The Shadow over Innsmouth is a horror novella by American author H. P. Lovecraft, written in November–December 1931. It forms part of the Cthulhu Mythos, using its motif of a malign undersea civilization, and references several shared elements of the Mythos, including place-names, mythical creatures, and invocations. The Shadow over Innsmouth is the only Lovecraft story which was published in book form during his lifetime.
The narrator is a student conducting an antiquarian tour of New England. He travels through the nearby decrepit seaport of Innsmouth which is suggested as a cheaper and potentially interesting next leg of his journey. He travels to Innsmouth, interacting with strange people, and observes disturbing events that ultimately lead to horrifying, and personal, revelations.
|The Shadow over Innsmouth|
Dust jacket from the first edition
|Author||H. P. Lovecraft|
|Cover artist||Frank Utpatel|
|Publisher||Visionary Publishing Company|
|Text||The Shadow over Innsmouth at Wikisource|
The narrator explains how he instigated a secret investigation of the ruined town of Innsmouth, Massachusetts, by the U.S. government. He proceeds to describe in detail the events surrounding his initial interest in the town, which lies along the route of his tour across New England, taken when he was twenty-one. While he waits for the bus that will take him to Innsmouth, he busies himself in the neighboring Newburyport by gathering information on the town from the locals; all of it having superstitious overtones. The narrator finds Innsmouth to be a mostly deserted fishing town, full of dilapidated buildings and people who walk with a distinctive shambling gait and have "queer narrow heads with flat noses and bulgy, stary eyes". The only person in town who appears normal is a grocery store clerk from neighboring Arkham. The narrator gathers much information from the clerk, including a map of the town and the name of Zadok Allen, an elderly local who might give him information when plied with drink. The narrator hears repeatedly that outsiders are never welcomed in Innsmouth, and that strangers, particularly government investigators, have disappeared when they pry too deeply into the town.
The narrator meets Zadok, who explains that an Innsmouth merchant named Obed Marsh discovered a race of fish-like humanoids known as the Deep Ones. When hard times fell on the town, Obed established a cult called the Esoteric Order of Dagon, which offered human sacrifices to the Deep Ones in exchange for wealth in the form of large fish hauls and unique jewelry. When Obed and his followers were arrested, the Deep Ones attacked the town and killed more than half of its population, leaving the survivors with no other choice than to continue Obed's practices. Male and female inhabitants were forced to breed with the Deep Ones, producing hybrid offspring which have the appearance of normal humans in early life but, in adulthood, slowly transform into Deep Ones themselves and leave the surface to live in ancient undersea cities for eternity. He further explains that these ocean-dwellers have designs on the surface world and have been planning the use of Shoggoth to conquer or transform it. Zadok sees strange waves approaching the dock and tells the narrator that they have been seen, urging him to leave town immediately. The narrator is unnerved, but ultimately dismisses the story. Once he leaves, Zadok disappears and is never seen again.
After being told that the bus is experiencing engine trouble, the narrator has no choice but to spend the night in a musty hotel, the Gilman House. While attempting to sleep, he hears noises at his door as if someone is trying to enter. Wasting no time, he escapes out a window and through the streets while a town-wide hunt for him occurs, forcing him at times to imitate the peculiar walk of the Innsmouth locals as he walks past search parties in the darkness. Eventually, he makes his way towards railroad tracks and hears a procession of Deep Ones passing in the road before him. Against his judgment, he opens his eyes to see the creatures and faints at his hiding spot. He wakes up unharmed. Over the years that pass, he researches his family tree and discovers that he is a descendant of Obed Marsh, and realizes that he is changing into one of the Deep Ones. As the story ends, the narrator is accepting his fate and feels he will be happy living with the Deep Ones. He plans to break out his cousin from an asylum, who is even further transformed than he, and take him to the Deep Ones' city beneath the sea.
