The Rats in the Walls

"The Rats in the Walls" is a short story by American author H. P. Lovecraft. Written in August–September 1923, it was first published in Weird Tales, March 1924.[1]

"The Rats in the Walls"
AuthorH. P. Lovecraft
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Genre(s)Horror short story
Published inWeird Tales
Media typePrint (magazine)
Publication dateMarch, 1924

Plot

In 1923,[2] an American named Delapore, the last descendant of the De la Poer family, moves to his ancestral estate in England following the death of his only son during World War I. To the dismay of nearby residents, he restores the estate, called Exham Priory. After moving in, Delapore and his cat frequently hear the sounds of rats scurrying behind the walls. Upon investigating further, and through recurring dreams, Delapore learns that his family maintained an underground city for centuries, where they raised generations of "human cattle"—some regressed to a quadrupedal state—to supply their taste for human flesh. This was stopped when Delapore's ancestor killed his entire family in their sleep and left the country in order to end the horror, leaving the remaining human livestock and a surviving relative to be devoured by the rats inhabiting the city's cesspits.

Maddened by the revelations of his family's past, a hereditary cruelty and his anger over his son's death, Delapore attacks one of his friends in the dark of the cavernous city and begins eating him while rambling in a mixture of Middle English, Latin, and Gaelic, before devolving into a cacophony of animalistic grunts. He is subsequently subdued and placed in a mental institution. At least one other investigator, Thornton, has gone insane as well. Soon after, Exham Priory is destroyed and the investigators decide to cover up the existence of the city. Delapore maintains his innocence, proclaiming that it was "the rats, the rats in the walls", who ate the man. He continues to be plagued by the sound of rats in the walls of his cell.

