Atlantis Online
October 19, 2021, 04:38:13 am
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Remains of ancient civilisation discovered on the bottom of a lake
  Home Help Arcade Gallery Links Staff List Calendar Login Register  

Pickman's Model

Pages: [1]   Go Down
Author Topic: Pickman's Model  (Read 80 times)
Superhero Member
Posts: 1603

« on: May 13, 2007, 11:48:11 pm »

Pickman's Model

You needn't think I'm crazy, Eliot- plenty of others have

queerer prejudices than this. Why don't you laugh at Oliver's

grandfather, who won't ride in a motor? If I don't like that

damned subway, it's my own business; and we got here

more quickly anyhow in the taxi. We'd have had to walk up

the hill from Park Street if we'd taken the car.

I know I'm more nervous than I was when you saw me last

year, but you don't need to hold a clinic over it. There's plenty

of reason, God knows, and I fancy I'm lucky to be sane at all.

Why the third degree? You didn't use to be so inquisitive.

Well, if you must hear it, I don't know why you shouldn't.

Maybe you ought to, anyhow, for you kept writing me like a

grieved parent when you heard I'd begun to cut the Art Club

and keep away from Pickman. Now that he's disappeared I

go round to the club once in a while, but my nerves aren't

what they were.

No, I don't know what's become of Pickman, and I don't like

to guess. You might have surmised I had some inside

information when I dropped him- and that's why I don't want to

think where he's gone. Let the police find what they can- it

won't be much, judging from the fact that they don't know yet

of the old North End place he hired under the name of


I'm not sure that I could find it again myself- not that I'd ever

try, even in broad daylight!

Yes, I do know, or am afraid I know, why he maintained it. I'm

coming to that. And I think you'll understand before I'm

through why I don't tell the police. They would ask me to guide

them, but I couldn't go back there even if I knew the way.

There was something there- and now I can't use the subway

or (and you may as well have your laugh at this, too) go down

into cellars any more.

I should think you'd have known I didn't drop Pickman for the

same silly reasons that fussy old women like Dr. Reid or Joe

Minot or Rosworth did. Morbid art doesn't shock me, and

when a man has the genius Pickman had I feel it an honour to

know him, no matter what direction his work takes. Boston

never had a greater painter than Richard Upton Pickman. I

said it at first and I say it still, and I never swenved an inch,

either, when he showed that 'Ghoul Feeding'. That, you

remember, was when Minot cut him.

You know, it takes profound art and profound insight into

Nature to turn out stuff like Pickman's. Any magazine-cover

hack can splash paint around wildly and call it a nightmare or

a Witches' Sabbath or a portrait of the devil, but only a great

painter can make such a thing really scare or ring true. That's

because only a real artist knows the actual anatomy of the

terrible or the physiology of fear- the exact sort of lines and

proportions that connect up with latent instincts or hereditary

memories of fright, and the proper colour contrasts and

lighting effects to stir the dormant sense of strangeness. I

don't have to tell you why a Fuseli really brings a shiver while

a cheap ghost-story frontispiece merely makes us laugh.

There's something those fellows catch- beyond life- that

they're able to make us catch for a second. Doré had it.

Sime has it. Angarola of Chicago has it. And Pickman had it

as no man ever had it before or- I hope to Heaven- ever will


Don't ask me what it is they see. You know, in ordinary art,

there's all the difference in the world between the vital,

breathing things drawn from Nature or models and the

artificial truck that commercial small fry reel off in a bare

studio by rule. Well, I should say that the really weird artist

has a kind of vision which makes models, or summons up

what amounts to actual scenes from the spectral world he

lives in. Anyhow, he manages to turn out results that differ

from the pretender's mince-pie dreams in just about the

same way that the life painter's results differ from the

concoctions of a correspondence-school cartoonist. If I had

ever seen what Pickman saw- but no! Here, let's have a drink

before we get any deeper. God, I wouldn't be alive if I'd ever

seen what that man- if he was a man- saw !