This is a family tree of the story's protagonist and narrator, Robert Olmstead, as described in The Shadow over Innsmouth and in Lovecraft's notes.
|Pht'thya-l'y||Obed Marsh||1st wife|
|2 children||Benjamin Orne||Alice Marsh||Onesiphorus Marsh||wife||3 daughters|
|James Williamson||Eliza Orne||Barnabas Marsh||wife|
|Douglas Williamson||Robert Olmstead's father||Robert Olmstead's mother||Walter Williamson||wife|
|Robert Olmstead||Lawrence Williamson|
Both of Lovecraft's parents died in a mental hospital, and some critics believe that a concern with having inherited a propensity for physical and mental degeneration is reflected in the plot of The Shadow over Innsmouth. It also shares some themes with his earlier story, "Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family". Cthulhu, an entity from previous Lovecraft stories, is the overlord of the sea creatures. The mind of the narrator deteriorates when he is afforded a glimpse of what exists outside his perceived reality. This is a central tenet of Cosmicism, which Lovecraft emphasizes in the opening sentence of "The Call of Cthulhu": "The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents."
Lovecraft based the town of Innsmouth on his impressions of Newburyport, Massachusetts, which he had visited in 1923 and fall 1931. The real Newburyport features as a neighboring town in the narrative. A likely influence on the plot is Lovecraft's horror of miscegenation, which is documented by Lovecraft biographer L. Sprague de Camp and others.
Robert M. Price cites two works as literary sources for The Shadow over Innsmouth: Robert W. Chambers' "The Harbor-Master" and Irvin S. Cobb's "Fishhead". Chambers' story concerns the discovery of "the remnants of the last race of amphibious human beings," living in a five-mile deep chasm just off the Atlantic coast. The creature of the title is described as "a man with round, fixed, fishy eyes, and soft, slaty skin. But the horror of the thing were the two gills that swelled and relaxed spasmodically." Lovecraft was evidently impressed by this tale, writing in a letter to Frank Belknap Long: "God! The Harbour-Master!!!" "Fishhead" is the story of a "human monstrosity" with an uncanny resemblance to a fish: his skull sloped back so abruptly that he could hardly be said to have a forehead at all; his chin slanted off right into nothing. His eyes were small and round with shallow, glazed, pink-yellow pupils, and they were set wide apart on his head, and they were unwinking and staring, like a fish's eyes. Lovecraft, in "Supernatural Horror in Literature," called Cobb's story "banefully effective in its portrayal of unnatural affinities between a hybrid idiot and the strange fish of an isolated lake". Price notes that Fishhead, as the "son of a Negro father and a half-breed Indian mother," "embodies unambiguously the basic premise of The Shadow Over Innsmouth.... This, of course, is really what Lovecraft found revolting in the idea of interracial marriage...the subtextual hook of different ethnic races mating and 'polluting' the gene pool." Price points out the resemblance in names between the Deep One city of Y'ha-nthlei and Yoharneth-Lahai, a fictional deity in Lord Dunsany's The Gods of Pegana, who "sendeth little dreams out of Pegana to please the people of Earth"—a precursor to Lovecraft's fictional deity Cthulhu, who sends less pleasant dreams from R'lyeh.
Two large and protruding eyes projected from sockets in chameleon fashion, and it had a broad reptilian mouth with horny lips beneath its little nostrils. In the position of the ears were two huge gill-covers, and out of these floated a branching tree of coralline filaments, almost like the tree-like gills that very young rays and sharks possess. But the humanity of the face was not the most extraordinary thing about the creature. It was a biped; its almost globular body was poised on a tripod of two frog-like legs and a long, thick tail, and its fore limbs, which grotesquely caricatured the human hand, much as a frog’s do, carried a long shaft of bone, tipped with copper. The colour of the creature was variegated; its head, hands, and legs were purple; but its skin, which hung loosely upon it, even as clothes might do, was a phosphorescent grey.
Lovecraft was quite critical of The Shadow over Innsmouth, writing to August Derleth that the story "has all the defects I deplore—especially in point of style, where hackneyed phrases & rhythms have crept in despite all precautions.... No—I don't intend to offer 'The Shadow Over Innsmouth' for publication, for it would stand no chance of acceptance."
