The story is told by a Demon, who sits and observes the actions of a solitary man in a desolate, terrifying land. Through the tale, the Demon attempts to provoke a reaction in the man, detailing his manipulations of the hellish, nightmarish landscape around the man.
In the greenest of our valleys
By good angels tenanted,
Once a fair and stately palace—
Radiant palace—reared its head.
In the monarch Thought’s dominion,
It stood there!
Never seraph spread a pinion
Over fabric half so fair!
Banners yellow, glorious, golden,
On its roof did float and flow
(This—all this—was in the olden
Time long ago)
And every gentle air that dallied,
In that sweet day,
Along the ramparts plumed and pallid,
A wingèd odor went away.
Wanderers in that happy valley,
Through two luminous windows, saw
Spirits moving musically
To a lute’s well-tunèd law,
Round about a throne where, sitting,
In state his glory well befitting,
The ruler of the realm was seen.
And all with pearl and ruby glowing
Was the fair palace door,
Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing
And sparkling evermore,
A troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty
Was but to sing,
In voices of surpassing beauty,
The wit and wisdom of their king.
But evil things, in robes of sorrow,
Assailed the monarch’s high estate;
(Ah, let us mourn!—for never morrow
Shall dawn upon him, desolate!)
And round about his home the glory
That blushed and bloomed
Is but a dim-remembered story
Of the old time entombed.
And travellers, now, within that valley,
Through the red-litten windows see
Vast forms that move fantastically
To a discordant melody;
While, like a ghastly rapid river,
Through the pale door
A hideous throng rush out forever,
And laugh—but smile no more.
Becaise I feel that, in the Heavens above,
The angels, whispering to one another,
Can find, among their burning terms of love,
None so devotional as that of "Mother,"
Therefore by that dear name I long have called you—
You who are more than mother unto me,
And fill my heart of hearts, where Death installed you
In setting my Virginia's spirit free.
My mother—my own mother, who died early,
Was but the mother of myself; but you
Are mother to the one I loved so dearly,
And thus are dearer than the mother I knew
By that infinity with which my wife
Was dearer to my soul than its soul-life.
It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.
I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea,
But we loved with a love that was more than love—
I and my Annabel Lee—
With a love that the wingèd seraphs of Heaven
Coveted her and me.
And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsmen came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.
The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,
Went envying her and me—
Yes!—that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.
But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we—
Of many far wiser than we—
And neither the angels in Heaven above
Nor the demons down under the sea
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride,
In her sepulchre there by the sea—
In her tomb by the sounding sea.
The story begins with the unnamed narrator arriving at the house of his friend, Roderick Usher, having received a letter from him in a distant part of the country complaining of an illness and asking for his help. As he arrives, the narrator notices a thin crack extending from the roof, down the front of the house and into the adjacent lake.
It is revealed that Roderick's twin sister, Madeline, is also ill and falls into cataleptic, deathlike trances. Roderick and Madeline are the only remaining members of the Usher family.
The narrator is impressed with Roderick's paintings and attempts to cheer him by reading with him and listening to his improvised musical compositions on the guitar. Roderick sings "The Haunted Palace", then tells the narrator that he believes the house he lives in to be alive, and that this sentience arises from the arrangement of the masonry and vegetation surrounding it. Further, Roderick believes that his fate is connected to the family mansion.
Roderick later informs the narrator that his sister has died. Fearing that her body will be exhumed for medical study, Roderick insists that she be entombed for two weeks in the family tomb located in the house before being permanently buried. The narrator helps Roderick put the body of Roderick's sister in the tomb, and notes that Madeline has rosy cheeks, as some do after death. They inter her, but over the next week both Roderick and the narrator find themselves becoming increasingly agitated for no apparent reason. A storm begins. Roderick comes to the narrator's bedroom, which is situated directly above the vault, and throws open his window to the storm. He notices that the tarn (lake) surrounding the house seems to glow in the dark as it glowed in Roderick Usher's paintings, but there is no lightning.