You recall that Pickman's forte was faces. I don't believe

anybody since Goya could put so much of sheer hell into a

set of features or a twist of expression. And before Goya you

have to go back to the mediaeval chaps who did the

gargoyles and chimaeras on Notre Dame and Mont

Saint-Michel. They believed all sorts of things- and maybe

they saw all sorts of things, too, for the Middle Ages had

some curious phases I remember your asking Pickman

yourself once, the year before you went away, wherever in

thunder he got such ideas and visions. Wasn't that a nasty

laugh he gave you? It was partly because of that laugh that

Reid dropped him. Reid, you know, had just taken up

comparative pathology, and was full of pompous 'inside stuff'

about the biological or evolutionary significance of this or that

mental or physical symptom. He said Pickman repelled him

more and more every day, and almost frightened him

towards the last- that the fellow's features and expression

were slowly developing in a way he didn't like; in a way that

wasn't human. He had a lot of talk about diet, and mid

Pickman must be abnormal and eccentric to the last degree.

I suppose you told Reid, if you and he had any

correspondence over it, that he'd let Pickman's paintings get

on his nerves or harrow up his imagination. I know I told him

that myself- then.

But keep in mind that I didn't drop Pickman for anything like

this. On the contrary, my admiration for him kept growing; for

that 'Ghoul Feeding' was a tremendous achievement. As you

know, the club wouldn't exhibit it, and the Museum of Fine

Arts wouldn't accept it as a gift; and I can add that nobody

would buy it, so Pickman had it right in his house till he went.

Now his father has it in Salem- you know Pickman comes of

old Salem stock, and had a witch ancestor hanged in 1692.

I got into the habit of calling on Pickman quite often,

especially after I began making notes for a monograph on

weird art. Probably it was his work which put the idea into my

head, and anyhow, I found him a mine of data and

suggestions when I came to develop it. He showed me all the

paintings and drawings he had about; including some

pen-and-ink sketches that would, I verily believe, have got

him kicked out of the club if many of the members had seen

them. Before long I was pretty nearly a devotee, and would

listen for hours like a schoolboy to art theories and

philosophic speculations wild enough to qualify him for the

Danvers asylum. My hero-worship, coupled with the fact that

people generally were commencing to have less and less to

do with him, made him get very confidential with me; and one

evening he hinted that if I were fairly close-mouthed and none

too squeamish, he might show me something rather unusual-

something a bit stronger than anything he had in the house.

'You know,' he said, 'there are things that won't do for

Newbury Street- things that are out of place here, and that

can't be conceived here, anyhow. It's my business to catch

the overtones of the soul, and you won't find those in a

parvenu set of artificial streets on made land. Back Bay isn't

Boston- it isn't anything yet, because it's had no time to pick

up memories and attract local spirits. If there are any ghosts

here, they're the tame ghosts of a salt marsh and a shallow

cove; and I want human ghosts- the ghosts of beings highly

organized enough to have looked on hell and known the

meaning of what they saw.

'The place for an artist to live is the North End. If any aesthete

were sincere, he'd put up with the slums for the sake of the

massed traditions. God, man! Don't you realize that places

like that weren't merely made, but actually grew? Generation

after generation lived and felt and died there, and in days

when people weren't afraid to live and fed and die. Don't you

know there was a mill on Copp's Hill in 1632, and that half the

present streets were laid out by 1650? I can show you

houses that have stood two centuries and a half and more;

houses that have witnessed what would make a modern

house crumble into powder. What do moderns know of life

and the forces behind it? You call the Salem witchcraft a

delusion, but I'll wager my four-times-great-grandmother

could have told you things. They hanged her on Gallows Hill,

with Cotton Mather looking sanctimoniously on. Mather,

damn him, was afraid somebody might succeed in kicking

free of this accursed cage of monotony- I wish someone had

laid a spell on him or sucked his blood in the night!

'I can show you a house he lived in, and I can show you

another one he was afraid to enter in spite of all his fine bold

talk. He knew things he didn't dare put into that stupid

Magnalia or that puerile Wonders of the Invisible World. Look

here, do you know the whole North End once had a set of

tunnels that kept certain people in touch with each other's

houses, and the burying ground, and the sea? Let them

prosecute and persecute above ground- things went on every

day that they couldn't reach, and voices laughed at night that

they couldn't place!

