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THE DUNWICH HORROR

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« on: February 27, 2007, 12:43:47 am »

* THE DUNWICH HORROR

H.P. Lovecraft


Gorgons and Hydras, and Chimaeras--dire stories of Celaeno and
the Harpies--may reproduce themselves in the brain of
superstition--but they were there before. They are transcripts,
types--the archtypes are in us, and eternal. How else should the
recital of that which we know in a waking sense to be false come
to affect us all? Is it that we naturally conceive terror from
such :objects, considered in their capacity of being able to
inflict upon us bodily :injury? O, least of all! These terrors are
of older standing. They date beyond body--or without the body,
they would have been the same...That the kind of fear here
treated is purely spiritual--that it is strong in proportion as
it is objectless on earth, that it predominates in the period of
our sinless infancy--are difficulties the solution of which
might afford some probable insight into our ante-mundane
condition, and a peep at least into the shadowland of
pre-existence.


--Charles Lamb: Witches and Other Night-Fears





I.

When a traveller in north central Massachusetts takes the wrong fork
at the junction of Aylesbury pike just beyond Dean's Corners he comes
upon a lonely and curious country.

The ground gets higher, and the brier-bordered stone walls press
closer and closer against the ruts of the dusty, curving road. The
trees of the frequent forest belts seem too large, and the wild weeds,
brambles and grasses attain a luxuriance not often found in settled
regions. At the same time the planted fields appear singularly few and
barren; while the sparsely scattered houses wear a surprisingly uniform
aspect of age, squalor, and dilapidation.

Without knowing why, one hesitates to ask directions from the
gnarled solitary figures spied now and then on crumbling doorsteps or
on the sloping, rock-strewn meadows. Those figures are so silent and
furtive that one feels somehow confronted by forbidden things, with
which it would be better to have nothing to do. When a rise in the road
brings the mountains in view above the deep woods, the feeling of
strange uneasiness is increased. The summits are too rounded and
symmetrical to give a sense of comfort and naturalness, and sometimes
the sky silhouettes with especial clearness the queer circles of tall
stone pillars with which most of them are crowned.

Gorges and ravines of problematical depth intersect the way, and the
crude wooden bridges always seem of dubious safety. When the road dips
again there are stretches of marshland that one instinctively dislikes,
and indeed almost fears at evening when unseen whippoorwills chatter
and the fireflies come out in abnormal profusion to dance to the
raucous, creepily insistent rhythms of stridently piping bull-frogs.
The thin, shining line of the Miskatonic's upper reaches has an oddly
serpent-like suggestion as it winds close to the feet of the domed
hills among which it rises.

As the hills draw nearer, one heeds their wooded sides more than
their stone-crowned tops. Those sides loom up so darkly and
precipitously that one wishes they would keep their distance, but there
is no road by which to escape them. Across a covered bridge one sees a
small village huddled between the stream and the vertical slope of
Round Mountain, and wonders at the cluster of rotting gambrel roofs
bespeaking an earlier architectural period than that of the
neighbouring region. It is not reassuring to see, on a closer glance,
that most of the houses are deserted and falling to ruin, and that the
broken-steepled church now harbours the one slovenly mercantile
establishment of the hamlet. One dreads to trust the tenebrous tunnel
of the bridge, yet there is no way to avoid it. Once across, it is hard
to prevent the impression of a faint, malign odour about the village
street, as of the massed mould and decay of centuries. It is always a
relief to get clear of the place, and to follow the narrow road around
the base of the hills and across the level country beyond till it
rejoins the Aylesbury pike. Afterwards one sometimes learns that one
has been through Dunwich.
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« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2007, 12:45:03 am »

Outsiders visit Dunwich as seldom as possible, and since a certain
season of horror all the signboards pointing towards it have been taken
down. The scenery, judged by an ordinary aesthetic canon, is more than
commonly beautiful; yet there is no influx of artists or summer
tourists. Two centuries ago, when talk of witch-blood, Satan-worship,
and strange forest presences was not laughed at, it was the custom to
give reasons for avoiding the locality. In our sensible age--since the
Dunwich horror of 1928 was hushed up by those who had the town's and
the world's welfare at heart--people shun it without knowing exactly
why. Perhaps one reason--though it cannot apply to uninformed
strangers--is that the natives are now repellently decadent, having
gone far along that path of retrogression so common in many New England
backwaters. They have come to form a race by themselves, with the
well-defined mental and physical stigmata of degeneracy and inbreeding.
The average of their intelligence is woefully low, whilst their annals
reek of overt viciousness and of half-hidden murders, incests, and
deeds of almost unnameable violence and perversity. The old gentry,
representing the two or three armigerous families which came from Salem
in 1692, have kept somewhat above the general level of decay; though
many branches are sunk into the sordid populace so deeply that only
their names remain as a key to the origin they disgrace. Some of the
Whateleys and Bishops still send their eldest sons to Harvard and
Miskatonic, though those sons seldom return to the mouldering gambrel
roofs under which they and their ancestors were born.

No one, even those who have the facts concerning the recent horror,
can say just what is the matter with Dunwich; though old legends speak
of unhallowed rites and conclaves of the Indians, amidst which they
called forbidden shapes of shadow out of the great rounded hills, and
made wild orgiastic prayers that were answered by loud crackings and
rumblings from the ground below. In 1747 the Reverend Abijah Hoadley,
newly come to the Congregational Church at Dunwich Village, preached a
memorable sermon on the close presence of Satan and his imps; in which
he said:

"It must be allow'd, that these Blasphemies of an infernall Train of
Daemons are Matters of too common Knowledge to be deny'd; the cursed
Voices of Azazel and Buzrael, of Beelzebub and Belial, being heard now
from under Ground by above a Score of credible Witnesses now living. I
myself did not more than a Fortnight ago catch a very plain Discourse
of evill Powers in the Hill behind my House; wherein there were a
Rattling and Rolling, Groaning, Screeching, and Hissing, such as no
Things of this Earth could raise up, and which must needs have come
from those Caves that only black Magick can discover, and only the
Divell unlock".

Mr. Hoadley disappeared soon after delivering this sermon, but the
text, printed in Springfield, is still extant. Noises in the hills
continued to be reported from year to year, and still form a puzzle to
geologists and physiographers.

Other traditions tell of foul odours near the hill-crowning circles
of stone pillars, and of rushing airy presences to be heard faintly at
certain hours from stated points at the bottom of the great ravines;
while still others try to explain the Devil's Hop Yard--a bleak,
blasted hillside where no tree, shrub, or grass-blade will grow. Then,
too, the natives are mortally afraid of the numerous whippoorwills
which grow vocal on warm nights. It is vowed that the birds are
psychopomps lying in wait for the souls of the dying, and that they
time their eerie cries in unison with the sufferer's struggling breath.
If they can catch the fleeing soul when it leaves the body, they
instantly flutter away chittering in daemoniac laughter; but if they
fail, they subside gradually into a disappointed silence.

These tales, of course, are obsolete and ridiculous; because they
come down from very old times. Dunwich is indeed ridiculously old--
older by far than any of the communities within thirty miles of it.
South of the village one may still spy the cellar walls and chimney of
the ancient Bishop house, which was built before 1700; whilst the ruins
of the mill at the falls, built in 1806, form the most modern piece of
architecture to be seen. Industry did not flourish here, and the
nineteenth-century factory movement proved short-lived. Oldest of all
are the great rings of rough-hewn stone columns on the hilltops, but
these are more generally attributed to the Indians than to the
settlers. Deposits of skulls and bones, found within these circles and
around the sizeable table-like rock on Sentinel Hill, sustain the
popular belief that such spots were once the burial-places of the
Pocumtucks; even though many ethnologists, disregarding the absurd
improbability of such a theory, persist in believing the remains
Caucasian.


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« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2007, 12:46:03 am »

II.

It was in the township of Dunwich, in a large and partly inhabited
farmhouse set against a hillside four miles from the village and a mile
and a half from any other dwelling, that Wilbur Whateley was born at 5
a.m. on Sunday, the second of February, 1913. This date was recalled
because it was Candlemas, which people in Dunwich curiously observe
under another name; and because the noises in the hills had sounded,
and all the dogs of the countryside had barked persistently, throughout
the night before. Less worthy of notice was the fact that the mother
was one of the decadent Whateleys, a somewhat deformed, unattractive
albino woman of thirty-five, living with an aged and half-insane father
about whom the most frightful tales of wizardry had been whispered in
his youth. Lavinia Whateley had no known husband, but according to the
custom of the region made no attempt to disavow the child; concerning
the other side of whose ancestry the country folk might--and did--
speculate as widely as they chose. On the contrary, she seemed
strangely proud of the dark, goatish-looking infant who formed such a
contrast to her own sickly and pink-eyed albinism, and was heard to
mutter many curious prophecies about its unusual powers and tremendous
future.

Lavinia was one who would be apt to mutter such things, for she was
a lone creature given to wandering amidst thunderstorms in the hills
and trying to read the great odorous books which her father had
inherited through two centuries of Whateleys, and which were fast
falling to pieces with age and wormholes. She had never been to school,
but was filled with disjointed scraps of ancient lore that Old Whateley
had taught her. The remote farmhouse had always been feared because of
Old Whateley's reputation for black magic, and the unexplained death by
violence of Mrs Whateley when Lavinia was twelve years old had not
helped to make the place popular. Isolated among strange influences,
Lavinia was fond of wild and grandiose day-dreams and singular
occupations; nor was her leisure much taken up by household cares in a
home from which all standards of order and cleanliness had long since
disappeared.

There was a hideous screaming which echoed above even the hill
noises and the dogs' barking on the night Wilbur was born, but no known
doctor or midwife presided at his coming. Neighbours knew nothing of
him till a week afterward, when Old Wateley drove his sleigh through
the snow into Dunwich Village and discoursed incoherently to the group
of loungers at Osborne's general store. There seemed to be a change in
the old man--an added element of furtiveness in the clouded brain
which subtly transformed him from an object to a subject of fear--
though he was not one to be perturbed by any common family event.
Amidst it all he showed some trace of the pride later noticed in his
daughter, and what he said of the child's paternity was remembered by
many of his hearers years afterward.

'I dun't keer what folks think--ef Lavinny's boy looked like his
pa, he wouldn't look like nothin' ye expeck. Ye needn't think the only
folks is the folks hereabouts. Lavinny's read some, an' has seed some
things the most o' ye only tell abaout. I calc'late her man is as good
a husban' as ye kin find this side of Aylesbury; an' ef ye knowed as
much abaout the hills as I dew, ye wouldn't ast no better church
weddin' nor her'n. Let me tell ye suthin--some day yew folks'll hear a
child o' Lavinny's a-callin' its father's name on the top o' Sentinel
Hill!'