The narrator attempts to calm Roderick by reading aloud The Mad Trist, a novel involving a knight named Ethelred who breaks into a hermit's dwelling in an attempt to escape an approaching storm, only to find a palace of gold guarded by a dragon. He also finds, hanging on the wall, a shield of shining brass on which is written a legend:
Who entereth herein, a conqueror hath bin;
Who slayeth the dragon, the shield he shall win;
With a stroke of his mace, Ethelred kills the dragon, who dies with a piercing shriek, and proceeds to take the shield, which falls to the floor with an unnerving clatter.
As the narrator reads of the knight's forcible entry into the dwelling, cracking and ripping sounds are heard somewhere in the house. When the dragon is described as shrieking as it dies, a shriek is heard, again within the house. As he relates the shield falling from off the wall, a reverberation, metallic and hollow, can be heard. Roderick becomes increasingly hysterical, and eventually exclaims that these sounds are being made by his sister, who was in fact alive when she was entombed.
The bedroom door is then blown open to reveal Madeline standing there. She falls on her brother and both land on the floor as corpses. The narrator then flees the house, and, as he does so, notices a flash of moonlight behind him which causes him to turn back, in time to see the moon shining through the suddenly widened crack. As he watches, the House of Usher splits in two and the fragments sink into the lake.
"The Tell-Tale Heart" is a first-person narrative told by an unnamed narrator. Insisting that they are sane, the narrator suffers from a disease (nervousness) which causes "over-acuteness of the senses".
The old man with whom the narrator lives has a clouded, pale, blue "vulture-like" eye, which distresses and manipulates the narrator so much that the narrator plots to murder the old man, despite also insisting that the narrator loves the old man. The narrator is insistent that this careful precision in committing the murder proves that they cannot possibly be insane. For seven nights, the narrator opens the door of the old man's room to shine a sliver of light onto the "evil eye." However, the old man's vulture-eye is always closed, making it impossible to "do the work," thus making the narrator go further into distress.
On the eighth night, the old man awakens after the narrator's hand slips and makes a noise, interrupting the narrator's nightly ritual. The narrator does not draw back and, after some time, decides to open the lantern. A single thin ray of light shines out and lands precisely on the "evil eye," revealing that it is wide open. The narrator hears the old man's heart beating, which only gets louder and louder. This increases the narrator's anxiety to the point where the narrator decides to strike. He jumps into the room and the old man shrieks once before he is killed. The narrator then dismembers the body and conceals the pieces under the floorboards and ensures the concealment of all signs of the crime. Even so, the old man's scream during the night causes a neighbor to report to the police, who the narrator invites in to look around. The narrator claims that the scream heard was the narrator's own in a nightmare and that the man is absent in the country. Confident that they will not find any evidence of the murder, the narrator brings chairs for them and they sit in the old man's room. The chairs are placed on the very spot where the body is concealed; the police suspect nothing, and the narrator has a pleasant and easy manner.
The narrator begins to feel uncomfortable and notices a ringing in the narrator's ears. As the ringing grows louder, the narrator concludes that it is the heartbeat of the old man coming from under the floorboards. The sound increases steadily to the narrator, though the officers do not seem to hear it. Terrified by the violent beating of the heart and convinced that the officers are aware not only of the heartbeat but also of the narrator's guilt, the narrator breaks down and confesses. The narrator tells them to tear up the floorboards to reveal the remains of the old man's body.
I like dreaming...
Buckle up, folks. This is going to be a long one.
The story is the testament of a tortured, morphine-addicted man who relates an incident that occurred during his service as an officer during World War I. In the unnamed narrator's account, his cargo ship is captured by an Imperial German sea-raider in "one of the most open and least frequented parts of the broad Pacific". He escapes on a lifeboat and drifts aimlessly, south of the equator, until he eventually finds himself stranded on "a slimy expanse of hellish black mire which extended about [him] in monotonous undulations as far as [he] could see.... The region was putrid with the carcasses of decaying fish and less describable things which [he] saw protruding from the nasty mud of the unending plain." He theorizes that this area was formerly a portion of the ocean floor thrown to the surface by volcanic activity, "exposing regions which for innumerable millions of years had lain hidden under unfathomable watery depths."