The story was rejected by Weird Tales editor Farnsworth Wright when Derleth surreptitiously submitted it for publication in 1933. "I have read Lovecraft's story...and must confess that it fascinates me," he wrote to Derleth. "But I don't know just what I can do with it. It is hard to break a story of this kind into two parts, and it is too long to run complete in one part."
In late 1935, William L. Crawford's Visionary Publishing Company began the process of issuing The Shadow Over Innsmouth as a book. The project came to fruition in November 1936 (although the copyright page declares the date of publication as April 1936), but the book had so many typographical errors that Lovecraft insisted on an errata sheet (which was also faulty). Lovecraft was displeased with the production; writing to his correspondent Lee McBride White on Nov 30, 1936, he wrote: "My Shadow Over Innsmouth is now out - but as a first cloth-bound book it doesn't awake any enthusiasm in me. Indeed, it is one of the lousiest jobs I've ever seen - 30 misprints, slovenly format, & loose, slipshod binding. The solitary redeeming feature is the set of Utpatel illustrations - one of which, on the dust wrapper, saves the appearance of the thing..." 
It had a bound run of 200 copies — the only book of Lovecraft's fiction distributed during his lifetime. Crawford had printed 400 copies but bound only 200; the others were destroyed later. Of this edition Robert Weinberg has written: "Only a few hundred copies of the book were printed, and even less than that were sold, even though it was available at the bargain price of $1 per copy. It featured good paper, black linen binding and four illustrations by Frank Utpatel. The book was the only bound hardcover to appear during Lovecraft's lifetime and became one of the true rarities in the collecting field. Its failure, and the poor sales of third non-fantasy book convinced William Crawford of the futility of his efforts." 
After Lovecraft's death (and Wright's), the story appeared in an unauthorized abridged version in the January 1942 issue of Weird Tales.
As L Sprague de Camp noted, the action sections of Innsmouth are a departure for Lovecraft; the story's tense and memorable siege scene within the titular town's hotel reveals a flair in execution on a par with some of the most compelling chapters of R L Stevenson's Kidnapped. August Derleth called The Shadow over Innsmouth "a dark, brooding story, typical of Lovecraft at his best." Robert Weinberg praised it as "a well-written story". According to de Camp, Lovecraft distrusted his ability to narrate action, and the story is unusual in that Lovecraft includes sustained and effective action writing during the culmination of the events in Innsmouth.
The Shadow over Innsmouth was republished in a 1994 anthology with stories by other authors based on Innsmouth and the Old Ones in Shadows over Innsmouth. The collection was edited by Stephen Jones, and included contributions by Neil Gaiman, Ramsey Campbell, David Sutton, Kim Newman (both as himself and Jack Yeovil), and other authors.
|date=(help) Robert M. Price (ed.), West Warwick, RI: Necronomicon Press. Original publication: "H. P. Lovecraft—Outsider". River. 1 (3). June 1937.
Cthulhu is a 2000 Australian low budget horror film that was directed, produced, and written by Damian Heffernan. It is mostly based on two Lovecraft stories, "The Thing on the Doorstep" and The Shadow Over Innsmouth. It stars Adam Somes as a young student that discovers that his best friend has become involved in a cult intent on raising Cthulhu. It screened at the Melbourne Underground Film Festival, after which point it was purchased by Channel 9 for screening in Australia as part of their Australian content quota obligations. The film was also purchased by Trend Films in Italy for screening via their Satellite Television network.Cthulhu (2007 film)
Cthulhu is a 2007 American horror film directed by Dan Gildark and co-written by Grant Cogswell and Daniel Gildark. The film is loosely based on the novella The Shadow over Innsmouth (1936) by H. P. Lovecraft.
The film moves the story from New England to the Pacific Northwest. The film is notable among works adapted from Lovecraft's work for having a gay protagonist. Screenwriter Grant Cogswell explained that he and Gildark chose to exploit the metaphor for the horror faced by a gay person returning for a relative's funeral and having to face the horrors of small-town life.The film premiered June 14, 2007, at the Seattle International Film Festival and officially opened in select theatrical venues August 22, 2008.Dagon (disambiguation)
Dagon is an ancient Semitic god.