Characters

Delapore
The narrator. His first name is not mentioned. He changes the spelling of his name back to the ancestral "De la Poer" after moving to England. The title of Baron De la Poer actually exists in the Peerage of Ireland, and the spelling is indeed derived from le Poer, Anglo-Norman for "the Poor"; it is of some interest in peerage law.
Alfred Delapore
The narrator's son, born c. 1894. He goes to England as an aviation officer during World War I, where he hears stories about his ancestors for the first time. He is badly wounded in 1918, surviving for two more years as a "maimed invalid".
Edward Norrys
A captain in the Royal Flying Corps during World War I, Edward Norrys befriends Alfred, and amuses him by telling him the "peasant superstitions" surrounding his family's history, which Norrys picked up in his native Anchester. He is described as "a plump, amiable young man". He and Delapore are the ones who initially find the altar that leads to the grotto beneath the priory, and is ultimately killed and partially eaten by the now-insane Delapore, who is revealed to have hated him due to him having lived while Alfred died. It is also implied that Norrys is the model for the "animals" that Delapore sees being herded by the swineherd in his dreams
The swineherd
A nameless being (heavily implied to represent Delapore himself) that Delapore sees in his dreams, tending to his unseen herd in a twilit grotto. It is his dreams of the Swineherd that drive Delapore to investigate the city beneath the priory, as it matches the grotto that he sees in his dreams.
Sir William Brinton
One of the "eminent authorities" that accompanies Delapore's expedition beneath Exham Priory, Sir William Brinton is an archaeologist "whose excavations in the Troad excited most of the world in their day." It is Brinton who figures out how to move the counter-weighted altar that leads to the caverns, and who noted that the hewn walls must have been chiseled "from beneath". He is the only member of the expedition who retains his composure, when they discover the horrors below the priory.
Dr. Trask
Another eminent authority, Trask is an anthropologist who is "baffled" by the "degraded mixture" he finds in the skulls below Exham Priory—"mostly lower than the Piltdown man in the scale of evolution, but in every case definitely human". (The Piltdown man, a supposedly prehistoric specimen discovered in 1912, was not revealed as a hoax until 1953, thirty years after the publication of "The Rats in the Walls".)[3] Trask determines that "some of the skeleton things must have descended as quadrupeds through the last twenty or more generations".
Thornton
The expedition's "psychic investigator", Thornton faints twice when confronted with the nightmarish relics below Exham Priory, and ends up committed to the Hanwell insane asylum with Delapore, though they are prevented from speaking to one another. Hanwell was an actual asylum, which Lovecraft probably read of in Lord Dunsany's "The Coronation of Mr. Thomas Shap" in The Book of Wonder (1912).[4]
Gilbert De la Poer
The first Baron of Exham, granted title to Exham Priory by Henry III in 1261. There is "no evil report" connected to the family name before this point, but within 50 years, a chronicle is referring to an unnamed De la Poer as "cursed of God".
Lady Margaret Trevor
Lady Margaret Trevor of Cornwall married Godfrey De la Poer, second son of the fifth Baron of Exham, probably in the 14th or 15th centuries. Such was her enthusiasm for the Exham cult, that she "became a favorite bane of children all over the countryside, and the daemon heroine of a particularly horrible old ballad not yet extinct near the Welsh border".
Lady Mary De la Poer
After marrying the Earl of Shrewsfield (a title invented by Lovecraft), she was killed by her new husband and mother-in-law. When they explained their reasons to the priest they confessed to, he "absolved and blessed" them for their deed.
Walter De la Poer
The eleventh Baron of Exham, he killed all the other members of his family with the help of four servants, about two weeks after making a "shocking discovery", and then fled to Virginia, probably in the 17th century.[5] He is the ancestor of the American Delapores and is the only De la Poer not hated by the people of Anchester, who revere him as a hero. He was remembered as "a shy, gentle youth", and later as "harassed and apprehensive"; Francis Harley of Bellview, "another gentleman-adventurer", regarded him as "a man of unexampled justice, honor, and delicacy."
Randolph Delapore
Randolph Delapore of Carfax, the Delapore's estate on the James River in Virginia, "went among the Negros and became a voodoo priest, after he returned from the Mexican War". He is a cousin of the narrator, who regards him as "the one known scandal of my immediate forebears", and who sees this race-mixing life as "unpleasantly reminiscent" of the "monstrous habits" of the ancestral De la Poers. Carfax Abbey is the name of Count Dracula's British outpost in the novel Dracula—a setting that has been suggested as an inspiration for Exham Priory.[6]
The Cat
A cat originally named Nigger Man, was changed to Black Tom when the story was reprinted in Zest magazine (1950s), owned by the narrator. He could detect the spectral rats.

Inspiration

Long after writing "The Rats in the Walls", Lovecraft wrote that the story was "suggested by a very commonplace incident—the cracking of wall-paper late at night, and the chain of imaginings resulting from it."[7] Another entry in Lovecraft's commonplace book also seems to provide a plot germ for the story: "Horrible secret in crypt of ancient castle—discovered by dweller."[8]

Steven J. Mariconda points to Sabine Baring-Gould's Curious Myths of the Middle Ages (1862–68) as a source for Lovecraft's story. The description of the cavern under the priory has many similarities to Baring-Gould's account of St. Patrick's Purgatory, a legendary Irish holy site, and the story of the priory's rats sweeping across the landscape may have been inspired by the book's retelling of the legend of Bishop Hatto, who was devoured by rats after he set fire to starving peasants during a famine (a story referenced in the legend of the Mouse Tower of Bingen).[9]

Parts of Lovecraft's story bear a striking resemblance to Carl Jung's famous "house" dream (told to Sigmund Freud in 1909, though not well known before 1925): the descent through one's historically-stratified ancestral family home to a Romanesque cellar; lifting a hidden slab; descending stone steps to a prehistoric cave littered with bones, broken pottery, etc.[10]

Leigh Blackmore has posited that one surface feature of the story may be found in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher", in which Roderick Usher comments that so abnormally sensitive is his hearing that he "can hear the rats in the walls".[11]

