“The Hound” was written by H.P. Lovecraft in September 1922 and published in the February 1924 issue of Weird Tales. “The Hound” contains the first mention of Lovecraft’s fictional text the Necronomicon.
Lovecraft noted the story was inspired on September 16, 1922, after he had toured the Flatbush Reformed Church in Brooklyn with his friend Rheinhart Kleiner.
In a letter, Lovecraft wrote:
“Around the old pile is a hoary churchyard, with internments dating from around 1730 to the middle of the nineteenth century…. From one of the crumbling gravestones–dated 1747–I chipped a small piece to carry away. It lies before me as I write–and ought to suggest some sort of horror-story. I must place it beneath my pillow as I sleep… who can say what thing might not come out of the centuried earth to exact vengeance for his desecrated tomb? And should it come, who can say what it might not resemble?”
Lovecraft wrote “The Hound” shortly afterwards, using as the name of one of the main characters his nickname for his companion Kleinhart, “St. John”. The grave that was the catalyst for the story was in the Flatbush church but listed in the tale as a “terrible Holland churchyard”. This is speculated as a reference to Flatbush church being part of the Dutch Reformed Church “The Hound” though, is actually set in the Netherlands, as well as in England.
It is without question that Edgar Allan Poe’s influence is seen in “The Hound”. The “oblong box” taken from the grave, the mysterious “knock on my chamber door”, and the “red death” introduced by the Hound are all from Poe’s collection of the macabre.
“The Hound” focuses around a narrator and his friend St. John, who have a deranged interest in the occult and robbing graves. They constantly defile crypts and often keep souvenirs of their morbid, nocturnal expeditions. The narrator and St. John set up a private ghastly museum of bones, skulls in various forms of decomposition, paintings, jewelry, and the like in their basement collected from the various graves.
Unfortunately, their latest grave robbery has a terrifying outcome for our hapless ghouls.
What horrors do St. John and the narrator unleash robbing their last grave? Will St. John or the narrator escape the Hellish hound?