'Why, man, out of ten surviving houses built before 1700 and

not moved since I'll wager that in eight I can show you

something queer in the cellar. There's hardly a month that you

don't read of workmen finding bricked-up arches and wells

leading nowhere in this or that old place as it comes down-

you could see one near Henchman Street from the elevated

last year. There were witches and what their spells

summoned; pirates and what they brought in from the sea;

smugglers; privateers- and I tell you, people knew how to live,

and how to enlarge the bounds of life, in the old time! This

wasn't the only world a bold and wise man could know-

faugh! And to think of today in contrast, with such pale-pink

brains that even a club of supposed artists gets shudders

and convulsions if a picture goes beyond the feelings of a

Beacon Street tea-table!

'The only saving grace of the present is that it's too damned

stupid to question the past very closely. What do maps and

records and guide-books really tell of the North End? Bah! At

a guess I'll guarantee to lead you to thirty or forty alleys and

networks of alleys north of Prince Street that aren't suspected

by ten living beings outside of the foreigners that swarm

them. And what do those Dagoes know of their meaning?

No, Thurber, these ancient places are dreaming gorgeously

and over-flowing with wonder and terror and escapes from

the commonplace, and yet there's not a living soul to

understand or profit by them. Or rather, there's only one living

soul- for I haven't been digging around in the past for nothing


'See here, you're interested in this sort of thing. What if I told

you that I've got another studio up there, where I can catch the

night-spirit of antique horror and paint things that I couldn't

even think of in Newbury Street? Naturally I don't tell those

cursed old maids at the club - with Reid, damn him,

whispering even as it is that I'm a sort of monster bound

down the toboggan of reverse evolution. Yes, Thurber, I

decided long ago that one must paint terror as well as beauty

from life, so I did some exploring in places where I had

reason to know terror lives.

'I've got a place that I don't believe three living Nordic men

besides myself have ever seen. It isn't so very far from the

elevated as distance goes, but it's centuries away as the soul

goes. I took it because of the queer old brick well in the

cellar- one of the sort I told you about. The shack's almost

tumbling down so that nobody else would live there, and I'd

hate to tell you how little I pay for it. The windows are boarded

up, but I like that all the better, since I don't want daylight for

what I do. I paint in the cellar, where the inspiration is

thickest, but I've other rooms furnished on the ground floor. A

Sicilian owns it, and I've hired it under the name of Peters.

'Now, if you're game, I'll take you there tonight. I think you'd

enjoy the pictures, for, as I said, I've let myself go a bit there.

It's no vast tour- I sometimes do it on foot, for I don't want to

attract attention with a taxi in such a place. We can take the

shuttle at the South Station for Battery Street, and after that

the walk isn't much.'

Well, Eliot, there wasn't much for me to do after that

harangue but to keep myself from running instead of walking

for the first vacant cab we could sight. We changed to the

elevated at the South Station, and at about twelve o'clock

had climbed down the steps at Battery Street and struck

along the old waterfront past Constitution Wharf. I didn't keep

track of the cross streets, and can't tell you yet which it was

we turned up, but I know it wasn't Greenough Lane.

When we did turn, it was to climb through the deserted length

of the oldest and dirtiest alley I ever saw in my life, with

crumbling-looking gables, broken small-paned windows, and

archaic chimneys that stood out half-disintegrated against

the moonlit sky. I don't believe there were three houses in

sight that hadn't been standing in Cotton Mather's time-

certainly I glimpsed at least two with an overhang, and once I

thought I saw a peaked roof-line of the almost forgotten

pre-gambrel type, though antiquarians tell us there are none

left in Boston.

From that alley, which had a dim light, we turned to the left

into an equally silent and still narrower alley with no light at all:

and in a minute made what I think was an obtuse-angled

bend towards the right in the dark. Not long after this

Pickman produced a flashlight and revealed an antediluvian

ten-panelled door that looked damnably worm-eaten.