The Gaelic quoted at the end of the story is borrowed from Fiona Macleod's "The Sin-Eater". Macleod included a footnote that translated the passage as: "God against thee and in thy face… and may a death of woe be yours… Evil and sorrow to thee and thine!" Lovecraft wrote to Frank Belknap Long, "[T]he only objection to the phrase is that it's Gaelic instead of Cymric as the south-of-England locale demands. But as with anthropology—details don't count. Nobody will ever stop to note the difference." Robert E. Howard, however, wrote a letter in 1930 to Weird Tales suggesting that the language choice reflected "Lluyd's theory as to the settling of Britain by the Celts"—a note that, passed on to Lovecraft, initiated their voluminous correspondence.[12] The Cymric-speaking area at that time covered not only Wales, but all of the island below Hadrian's Wall, with Gaelic only being spoken north of the Wall.

S. T. Joshi points to Irvin S. Cobb's "The Unbroken Chain" as a model for Lovecraft's "The Rats in the Walls". [13] In his essay, Lovecraft writes, "Later work of Mr. Cobb introduces an element of possible science, as in the tale of hereditary memory where a modern man with a negroid strain utters words in African jungle speech when run down by a train under visual and aural circumstances recalling the maiming of his black ancestor by a rhinoceros a century before."

Connections

"The Rats in the Walls" is loosely connected to Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos stories; toward the end, the narrator notes that the rats seem "determined to lead me on even unto those grinning caverns of earth's centre where Nyarlathotep, the mad faceless god, howls blindly to the piping of two amorphous idiot flute-players." In this reference to Nyarlathotep, the first after his introduction in the prose poem of the same name, the entity seems to have many of the attributes of the god Azathoth.

Before moving to Exham Priory, Delapore lives in Bolton, Massachusetts, a factory town where the title character of "Herbert West–Reanimator" performs some of his experiments. The town is also mentioned in "The Colour Out of Space"; it is not thought to be the same place as the real-world Bolton, Massachusetts.[14]

Later Mythos writers have suggested the Magna Mater ("Great Mother") worshipped by the Exham cult was Shub-Niggurath (though in the story itself multiple references are made to Roman goddess Cybele, known as Magna Mater).

Literary significance and criticism

The story was rejected by Argosy All-Story Weekly before being accepted by Weird Tales; Lovecraft claimed that the former magazine found it "too horrible for the tender sensibilities of a delicately nurtured publick [sic]".[15] The publisher of Weird Tales, JC Henneberger, described the story in a note to Lovecraft as the best his magazine had ever received.[16] It was one of the few Lovecraft stories anthologized during his lifetime, in the 1931 collection Switch on the Light, edited by Christine Campbell Thompson.

It is notable in that Lovecraft uses the technique of referring to a text (in this case real life works by Petronius and Catullus) without giving a full explanation of its contents, so as to give the impression of depth and hidden layers to his work. He later refined this idea with the Necronomicon, prevalent in his Cthulhu Mythos stories.

Equally important to the later development of the Cthulhu Mythos was that it was a reprint of this story in Weird Tales that inspired Robert E. Howard to write to the magazine praising the work. This letter was passed on to Lovecraft and the two became friends and correspondents until Howard's death in 1936. This literary connection became reflected in each author adding aspects from the other's works to their own tales and Howard is considered one of the more prolific of the original Cthulhu Mythos authors.

Kingsley Amis listed "Rats" (along with "The Dunwich Horror") as one of the Lovecraft stories "that achieve a memorable nastiness".[17] Lin Carter called "Rats" "one of the finest stories of Lovecraft's entire career."[18] S. T. Joshi describes the piece as "a nearly flawless example of the short story in its condensation, its narrative pacing, its thunderous climax, and its mingling of horror and poignancy."[19]

The name of the cat, "Nigger Man", has often been cited in discussions of Lovecraft's racial attitudes. Lovecraft owned a cat by that name until 1904.[20]

