“The Hound” By H.P. Lovecraft (Narrated By Jeffrey LeBlanc)

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Children of Horror,

Nyarlathotep— “The Dark Messenger” comes out of the desert to bring destruction and death. A scientist using alchemy and sorcery attempts to reanimate the dead. And, grave robbers unleash a hellish beast as we rattle the bones of the master of horror—Howard Phillips Lovecraft.

H. P. Lovecraft was a horror and weird fiction master who achieved posthumous fame through his influential works of horror, science fiction, fantasy, and poetry. Many of Lovecraft’s greatest works were first published only in pulp magazines. And strangely, he was virtually unknown as a writer during his lifetime and died in obscure poverty.

Among his most celebrated tales are “The Rats in the Walls”, “The Color Out of Space”, “The Call of Cthulhu”, “At the Mountains of Madness”, “The Shadow Over Innsmouth”, and “The Shadow Out of Time”. These were just some of the stories making up the canon of Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos.

Tonight, the moon is full and gibbous as we present Lovecraft’s most terrifying tale— “The Hound”. This horrific story was one of the most terrifying tales ever published in Weird Tales.

“The Hound” was written by H.P. Lovecraft (September 1922) and published in the February 1924 issue of Weird Tales. “The Hound” was the first story to 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 and… its graveyard 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. He used as the name of one of the main characters the nickname for his companion Kleinhart, “St. John”. The grave that was the inspiration for the story was in the Flatbush Church. However, it was listed in the tale as a “terrible Holland churchyard”. This speculated reference to Flatbush Church due in part to the church’s history with the Dutch Reformed Church. “The Hound” is set in the Netherlands and in England.

Edgar Allan Poe’s mangled corpse runs red throughout the “The Hound”. Influences such as 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.

A baying howl in the dark has made the hairs on your neck stand up. There’s a deathly chill in the foggy air as “The Hound” lumbers in to rip you apart.

“The Hound” focuses on a terrified narrator recounting his ghoulish time with his friend St. John. Both 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 for these ghouls, the last grave they rob has a terrifying outcome for our hapless desecrators of the dead.

Can our ghoulish grave robbers bring the vengeful Hound to heel? Or…will they get all torn up about the hellish pooch licking its paws?–JL

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