Unlocking it, he ushered me into a barren hallway with what

was once splendid dark-oak panelling- simple, of course, but

thrillingly suggestive of the times of Andros and Phipps and

the Witchcraft. Then he took me through a door on the left,

lighted an oil lamp, and told me to make myself at home.

Now, Eliot, I'm what the man in the street would call fairly

'hard-boiled,' but I'll confess that what I saw on the walls of

that room gave me a bad turn. They were his pictures, you

know - the ones he couldn't paint or even show in Newbury

Street- and he was right when he said he had 'let himself go.'

Here- have another drink- I need one anyhow!

There's no use in my trying to tell you what they were like,

because the awful, the blasphemous horror, and the

unbelievable loathsomeness and moral foetor came from

simple touches quite beyond the power of words to classify.

There was none of the exotic technique you see in Sidney

Sime, none of the trans-Saturnian landscapes and lunar fungi

that Clark Ashton Smith uses to freeze the blood. The

backgrounds were mostly old churchyards, deep woods,

cliffs by the sea, brick tunnels, ancient panelled rooms, or

simple vaults of masonry. Copp's Hill Burying Ground, which

could not be many blocks away from this very house, was a

favourite scene.

The madness and monstrosity lay in the figures in the

foreground- for Pickman's morbid art was pre-eminently one

of demoniac portraiture. These figures were seldom

completely human, but often approached humanity in varying

degree. Most of the bodies, while roughly bipedal, had a

forward slumping, and a vaguely canine cast. The texture of

the majority was a kind of unpleasant rubberiness. Ugh! I can

see them now! Their occupations - well, don't ask me to be

too precise. They were usually feeding- I won't say on what.

They were sometimes shown in groups in cemeteries or

underground passages, and often appeared to be in battle

over their prey- or rather, their treasure-trove. And what

damnable expressiveness Pickman sometimes gave the

sightless faces of this charnel booty! Occasionally the things

were shown leaping through open windows at night, or

squatting on the chests of sleepers, worrying at their throats.

One canvas showed a ring of them baying about a hanged

witch on Gallows Hill, whose dead face held a close kinship

to theirs.

But don't get the idea that it was all this hideous business of

theme and setting which struck me faint. I'm not a

three-year-old kid, and I'd seen much like this before. It was

the faces, Eliot, those accursed faces, that leered and

slavered out of the canvas with the very breath of life! By

God, man, I verily believe they were alive! That nauseous

wizard had waked the fires of hell in pigment, and his brush

had been a nightmare-spawning wand. Give me that

decanter, Eliot!

There was one thing called 'The Lesson'- Heaven pity me,

that I ever saw it! Listen- can you fancy a squatting circle of

nameless dog-like things in a churchyard teaching a small

child how to feed like themselves? The price of a changeling,

I suppose- you know the old myth about how the weird

people leave their spawn in cradles in exchange for the

human babes they steal. Pickman was showing what

happens to those stolen babes- how they grow up- and then I

began to see a hideous relationship in the faces of the

human and non-human figures. He was, in all his gradations

of morbidity between the frankly non-human and the

degradedly human, establishing a sardonic linkage and

evolution. The dog-things were developed from mortals!