Adaptations

  • Richard Corben and Donald Wandrei have adapted the story for the comic book format.
  • The Atlanta Radio Theater Company has produced a radio adaptation.
  • In 1964, Erik Bauersfeld narrated an audio adaptation on the old-time radio program The Black Mass. This adaptation was later used as part of a limited edition LP release along with his audio adaptation of the Lovecraft story "The Outsider".
  • In 1973, Caedmon Audio released a cassette and LP featuring David McCallum reading the story.
  • The film Necronomicon: Book of the Dead purports to dramatize three Lovecraft tales. The segment "The Drowned" involves a character named Edward DeLapoer, but the character is placed in a different setting and the plot does not resemble that of "The Rats in the Walls".
  • Tim Uren adapted the story into a one-man play of the same name which was performed at the 2006 Minnesota Fringe Festival.
  • Dave Walsh adapted and performed a one-man play of the same name at the 2007 Shakespeare by the Sea, Newfoundland Festival.
  • Crypt of Cthulhu #72 was devoted to this story. Two articles on the worship of Atys and Cybele are followed by the Zest reprinting of this story, a sequel to this story "Exham Priory", and a humorous story "Scream for Jeeves" in which Bertie Wooster of the Jeeves novels by Wodehouse is involved in the action.
  • Chris Buxey adapted the story to a two-man play "The Haunting of Exham Priory" which started a short UK tour at Crawley on 4th October 2016.
  • The song "In the Walls" by the American power metal band Seven Kingdoms is based on the story.
  • In the game Eternal Darkness, Maximillian Roivas inherits a family estate, discovers an underground city beneath it, and is eventually put into an insane asylum where he screams about rats.
  • The intro to the game Darkest Dungeon by Red Hook Studios seems to loosely tell a reimagining of this tale intertwined with its own narrative.

References

  1. ^ Straub, Peter (2005). Lovecraft: Tales. The Library of America. p. 823. ISBN 1-931082-72-3.
  2. ^ The death of Warren G. Harding takes place during the story.
  3. ^ Joshi, p. 49.
  4. ^ Joshi, p. 55.
  5. ^ Joshi and Schultz, p. 63.
  6. ^ Joshi, p. 27.
  7. ^ H. P. Lovecraft, Selected Letters Vol. V, p. 181, cited in Joshi, p. 23.
  8. ^ Joshi and Schultz, p. 223.
  9. ^ Steven J. Mariconda, "Baring-Gould and the Ghouls", The Horror of It All, Robert M. Price, ed., pp. 42-48.
  10. ^ Carl G. Jung, "Man and his symbols", pp. 42, ISBN 0-440-35183-9
  11. ^ "A Possible Poe Influence on "The Rats in the Walls"".Mantichore 25 (2012).
  12. ^ Joshi, pp. 54–55.
  13. ^ The Annotated Supernatural Horror in Literature. New York, New York: Hippocampus Press. 2000. p. 99. ISBN 0-9673215-0-6.
  14. ^ Joshi and Cannon, p. 44.
  15. ^ Lovecraft, Selected Letters Vol. I, p. 259, cited in Joshi, p. 23.
  16. ^ Lin Carter, Lovecraft: A Look Behind the Cthulhu Mythos, p. 36.
  17. ^ Kingsley Amis, New Maps of Hell:A Survey of Science Fiction. Victor Gollancz, 1961, p.25.
  18. ^ Carter, p. 34.
  19. ^ Joshi, p. 10.
  20. ^ Joshi, p. 35.

References

  • Lovecraft, Howard P. (1984) [1923]. "The Rats in the Walls". In Joshi, S. T. The Dunwich Horror and Others (9th corrected printing ed.). Sauk City, Wisconsin: Arkham House. ISBN 978-0-87054-037-0. Definitive version.
  • H. P. Lovecraft, More Annotated Lovecraft, S. T. Joshi and Peter Cannon, eds.
  • H. P. Lovecraft, The Annotated Lovecraft, S. T. Joshi, ed.
  • Lin Carter, Lovecraft: A Look Behind the Cthulhu Mythos.
  • S. T. Joshi and David E. Schultz, An H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia.