In the isolated, desolate, decrepit village of Dunwich, Massachusetts, Wilbur Whateley is the hideous son of Lavinia Whateley, a deformed and unstable albino mother, and an unknown father (alluded to in passing by mad Old Whateley, as "Yog-Sothoth"). Strange events surround his birth and precocious development. Wilbur matures at an abnormal rate, reaching manhood within a decade. Locals shun him and his family, and animals fear and despise him due to an unnatural, inhuman odor emanating from his body. All the while, his sorcerer grandfather indoctrinates him into certain dark rituals and the study of witchcraft. Various locals grow suspicious after Old Whateley buys more and more cattle, yet the number of his herd never increases, and the cattle in his field become mysteriously afflicted with severe open wounds.
Wilbur and his grandfather have sequestered an unseen presence at their farmhouse; this being is connected somehow to Yog-Sothoth. Year by year, this unseen entity grows to monstrous proportions, requiring the two men to make frequent modifications to their residence. People begin to notice a trend of cattle mysteriously disappearing. Wilbur's grandfather dies, and his mother disappears soon afterwards. The colossal entity eventually occupies the whole interior of the farmhouse.
Wilbur ventures to Miskatonic University in Arkham to procure their copy of the Necronomicon – Miskatonic's library is one of only a handful in the world to stock an original. The Necronomicon has spells that Wilbur can use to summon the Old Ones, but his family's copy is damaged and lacks the page he needs to open the "door." When the librarian, Dr. Henry Armitage, refuses to release the university's copy to him (and, by sending warnings to other libraries, thwarts Wilbur's efforts to consult their copies), Wilbur breaks into the library at the cover of night to steal it. A guard dog, maddened by Wilbur's alien body odor, attacks and kills him with unusual ferocity. When Dr. Armitage and two other professors, Warren Rice and Francis Morgan, arrive on the scene, they see Wilbur's semi-human corpse before it melts completely, leaving no evidence.
With Wilbur dead, no one attends to the mysterious presence growing in the Whateley farmhouse. Early one morning, the farmhouse explodes and the thing, an invisible monster, rampages across Dunwich, cutting a path through fields, trees, and ravines, and leaving huge "prints" the size of tree trunks. The monster eventually makes forays into inhabited areas. The invisible creature terrorizes Dunwich for several days, killing two families and several policemen, until Armitage, Rice, and Morgan arrive with the knowledge and weapons needed to kill it. The use of a magic powder renders it visible just long enough to send one of the crew into shock. The barn-sized monster babbles in an alien tongue, then screams for help from its father Yog-Sothoth in English just before the spell destroys it, leaving a huge burned area. In the end, its nature is revealed: it was Wilbur's twin brother, though he "looked more like the father than Wilbur did."
A worker of a mental hospital relates his experience with Joe Slater, an inmate who died at the facility a few weeks after being confined as a criminally insane murderer. He describes Slater as a "typical denizen of the Catskill Mountain region, who corresponds exactly with the 'white trash' of the South", for whom "laws and morals are nonexistent" and whose "general mental status is probably below that of any other native American people". Although Slater's crime was exceedingly brutal and unprovoked he had an "absurd appearance of harmless stupidity" and the doctors guessed his age at about forty. During the third night of his confinement, Slater had the first of his "attacks". He burst from an uneasy sleep into a frenzy so violent it took four orderlies to strait-jacket him. For nearly fifteen minutes he gave vent to an incredible rant. The words were in the voice and couched in the paltry vocabulary of Joe Slater but the onlookers could construe from the inadequate language a vision of:
green edifices of light, oceans of space, strange music, and shadowy mountains and valleys. But most of all did he dwell upon some mysterious blazing entity that shook and laughed and mocked at him. This vast, vague personality seemed to have done him a terrible wrong and to kill it in triumphant revenge was his paramount desire. In order to reach it... he would soar through abysses of emptiness 'burning' every obstacle that stood in his way.
The ranting stopped as suddenly as it had started. This was the first of what would become nightly "attacks" of a similar nature. The peripheral otherworldly images of Slater's visions were different and more fantastic with each successive night, but always there was the central theme of the blazing entity and its revenge. The doctors were perplexed with the Slater case. Where did a backward man like Slater get such visions, when surely an illiterate rustic like him would have had little if any exposure to fairy tales or fantasy stories? Not that there were stories similar to Slater's. Why, too, was Slater dying?