The only person who saw Wilbur during the first month of his life
were old Zechariah Whateley, of the undecayed Whateleys, and Earl
Sawyer's common-law wife, Mamie Bishop. Mamie's visit was frankly one
of curiosity, and her subsequent tales did justice to her observations;
but Zechariah came to lead a pair of Alderney cows which Old Whateley
had bought of his son Curtis. This marked the beginning of a course of
cattle-buying on the part of small Wilbur's family which ended only in
1928, when the Dunwich horror came and went; yet at no time did the
ramshackle Wateley barn seem overcrowded with livestock. There came a
period when people were curious enough to steal up and count the herd
that grazed precariously on the steep hillside above the old
farm-house, and they could never find more than ten or twelve anaemic,
bloodless-looking specimens. Evidently some blight or distemper,
perhaps sprung from the unwholesome pasturage or the diseased fungi and
timbers of the filthy barn, caused a heavy mortality amongst the
Whateley animals. Odd wounds or sores, having something of the aspect
of incisions, seemed to afflict the visible cattle; and once or twice
during the earlier months certain callers fancied they could discern
similar sores about the throats of the grey, unshaven old man and his
slattemly, crinkly-haired albino daughter.

In the spring after Wilbur's birth Lavinia resumed her customary
rambles in the hills, bearing in her misproportioned arms the swarthy
child. Public interest in the Whateleys subsided after most of the
country folk had seen the baby, and no one bothered to comment on the
swift development which that newcomer seemed every day to exhibit.
Wilbur's growth was indeed phenomenal, for within three months of his
birth he had attained a size and muscular power not usually found in
infants under a full year of age. His motions and even his vocal sounds
showed a restraint and deliberateness highly peculiar in an infant, and
no one was really unprepared when, at seven months, he began to walk
unassisted, with falterings which another month was sufficient to
remove.

It was somewhat after this time--on Hallowe'en--that a great blaze
was seen at midnight on the top of Sentinel Hill where the old
table-like stone stands amidst its tumulus of ancient bones.
Considerable talk was started when Silas Bishop--of the undecayed
Bishops--mentioned having seen the boy running sturdily up that hill
ahead of his mother about an hour before the blaze was remarked. Silas
was rounding up a stray heifer, but he nearly forgot his mission when
he fleetingly spied the two figures in the dim light of his lantern.
They darted almost noiselessly through the underbrush, and the
astonished watcher seemed to think they were entirely unclothed.
Afterwards he could not be sure about the boy, who may have had some
kind of a fringed belt and a pair of dark trunks or trousers on. Wilbur
was never subsequently seen alive and conscious without complete and
tightly buttoned attire, the disarrangement or threatened
disarrangement of which always seemed to fill him with anger and alarm.
His contrast with his squalid mother and grandfather in this respect
was thought very notable until the horror of 1928 suggested the most
valid of reasons.

The next January gossips were mildly interested in the fact that
'Lavinny's black brat' had commenced to talk, and at the age of only
eleven months. His speech was somewhat remarkable both because of its
difference from the ordinary accents of the region, and because it
displayed a freedom from infantile lisping of which many children of
three or four might well be proud. The boy was not talkative, yet when
he spoke he seemed to reflect some elusive element wholly unpossessed
by Dunwich and its denizens. The strangeness did not reside in what he
said, or even in the simple idioms he used; but seemed vaguely linked
with his intonation or with the internal organs that produced the
spoken sounds. His facial aspect, too, was remarkable for its maturity;
for though he shared his mother's and grandfather's chinlessness, his
firm and precociously shaped nose united with the expression of his
large, dark, almost Latin eyes to give him an air of quasi-adulthood
and well-nigh preternatural intelligence. He was, however, exceedingly
ugly despite his appearance of brilliancy; there being something almost
goatish or animalistic about his thick lips, large-pored, yellowish
skin, coarse crinkly hair, and oddly elongated ears. He was soon
disliked even more decidedly than his mother and grandsire, and all
conjectures about him were spiced with references to the bygone magic
of Old Whateley, and how the hills once shook when he shrieked the
dreadful name of Yog-Sothoth in the midst of a circle of stones with a
great book open in his arms before him. Dogs abhorred the boy, and he
was always obliged to take various defensive measures against their
barking menace.


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« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2007, 12:46:46 am »

III.

Meanwhile Old Whateley continued to buy cattle without measurably
increasing the size of his herd. He also cut timber and began to repair
the unused parts of his house--a spacious, peak-roofed affair whose
rear end was buried entirely in the rocky hillside, and whose three
least-ruined ground-floor rooms had always been sufficient for himself
and his daughter.

There must have been prodigious reserves of strength in the old man
to enable him to accomplish so much hard labour; and though he still
babbled dementedly at times, his carpentry seemed to show the effects
of sound calculation. It had already begun as soon as Wilbur was born,
when one of the many tool sheds had been put suddenly in order,
clapboarded, and fitted with a stout fresh lock. Now, in restoring the
abandoned upper storey of the house, he was a no less thorough
craftsman. His mania showed itself only in his tight boarding-up of all
the windows in the reclaimed section--though many declared that it was
a crazy thing to bother with the reclamation at all.

Less inexplicable was his fitting up of another downstairs room for
his new grandson--a room which several callers saw, though no one was
ever admitted to the closely-boarded upper storey. This chamber he
lined with tall, firm shelving, along which he began gradually to
arrange, in apparently careful order, all the rotting ancient books and
parts of books which during his own day had been heaped promiscuously
in odd corners of the various rooms.

'I made some use of 'em,' he would say as he tried to mend a torn
black-letter page with paste prepared on the rusty kitchen stove, 'but
the boy's fitten to make better use of 'em. He'd orter hev 'em as well
so as he kin, for they're goin' to be all of his larnin'.'

When Wilbur was a year and seven months old--in September of 1914--
his size and accomplishments were almost alarming. He had grown as
large as a child of four, and was a fluent and incredibly intelligent
talker. He ran freely about the fields and hills, and accompanied his
mother on all her wanderings. At home he would pore dilligently over
the queer pictures and charts in his grandfather's books, while Old
Whateley would instruct and catechize him through long, hushed
afternoons. By this time the restoration of the house was finished, and
those who watched it wondered why one of the upper windows had been
made into a solid plank door. It was a window in the rear of the east
gable end, close against the hill; and no one could imagine why a
cleated wooden runway was built up to it from the ground. About the
period of this work's completion people noticed that the old
tool-house, tightly locked and windowlessly clapboarded since Wilbur's
birth, had been abandoned again. The door swung listlessly open, and
when Earl Sawyer once stepped within after a cattle-selling call on Old
Whateley he was quite discomposed by the singular odour he encountered
--such a stench, he averred, as he had never before smelt in all his
life except near the Indian circles on the hills, and which could not
come from anything sane or of this earth. But then, the homes and sheds
of Dunwich folk have never been remarkable for olfactory immaculateness.

The following months were void of visible events, save that everyone
swore to a slow but steady increase in the mysterious hill noises. On
May Eve of 1915 there were tremors which even the Aylesbury people
felt, whilst the following Hallowe'en produced an underground rumbling
queerly synchronized with bursts of flame--'them witch Whateleys'
doin's'--from the summit of Sentinel Hill. Wilbur was growing up
uncannily, so that he looked like a boy of ten as he entered his fourth
year. He read avidly by himself now; but talked much less than
formerly. A settled taciturnity was absorbing him, and for the first
time people began to speak specifically of the dawning look of evil in
his goatish face. He would sometimes mutter an unfamiliar jargon, and
chant in bizarre rhythms which chilled the listener with a sense of
unexplainable terror. The aversion displayed towards him by dogs had
now become a matter of wide remark, and he was obliged to carry a
pistol in order to traverse the countryside in safety. His occasional
use of the weapon did not enhance his popularity amongst the owners of
canine guardians.

The few callers at the house would often find Lavinia alone on the
ground floor, while odd cries and footsteps resounded in the boarded-up
second storey. She would never tell what her father and the boy were
doing up there, though once she turned pale and displayed an abnormal
degree of fear when a jocose fish-pedlar tried the locked door leading
to the stairway. That pedlar told the store loungers at Dunwich Village
that he thought he heard a horse stamping on that floor above. The
loungers reflected, thinking of the door and runway, and of the cattle
that so swiftly disappeared. Then they shuddered as they recalled tales
of Old Whateley's youth, and of the strange things that are called out
of the earth when a bullock is sacrificed at the proper time to certain
heathen gods. It had for some time been noticed that dogs had begun to
hate and fear the whole Whateley place as violently as they hated and
feared young Wilbur personally.

In 1917 the war came, and Squire Sawyer Whateley, as chairman of the
local draft board, had hard work finding a quota of young Dunwich men
fit even to be sent to development camp. The government, alarmed at
such signs of wholesale regional decadence, sent several officers and
medical experts to investigate; conducting a survey which New England
newspaper readers may still recall. It was the publicity attending this
investigation which set reporters on the track of the Whateleys, and
caused the Boston Globe and Arkham Advertiser to print flamboyant
Sunday stories of young Wilbur's precociousness, Old Whateley's black
magic, and the shelves of strange books, the sealed second storey of
the ancient farmhouse, and the weirdness of the whole region and its
hill noises. Wilbur was four and a half then, and looked like a lad of
fifteen. His lips and cheeks were fuzzy with a coarse dark down, and
his voice had begun to break.

Earl Sawyer went out to the Whateley place with both sets of
reporters and camera men, and called their attention to the queer
stench which now seemed to trickle down from the sealed upper spaces.
It was, he said, exactly like a smell he had found in the toolshed
abandoned when the house was finally repaired; and like the faint
odours which he sometimes thought he caught near the stone circle on
the mountains. Dunwich folk read the stories when they appeared, and
grinned over the obvious mistakes. They wondered, too, why the writers
made so much of the fact that Old Whateley always paid for his cattle
in gold pieces of extremely ancient date. The Whateleys had received
their visitors with ill-concealed distaste, though they did not dare
court further publicity by a violent resistance or refusal to talk.


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« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2007, 12:47:40 am »

IV.

For a decade the annals of the Whateleys sink indistinguishably into
the general life of a morbid community used to their queer ways and
hardened to their May Eve and All-Hallows orgies. Twice a year they
would light fires on the top of Sentinel Hill, at which times the
mountain rumblings would recur with greater and greater violence; while
at all seasons there were strange and portentous doings at the lonely
farm-house. In the course of time callers professed to hear sounds in
the sealed upper storey even when all the family were downstairs, and
they wondered how swiftly or how lingeringly a cow or bullock was
usually sacrificed. There was talk of a complaint to the Society for
the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals but nothing ever came of it, since
Dunwich folk are never anxious to call the outside world's attention to
themselves.

About 1923, when Wilbur was a boy of ten whose mind, voice, stature,
and bearded face gave all the impressions of maturity, a second great
siege of carpentry went on at the old house. It was all inside the
sealed upper part, and from bits of discarded lumber people concluded
that the youth and his grandfather had knocked out all the partitions
and even removed the attic floor, leaving only one vast open void
between the ground storey and the peaked roof. They had torn down the
great central chimney, too, and fitted the rusty range with a flimsy
outside tin stove-pipe.