External links

American Gothic Fiction

American gothic fiction is a subgenre of gothic fiction. Elements specific to American Gothic include: rationality/rational vs irrational, puritanism, guilt, Das Unheimliche (strangeness within the familiar as defined by Sigmund Freud), ab-humans, ghosts, monsters, and domestic abjection. The roots of these concepts lay in a past riddled with slavery, a fear of racial mixing (miscegenation), hostile Native American relations, their subsequent genocide, and the daunting wilderness present at the American frontier. American Gothic is often devoid of castles and objects which allude to a civilized history. Differentiating between horror and terror is important in the study of these texts.

Bolton, Massachusetts

Bolton is a town in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. Bolton is in eastern Massachusetts, located 25 miles west-northwest of downtown Boston. The population was 4,897 at the 2010 census.

Cthulhu

Cthulhu ( kə-THOO-loo) is a fictional cosmic entity created by writer H. P. Lovecraft and first introduced in the short story "The Call of Cthulhu", published in the American pulp magazine Weird Tales in 1928. Considered a Great Old One within the pantheon of Lovecraftian cosmic entities, the creature has since been featured in numerous popular culture references. Lovecraft depicts Cthulhu as a gigantic entity worshipped by cultists. Cthulhu's appearance is described as looking like an octopus, a dragon, and a caricature of human form. Its name was given to the Lovecraft-inspired universe where it and its fellow entities existed, the Cthulhu Mythos.

Dark Adventure Radio Theatre

Dark Adventure Radio Theatre is a series of radio dramas produced by the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society. They are produced in the style of 1930s radio drama, and the Dark Adventure Radio Theatre resembles a Mercury Theatre production hosted by the fictional "Chester Langfield" and "sponsored" by "Fleur-de-Lys Cigarettes". However, the character "died" of emphysema after the fourth production (The Shadow Over Innsmouth) and was replaced by the equally fictional "Erskine Blackwell," the new "sponsor" being "Forhan's Toothpaste." In the 2014 production, The Dreams in the Witch House, the sponsor became "Bub-L-Pep", a lithium-based drink. The series features casts of professional actors and original music. The CD releases include four prop documents, such as newspaper clippings, etc., from the show.

Currently released productions:

Dark Adventure Radio Theatre: At the Mountains of Madness (2007)

Dark Adventure Radio Theatre: The Dunwich Horror (2008)

Dark Adventure Radio Theatre: The Shadow Out of Time (2008-10-01)

Dark Adventure Radio Theatre: The Shadow Over Innsmouth (2008-12)

Dark Adventure Radio Theatre: The Call of Cthulhu (2012-11)

Dark Adventure Radio Theatre: The Case of Charles Dexter Ward (2013-03)

Dark Adventure Radio Theatre: The Color Out of Space (2013)

Dark Adventure Radio Theatre: Herbert West - Reanimator (2013)

Dark Adventure Radio Theatre: The Dreams in the Witch House (2014)

Dark Adventure Radio Theatre: Imprisoned with the Pharaohs (2014)

Dark Adventure Radio Theatre: The Horror at Red Hook (2015)

Dark Adventure Radio Theatre: Dagon: War of Worlds (2015)

Dark Adventure Radio Theatre: A Solstice Carol (2015)

Dark Adventure Radio Theatre: The White Tree (2016)

Dark Adventure Radio Theatre: The Thing on the Doorstep (2016)

Dark Adventure Radio Theatre: The Brotherhood of the Beast (2016)

Dark Adventure Radio Theatre: The Haunter of the Dark (2017)

Dark Adventure Radio Theatre: The Rats in the Walls (2017)

Dark Adventure Radio Theatre: The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar (2017)

Dark Adventure Radio Theatre: Bad Medicine (2018)

Dark Adventure Radio Theatre: Masks of Nyarlathotep (2019)

Fire vampire

Fire vampires are fictional characters in the Cthulhu Mythos. The term refers to two distinct types of beings: the Flame Creatures of Cthugha, created by August Derleth, and the Fire Vampires of Fthaggua, created by Donald Wandrei.