And no sooner had I wondered what he made of their own

young as left with mankind in the form of changelings, than

my eye caught a picture embodying that very thought. It was

that of an ancient Puritan interior- a heavily beamed room

with lattice windows, a settle, and clumsy

seventeenth-century furniture, with the family sitting about

while the father read from the Scriptures. Every face but one

showed nobility and reverence, but that one reflected the

mockery of the pit. It was that of a young man in years, and

no doubt belonged to a supposed son of that pious father,

but in essence it was the kin of the unclean things. It was their

changeling- and in a spirit of supreme irony Pickman had

given the features a very perceptible resemblance to his


By this time Pickman had lighted a lamp in an adjoining

room and was politely holding open the door for me; asking

me if I would care to see his 'modern studies.' I hadn't been

able to give him much of my opinions- I was too speechless

with fright and loathing- but I think he fully understood and felt

highly complimented. And now I want to assure you again,

Eliot, that I'm no mollycoddle to scream at anything which

shows a bit of departure from the usual. I'm middle-aged and

decently sophisticated, and I guess you saw enough of me in

France to know I'm not easily knocked out. Remember, too,

that I'd just about recovered my wind and gotten used to

those frightful pictures which turned colonial New England

into a kind of annex of hell. Well, in spite of all this, that next

room forced a real scream out of me, and I had to clutch at

the doorway to keep from keeling over. The other chamber

had shown a pack of ghouls and witches over-running the

world of our forefathers, but this one brought the horror right

into our own daily life!

God, how that man could paint! There was a study called

'Subway Accident,' in which a flock of the vile things were

clambering up from some unknown catacomb through a

crack in the floor of the Boston Street subway and attacking

a crowd of people on the platform. Another showed a dance

on Copp's Hill among the tombs with the background of

today. Then there were any number of cellar views, with

monsters creeping in through holes and rifts in the masonry

and grinning as they squatted behind barrels or furnaces and

waited for their first victim to descend the stairs.

One disgusting canvas seemed to depict a vast

cross-section of Beacon Hill, with ant-like armies of the

mephitic monsters squeezing themselves through burrows

that honeycombed the ground. Dances in the modern

cemeteries were freely pictured, and another conception

somehow shocked me more than all the rest- a scene in an

unknown vault, where scores of the beasts crowded about

one who had a well-known Boston guidebook and was

evidently reading aloud. All were pointing to a certain

passage, and every face seemed so distorted with epileptic

and reverberant laughter that I almost thought I heard the

fiendish echoes. The title of the picture was, 'Holmes, Lowell

and Longfellow Lie Buried in Mount Auburn.'

As I gradually steadied myself and got readjusted to this

second room of deviltry and morbidity, I began to analyse

some of the points in my sickening loathing. In the first place,

I said to myself, these things repelled because of the utter

inhumanity and callous crudity they showed in Pickman. The

fellow must be a relentless enemy of all mankind to take such

glee in the torture of brain and flesh and the degradation of

the mortal tenement. In the second place, they terrified

because of their very greatness. Their art was the art that

convinced- when we saw the pictures we saw the demons

themselves and were afraid of them. And the queer part was,

that Pickman got none of his power from the use of

selectiveness or bizarrerie. Nothing was blurred, distorted, or

conventionalized; outlines were sharp and lifelike, and details

were almost painfully defined. And the faces!

It was not any mere artist's interpretation that we saw; it was

pandemonium itself, crystal clear in stark objectivity. That

was it, by Heaven! The man was not a fantaisiste or

romanticist at all- he did not even try to give us the churning,

prismatic ephemera of dreams, but coldly and sardonically

reflected some stable, mechanistic, and well-established

horror- world which he saw fully, brilliantly, squarely, and

unfalteringly. God knows what that world can have been, or

where he ever glimpsed the blasphemous shapes that loped

and trotted and crawled through it; but whatever the baffling

source of his images, one thing was plain. Pickman was in

every sense- in conception and in execution- a thorough,

painstaking, and almost scientific realist.