In the spring after this event Old Whateley noticed the growing
number of whippoorwills that would come out of Cold Spring Glen to
chirp under his window at night. He seemed to regard the circumstance
as one of great significance, and told the loungers at Osborn's that he
thought his time had almost come.

'They whistle jest in tune with my breathin' naow,' he said, 'an' I
guess they're gittin' ready to ketch my soul. They know it's a-goin'
aout, an' dun't calc'late to miss it. Yew'll know, boys, arter I'm
gone, whether they git me er not. Ef they dew, they'll keep up
a-singin' an' laffin' till break o' day. Ef they dun't they'll kinder
quiet daown like. I expeck them an' the souls they hunts fer hev some
pretty tough tussles sometimes.'

On Lammas Night, 1924, Dr Houghton of Aylesbury was hastily summoned
by Wilbur Whateley, who had lashed his one remaining horse through the
darkness and telephoned from Osborn's in the village. He found Old
Whateley in a very grave state, with a cardiac action and stertorous
breathing that told of an end not far off. The shapeless albino
daughter and oddly bearded grandson stood by the bedside, whilst from
the vacant abyss overhead there came a disquieting suggestion of
rhythmical surging or lapping, as of the waves on some level beach. The
doctor, though, was chiefly disturbed by the chattering night birds
outside; a seemingly limitless legion of whippoorwills that cried their
endless message in repetitions timed diabolically to the wheezing gasps
of the dying man. It was uncanny and unnatural--too much, thought Dr
Houghton, like the whole of the region he had entered so reluctantly in
response to the urgent call.

Towards one o'clock Old Whateley gained consciousness, and interrupted
his wheezing to choke out a few words to his grandson.

'More space, Willy, more space soon. Yew grows--an' that grows
faster. It'll be ready to serve ye soon, boy. Open up the gates to
Yog-Sothoth with the long chant that ye'll find on page 751 of the
complete edition, an' then put a match to the prison. Fire from airth
can't burn it nohaow.'

He was obviously quite mad. After a pause, during which the flock of
whippoorwills outside adjusted their cries to the altered tempo while
some indications of the strange hill noises came from afar off, he
added another sentence or two.

'Feed it reg'lar, Willy, an' mind the quantity; but dun't let it
grow too fast fer the place, fer ef it busts quarters or gits aout
afore ye opens to Yog-Sothoth, it's all over an' no use. Only them from
beyont kin make it multiply an' work...Only them, the old uns as wants
to come back...'

But speech gave place to gasps again, and Lavinia screamed at the
way the whippoorwills followed the change. It was the same for more
than an hour, when the final throaty rattle came. Dr Houghton drew
shrunken lids over the glazing grey eyes as the tumult of birds faded
imperceptibly to silence. Lavinia sobbed, but Wilbur only chuckled
whilst the hill noises rumbled faintly.

'They didn't git him,' he muttered in his heavy bass voice.

Wilbur was by this time a scholar of really tremendous erudition in
his one-sided way, and was quietly known by correspondence to many
librarians in distant places where rare and forbidden books of old days
are kept. He was more and more hated and dreaded around Dunwich because
of certain youthful disappearances which suspicion laid vaguely at his
door; but was always able to silence inquiry through fear or through
use of that fund of old-time gold which still, as in his grandfather's
time, went forth regularly and increasingly for cattle-buying. He was
now tremendously mature of aspect, and his height, having reached the
normal adult limit, seemed inclined to wax beyond that figure. In 1925,
when a scholarly correspondent from Miskatonic University called upon
him one day and departed pale and puzzled, he was fully six and
three-quarters feet tall.

Through all the years Wilbur had treated his half-deformed albino
mother with a growing contempt, finally forbidding her to go to the
hills with him on May Eve and Hallowmass; and in 1926 the poor creature
complained to Mamie Bishop of being afraid of him.

'They's more abaout him as I knows than I kin tell ye, Mamie,' she
said, 'an' naowadays they's more nor what I know myself. I vaow afur
Gawd, I dun't know what he wants nor what he's a-tryin' to dew.'

That Hallowe'en the hill noises sounded louder than ever, and fire
burned on Sentinel Hill as usual; but people paid more attention to the
rhythmical screaming of vast flocks of unnaturally belated
whippoorwills which seemed to be assembled near the unlighted Whateley
farmhouse. After midnight their shrill notes burst into a kind of
pandemoniac cachinnation which filled all the countryside, and not
until dawn did they finally quiet down. Then they vanished, hurrying
southward where they were fully a month overdue. What this meant, no
one could quite be certain till later. None of the countryfolk seemed
to have died--but poor Lavinia Whateley, the twisted albino, was never
seen again.

In the summer of 1927 Wilbur repaired two sheds in the farmyard and
began moving his books and effects out to them. Soon afterwards Earl
Sawyer told the loungers at Osborn's that more carpentry was going on
in the Whateley farmhouse. Wilbur was closing all the doors and windows
on the ground floor, and seemed to be taking out partitions as he and
his grandfather had done upstairs four years before. He was living in
one of the sheds, and Sawyer thought he seemed unusually worried and
tremulous. People generally suspected him of knowing something about
his mother disappearance, and very few ever approached his
neighbourhood now. His height had increased to more than seven feet,
and showed no signs of ceasing its development.
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« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2007, 12:48:47 am »

V.

The following winter brought an event no less strange than Wilbur's
first trip outside the Dunwich region. Correspondence with the Widener
Library at Harvard, the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, the British
Museum, the University of Buenos Ayres, and the Library of Miskatonic
University at Arkham had failed to get him the loan of a book he
desperately wanted; so at length he set out in person, shabby, dirty,
bearded, and uncouth of dialect, to consult the copy at Miskatonic,
which was the nearest to him geographically. Almost eight feet tall,
and carrying a cheap new valise from Osborne's general store, this dark
and goatish gargoyle appeared one day in Arkham in quest of the dreaded
volume kept under lock and key at the college library--the hideous
Necronomicon of the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred in Olaus Wormius' Latin
version, as printed in Spain in the seventeenth century. He had never
seen a city before, but had no thought save to find his way to the
university grounds; where indeed, he passed heedlessly by the great
white-fanged watchdog that barked with unnatural fury and enmity, and
tugged frantically at its stout chaim.

Wilbur had with him the priceless but imperfect copy of Dr Dee's
English version which his grandfather had bequeathed him, and upon
receiving access to the Latin copy he at once began to collate the two
texts with the aim of discovering a certain passage which would have
come on the 751st page of his own defective volume. This much he could
not civilly refrain from telling the librarian--the same erudite Henry
Armitage (A.M. Miskatonic, Ph.D. Princeton, Litt.D. Johns Hopkins) who
had once called at the farm, and who now politely plied him with
questions. He was looking, he had to admit, for a kind of formula or
incantation containing the frightful name Yog-Sothoth, and it puzzled
him to find discrepancies, duplications, and ambiguities which made the
matter of determination far from easy. As he copied the formula he
finally chose, Dr Armitage looked involuntarily over his shoulder at
the open pages; the left-hand one of which, in the Latin version,
contained such monstrous threats to the peace and sanity of the world.

Nor is it to be thought (ran the text as Armitage mentally
translated it) that man is either the oldest or the last of earth's
masters, or that the common bulk of life and substance walks alone. The
Old Ones were, the Old Ones are, and the Old Ones shall be. Not in the
spaces we know, but between them, they walk serene and primal,
undimensioned and to us unseen. Yog-Sothoth knows the gate. Yog-Sothoth
is the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the key and guardian of the gate. Past,
present, future, all are one in Yog-Sothoth. He knows where the Old
Ones broke through of old, and where They shall break through again. He
knows where They had trod earth's fields, and where They still tread
them, and why no one can behold Them as They tread. By Their smell can
men sometimes know Them near, but of Their semblance can no man know,
saving only in the features of those They have begotten on mankind; and
of those are there many sorts, differing in likeness from man's truest
eidolon to that shape without sight or substance which is Them. They
walk unseen and foul in lonely places where the Words have been spoken
and the Rites howled through at their Seasons. The wind gibbers with
Their voices, and the earth mutters with Their consciousness. They bend
the forest and crush the city, yet may not forest or city behold the
hand that smites. Kadath in the cold waste hath known Them, and what
man knows Kadath? The ice desert of the South and the sunken isles of
Ocean hold stones whereon Their seal is engraver, but who bath seen the
deep frozen city or the sealed tower long garlanded with seaweed and
barnacles? Great Cthulhu is Their cousin, yet can he spy Them only
dimly. Iä! Shub-Niggurath! As a foulness shall ye know Them. Their hand
is at your throats, yet ye see Them not; and Their habitation is even
one with your guarded threshold. Yog-Sothoth is the key to the gate,
whereby the spheres meet. Man rules now where They ruled once; They
shall soon rule where man rules now. After summer is winter, after
winter summer. They wait patient and potent, for here shall They reign
again.

Dr. Annitage, associating what he was reading with what he had heard
of Dunwich and its brooding presences, and of Wilbur Whateley and his
dim, hideous aura that stretched from a dubious birth to a cloud of
probable matricide, felt a wave of fright as tangible as a draught of
the tomb's cold clamminess. The bent, goatish giant before him seemed
like the spawn of another planet or dimension; like something only
partly of mankind, and linked to black gulfs of essence and entity that
stretch like titan phantasms beyond all spheres of force and matter,
space and time. Presently Wilbur raised his head and began speaking in
that strange, resonant fashion which hinted at sound-producing organs
unlike the run of mankind's.

'Mr Armitage,' he said, 'I calc'late I've got to take that book
home. They's things in it I've got to try under sarten conditions that
I can't git here, en' it 'ud be a mortal sin to let a red-tape rule
hold me up. Let me take it along, Sir, an' I'll swar they wun't nobody
know the difference. I dun't need to tell ye I'll take good keer of it.
It wan't me that put this Dee copy in the shape it is...'

He stopped as he saw firm denial on the librarian's face, and his
own goatish features grew crafty. Armitage, half-ready to tell him he
might make a copy of what parts he needed, thought suddenly of the
possible consequences and checked himself. There was too much
responsibility in giving such a being the key to such blasphemous outer
spheres. Whateley saw how things stood, and tried to answer lightly.

'Wal, all right, ef ye feel that way abaout it. Maybe Harvard won't
be so fussy as yew be.' And without saying more he rose and strode out
of the building, stooping at each doorway.

Armitage heard the savage yelping of the great watchdog, and studied
Whateley's gorilla-like lope as he crossed the bit of campus visible
from the window. He thought of the wild tales he had heard, and
recalled the old Sunday stories in the Advertiser; these things, and
the lore he had picked up from Dunwich rustics and villagers during his
one visit there. Unseen things not of earth--or at least not of
tridimensional earth--rushed foetid and horrible through New England's
glens, and brooded obscenely on the mountain tops. Of this he had long
felt certain. Now he seemed to sense the close presence of some
terrible part of the intruding horror, and to glimpse a hellish advance
in the black dominion of the ancient and once passive nightmare. He
locked away the Necronomicon with a shudder of disgust, but the room
still reeked with an unholy and unidentifiable stench. 'As a foulness
shall ye know them,' he quoted. Yes--the odour was the same as that
which had sickened him at the Whateley farmhouse less than three years
before. He thought of Wilbur, goatish and ominous, once again, and
laughed mockingly at the village rumours of his parentage.