H. P. Lovecraft

Howard Phillips Lovecraft (US: ; August 20, 1890 – March 15, 1937) was an American writer who achieved posthumous fame through his influential works of horror fiction. He was virtually unknown and published only in pulp magazines before he died in poverty, but he is now regarded as one of the most significant 20th-century authors of horror and weird fiction.Lovecraft was born in Providence, Rhode Island, where he spent most of his life. Among his most celebrated tales are "The Rats in the Walls", "The Call of Cthulhu", At the Mountains of Madness, The Shadow over Innsmouth, and The Shadow Out of Time, all canonical to the Cthulhu Mythos. Lovecraft was never able to support himself from earnings as an author and editor. He saw commercial success increasingly elude him in this latter period, partly because he lacked the confidence and drive to promote himself. He subsisted in progressively strained circumstances in his last years; an inheritance was completely spent by the time he died, at age 46.

H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society

The H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society or HPLHS is the organization that hosts Cthulhu Lives!, a group of live-action roleplayers for the Cthulhu Live version of Call of Cthulhu. Founded in Colorado in 1984, it is now based in Glendale, California. Their motto is Ludo Fore Putavimus ("We thought it would be fun").HPLHS produces a number of Cthulhu Mythos films and sound recordings, under its Mythoscope and Mythophone labels, respectively. They also offer props, both for sale and for free download.

Necronomicon (film)

Necronomicon (also called H. P. Lovecraft's Necronomicon, Necronomicon: Book of the Dead or Necronomicon: To Hell and Back) is a 1993 French-American anthology horror film. It features three distinct segments and a wraparound directed by Brian Yuzna, Christophe Gans and Shusuke Kaneko and written by Gans, Yuzna, Brent V. Friedman, and Kazunori Itō. The film's ensemble cast includes stars Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Payne, Richard Lynch, Belinda Bauer, Maria Ford, Dennis Christopher, Gary Graham, and David Warner. The extensive special makeup and animatronic effects were supervised by Tom Savini and were created by John Carl Buechler, Christopher Nelson, and Screaming Mad George.

The three stories in the film are based on three H. P. Lovecraft short stories: The Drowned is loosely based on The Rats in the Walls, The Cold is based on Cool Air, and Whispers is based on The Whisperer in Darkness.

Nona (short story)

"Nona" is a short horror story by Stephen King, first published in the 1978 anthology Shadows and later collected in King's 1985 collection Skeleton Crew.

R'lyeh

R'lyeh is a fictional lost city that first appeared in the H. P. Lovecraft short story "The Call of Cthulhu", first published in Weird Tales in June 1928. In the story, R'lyeh is a sunken city in the South Pacific and the prison of the entity called Cthulhu.

The nightmare corpse-city of R'lyeh…was built in measureless eons behind history by the vast, loathsome shapes that seeped down from the dark stars. There lay great Cthulhu and his hordes, hidden in green slimy vaults.

Shakespeare by the Sea, Newfoundland

The Shakespeare by the Sea Festival is an annual event that runs throughout the months of July and August in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada that presents outdoor productions of the plays of William Shakespeare, as well as pieces related to the province and culture.The Festival is under the governance of Shakespeare by the Sea Festival Inc., a community-based, charitable organization that produces and promotes artistic works with a focus on William Shakespeare.The company mounts site-specific productions in a variety of venues that may change from season to season.Shakespeare by the Sea, Newfoundland is listed as a Major Festival in the book Shakespeare Festivals Around the World by Marcus D. Gregio (Editor), 2004.

Sleep No More (anthology)

Sleep No More is an anthology of fantasy and horror stories edited by August Derleth and illustrated by Lee Brown Coye, the first of three similar books in the 1940s. It was first published by Rinehart & Company in 1944. Featuring short stories by H. P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith and other noted authors of the macabre genre, many of the stories made their initial appearance in Weird Tales magazine. The anthology is considered to be a classic of the genre, and is the initial foray by Coye into the field of horror illustration.

