“I know always that I am an outsider; a stranger in this century and among those who are still men” – H. P. Lovecraft
Lovecraft is indisputably one of the most influential horror author. His fascinating universe influenced numerous contemporary writers, including Stephen King, Cliver Barker and Neil Gaiman. Here are some curious facts about the life and work of our beloved author.
5. Cthulhu is pronounced ‘khlul-loo’
In a 1934 letter to amateur writer Duane W Rimel, Lovecraft explained how to pronounce the name of his alien creation:
“The name of the hellish entity was invented by beings whose vocal organs were not like man’s, hence it has no relation to the human speech equipment. The syllables were determined by a physiological equipment wholly unlike ours, hence could never be uttered perfectly by human throats… The actual sound – as nearly as any human organs could imitate it or human letters record it – may be taken as something like Khlûl’-hloo, with the first syllable pronounced gutturally and very thickly. The u is about like that in full; and the first syllable is not unlike klul in sound, hence the h represents the guttural thickness.”
4. He suffered night terrors
Lovecraft is believed to have suffered from night terrors, a rare parasomnia; he believed himself to be assaulted at night by horrific “night gaunts”. Much of his later work is thought to have been directly inspired by these terrors.
3. H.P. Lovecraft isn’t buried under his headstone
When he died of cancer of the small intestine in 1937, Lovecraft was buried in Swan Point Cemetery and listed on his mother’s family’s monument. This wasn’t enough for Lovecraft’s fans: in 1977, a group funded and installed a separate headstone. His body isn’t actually buried under the headstone, it’s buried nearby. On Oct. 13, 1997, someone apparently tried to dig up Lovecraft’s body, not knowing it wasn’t under the headstone. They dug down about 3 feet before giving up.
2. H.P. Lovecraft collaborated with Harry Houdini
Lovecraft ghostwrote a story called “Imprisoned with the Pharaohs” (aka Under the Pyramids) for Harry Houdini, who later commissioned Lovecraft to write a book debunking superstition, which was never finished due to Houdini’s death.
1. Both of Lovecraft’s parents died in the same mental institution
Winfield Scott Lovecraft was committed to Butler Hospital after being diagnosed with psychosis when H.P. Lovecraft was only three years old. He died in 1898, when H.P. was eight. His mother was later committed to Butler in 1919. She remained in close correspondence with her son for two years, until she died of complications after surgery.