|Author||H. P. Lovecraft|
|Published in||The Fantasy Fan|
The story is told from the first-person perspective of an unnamed narrator and details his experiences with a scientist named Crawford Tillinghast. Tillinghast creates an electronic device that emits a resonance wave, which stimulates an affected person's pineal gland, thereby allowing them to perceive planes of existence outside the scope of accepted reality.
Sharing the experience with Tillinghast, the narrator becomes cognizant of a translucent, alien environment that overlaps our own recognized reality. From this perspective, he witnesses hordes of strange and horrific creatures that defy description. Tillinghast reveals that he has used his machine to transport his house servants into the overlapping plane of reality. He also reveals that the effect works both ways, and allows the alien creature denizens of the alternate dimension to perceive humans. Tillinghast's servants were attacked and killed by one such alien entity, and Tillinghast informs the narrator that it is right behind him. Terrified beyond measure, the narrator picks up a gun and shoots it at the machine, destroying it. Tillinghast dies immediately thereafter as a result of apoplexy. The police investigate the scene and it is placed on record that Tillinghast murdered the servants in spite of their remains never being found.
The best friend of the story's narrator, Tillinghast, is a researcher of the "physical and metaphysical". Characterized as a man of "feeling and action", the narrator describes his physical transformation after he succeeds in his experiments: "It is not pleasant to see a stout man suddenly grown thin, and it is even worse when the baggy skin becomes yellowed or grayed, the eyes sunken, circled, and uncannily glowing, the forehead veined and corrugated, and the hands tremulous and twitching."
In the first draft of the story, Lovecraft called the character Henry Annesley; he replaced that name with one composed of two old Providence surnames. In The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, Lovecraft mentions "the seasoned salts who manned … the great brigs of the Browns, Crawfords, and Tillinghasts"; James Tillinghast and Eliza Tillinghast are minor characters in that story.
S. T. Joshi points out that the story's theme of "a reality beyond that revealed to us by the senses, or that which we experience in everyday life", is continued in later Lovecraft tales, such as "The Shunned House" (1924), "The Colour Out of Space" (1927), "The Dreams in the Witch House" and others. For example, in "The Shunned House", the narrator says that "scientific study and reflection had taught us that the known universe of three dimensions embraces the merest fraction of the whole cosmos of substance and energy."
The book Science-Fiction: The Early Years describes the concepts of "From Beyond" as "very interesting, despite stiff, immature writing". S. T. Joshi judges it "unlikely that 'From Beyond' … will ever be regarded as one of Lovecraft's better tales", due to "its slipshod style, melodramatic excess and general triteness of plot". Joshi also considers Crawford Tillinghast's references to the pineal gland to be a joke at the expense of René Descartes, who proposed that this gland was the point of mediation between the material body and the immaterial soul.
From Beyond was adapted into a 1986 film of the same title by horror director Stuart Gordon. In the film, Dr. Crawford Tillinghast (played by Jeffrey Combs) has a different role, as the cautious assistant of the crazed, obsessive Dr. Edward Pretorius. The short story was also the inspiration for the 2013 horror film Banshee Chapter, which loosely adapts it and the 1986 Gordon film.
From Beyond may refer to:
"From Beyond" (short story), a 1934 story by H. P. Lovecraft
From Beyond (film), a 1986 film based on the Lovecraft story
From Beyond (Massacre album), 1991
From Beyond (Enforcer album), 2015