Supernatural Horror in Literature

"Supernatural Horror in Literature" is a long essay by American writer H. P. Lovecraft, surveying the topic of horror fiction. It was written between November 1925 and May 1927 and revised during 1933–1934. It was first published in 1927 in the one-issue magazine The Recluse. More recently, it was included in the collection Dagon and Other Macabre Tales (1965).

Lovecraft examines the beginnings of weird fiction in the gothic novel (relying greatly on Edith Birkhead's 1921 survey The Tale of Terror) and traces its development through such writers as Ambrose Bierce, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Edgar Allan Poe (who merits his own chapter). Lovecraft names as the four "modern masters" of horror: Algernon Blackwood, Lord Dunsany, M. R. James, and Arthur Machen.

An H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia terms the work "HPL's most significant literary essay and one of the finest historical analyses of horror literature." Upon reading the essay, M. R. James proclaimed Lovecraft's style "most offensive". However,

Edmund Wilson, who was not an admirer of Lovecraft's fiction, praised the essay as a "really able piece of

work...he had read comprehensively in this field—he was strong on the Gothic novelists—and

writes about it with much intelligence". David G. Hartwell has called "Supernatural Horror in Literature", "the most important essay on horror literature".

Swineherd

A swineherd is a person who raises and herds pigs as livestock. The term has fallen out of popular use in favour of pig farmer.

The Black Mass

The Black Mass was a horror-fantasy radio drama produced by Erik Bauersfeld, a leading American radio dramatist of the post-television era. The series aired on KPFA (Berkeley) and KPFK (Los Angeles) from 1963 to 1967, on an irregular schedule. Bauersfeld was the Director of Drama and Literature at KPFA from 1966 to 1991.

Bauersfeld's sound designer for most of the episodes was John Whiting, KPFA's production director. Their collaborations were later credited in a Ph.D. dissertation with "keeping radio drama alive in America in the 1960s."

Music for the series was by several Bay Area composers, including KPFA's Music Director Charles Shere, a composer and music critic who later wrote books on American composers and also serves on the board of the Berkeley restaurant Chez Panisse.

Bauersfeld's Black Mass productions were an influence on writer-producer Thomas Lopez (ZBS), who noted, "In the 1960s, I was inspired by someone at KPFA in Berkeley, Eric Bauersfeld. who did a series called The Black Mass, adaptations of H. P. Lovecraft and such. He helped me a lot. I consider Eric my mentor. He also did some fine Eugene O'Neill plays for radio."

The Descendant (short story)

"The Descendant" is a story fragment by American horror fiction writer H. P. Lovecraft, believed to have been written in 1927. It was first published in the journal Leaves in 1938, after Lovecraft's death.

The Moon-Bog

"The Moon-Bog" is a short story by American horror fiction writer H. P. Lovecraft, written in or before March 1921. The story was first published in the June 1926 issue of the pulp magazine Weird Tales.

The Outsider (short story)

"The Outsider" is a short story by American horror writer H. P. Lovecraft. Written between March and August 1921, it was first published in Weird Tales, April 1926. In this work, a mysterious individual who has been living alone in a castle for as long as he can remember decides to break free in search of human contact and light. "The Outsider" is one of Lovecraft's most commonly reprinted works and is also one of the most popular stories ever to be published in Weird Tales.

"The Outsider" combines horror, fantasy, and gothic fiction to create a nightmarish story, containing themes of loneliness, the abhuman, and the afterlife. Its epigram is from John Keats' 1819 poem "The Eve of St. Agnes".

Whipple Van Buren Phillips

Whipple Van Buren Phillips (November 22, 1833 – March 28, 1904) was an American businessman from Providence, Rhode Island who also had mining interests in Idaho. He was most notable as the grandfather of H. P. Lovecraft, whom he raised with his daughters and encouraged to have an appreciation of literature, especially classical literature and English poetry.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.