Dagon may also refer to:
Dagon (butterfly), a butterfly genus
Dagon (novel), a 1968 novel by Fred Chappell
Dagon (Cthulhu Mythos), a deity in H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos
"Dagon" (short story), a 1917 short story by H. P. Lovecraft
Dagon (film), a 2001 film based on H. P. Lovecraft's novella The Shadow over Innsmouth
Dagon (Dungeons & Dragons), a deity in Dungeons & Dragons
Dagon, California, a town in Amador County, California, USA
Dagon International, a Burmese conglomerate
Dagon Township, a neighborhood of Yangon, Myanmar
Dagon University, a university in Yangon
Dagon (planet) or Fomalhaut b, an exoplanet
Nightrider (DC Comics) or Dagon, a DC Comics character
The Dagons, a psychedelic band from Los AngelesDagon (film)
Dagon (released in Spain as Dagon: La Secta del Mar) is a 2001 Spanish horror film directed by Stuart Gordon and written by Dennis Paoli. Despite the title, the plot is actually based loosely on H. P. Lovecraft's novella The Shadow Over Innsmouth rather than his earlier short story "Dagon" (1919). The film takes place in "Imboca", a Spanish adaptation of "Innsmouth".Dagon (short story)
"Dagon" is a short story by American author H. P. Lovecraft, written in July 1917, one of the first stories he wrote as an adult. It was first published in the November 1919 edition of The Vagrant (issue #11). Dagon was later published in Weird Tales and is considered by many to be one of Lovecraft's most forward looking stories.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)Deep One
The Deep Ones are creatures in the Cthulhu Mythos of H. P. Lovecraft. The beings first appeared in Lovecraft's novella The Shadow Over Innsmouth (1931), but were already hinted at in the early short story "Dagon". The Deep Ones are a race of intelligent ocean-dwelling creatures, approximately human-shaped but with a fishy, froggy appearance. They regularly mate with humans along the coast, creating societies of hybrids.
Numerous Mythos elements are associated with the Deep Ones, including the legendary town of Innsmouth, the undersea city of Y'ha-nthlei, the Esoteric Order of Dagon, and the beings known as Father Dagon and Mother Hydra. After their debut in Lovecraft's tale, the sea-dwelling creatures resurfaced in the works of other authors, especially August Derleth.H. P. Lovecraft's Dreams in the Witch-House
"H. P. Lovecraft's Dreams in the Witch House" is the second episode of the first season of Masters of Horror, directed by Stuart Gordon. It is adapted from the short story "The Dreams in the Witch House" by American horror author H. P. Lovecraft. It originally aired in North America on November 4, 2005. Ezra Godden had previously starred in another Stuart Gordon-directed Lovecraft adaptation, Dagon, based on Lovecraft's novella The Shadow over Innsmouth.Innsmouth
Innsmouth, Massachusetts () is a fictional town created by American author H. P. Lovecraft as a setting for one of his horror stories, and referenced subsequently in some of his other works and by other authors who wrote stories taking place in the world Lovecraft created with his stories.