'Inbreeding?' Armitage muttered half-aloud to himself. 'Great God,
what simpletons! Show them Arthur Machen's Great God Pan and they'll
think it a common Dunwich scandal! But what thing--what cursed
shapeless influence on or off this three-dimensional earth--was Wilbur
Whateley's father? Born on Candlemas--nine months after May Eve of
1912, when the talk about the queer earth noises reached clear to
Arkham--what walked on the mountains that May night? What Roodmas
horror fastened itself on the world in half-human flesh and blood?'

During the ensuing weeks Dr Armitage set about to collect all
possible data on Wilbur Whateley and the formless presences around
Dunwich. He got in communication with Dr Houghton of Aylesbury, who had
attended Old Whateley in his last illness, and found much to ponder
over in the grandfather's last words as quoted by the physician. A
visit to Dunwich Village failed to bring out much that was new; but a
close survey of the Necronomicon, in those parts which Wilbur had
sought so avidly, seemed to supply new and terrible clues to the
nature, methods, and desires of the strange evil so vaguely threatening
this planet. Talks with several students of archaic lore in Boston, and
letters to many others elsewhere, gave him a growing amazement which
passed slowly through varied degrees of alarm to a state of really
acute spiritual fear. As the summer drew on he felt dimly that
something ought to be done about the lurking terrors of the upper
Miskatonic valley, and about the monstrous being known to the human
world as Wilbur Whateley.
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« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2007, 12:49:51 am »

VI.

The Dunwich horror itself came between Lammas and the equinox in
1928, and Dr Armitage was among those who witnessed its monstrous
prologue. He had heard, meanwhile, of Whateley's grotesque trip to
Cambridge, and of his frantic efforts to borrow or copy from the
Necronomicon at the Widener Library. Those efforts had been in vain,
since Armitage had issued warnings of the keenest intensity to all
librarians having charge of the dreaded volume. Wilbur had been
shockingly nervous at Cambridge; anxious for the book, yet almost
equally anxious to get home again, as if he feared the results of being
away long.

Early in August the half-expected outcome developed, and in the
small hours of the third Dr Armitage was awakened suddenly by the wild,
fierce cries of the savage watchdog on the college campus. Deep and
terrible, the snarling, half-mad growls and barks continued; always in
mounting volume, but with hideously significant pauses. Then there rang
out a scream from a wholly different throat--such a scream as roused
half the sleepers of Arkham and haunted their dreams ever afterwards--
such a scream as could come from no being born of earth, or wholly of
earth.

Armitage, hastening into some clothing and rushing across the street
and lawn to the college buildings, saw that others were ahead of him;
and heard the echoes of a burglar-alarm still shrilling from the
library. An open window showed black and gaping in the moonlight. What
had come had indeed completed its entrance; for the barking and the
screaming, now fast fading into a mixed low growling and moaning,
proceeded unmistakably from within. Some instinct warned Armitage that
what was taking place was not a thing for unfortified eyes to see, so
he brushed back the crowd with authority as he unlocked the vestibule
door. Among the others he saw Professor Warren Rice and Dr Francis
Morgan, men to whom he had told some of his conjectures and misgivings;
and these two he motioned to accompany him inside. The inward sounds,
except for a watchful, droning whine from the dog, had by this time
quite subsided; but Armitage now perceived with a sudden start that a
loud chorus of whippoorwills among the shrubbery had commenced a
damnably rhythmical piping, as if in unison with the last breaths of a
dying man.

The building was full of a frightful stench which Dr Armitage knew
too well, and the three men rushed across the hall to the small
genealogical reading-room whence the low whining came. For a second
nobody dared to turn on the light, then Armitage summoned up his
courage and snapped the switch. One of the three--it is not certain
which--shrieked aloud at what sprawled before them among disordered
tables and overturned chairs. Professor Rice declares that he wholly
lost consciousness for an instant, though he did not stumble or fall.

The thing that lay half-bent on its side in a foetid pool of
greenish-yellow ichor and tarry stickiness was almost nine feet tall,
and the dog had torn off all the clothing and some of the skin. It was
not quite dead, but twitched silently and spasmodically while its chest
heaved in monstrous unison with the mad piping of the expectant
whippoorwills outside. Bits of shoe-leather and fragments of apparel
were scattered about the room, and just inside the window an empty
canvas sack lay where it had evidently been thrown. Near the central
desk a revolver had fallen, a dented but undischarged cartridge later
explaining why it had not been fired. The thing itself, however,
crowded out all other images at the time. It would be trite and not
wholly accurate to say that no human pen could describe it, but one may
properly say that it could not be vividly visualized by anyone whose
ideas of aspect and contour are too closely bound up with the common
life-forms of this planet and of the three known dimensions. It was
partly human, beyond a doubt, with very manlike hands and head, and the
goatish, chinless face had the stamp of the Whateley's upon it. But the
torso and lower parts of the body were teratologically fabulous, so
that only generous clothing could ever have enabled it to walk on earth
unchallenged or uneradicated.

Above the waist it was semi-anthropomorphic; though its chest, where
the dog's rending paws still rested watchfully, had the leathery,
reticulated hide of a crocodile or alligator. The back was piebald with
yellow and black, and dimly suggested the squamous covering of certain
snakes. Below the waist, though, it was the worst; for here all human
resemblance left off and sheer phantasy began. The skin was thickly
covered with coarse black fur, and from the abdomen a score of long
greenish-grey tentacles with red sucking mouths protruded limply.

Their arrangement was odd, and seemed to follow the symmetries of
some cosmic geometry unknown to earth or the solar system. On each of
the hips, deep set in a kind of pinkish, ciliated orbit, was what
seemed to be a rudimentary eye; whilst in lieu of a tail there depended
a kind of trunk or feeler with purple annular markings, and with many
evidences of being an undeveloped mouth or throat. The limbs, save for
their black fur, roughly resembled the hind legs of prehistoric earth's
giant saurians, and terminated in ridgy-veined pads that were neither
hooves nor claws. When the thing breathed, its tail and tentacles
rhythmically changed colour, as if from some circulatory cause normal
to the non-human greenish tinge, whilst in the tail it was manifest as
a yellowish appearance which alternated with a sickly grayish-white in
the spaces between the purple rings. Of genuine blood there was none;
only the foetid greenish-yellow ichor which trickled along the painted
floor beyond the radius of the stickiness, and left a curious
discoloration behind it.

As the presence of the three men seemed to rouse the dying thing, it
began to mumble without turning or raising its head. Dr Armitage made
no written record of its mouthings, but asserts confidently that
nothing in English was uttered. At first the syllables defied all
correlation with any speech of earth, but towards the last there came
some disjointed fragments evidently taken from the Necronomicon, that
monstrous blasphemy in quest of which the thing had perished. These
fragments, as Armitage recalls them, ran something like 'N'gai,
n'gha'ghaa, bugg-shoggog, y'hah: Yog-Sothoth, Yog-Sothoth ...' They
trailed off into nothingness as the whippoorwills shrieked in
rhythmical crescendos of unholy anticipation.

Then came a halt in the gasping, and the dog raised its head in a
long, lugubrious howl. A change came over the yellow, goatish face of
the prostrate thing, and the great black eyes fell in appallingly.
Outside the window the shrilling of the whippoorwills had suddenly
ceased, and above the murmurs of the gathering crowd there came the
sound of a panic-struck whirring and fluttering. Against the moon vast
clouds of feathery watchers rose and raced from sight, frantic at that
which they had sought for prey.

All at once the dog started up abruptly, gave a frightened bark, and
leaped nervously out of the window by which it had entered. A cry rose
from the crowd, and Dr Armitage shouted to the men outside that no one
must be admitted till the police or medical examiner came. He was
thankful that the windows were just too high to permit of peering in,
and drew the dark curtains carefully down over each one. By this time
two policemen had arrived; and Dr Morgan, meeting them in the
vestibule, was urging them for their own sakes to postpone entrance to
the stench-filled reading-room till the examiner came and the prostrate
thing could be covered up.

Meanwhile frightful changes were taking place on the floor. One need
not describe the kind and rate of shrinkage and disintegration that
occurred before the eyes of Dr Armitage and Professor Rice; but it is
permissible to say that, aside from the external appearance of face and
hands, the really human element in Wilbur Whateley must have been very
small. When the medical examiner came, there was only a sticky whitish
mass on the painted boards, and the monstrous odour had nearly
disappeared. Apparently Whateley had had no skull or bony skeleton; at
least, in any true or stable sense. He had taken somewhat after his
unknown father.

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« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2007, 12:50:42 am »

VII.

Yet all this was only the prologue of the actual Dunwich horror.
Formalities were gone through by bewildered officials, abnormal details
were duly kept from press and public, and men were sent to Dunwich and
Aylesbury to look up property and notify any who might be heirs of the
late Wilbur Whateley. They found the countryside in great agitation,
both because of the growing rumblings beneath the domed hills, and
because of the unwonted stench and the surging, lapping sounds which
came increasingly from the great empty shell formed by Whateley's
boarded-up farmhouse. Earl Sawyer, who tended the horse and cattle
during Wilbur's absence, had developed a woefully acute case of nerves.
The officials devised excuses not to enter the noisome boarded place;
and were glad to confine their survey of the deceased's living
quarters, the newly mended sheds, to a single visit. They filed a
ponderous report at the courthouse in Aylesbury, and litigations
concerning heirship are said to be still in progress amongst the
innumerable Whateleys, decayed and undecayed, of the upper Miskatonic
valley.

An almost interminable manuscript in strange characters, written in
a huge ledger and adjudged a sort of diary because of the spacing and
the variations in ink and penmanship, presented a baffling puzzle to
those who found it on the old bureau which served as its owner's desk.
After a week of debate it was sent to Miskatonic University, together
with the deceased's collection of strange books, for study and possible
translation; but even the best linguists soon saw that it was not
likely to be unriddled with ease. No trace of the ancient gold with
which Wilbur and Old Whateley had always paid their debts has yet been
discovered.

It was in the dark of September ninth that the horror broke loose.
The hill noises had been very pronounced during the evening, and dogs
barked frantically all night. Early risers on the tenth noticed a
peculiar stench in the air. About seven o'clock Luther Brown, the hired
boy at George Corey's, between Cold Spring Glen and the village, rushed
frenziedly back from his morning trip to Ten-Acre Meadow with the cows.
He was almost convulsed with fright as he stumbled into the kitchen;
and in the yard outside the no less frightened herd were pawing and
lowing pitifully, having followed the boy back in the panic they shared
with him. Between gasps Luther tried to stammer out his tale to Mrs
Corey.

