Spirits of the Dead
Edgar Allan Poe, 1809 – 1849
Thy soul shall find itself alone
‘Mid dark thoughts of the grey tomb-stone;
Not one, of all the crowd, to pry
Into thine hour of secrecy.
Be silent in that solitude,
Which is not loneliness — for then
The spirits of the dead, who stood
In life before thee, are again
In death around thee, and their will
Shall overshadow thee; be still.
The night, though clear, shall frown,
And the stars shall not look down
From their high thrones in the Heaven
With light like hope to mortals given,
But their red orbs, without beam,
To thy weariness shall seem
As a burning and a fever
Which would cling to thee for ever.
Now are thoughts thou shalt not banish,
Now are visions ne’er to vanish;
From thy spirit shall they pass
No more, like dew-drop from the grass.
The breeze, the breath of God, is still,
And the mist upon the hill
Shadowy, shadowy, yet unbroken,
Is a symbol and a token.
How it hangs upon the trees,
A mystery of mysteries!
Find this poem and more Halloween-themed poetry at www.poets.org
Iä! Iä! Cthulhu Fhtagn!
Today is, or rather would have been, the birthday of Howard Phillips Lovecraft, who was born August 20th, 1890. If you aren’t familiar with who he is, and what he did, and you like Halloween… well, what have you been doing with your life?! 😉
Lovecraft is responsible for the Cthulhu Mythos of elder god-monsters, and dozens upon dozens of short stories that should be considered required reading at Halloween. Much of what came after in the Horror genre was directly influenced by Lovecraft (and before him Edgar Allan Poe). If you’d like to learn more about Lovecraft, there is a great page on Wikipedia, as well as an extensive site at The Lovecraft Archive (including texts of his works for free).
If you’d like a little ambience (music and sound) by which to read, check out Simply Rain as well as Pumpkinland by Mark Harvey at 13thtrack.com.
If you’d like to get some free audiobook versions of Lovecraft’s work to listen to, go to booksshouldbefree.com.
“What Nightmares are in store for you?!”
That’s the (lame, I admit it) tag line I would have written for the cover of this “Plot Your Own Horror Stories™ ” book I found while going through old boxes in the basement today.
[TL;DR – I found an old CYOA-style book from the 80s about a haunted store. I’m going to read it and post a summary to Twitter.]
Being 40 now I was, of course, there back in the 80s for the onslaught of Choose Your Own Adventure ™ books and all the various alternatives that followed the premise of a free-form story with multiple options and endings along the way. The reader was prompted to choose between two or more possible paths from each page in the book, which meant they could be read again and again many times and still feel fresh. In a way, they were one of the precursors to the modern RPG video games where the player takes on the first-person role of the antagonist, and must find their way through the adventure. (If you aren’t familiar with these books, you can read about CYOA, the “grand-daddy” of the genre, here: http://www.cyoa.com/pages/history-of-cyoa )
Occasionally I will post things here for you to use to decorate your computer for the Autumn season, of even if you just like things that are dark and vaguely horrific. Some of them will be originals, some derivative work, and sometimes work by others I’ve found elsewhere (with full credit when possible). I hope this will become a regular feature.
Today I have for you the very first “Dark Décor” post, a derivative work I’ve created from a few textures from around the web, and then manipulated in Photoshop. Feel free to download and use as you wish. I am giving this image an “Attribution Non-Commercial” Creative Commons license. Have fun.
I call it “Appealing Grandeur 1914”. The dimensions are 1920 x 1200. Let me know in the comments what you think, good or bad.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.