Lovecraft first used the name "Innsmouth" in his 1920 short story "Celephaïs" (1920), where it refers to a fictional village in England. Lovecraft's more famous Innsmouth, however, is found in his story "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" (1936), set in Massachusetts. This latter Innsmouth was first identified in two of his cycle of sonnets Fungi from Yuggoth. Lovecraft called Innsmouth "a considerably twisted version of Newburyport", Massachusetts.Innsmouth (film)
Innsmouth is a 2015 short horror film that was directed by Izzy Lee, who co-wrote and co-produced the film with Francesco Massaccesi. The film premiered on August 19, 2015 and is inspired by the works of H. P. Lovecraft, particularly The Shadow over Innsmouth.The short received attention for its predominantly female cast, as many of Lovecraft's works tended to feature predominantly or solely male characters. Of this, Lee stated that "Innsmouth was created to make [Lovecraft] roll over in his grave a little by having the cast 98% female and switching the gender roles.”Izzy Lee
Izzy Lee is an American filmmaker, known for her 2015 short film Innsmouth, which she produced through her company Nihil Noctem. She has written for multiple outlets such as Rue Morgue, TwitchFilm, and Fangoria and has also helped program and curate film festivals like the Boston Underground and the Boston Sci-Fi Fest.Lee began showing an interest in horror in kindergarten and later attended the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, where she received a BFA in illustration. She initially started as an actor and writer, but branched out into filmmaking in order to "see if I could do it". Lee's first short film, Legitimate, was released in 2013 and was partially inspired by Representative Todd Akin's comments about "legitimate" rape. The following year Lee directed a trailer, Come Out and Play, for Christopher Golden's 2014 novel Snowblind. In 2015 Lee released Innsmouth, which was inspired by the works of H. P. Lovecraft, particularly The Shadow over Innsmouth. The short received some media attention for Lee's choice to feature a predominantly female cast, which she did in order to "make [Lovecraft] roll over in his grave a little by having the cast 98% female and switching the gender roles.”North Shore (Massachusetts)
The North Shore is a region in the U.S. state of Massachusetts, loosely defined as the coastal area between Boston and New Hampshire. The region is made up both of a rocky coastline, dotted with marshes and wetlands, as well as several beaches and natural harbors. The North Shore is an important historical, cultural, and economic region of Massachusetts. It contains the cities of Salem, known worldwide as the site of the Salem Witch Trials; and Gloucester, site of Charles Olson's Maximus Poems, and of Sebastian Junger's 1997 creative nonfiction book The Perfect Storm and its 2000 film adaptation. Beverly was home to author John Updike until his death.
The region also prominently figures in the works of Nathaniel Hawthorne and H. P. Lovecraft, notably the latter's The Shadow over Innsmouth, as well as those of many New England poets, from T.S. Eliot to Robert Lowell. Martin Scorsese's 2010 feature film Shutter Island, set on a fictional Boston Harbor island, was partly shot on location on the North Shore. Kenneth Lonergan's acclaimed 2016 film Manchester by the Sea is set in the eponymous seaside town, and major portions of it were filmed in Gloucester, Beverly and other North Shore communities.Shadow of the Comet
Shadow of the Comet (later repackaged as Call of Cthulhu: Shadow of the Comet) is an adventure game developed and released by Infogrames in 1993. The game is based on H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos and uses many elements from Lovecraft's The Dunwich Horror and The Shadow Over Innsmouth. A follow-up game, Prisoner of Ice, is not a direct sequel.Shadows over Innistrad
Shadows over Innistrad is a Magic: The Gathering expansion block consisting of the sets Shadows over Innistrad and Eldritch Moon.Shadows over Innsmouth
Shadows over Innsmouth is an anthology of stories edited by Stephen Jones. It was published by Fedogan & Bremer in 1994 in an edition of 2,100 copies of which 100 were signed by the contributors. The anthology contains the H. P. Lovecraft novella "The Shadow over Innsmouth" and several stories by British authors written as sequels to the Lovecraft story. Seven of the stories are original to this collection. Others first appeared in the magazines Interzone, Dagon, Fear! and Weirdbook or in the anthologies Dark Mind, Dark Heart, Aisling and other Irish Tales of Terror and Irrational Numbers.The Litany of Earth
The Litany of Earth is a 2014 fantasy/horror fiction novella by Ruthanna Emrys, revisiting H.P. Lovecraft's story "The Shadow Over Innsmouth". It was first published on Tor.com.Weird Shadows Over Innsmouth
Weird Shadows Over Innsmouth is an anthology of Cthulhu Mythos stories edited by Stephen Jones. It was published by Fedogan & Bremer in 2005 in an edition of 2,100 copies of which 100 were signed. The anthology contains a discarded draft of the H. P. Lovecraft novella "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" and several stories by other authors written as sequels to the Lovecraft story. Eight of the stories are original to this collection. Others first appeared in the magazines The Acolyte and The Spook or in anthologies.William L. Crawford
William Levi Crawford (September 10, 1911 – January 25, 1984) was an American publisher and editor.