'Up thar in the rud beyont the glen, Mis' Corey--they's suthin' ben
thar! It smells like thunder, an' all the bushes an' little trees is
pushed back from the rud like they'd a haouse ben moved along of it.
An' that ain't the wust, nuther. They's prints in the rud, Mis' Corey--
great raound prints as big as barrel-heads, all sunk dawon deep like a
elephant had ben along, only they's a sight more nor four feet could
make! I looked at one or two afore I run, an' I see every one was
covered with lines spreadin' aout from one place, like as if big
palm-leaf fans--twict or three times as big as any they is--hed of
ben paounded dawon into the rud. An' the smell was awful, like what it
is around Wizard Whateley's ol' haouse...'

Here he faltered, and seemed to shiver afresh with the fright that
had sent him flying home. Mrs Corey, unable to extract more
information, began telephoning the neighbours; thus starting on its
rounds the overture of panic that heralded the major terrors. When she
got Sally Sawyer, housekeeper at Seth Bishop's, the nearest place to
Whateley's, it became her turn to listen instead of transmit; for
Sally's boy Chauncey, who slept poorly, had been up on the hill towards
Whateley's, and had dashed back in terror after one look at the place,
and at the pasturage where Mr Bishop's cows had been left out all night.

'Yes, Mis' Corey,' came Sally's tremulous voice over the party wire,
'Cha'ncey he just come back a-postin', and couldn't half talk fer bein'
scairt! He says Ol' Whateley's house is all bowed up, with timbers
scattered raound like they'd ben dynamite inside; only the bottom floor
ain't through, but is all covered with a kind o' tar-like stuff that
smells awful an' drips daown offen the aidges onto the graoun' whar the
side timbers is blowed away. An' they's awful kinder marks in the yard,
tew--great raound marks bigger raound than a hogshead, an' all sticky
with stuff like is on the browed-up haouse. Cha'ncey he says they leads
off into the medders, whar a great swath wider'n a barn is matted
daown, an' all the stun walls tumbled every whichway wherever it goes.

'An' he says, says he, Mis' Corey, as haow he sot to look fer Seth's
caows, frightened ez he was an' faound 'em in the upper pasture nigh
the Devil's Hop Yard in an awful shape. Haff on 'em's clean gone, an'
nigh haff o' them that's left is sucked most dry o' blood, with sores
on 'em like they's ben on Whateleys cattle ever senct Lavinny's black
brat was born. Seth hes gone aout naow to look at 'em, though I'll vaow
he won't keer ter git very nigh Wizard Whateley's! Cha'ncey didn't look
keerful ter see whar the big matted-daown swath led arter it leff the
pasturage, but he says he thinks it p'inted towards the glen rud to the
village.

'I tell ye, Mis' Corey, they's suthin' abroad as hadn't orter be
abroad, an' I for one think that black Wilbur Whateley, as come to the
bad end he deserved, is at the bottom of the breedin' of it. He wa'n't
all human hisself, I allus says to everybody; an' I think he an' Ol'
Whateley must a raised suthin' in that there nailed-up haouse as ain't
even so human as he was. They's allus ben unseen things araound Dunwich
--livin' things--as ain't human an' ain't good fer human folks.

'The graoun' was a-talkin' las' night, an' towards mornin' Cha'ncey
he heered the whippoorwills so laoud in Col' Spring Glen he couldn't
sleep nun. Then he thought he heered another faint-like saound over
towards Wizard Whateley's--a kinder rippin' or tearin' o' wood, like
some big box er crate was bein' opened fur off. What with this an'
that, he didn't git to sleep at all till sunup, an' no sooner was he up
this mornin', but he's got to go over to Whateley's an' see what's the
matter. He see enough I tell ye, Mis' Corey! This dun't mean no good,
an' I think as all the men-folks ought to git up a party an' do
suthin'. I know suthin' awful's abaout, an' feel my time is nigh,
though only Gawd knows jest what it is.

'Did your Luther take accaount o' whar them big tracks led tew? No?
Wal, Mis' Corey, ef they was on the glen rud this side o' the glen, an'
ain't got to your haouse yet, I calc'late they must go into the glen
itself. They would do that. I allus says Col' Spring Glen ain't no
healthy nor decent place. The whippoorwills an' fireflies there never
did act like they was creaters o' Gawd, an' they's them as says ye kin
hear strange things a-rushin' an' a-talkin' in the air dawon thar ef ye
stand in the right place, atween the rock falls an' Bear's Den.'

By that noon fully three-quarters of the men and boys of Dunwich
were trooping over the roads and meadows between the newmade Whateley
ruins and Cold Spring Glen, examining in horror the vast, monstrous
prints, the maimed Bishop cattle, the strange, noisome wreck of the
farmhouse, and the bruised, matted vegetation of the fields and
roadside. Whatever had burst loose upon the world had assuredly gone
down into the great sinister ravine; for all the trees on the banks
were bent and broken, and a great avenue had been gouged in the
precipice-hanging underbrush. It was as though a house, launched by an
avalanche, had slid down through the tangled growths of the almost
vertical slope. From below no sound came, but only a distant,
undefinable foetor; and it is not to be wondered at that the men
preferred to stay on the edge and argue, rather than descend and beard
the unknown Cyclopean horror in its lair. Three dogs that were with the
party had barked furiously at first, but seemed cowed and reluctant
when near the glen. Someone telephoned the news to the Aylesbury
Transcript; but the editor, accustomed to wild tales from Dunwich, did
no more than concoct a humorous paragraph about it; an item soon
afterwards reproduced by the Associated Press.

That night everyone went home, and every house and barn was
barricaded as stoutly as possible. Needless to say, no cattle were
allowed to remain in open pasturage. About two in the morning a
frightful stench and the savage barking of the dogs awakened the
household at Elmer Frye's, on the eastern edge of Cold Spring Glen, and
all agreed that they could hear a sort of muffled swishing or lapping
sound from somewhere outside. Mrs Frye proposed telephoning the
neighbours, and Elmer was about to agree when the noise of splintering
wood burst in upon their deliberations. It came, apparently, from the
barn; and was quickly followed by a hideous screaming and stamping
amongst the cattle. The dogs slavered and crouched close to the feet of
the fear-numbed family. Frye lit a lantern through force of habit, but
knew it would be death to go out into that black farmyard. The children
and the women-folk whimpered, kept from screaming by some obscure,
vestigial instinct of defence which told them their lives depended on
silence. At last the noise of the cattle subsided to a pitiful moaning,
and a great snapping, crashing, and crackling ensued. The Fryes,
huddled together in the sitting-room, did not dare to move until the
last echoes died away far down in Cold Spring Glen. Then, amidst the
dismal moans from the stable and the daemoniac piping of the late
whippoorwills in the glen, Selina Frye tottered to the telephone and
spread what news she could of the second phase of the horror.

The next day all the countryside was in a panic; and cowed,
uncommunicative groups came and went where the fiendish thing had
occurred. Two titan swaths of destruction stretched from the glen to
the Frye farmyard, monstrous prints covered the bare patches of ground,
and one side of the old red barn had completely caved in. Of the
cattle, only a quarter could be found and identified. Some of these
were in curious fragments, and all that survived had to be shot. Earl
Sawyer suggested that help be asked from Aylesbury or Arkham, but
others maintained it would be of no use. Old Zebulon Whateley, of a
branch that hovered about halfway between soundness and decadence, made
darkly wild suggestions about rites that ought to be practiced on the
hill-tops. He came of a line where tradition ran strong, and his
memories of chantings in the great stone circles were not altogether
connected with Wilbur and his grandfather.

Darkness fell upon a stricken countryside too passive to organize
for real defence. In a few cases closely related families would band
together and watch in the gloom under one roof; but in general there
was only a repetition of the barricading of the night before, and a
futile, ineffective gesture of loading muskets and setting pitchforks
handily about. Nothing, however, occurred except some hill noises; and
when the day came there were many who hoped that the new horror had
gone as swiftly as it had come. There were even bold souls who proposed
an offensive expedition down in the glen, though they did not venture
to set an actual example to the still reluctant majority.

When night came again the barricading was repeated, though there was
less huddling together of families. In the morning both the Frye and
the Seth Bishop households reported excitement among the dogs and vague
sounds and stenches from afar, while early explorers noted with horror
a fresh set of the monstrous tracks in the road skirting Sentinel Hill.
As before, the sides of the road showed a bruising indicative of the
blasphemously stupendous bulk of the horror; whilst the conformation of
the tracks seemed to argue a passage in two directions, as if the
moving mountain had come from Cold Spring Glen and returned to it along
the same path. At the base of the hill a thirty-foot swath of crushed
shrubbery saplings led steeply upwards, and the seekers gasped when
they saw that even the most perpendicular places did not deflect the
inexorable trail. Whatever the horror was, it could scale a sheer stony
cliff of almost complete verticality; and as the investigators climbed
round to the hill's summit by safer routes they saw that the trail
ended--or rather, reversed--there.

It was here that the Whateleys used to build their hellish fires and
chant their hellish rituals by the table-like stone on May Eve and
Hallowmass. Now that very stone formed the centre of a vast space
thrashed around by the mountainous horror, whilst upon its slightly
concave surface was a thick and foetid deposit of the same tarry
stickiness observed on the floor of the ruined Whateley farmhouse when
the horror escaped. Men looked at one another and muttered. Then they
looked down the hill. Apparently the horror had descended by a route
much the same as that of its ascent. To speculate was futile. Reason,
logic, and normal ideas of motivation stood confounded. Only old
Zebulon, who was not with the group, could have done justice to the
situation or suggested a plausible explanation.

Thursday night began much like the others, but it ended less
happily. The whippoorwills in the glen had screamed with such unusual
persistence that many could not sleep, and about 3 A.M. all the party
telephones rang tremulously. Those who took down their receivers heard
a fright-mad voice shriek out, 'Help, oh, my Gawd! ...' and some
thought a crashing sound followed the breaking off of the exclamation.
There was nothing more. No one dared do anything, and no one knew till
morning whence the call came. Then those who had heard it called
everyone on the line, and found that only the Fryes did not reply. The
truth appeared an hour later, when a hastily assembled group of armed
men trudged out to the Frye place at the head of the glen. It was
horrible, yet hardly a surprise. There were more swaths and monstrous
prints, but there was no longer any house. It had caved in like an
egg-shell, and amongst the ruins nothing living or dead could be
discovered. Only a stench and a tarry stickiness. The Elmer Fryes had
been erased from Dunwich.

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« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2007, 12:51:25 am »

VIII.