As an undergraduate, the intern had built a device for two-way telepathic communication which he had tested with a fellow student with no result. The device was designed around his principle that thought was ultimately a form of radiant energy. Heedless of any ethics, he attached himself with Slater to the device as Slater lay near death. With the device switched on, he received a message from a being of light whose experiences had been what were transmitted through the medium of Joe Slater. This being explained that, when not shackled to their physical bodies, all humans are light beings. The thought-message went on to explain that, as light beings within the realm of sleep, humans can experience the vistas of many planes and universes which remain unknown to waking awareness.
The intern understood that the light being would now become completely incorporeal, and undertake at last a final battle with its nemesis near Algol. Joe Slater died then, and there were no further transmissions. That night an enormously bright star was discovered in the sky near Algol. Within a week it had dimmed to the luminosity of an ordinary star and in a few months it had become barely visible to the naked eye.
The story focuses around the narrator and his friend, St. John, who have a deranged interest in robbing graves. They constantly defile crypts and often keep souvenirs of their nocturnal expeditions. Since they reside in the same house, they have the opportunity to set up a sort of morbid museum in their basement. Using the objects collected from the various graves they have robbed, the two men organize a private exhibition. The collection consists of headstones, preserved bodies, skulls, and several heads in different phases of decomposition. It also included statues, frightful paintings, and a locked portfolio bound in tanned human-skin.
One day, they learn of a particular grave, which sparks a profound interest in them, an old grave in a Holland cemetery, which holds a legendary tomb raider within. One who is said to have stolen, many years ago, a "potent thing from an mighty sepulcher." One night, they travel into this old cemetery where the ancient “ghoul” was buried. The thought of exhuming the final resting place of a former grave robber is irresistibly appealing to them. That, and the fact that the body had been buried several centuries before, drives them to travel such long distances to reach the site. Upon reaching the old cemetery, they notice the distant baying of a giant hound. They ignore it and begin their excavation. After a while of digging, they hit a solid object in the ground. After clearing the last of the dirt from it, the two men unearth a strange and elaborately-made coffin. Upon opening the casket, they see that several places on the skeletal remains appear torn and shattered, as if attacked by a wild animal. Yet, the whole of the skeleton is still completely distinguishable. At that moment, they notice a jade amulet hanging from the “ghoul's” neck. They examine it and, after a bit of observation, they recognize the amulet as one mentioned in “the forbidden Necronomicon of the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred." They immediately know they must have the amulet at all cost. They remove it from the skeleton and flee into the night. As they do, they notice once again the continuous sound of a baying hound in the distance.
Even as they return home, strange sounds can be heard within their house, including the distant howl of a dog. This culminates into his friend being violently attacked and killed by a mysterious creature, which the narrator claims the amulet had brought onto him. He destroys the macabre museum he and his friend made, before fleeing from the house. He decides that he must return the amulet to its rightful owner, but it's stolen from him before he can return it. The next day, he reads in the morning paper about a band of thieves dismembered by an unknown creature. Growing mad, he returns to the churchyard and exhumes the coffin once more, only to find the skeleton within covered in caked blood and bits of flesh and hair, holding the lost amulet in its hand. Suddenly, the skeleton begins howling
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, inter-dimensional 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 inter-dimensional creature denizens of the alternate dimension to perceive humans. Tillinghast's servants were attacked and killed by one such inter-dimensional 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 narrator offers a story to explain why a "draught of cool air" is the most detestable thing to him. His tale begins in the spring of 1923, when he was looking for housing in New York City. He finally settles in a converted brownstone on West Fourteenth Street. Investigating a chemical leak from the floor above, he discovers that the inhabitant directly overhead is a strange, old, and reclusive physician. One day the narrator suffers a heart attack, and remembering that a doctor lives overhead, he climbs the stairs and meets Dr. Muñoz for the first time.
The doctor demonstrates supreme medical skill, and saves the narrator with a combination of medications. The fascinated narrator returns regularly to sit and learn from the doctor. As their talks continue, it becomes increasingly evident that the doctor has an obsession with defying death through all available means.