My host was now leading the way down the cellar to his

actual studio, and I braced myself for some hellish efforts

among the unfinished canvases. As we reached the bottom

of the damp stairs he fumed his flash-light to a corner of the

large open space at hand, revealing the circular brick curb of

what was evidently a great well in the earthen floor. We

walked nearer, and I saw that it must be five feet across, with

walls a good foot thick and some six inches above the

ground level- solid work of the seventeenth century, or I was

much mistaken. That, Pickman said, was the kind of thing he

had been talking about- an aperture of the network of tunnels

that used to undermine the hill. I noticed idly that it did not

seem to be bricked up, and that a heavy disc of wood

formed the apparent cover. Thinking of the things this well

must have been connected with if Pickman's wild hints had

not been mere rhetoric, I shivered slightly; then turned to

follow him up a step and through a narrow door into a room

of fair size, provided with a wooden floor and furnished as a

studio. An acetylene gas outfit gave the light necessary for


The unfinished pictures on easels or propped against the

walls were as ghastly as the finished ones upstairs, and

showed the painstaking methods of the artist. Scenes were

blocked out with extreme care, and pencilled guide lines told

of the minute exactitude which Pickman used in getting the

right perspective and proportions. The man was great- I say

it even now, knowing as much as I do. A large camera on a

table excited my notice, and Pickman told me that he used it

in taking scenes for backgrounds, so that he might paint

them from photographs in the studio instead of carting his

oufit around the town for this or that view. He thought a

photograph quite as good as an actual scene or model for

sustained work, and declared he employed them regularly.

There was something very disturbing about the nauseous

sketches and half-finished monstrosities that leered round

from every side of the room, and when Pickman suddenly

unveiled a huge canvas on the side away from the light I

could not for my life keep back a loud scream- the second I

had emitted that night. It echoed and echoed through the dim

vaultings of that ancient and nitrous cellar, and I had to choke

back a flood of reaction that threatened to burst out as

hysterical laughter. Merciful Creator! Eliot, but I don't know

how much was real and how much was feverish fancy. It

doesn't seem to me that earth can hold a dream like that!

It was a colossal and nameless blasphemy with glaring red

eyes, and it held in bony claws a thing that had been a man,

gnawing at the head as a child nibbles at a stick of candy. Its

position was a kind of crouch, and as one looked one felt that

at any moment it might drop its present prey and seek a

juicier morsel. But damn it all, it wasn't even the fiendish

subject that made it such an immortal fountain- head of all

panic- not that, nor the dog face with its pointed ears,

bloodshot eyes, flat nose, and drooling lips. It wasn't the scaly

claws nor the mould-caked body nor the half-hooved feet-

none of these, though any one of them might well have driven

an excitable man to madness.

It was the technique, Eliot- the cursed, the impious, the

unnatural technique! As I am a living being, I never elsewhere

saw the actual breath of life so fused into a canvas. The

monster was there- it glared and gnawed and gnawed and

glared- and I knew that only a suspension of Nature's laws

could ever let a man paint a thing like that without a model-

without some glimpse of the nether world which no mortal

unsold to the Fiend has ever had.

Pinned with a thumb-tack to a vacant part of the canvas was

a piece of paper now badly curled up- probably, I thought, a

photograph from which Pickman meant to paint a

background as hideous as the nightmare it was to enhance. I

reached out to uncurl and look at it, when suddenly I saw

Pickman start as if shot. He had been listening with peculiar

intensity ever since my shocked scream had waked

unaccustomed echoes in the dark cellar, and now he

seemed struck with a fright which, though not comparable to

my own, had in it more of the physical than of the spiritual. He

drew a revolver and motioned me to silence, then stepped

out into the main cellar and closed the door behind him.

I think I was paralysed for an instant. Imitating Pickman's

listening, I fancied I heard a faint scurrying sound

somewhere, and a series of squeals or beats in a direction I

couldn't determine. I thought of huge rats and shuddered.

Then there came a subdued sort of clatter which somehow

set me all in gooseflesh- a furtive, groping kind of clatter,

though I can't attempt to convey what I mean in words. It was

like heavy wood falling on stone or brick- wood on brick-

what did that make me think of?

It came again, and louder. There was a vibration as if the

wood had fallen farther than it had fallen before. After that

followed a sharp grating noise, a shouted gibberish from

Pickman, and the deafening discharge of all six chambers of

a revolver, fired spectacularly as a lion tamer might fire in the

air for effect. A muffled squeal or squawk, and a thud. Then

more wood and brick grating, a pause, and the opening of

the door- at which I'll confess I started violently. Pickman

reappeared with his smoking weapon, cursing the bloated

rats that infested the ancient well.