In the meantime a quieter yet even more spiritually poignant phase
of the horror had been blackly unwinding itself behind the closed door
of a shelf-lined room in Arkham. The curious manuscript record or diary
of Wilbur Whateley, delivered to Miskatonic University for translation
had caused much worry and bafflement among the experts in language both
ancient and modern; its very alphabet, notwithstanding a general
resemblance to the heavily-shaded Arabic used in Mesopotamia, being
absolutely unknown to any available authority. The final conclusion of
the linguists was that the text represented an artificial alphabet,
giving the effect of a cipher; though none of the usual methods of
cryptographic solution seemed to furnish any clue, even when applied on
the basis of every tongue the writer might conceivably have used. The
ancient books taken from Whateley's quarters, while absorbingly
interesting and in several cases promising to open up new and terrible
lines of research among philosophers and men of science, were of no
assistance whatever in this matter. One of them, a heavy tome with an
iron clasp, was in another unknown alphabet--this one of a very
different cast, and resembling Sanskrit more than anything else. The
old ledger was at length given wholly into the charge of Dr Armitage,
both because of his peculiar interest in the Whateley matter, and
because of his wide linguistic learning and skill in the mystical
formulae of antiquity and the middle ages.

Armitage had an idea that the alphabet might be something
esoterically used by certain forbidden cults which have come down from
old times, and which have inherited many forms and traditions from the
wizards of the Saracenic world. That question, however, he did not deem
vital; since it would be unnecessary to know the origin of the symbols
if, as he suspected, they were used as a cipher in a modern language.
It was his belief that, considering the great amount of text involved,
the writer would scarcely have wished the trouble of using another
speech than his own, save perhaps in certain special formulae and
incantations. Accordingly he attacked the manuscript with the
preliminary assumption that the bulk of it was in English.

Dr Armitage knew, from the repeated failures of his colleagues, that
the riddle was a deep and complex one; and that no simple mode of
solution could merit even a trial. All through late August he fortified
himself with the mass lore of cryptography; drawing upon the fullest
resources of his own library, and wading night after night amidst the
arcana of Trithemius' Poligraphia, Giambattista Porta's De Furtivis
Literarum Notis, De Vigenere's Traite des Chiffres, Falconer's
Cryptomenysis Patefacta, Davys' and Thicknesse's eighteenth-century
treatises, and such fairly modern authorities as Blair, van Marten and
Kluber's script itself, and in time became convinced that he had to
deal with one of those subtlest and most ingenious of cryptograms, in
which many separate lists of corresponding letters are arranged like
the multiplication table, and the message built up with arbitrary
key-words known only to the initiated. The older authorities seemed
rather more helpful than the newer ones, and Armitage concluded that
the code of the manuscript was one of great antiquity, no doubt handed
down through a long line of mystical experimenters. Several times he
seemed near daylight, only to be set back by some unforeseen obstacle.
Then, as September approached, the clouds began to clear. Certain
letters, as used in certain parts of the manuscript, emerged definitely
and unmistakably; and it became obvious that the text was indeed in
English.

On the evening of September second the last major barrier gave way,
and Dr Armitage read for the first time a continuous passage of Wilbur
Whateley's annals. It was in truth a diary, as all had thought; and it
was couched in a style clearly showing the mixed occult erudition and
general illiteracy of the strange being who wrote it. Almost the first
long passage that Armitage deciphered, an entry dated November 26,
1916, proved highly startling and disquieting. It was written,he
remembered, by a child of three and a half who looked like a lad of
twelve or thirteen.

Today learned the Aklo for the Sabaoth (it ran), which did not like,
it being answerable from the hill and not from the air. That upstairs
more ahead of me than I had thought it would be, and is not like to
have much earth brain. Shot Elam Hutchins's collie Jack when he went to
bite me, and Elam says he would kill me if he dast. I guess he won't.
Grandfather kept me saying the Dho formula last night, and I think I
saw the inner city at the 2 magnetic poles. I shall go to those poles
when the earth is cleared off, if I can't break through with the
Dho-Hna formula when I commit it. They from the air told me at Sabbat
that it will be years before I can clear off the earth, and I guess
grandfather will be dead then, so I shall have to learn all the angles
of the planes and all the formulas between the Yr and the Nhhngr. They
from outside will help, but they cannot take body without human blood.
That upstairs looks it will have the right cast. I can see it a little
when I make the Voorish sign or blow the powder of Ibn Ghazi at it, and
it is near like them at May Eve on the Hill. The other face may wear
off some. I wonder how I shall look when the earth is cleared and there
are no earth beings on it. He that came with the Aklo Sabaoth said I
may be transfigured there being much of outside to work on.

Morning found Dr Armitage in a cold sweat of terror and a frenzy of
wakeful concentration. He had not left the manuscript all night, but
sat at his table under the electric light turning page after page with
shaking hands as fast as he could decipher the cryptic text. He had
nervously telephoned his wife he would not be home, and when she
brought him a breakfast from the house he could scarcely dispose of a
mouthful. All that day he read on, now and then halted maddeningly as a
reapplication of the complex key became necessary. Lunch and dinner
were brought him, but he ate only the smallest fraction of either.
Toward the middle of the next night he drowsed off in his chair, but
soon woke out of a tangle of nightmares almost as hideous as the truths
and menaces to man's existence that he had uncovered.

On the morning of September fourth Professor Rice and Dr Morgan
insisted on seeing him for a while, and departed trembling and
ashen-grey. That evening he went to bed, but slept only fitfully.
Wednesday--the next day--he was back at the manuscript, and began to
take copious notes both from the current sections and from those he had
already deciphered. In the small hours of that night he slept a little
in a easy chair in his office, but was at the manuscript again before
dawn. Some time before noon his physician, Dr Hartwell, called to see
him and insisted that he cease work. He refused; intimating that it was
of the most vital importance for him to complete the reading of the
diary and promising an explanation in due course of time. That evening,
just as twilight fell, he finished his terrible perusal and sank back
exhausted. His wife, bringing his dinner, found him in a half-comatose
state; but he was conscious enough to warn her off with a sharp cry
when he saw her eyes wander toward the notes he had taken. Weakly
rising, he gathered up the scribbled papers and sealed them all in a
great envelope, which he immediately placed in his inside coat pocket.
He had sufficient strength to get home, but was so clearly in need of
medical aid that Dr Hartwell was summoned at once. As the doctor put
him to bed he could only mutter over and over again, 'But what, in
God's name, can we do?'

Dr Armitage slept, but was partly delirious the next day. He made no
explanations to Hartwell, but in his calmer moments spoke of the
imperative need of a long conference with Rice and Morgan. His wilder
wanderings were very startling indeed, including frantic appeals that
something in a boarded-up farmhouse be destroyed, and fantastic
references to some plan for the extirpation of the entire human race
and all animal and vegetable life from the earth by some terrible elder
race of beings from another dimension. He would shout that the world
was in danger, since the Elder Things wished to strip it and drag it
away from the solar system and cosmos of matter into some other plane
or phase of entity from which it had once fallen, vigintillions of
aeons ago. At other times he would call for the dreaded Necronomicon
and the Daemonolatreia of Remigius, in which he seemed hopeful of
finding some formula to check the peril he conjured up.

'Stop them, stop theml' he would shout. 'Those Whateleys meant to
let them in, and the worst of all is left! Tell Rice and Morgan we must
do something--it's a blind business, but I know how to make the
powder...It hasn't been fed since the second of August, when Wilbur
came here to his death, and at that rate...'

But Armitage had a sound physique despite his seventy-three years,
and slept off his disorder that night without developing any real
fever. He woke late Friday, clear of head, though sober with a gnawing
fear and tremendous sense of responsibility. Saturday afternoon he felt
able to go over to the library and summon Rice and Morgan for a
conference, and the rest of that day and evening the three men tortured
their brains in the wildest speculation and the most desperate debate.
Strange and terrible books were drawn voluminously from the stack
shelves and from secure places of storage; and diagrams and formulae
were copied with feverish haste and in bewildering abundance. Of
scepticism there was none. All three had seen the body of Wilbur
Whateley as it lay on the floor in a room of that very building, and
after that not one of them could feel even slightly inclined to treat
the diary as a madman's raving.

Opinions were divided as to notifying the Massachusetts State
Police, and the negative finally won. There were things involved which
simply could not be believed by those who had not seen a sample, as
indeed was made clear during certain subsequent investigations. Late at
night the conference disbanded without having developed a definite
plan, but all day Sunday Armitage was busy comparing formulae and
mixing chemicals obtained from the college laboratory. The more he
reflected on the hellish diary, the more he was inclined to doubt the
efficacy of any material agent in stamping out the entity which Wilbur
Whateley had left behind him--the earth threatening entity which,
unknown to him, was to burst forth in a few hours and become the
memorable Dunwich horror.

Monday was a repetition of Sunday with Dr Armitage, for the task in
hand required an infinity of research and experiment. Further
consultations of the monstrous diary brought about various changes of
plan, and he knew that even in the end a large amount of uncertainty
must remain. By Tuesday he had a definite line of action mapped out,
and believed he would try a trip to Dunwich within a week. Then, on
Wednesday, the great shock came. Tucked obscurely away in a corner of
the Arkham Advertiser was a facetious little item from the Associated
Press, telling what a record-breaking monster the bootleg whisky of
Dunwich had raised up. Armitage, half stunned, could only telephone for
Rice and Morgan. Far into the night they discussed, and the next day
was a whirlwind of preparation on the part of them all. Armitage knew
he would be meddling with terrible powers, yet saw that there was no
other way to annul the deeper and more malign meddling which others had
done before him.


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« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2007, 12:52:12 am »

IX.

Friday morning Armitage, Rice, and Morgan set out by motor for
Dunwich, arriving at the village about one in the afternoon. The day
was pleasant, but even in the brightest sunlight a kind of quiet dread
and portent seemed to hover about the strangely domed hills and the
deep, shadowy ravines of the stricken region. Now and then on some
mountain top a gaunt circle of stones could be glimpsed against the
sky. From the air of hushed fright at Osborn's store they knew
something hideous had happened, and soon learned of the annihilation of
the Elmer Frye house and family. Throughout that afternoon they rode
around Dunwich, questioning the natives concerning all that had
occurred, and seeing for themselves with rising pangs of horror the
drear Frye ruins with their lingering traces of the tarry stickiness,
the blasphemous tracks in the Frye yard, the wounded Seth Bishop
cattle, and the enormous swaths of disturbed vegetation in various
places. The trail up and down Sentinel Hill seemed to Armitage of
almost cataclysmic significance, and he looked long at the sinister
altar-like stone on the summit.

At length the visitors, apprised of a party of State Police which
had come from Aylesbury that morning in response to the first telephone
reports of the Frye tragedy, decided to seek out the officers and
compare notes as far as practicable. This, however, they found more
easily planned than performed; since no sign of the party could be
found in any direction. There had been five of them in a car, but now
the car stood empty near the ruins in the Frye yard. The natives, all
of whom had talked with the policemen, seemed at first as perplexed as
Armitage and his companions. Then old Sam Hutchins thought of something
and turned pale, nudging Fred Farr and pointing to the dank, deep
hollow that yawned close by.

'Gawd,' he gasped, 'I telled 'em not ter go daown into the glen, an'
I never thought nobody'd dew it with them tracks an' that smell an' the
whippoorwills a-screechin' daown thar in the dark o' noonday...'

