AWESOME-tober-fest 2016: Out of the Aeons (1935) – HP Lovecraft and Hazel Heald
There were five stories written by a Massachusetts writer named Hazel Heald which were revised by HP Lovecraft and published. I’ll talk about one of those stories today.
The story is called Out of the Aeons and it was published in the April 1935 issue of Weird Tales magazine.
Like the Doyle story The Ring of Thoth, this story isn’t a typical “mummy story”. It begins with the discovery of a mysterious mummy on a mysterious island that mysteriously appeared in the middle of the ocean and then mysteriously disappeared soon after its discovery.
The story is written as a letter of final confession for the curator of the Cabot Museum in Boston. The letter explains that some unbelievable and terrifying events have sprung up around the mummy and this letter he’s writing is to set down on record what actually happened as museum officials have essentially “white washed” the majority of the story with the press.
Much of the story is the curator delving into the history of the mummy. It’s a fairly interesting and creepy sort of legend that has been culled from several banned tomes like “The Black Book” and the “Necronomicon”. About half the story is catching the reader up to what the mummy could possibly be. The back half of the story is essentially what happens to the mummy in the museum when the story gets out and the exhibit becomes popular. All the nutzos come out and the situation escalates to a creepy and horrific end.
I enjoyed this short story. I think I liked it even better than the previous Lovecraft stories I read, Herbert West, Re-animator and From Beyond. I really need to delve into some of the Cthulhu stories. Lovecraft’s writings have sort of the “creeping dread” atmosphere that keeps you on the edge of your seat feeling like something just isn’t “right”. Very effective.
A few tidbits of Lovecraftian mythos make appearances in this story. One of the characters who briefly visits the mummy is awesomely named Swami Chandraputra, which is a known alias for Randolph Carter, one of Lovecraft’s recurring characters. There are several Dark Gods listed in this story, two of them being previously mentioned as a part of Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. Lastly, the previous curator of the museum who actually discovers the mummy is named Pickman and shares this name with the painter in Lovecraft’s story Pickman’s Model.
Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.