'The deuce knows what they eat, Thurber,' he grinned, 'for

those archaic tunnels touched graveyard and witch-den and

sea-coast. But whatever it is, they must have run short, for

they were devilish anxious to get out. Your yelling stirred them

up, I fancy. Better be cautious in these old places- our rodent

friends are the one drawback, though I sometimes think

they're a positive asset by way of atmosphere and colour.'

Well, Eliot, that was the end of the night's adventure.

Pickman had promised to show me the place, and Heaven

knows he had done it. He led me out of that tangle of alleys in

another direction, it seems, for when we sighted a lamp-post

we were in a half-familiar street with monotonous rows of

mingled tenement blocks and old houses. Charter Street, it

turned out to be, but I was too flustered to notice just where

we hit it. We were too late for the elevated, and walked back

downtown through Hanover Street. I remember that wall. We

switched from Tremont up Beacon, and Pickman left me at

the corner of Joy, where I turned off. I never spoke to him


Why did I drop him? Don't be impatient. Wait till I ring for

coffee. We've had enough of the other stuff, but I for one need

something. No -it wasn't the paintings I saw in that place;

though I'll swear they were enough to get him ostracised in

nine-tenths of the homes and clubs of Boston, and I guess

you won't wonder now why I have to steer clear of subways

and cellars. It was- something I found in my coat the next

morning. You know, the curled-up paper tacked to the frightful

canvas in the cellar; the thing I thought was a photograph of

some scene he meant to use as a background for that

monster. That last scare had come while I was reaching to

uncurl it, and it seems I had vacantly crumpled it into my

pocket. But here's the coffee- take it black, Eliot, if you're


Yes, that paper was the reason I dropped Pickman; Richard

Upton Pickman, the greatest artist I have ever known- and

the foulest being that ever leaped the bounds of life into the

pits of myth and madness. Eliot- old Reid was right. He

wasn't strictly human. Either he was born in strange shadow,

or he'd found a way to unlock the forbidden gate. It's all the

same now, for he's gone- back into the fabulous darkness he

loved to haunt. Here, let's have the chandelier going.

Don't ask me to explain or even conjecture about what I

burned. Don't ask me, either, what lay behind that mole-like

scrambling Pickman was so keen to pass off as rats. There

are secrets, you know, which might have come down from

old Salem times, and Cotton Mather tells even stranger

things. You know how damned lifelike Pickman's paintings

were- how we all wondered where he got those faces.

Well - that paper wasn't a photograph of any background,

after all. What it showed was simply the monstrous being he

was painting on that awful canvas. It was the model he was

using- and its background was merely the wall of the cellar

studio in minute detail. But by God, Eliot, it was a photograph

from life!
« Last Edit: May 14, 2007, 03:05:14 am by unknown » Report Spam   Logged

"There exists an agent, which is natural and divine, material and spiritual, a universal plastic mediator, a common receptical of the fluid vibrations of motion and the images of forms, a fluid, and a force, which can be called the Imagination of Nature..."
Elphias Levi

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Superhero Member
Posts: 4530

« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2007, 01:13:16 am »

Cool story (though not quite as cool as "Cool Air"), your favorite?
Report Spam   Logged
Superhero Member
Posts: 1603

« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2007, 03:04:53 am »

Hi Zodiac

I just found this one tonight, and read it for the first time. I really like it.

I can't say I have a favorite, HP, because there are so many of his stories I haven't read yet.

He uses a very interesting narrative style in this piece, as if he is talking to someone who never responds...

It makes one question the narrators sanity... 

Lovecraft is an awesome poet... as well

I think I wil post some of his poetry...
« Last Edit: May 14, 2007, 03:07:01 am by unknown » Report Spam   Logged

"There exists an agent, which is natural and divine, material and spiritual, a universal plastic mediator, a common receptical of the fluid vibrations of motion and the images of forms, a fluid, and a force, which can be called the Imagination of Nature..."
Elphias Levi
Pages: [1]   Go Up
Jump to:  

Powered by EzPortal
Bookmark this site! | Upgrade This Forum
SMF For Free - Create your own Forum
Powered by SMF | SMF © 2016, Simple Machines
Privacy Policy