A cold shudder ran through natives and visitors alike, and every ear
seemed strained in a kind of instinctive, unconscious listening.
Armitage, now that he had actually come upon the horror and its
monstrous work, trembled with the responsibility he felt to be his.
Night would soon fall, and it was then that the mountainous blasphemy
lumbered upon its eldritch course. Negotium perambuians in tenebris...
The old librarian rehearsed the formulae he had memorized, and clutched
the paper containing the alternative one he had not memorized. He saw
that his electric flashlight was in working order. Rice, beside him,
took from a valise a metal sprayer of the sort used in combating
insects; whilst Morgan uncased the big-game rifle on which he relied
despite his colleague's warnings that no material weapon would be of
help.

Armitage, having read the hideous diary, knew painfully well what
kind of a manifestation to expect; but he did not add to the fright of
the Dunwich people by giving any hints or clues. He hoped that it might
be conquered without any revelation to the world of the monstrous thing
it had escaped. As the shadows gathered, the natives commenced to
disperse homeward, anxious to bar themselves indoors despite the
present evidence that all human locks and bolts were useless before a
force that could bend trees and crush houses when it chose. They shook
their heads at the visitors' plan to stand guard at the Frye ruins near
the glen; and, as they left, had little expectancy of ever seeing the
watchers again.

There were rumblings under the hills that night, and the
whippoorwills piped threateningly. Once in a while a wind, sweeping up
out of Cold Spring Glen, would bring a touch of ineffable foetor to the
heavy night air; such a foetor as all three of the watchers had smelled
once before, when they stood above a dying thing that had passed for
fifteen years and a half as a human being. But the looked-for terror
did not appear. Whatever was down there in the glen was biding its
time, and Armitage told his colleagues it would be suicidal to try to
attack it in the dark.

Morning came wanly, and the night-sounds ceased. It was a grey,
bleak day, with now and then a drizzle of rain; and heavier and heavier
clouds seemed to be piling themselves up beyond the hills to the
north-west. The men from Arkham were undecided what to do. Seeking
shelter from the increasing rainfall beneath one of the few undestroyed
Frye outbuildings, they debated the wisdom of waiting, or of taking the
aggressive and going down into the glen in quest of their nameless,
monstrous quarry. The downpour waxed in heaviness, and distant peals of
thunder sounded from far horizons. Sheet lightning shimmered, and then
a forky bolt flashed near at hand, as if descending into the accursed
glen itself. The sky grew very dark, and the watchers hoped that the
storm would prove a short, sharp one followed by clear weather.

It was still gruesomely dark when, not much over an hour later, a
confused babel of voices sounded down the road. Another moment brought
to view a frightened group of more than a dozen men, running, shouting,
and even whimpering hysterically. Someone in the lead began sobbing out
words, and the Arkham men started violently when those words developed
a coherent form.

'Oh, my Gawd, my Gawd,' the voice choked out. 'It's a-goin' agin,
an' this time by day! It's aout--it's aout an' a-movin' this very
minute, an' only the Lord knows when it'll be on us all!'

The speaker panted into silence, but another took up his message.

'Nigh on a haour ago Zeb Whateley here heered the 'phone a-ringin',
an' it was Mis' Corey, George's wife, that lives daown by the junction.
She says the hired boy Luther was aout drivin' in the caows from the
storm arter the big bolt, when he see all the trees a-bendin' at the
maouth o' the glen--opposite side ter this--an' smelt the same awful
smell like he smelt when he faound the big tracks las' Monday mornin'.
An' she says he says they was a swishin' lappin' saound, more nor what
the bendin' trees an' bushes could make, an' all on a suddent the trees
along the rud begun ter git pushed one side, an' they was a awful
stompin' an' splashin' in the mud. But mind ye, Luther he didn't see
nothin' at all, only just the bendin' trees an' underbrush.

'Then fur ahead where Bishop's Brook goes under the rud he heerd a
awful creakin' an' strainin' on the bridge, an' says he could tell the
saound o' wood a-startin' to crack an' split. An' all the whiles he
never see a thing, only them trees an' bushes a-bendin'. An' when the
swishin' saound got very fur off--on the rud towards Wizard Whateley's
an' Sentinel Hill--Luther he had the guts ter step up whar he'd heerd
it fust an' look at the graound. It was all mud an' water, an' the sky
was dark, an' the rain was wipin' aout all tracks abaout as fast as
could be; but beginnin' at the glen maouth, whar the trees hed moved,
they was still some o' them awful prints big as bar'ls like he seen
Monday.'

At this point the first excited speaker interrupted.

'But that ain't the trouble naow--that was only the start. Zeb here
was callin' folks up an' everybody was a-listenin' in when a call from
Seth Bishop's cut in. His haousekeeper Sally was carryin' on fit to
kill--she'd jest seed the trees a-bendin' beside the rud, an' says
they was a kind o' mushy saound, like a elephant puffin' an' treadin',
a-headin' fer the haouse. Then she up an' spoke suddent of a fearful
smell, an' says her boy Cha'ncey was a-screamin' as haow it was jest
like what he smelt up to the Whateley rewins Monday mornin'. An' the
dogs was barkin' an' whinin' awful.

'An' then she let aout a turrible yell, an' says the shed daown the
rud had jest caved in like the storm bed blowed it over, only the wind
w'an't strong enough to dew that. Everybody was a-listenin', an' we
could hear lots o' folks on the wire a-gaspin'. All to onct Sally she
yelled again, an' says the front yard picket fence hed just crumbled
up, though they wa'n't no sign o' what done it. Then everybody on the
line could hear Cha'ncey an' old Seth Bishop a-yellin' tew, an' Sally
was shriekin' aout that suthin' heavy hed struck the haouse--not
lightnin' nor nothin', but suthin' heavy again' the front, that kep'
a-launchin' itself agin an' agin, though ye couldn't see nothin' aout
the front winders. An' then...an' then...'

Lines of fright deepened on every face; and Armitage, shaken as he was,
had barely poise enough to prompt the speaker.

'An' then....Sally she yelled aout, "O help, the haouse is a-cavin'
in...an' on the wire we could hear a turrible crashin' an' a hull
flock o' screaming...jes like when Elmer Frye's place was took, only
wuss...'

The man paused, and another of the crowd spoke.

'That's all--not a saound nor squeak over the 'phone arter that.
Jest still-like. We that heerd it got aout Fords an' wagons an' rounded
up as many able-bodied men-folks as we could git, at Corey's place, an'
come up here ter see what yew thought best ter dew. Not but what I
think it's the Lord's jedgment fer our iniquities, that no mortal kin
ever set aside.'

Armitage saw that the time for positive action had come, and spoke
decisively to the faltering group of frightened rustics.

'We must follow it, boys.' He made his voice as reassuring as
possible. 'I believe there's a chance of putting it out of business.
You men know that those Whateleys were wizards--well, this thing is a
thing of wizardry, and must be put down by the same means. I've seen
Wilbur Whateley's diary and read some of the strange old books he used
to read; and I think I know the right kind of spell to recite to make
the thing fade away. Of course, one can't be sure, but we can always
take a chance. It's invisible--I knew it would be--but there's powder
in this long-distance sprayer that might make it show up for a second.
Later on we'll try it. It's a frightful thing to have alive, but it
isn't as bad as what Wilbur would have let in if he'd lived longer.
You'll never know what the world escaped. Now we've only this one thing
to fight, and it can't multiply. It can, though, do a lot of harm; so
we mustn't hesitate to rid the community of it.

'We must follow it--and the way to begin is to go to the place that
has just been wrecked. Let somebody lead the way--I don't know your
roads very well, but I've an idea there might be a shorter cut across
lots. How about it?'

The men shuffled about a moment, and then Earl Sawyer spoke softly,
pointing with a grimy finger through the steadily lessening rain.

'I guess ye kin git to Seth Bishop's quickest by cuttin' across the
lower medder here, wadin' the brook at the low place, an' climbin'
through Carrier's mowin' an' the timber-lot beyont. That comes aout on
the upper rud mighty nigh Seth's--a leetle t'other side.'

Armitage, with Rice and Morgan, started to walk in the direction
indicated; and most of the natives followed slowly. The sky was growing
lighter, and there were signs that the storm had worn itself away. When
Armitage inadvertently took a wrong direction, Joe Osborn warned him
and walked ahead to show the right one. Courage and confidence were
mounting, though the twilight of the almost perpendicular wooded hill
which lay towards the end of their short cut, and among whose fantastic
ancient trees they had to scramble as if up a ladder, put these
qualities to a severe test.

At length they emerged on a muddy road to find the sun coming out.
They were a little beyond the Seth Bishop place, but bent trees and
hideously unmistakable tracks showed what had passed by. Only a few
moments were consumed in surveying the ruins just round the bend. It
was the Frye incident all over again, and nothing dead or living was
found in either of the collapsed shells which had been the Bishop house
and barn. No one cared to remain there amidst the stench and tarry
stickiness, but all turned instinctively to the line of horrible prints
leading on towards the wrecked Whateley farmhouse and the altar-crowned
slopes of Sentinel Hill.

As the men passed the site of Wilbur Whateley's abode they shuddered
visibly, and seemed again to mix hesitancy with their zeal. It was no
joke tracking down something as big as a house that one could not see,
but that had all the vicious malevolence of a daemon. Opposite the base
of Sentinel Hill the tracks left the road, and there was a fresh
bending and matting visible along the broad swath marking the monster's
former route to and from the summit.

Armitage produced a pocket telescope of considerable power and
scanned the steep green side of the hill. Then he handed the instrument
to Morgan, whose sight was keener. After a moment of gazing Morgan
cried out sharply, passing the glass to Earl Sawyer and indicating a
certain spot on the slope with his finger. Sawyer, as clumsy as most
non-users of optical devices are, fumbled a while; but eventually
focused the lenses with Armitage's aid. When he did so his cry was less
restrained than Morgan's had been.

'Gawd almighty, the grass an' bushes is a'movin'! It's a-goin' up--
slow-like--creepin'--up ter the top this minute, heaven only knows
what fur!'

Then the germ of panic seemed to spread among the seekers. It was
one thing to chase the nameless entity, but quite another to find it.
Spells might be all right--but suppose they weren't? Voices began
questioning Armitage about what he knew of the thing, and no reply
seemed quite to satisfy. Everyone seemed to feel himself in close
proximity to phases of Nature and of being utterly forbidden and wholly
outside the sane experience of mankind.

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« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2007, 12:52:59 am »

X.

In the end the three men from Arkham--old, white-bearded Dr
Armitage, stocky, iron-grey Professor Rice, and lean, youngish Dr
Morgan, ascended the mountain alone. After much patient instruction
regarding its focusing and use, they left the telescope with the
frightened group that remained in the road; and as they climbed they
were watched closely by those among whom the glass was passed round. It
was hard going, and Armitage had to be helped more than once. High
above the toiling group the great swath trembled as its hellish maker
repassed with snail-like deliberateness. Then it was obvious that the
pursuers were gaining.