The doctor's room is kept at approximately 56 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius) using an ammonia-based refrigeration system; the pumps are driven by a gasoline engine. As time goes on, the doctor's health declines and his behaviour becomes increasingly eccentric. The cooling system is continuously upgraded, to the point where some areas of his rooms are sub-freezing, until one night when the pump breaks down.
Without explanation, the panic-stricken doctor frantically implores his friend to help him keep his body cool. Unable to repair the machine until morning, they resort to having the doctor stay in a tub full of ice. The narrator spends his time replenishing the ice, but soon is forced to employ someone else to do it. When he finally locates competent mechanics to repair the pump, it is too late.
He arrives at the apartment in time to see the rapidly decomposing remains of the doctor, and a rushed, "hideously smeared" letter. The narrator reads it; to his horror, he learns that Dr. Muñoz died 18 years previously. Refusing to surrender to death, he maintained the semblance of life past the point of death using various methods, depending upon refrigeration to retard decomposition.
"The Outsider" is written in a first-person narrative style, and details the miserable and apparently lonely life of an individual, who appears to have never made contact with another individual. The story begins, with the narrator explaining his origins. His memory of others is vague, and he cannot seem to recall any details of his personal history, including who he is or where he is originally from. The narrator tells of his environment: a dark, decaying castle amid an "endless forest" of high trees that block out the light from the sun. He has never seen natural light, nor another human being, and he has never ventured from the prison-like home he now inhabits. The only knowledge the narrator has of the outside world, is from his reading of the "antique books" that line the walls of his castle.
"The Tomb" tells of Jervas Dudley, a confessed daydreamer. While still a child, he discovers the padlocked entrance to a mausoleum belonging to the Hyde family, whose nearby mansion had burnt down many years previously. Jervas attempts to break the padlock, but is unable to. Dispirited, he takes to sleeping beside the tomb. Eventually, inspired by reading Plutarch's Lives, Dudley decides to patiently wait until it is his time to gain entrance to the tomb.
One night, several years later, Jervas falls asleep once more beside the mausoleum. He awakes suddenly in the late afternoon, and fancies that as he awoke, a light had been hurriedly extinguished inside the tomb. Jervas then returns to his home, where he goes directly to the attic, to a rotten chest, and therein finds the key to the tomb. Once inside the tomb, Jervas discovers an empty coffin with the name "Jervas" inscribed upon the plate. He begins to sleep in the empty coffin each night, yet those who witness him sleeping see him asleep outside the tomb, not inside as Jervas believes. Jervas also develops a fear of thunder and fire, and is aware that he is being spied upon by one of his neighbours.
Against his better judgement, Jervas sets out for the tomb at night, with a storm looming. He sees the Hyde mansion restored to its former state; there is a party in progress, which he joins, abandoning his former quietude for blasphemous hedonism. During the party, lightning strikes the mansion, and it burns. Jervas loses consciousness, having imagined himself being burnt to ashes in the blaze. He next finds himself screaming and struggling, being held by two men with his father in attendance. A small antique box is discovered, having been unearthed by the recent storm. Inside is a porcelain miniature of a man, with the initials "J.H." Jervas fancies its face to be the mirror image of his own. It seems that Jervas was the reincarnation of Jervas Hyde, who came back to be laid with his ancestors in the family tomb, as he was not when his ashes blew away in all directions.
Jervas begins jabbering that he has been sleeping inside the tomb. His father, saddened by his son's mental instability, tells him that he has been watched for some time and has never gone inside the tomb, and indeed, the padlock is rusted with age. Jervas is removed to an asylum, presumed mad. He asks his servant Hiram, who has remained faithful to him despite his current state, to explore the tomb – a request which Hiram fulfills. After breaking the padlock and descending with a lantern into the murky depths, Hiram returns to his master and informs him that there is, indeed, a coffin with a plate which reads "Jervas" on it. Jervas then states that he has been promised burial in that coffin when he dies.
Created 4 weeks, 1 day ago.
Category Arts & Literature
On this channel, I upload readings taken from the works of HP Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe. My intentions, with this channel, is to become a better orator and editor.