waves.

We can imagine Lovecraft, the amateur astronomer, reading about the quake later that year in the Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Now, this doesn't add up to having any effect on the other side of the planet, but it is the thought that counts.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dunwich Mystery Monolith

Exhibit DUN001 - Stone monolith from Athol, Massachusetts

The Athol Historical Society of Athol, Massachusetts is asking the town's permission to remove and excavate under a ten-foot tall monolith in Hapgood Street Cemetery. They're not entirely certain what is under it, though a number of historical documents (including burial records for the cemetery) are known to have been buried under it.

Athol is one of the main ingredients that inspired H. P. Lovecraft to create Dunwich. He visited in 1928. In particular, according to Donald Burleson, the name of Sentinel Hill (with its stone monoliths) is taken from a hill near Athol, and the names of Professors Rice and Morgan are drawn from two prominent names in Athol history. Bloopwatch has some photos from a "Dunwich" visit to the town.

Genealogy, mysterious monoliths, cemeteries, historical societies, Lovecraft country. I guess some things don't change.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Case of Claire Nolan

Exhibit WIT001 - Portrait of Dame Alice Kyteler (images at links below)

Author has "uncanny" resemblance to unrelated hypothetical portrait of the subject of her relatively obscure book. This wouldn't be terribly interesting, except that the subject, Dame Alice Kyteler, was accused of witchcraft, including the poisoning of three husbands.

Someone please direct Ms. Nolan to "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward," ASAP.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The BIOSOPE Marine Survey and the Barren Zone

Exhibit RLY001 - The BIOSOPE Marine Survey.

A four-month biological survey of the south Pacific identified and mapped in 2007 the most lifeless waters on Earth (though the area is rich in dissolved carbon, near Rapanui. The map above is a rough approximation of the area, more detailed maps can be found in media reports (here and here) and on the project website which features much more data on the anomaly.

As the map above depicts, this is a part of the Pacific with other suggestive hints, ranging from the monoliths and undeciphered records of Rapanui to the Bloop (more on that in the future) and the 1925 records of an element of R'lyeh, that perhaps there is more to this oceanic area hostile to earthly life.