Curtis Whateley--of the undecayed branch--was holding the
telescope when the Arkham party detoured radically from the swath. He
told the crowd that the men were evidently trying to get to a
subordinate peak which overlooked the swath at a point considerably
ahead of where the shrubbery was now bending. This, indeed, proved to
be true; and the party were seen to gain the minor elevation only a
short time after the invisible blasphemy had passed it.

Then Wesley Corey, who had taken the glass, cried out that Armitage
was adjusting the sprayer which Rice held, and that something must be
about to happen. The crowd stirred uneasily, recalling that his sprayer
was expected to give the unseen horror a moment of visibility. Two or
three men shut their eyes, but Curtis Whateley snatched back the
telescope and strained his vision to the utmost. He saw that Rice, from
the party's point of advantage above and behind the entity, had an
excellent chance of spreading the potent powder with marvellous effect.

Those without the telescope saw only an instant's flash of grey
cloud--a cloud about the size of a moderately large building--near
the top of the mountain. Curtis, who held the instrument, dropped it
with a piercing shriek into the ankle-deep mud of the road. He reeled,
and would have crumbled to the ground had not two or three others
seized and steadied him. All he could do was moan half-inaudibly.

'Oh, oh, great Gawd...that...that...'

There was a pandemonium of questioning, and only Henry Wheeler
thought to rescue the fallen telescope and wipe it clean of mud. Curtis
was past all coherence, and even isolated replies were almost too much
for him.

'Bigger'n a barn...all made o' squirmin' ropes...hull thing sort
o' shaped like a hen's egg bigger'n anything with dozens o' legs like
hogs-heads that haff shut up when they step...nothin' solid abaout it
--all like jelly, an' made o' sep'rit wrigglin' ropes pushed clost
together...great bulgin' eyes all over it...ten or twenty maouths or
trunks a-stickin' aout all along the sides, big as stove-pipes an all
a-tossin' an openin' an' shuttin'...all grey, with kinder blue or
purple rings...an' Gawd it Heaven--that haff face on top...'

This final memory, whatever it was, proved too much for poor Curtis;
and he collapsed completely before he could say more. Fred Farr and
Will Hutchins carried him to the roadside and laid him on the damp
grass. Henry Wheeler, trembling, turned the rescued telescope on the
mountain to see what he might. Through the lenses were discernible
three tiny figures, apparently running towards the summit as fast as
the steep incline allowed. Only these--nothing more. Then everyone
noticed a strangely unseasonable noise in the deep valley behind, and
even in the underbrush of Sentinel Hill itself. It was the piping of
unnumbered whippoorwills, and in their shrill chorus there seemed to
lurk a note of tense and evil expectancy.

Earl Sawyer now took the telescope and reported the three figures as
standing on the topmost ridge, virtually level with the altar-stone but
at a considerable distance from it. One figure, he said, seemed to be
raising its hands above its head at rhythmic intervals; and as Sawyer
mentioned the circumstance the crowd seemed to hear a faint,
half-musical sound from the distance, as if a loud chant were
accompanying the gestures. The weird silhouette on that remote peak
must have been a spectacle of infinite grotesqueness and
impressiveness, but no observer was in a mood for aesthetic
appreciation. 'I guess he's sayin' the spell,' whispered Wheeler as he
snatched back the telescope. The whippoorwills were piping wildly, and
in a singularly curious irregular rhythm quite unlike that of the
visible ritual.

Suddenly the sunshine seemed to lessen without the intervention of
any discernible cloud. It was a very peculiar phenomenon, and was
plainly marked by all. A rumbling sound seemed brewing beneath the
hills, mixed strangely with a concordant rumbling which clearly came
from the sky. Lightning flashed aloft, and the wondering crowd looked
in vain for the portents of storm. The chanting of the men from Arkham
now became unmistakable, and Wheeler saw through the glass that they
were all raising their arms in the rhythmic incantation. From some
farmhouse far away came the frantic barking of dogs.

The change in the quality of the daylight increased, and the crowd
gazed about the horizon in wonder. A purplish darkness, born of nothing
more than a spectral deepening of the sky's blue, pressed down upon the
rumbling hills. Then the lightning flashed again, somewhat brighter
than before, and the crowd fancied that it had showed a certain
mistiness around the altar-stone on the distant height. No one,
however, had been using the telescope at that instant. The
whippoorwills continued their irregular pulsation, and the men of
Dunwich braced themselves tensely against some imponderable menace with
which the atmosphere seemed surcharged.

Without warning came those deep, cracked, raucous vocal sounds which
will never leave the memory of the stricken group who heard them. Not
from any human throat were they born, for the organs of man can yield
no such acoustic perversions. Rather would one have said they came from
the pit itself, had not their source been so unmistakably the
altar-stone on the peak. It is almost erroneous to call them sounds at
all, since so much of their ghastly, infra-bass timbre spoke to dim
seats of consciousness and terror far subtler than the ear; yet one
must do so, since their form was indisputably though vaguely that of
half-articulate words. They were loud--loud as the rumblings and the
thunder above which they echoed--yet did they come from no visible
being. And because imagination might suggest a conjectural source in
the world of non-visible beings, the huddled crowd at the mountain's
base huddled still closer, and winced as if in expectation of a blow.

Ygnailh...ygnaiih...thflthkh'ngha....Yog-Sothoth ...rang the hideous
croaking out of space. Y'bthnk...h'ehye--n'grkdl'lh...

The speaking impulse seemed to falter here, as if some frightful
psychic struggle were going on. Henry Wheeler strained his eye at the
telescope, but saw only the three grotesquely silhouetted human figures
on the peak, all moving their arms furiously in strange gestures as
their incantation drew near its culmination. From what black wells of
Acherontic fear or feeling, from what unplumbed gulfs of extra-cosmic
consciousness or obscure, long-latent heredity, were those
half-articulate thunder-croakings drawn? Presently they began to gather
renewed force and coherence as they grew in stark, utter, ultimate
frenzy.

Eh-y-ya-ya-yahaah--e'yayayaaaa...ngh'aaaaa...ngh'aaa...
h'yuh...h'yuh...HELP! HELP! ...ff--ff--ff--FATHER! FATHER!
YOG-SOTHOTH!...

But that was all. The pallid group in the road, still reeling at the
indisputably English syllables that had poured thickly and thunderously
down from the frantic vacancy beside that shocking altar-stone, were
never to hear such syllables again. Instead, they jumped violently at
the terrific report which seemed to rend the hills; the deafening,
cataclysmic peal whose source, be it inner earth or sky, no hearer was
ever able to place. A single lightning bolt shot from the purple zenith
to the altar-stone, and a great tidal wave of viewless force and
indescribable stench swept down from the hill to all the countryside.
Trees, grass, and under-brush were whipped into a fury; and the
frightened crowd at the mountain's base, weakened by the lethal foetor
that seemed about to asphyxiate them, were almost hurled off their
feet. Dogs howled from the distance, green grass and foliage wilted to
a curious, sickly yellow-grey, and over field and forest were scattered
the bodies of dead whippoorwills.

The stench left quickly, but the vegetation never came right again.
To this day there is something queer and unholy about the growths on
and around that fearsome hill Curtis Whateley was only just regaining
consciousness when the Arkham men came slowly down the mountain in the
beams of a sunlight once more brilliant and untainted. They were grave
and quiet, and seemed shaken by memories and reflections even more
terrible than those which had reduced the group of natives to a state
of cowed quivering. In reply to a jumble of questions they only shook
their heads and reaffirmed one vital fact.

'The thing has gone for ever,' Armitage said. 'It has been split up
into what it was originally made of, and can never exist again. It was
an impossibility in a normal world. Only the least fraction was really
matter in any sense we know. It was like its father--and most of it
has gone back to him in some vague realm or dimension outside our
material universe; some vague abyss out of which only the most accursed
rites of human blasphemy could ever have called him for a moment on the
hills.'

There was a brief silence, and in that pause the scattered senses of
poor Curtis Whateley began to knit back into a sort of continuity; so
that he put his hands to his head with a moan. Memory seemed to pick
itself up where it had left off, and the horror of the sight that had
prostrated him burst in upon him again.

'Oh, oh, my Gawd, that haff face--that haff face on top of it...
that face with the red eyes an' crinkly albino hair, an' no chin, like
the Whateleys...It was a octopus, centipede, spider kind o' thing, but
they was a haff-shaped man's face on top of it, an' it looked like
Wizard Whateley's, only it was yards an' yards acrost....'

He paused exhausted, as the whole group of natives stared in a
bewilderment not quite crystallized into fresh terror. Only old Zebulon
Whateley, who wanderingly remembered ancient things but who had been
silent heretofore, spoke aloud.

'Fifteen year' gone,' he rambled, 'I heered Ol' Whateley say as haow
some day we'd hear a child o' Lavinny's a-callin' its father's name on
the top o' Sentinel Hill...'

But Joe Osborn interrupted him to question the Arkham men anew.

'What was it, anyhaow, an' haowever did young Wizard Whateley call it
aout o' the air it come from?'

Armitage chose his words very carefully.

'It was--well, it was mostly a kind of force that doesn't belong in
our part of space; a kind of force that acts and grows and shapes
itself by other laws than those of our sort of Nature. We have no
business calling in such things from outside, and only very wicked
people and very wicked cults ever try to. There was some of it in
Wilbur Whateley himself--enough to make a devil and a precocious
monster of him, and to make his passing out a pretty terrible sight.
I'm going to burn his accursed diary, and if you men are wise you'll
dynamite that altar-stone up there, and pull down all the rings of
standing stones on the other hills. Things like that brought down the
beings those Whateleys were so fond of--the beings they were going to
let in tangibly to wipe out the human race and drag the earth off to
some nameless place for some nameless purpose.

'But as to this thing we've just sent back--the Whateleys raised it
for a terrible part in the doings that were to come. It grew fast and
big from the same reason that Wilbur grew fast and big--but it beat
him because it had a greater share of the outsideness in it. You
needn't ask how Wilbur called it out of the air. He didn't call it out.
It was his twin brother, but it looked more like the father than he
did.'


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« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2007, 04:29:33 am »

My favorite
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"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..."
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« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2007, 01:13:14 am »

Did you ever see the movie version of it with Dean Stockwell and Sandra Dee? 
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« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2007, 01:30:00 am »

Hey zodiac

Yah I did see it, before I ever heard of Lovecraft. The whole idea of stuck right in my head for years I mean it was always in the back of my mind somewhere. It was so unique, like that old movie Equinox.
Then the original Evil Dead was like that.


 You know the make these movies that are supposed to be based on Lovecraft but they just don't ever seem to actually make one of his story. I mean they change them so much like re-animator for instance.
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"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
Zodiac
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Posts: 4530



« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2007, 02:51:56 am »

Well, I doubt you could do a Lovecraft film exactly as written! 

He isn't big on dialogue, you might notice, and also hardly any chicks in them!
I, for  one, would not like to think of Reanimator without that scene where the headless Prof isn't "trysting" with a bubble-headed co-ed.  Wink
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