As well as becoming one of the most celebrated American horror writers after his death, H. P. Lovecraft managed to achieve the impossible, carving out his very own brand of sub-genre fiction. “Lovecraftian Horror” refers heavily to the style that the writer used, emphasizing cosmic horror of the unknown, finding the terrifying in a world beyond our own. While his works continue to pull in a large crowd of readers, Lovecraft’s life went under the radar during the time in which he was writing. Father to a celebrated genre of horror fiction, Lovecraft led a life removed from normality, finding inspiration for his strange fictional worlds wherever he went.
From his childhood, Lovecraft was a boy unlike any other. While his father was committed to a mental hospital on the grounds of psychosis, his mother was later sent to the same institution after displaying a number of worrying habits. As well as seeming to refuse affection, Lovecraft’s mother pressured the young boy to wear his then-dead father’s clothes around the house. From the off, Lovecraft was destined to live a life on his own and it is perhaps because of this that he followed his path into strange literature.
At school, Lovecraft had a tough time, having to miss large stretches of his education due to illness. In the midst of his studies, things became a little too much for Lovecraft and at one point, he dropped out of the education system for five years after having suffered a mental breakdown. When he was in good health, he became fascinated with astronomy, chemistry and gothic literature, lapping up the works of celebrated writer Edgar Allen Poe.
While popular belief has it that Lovecraft was tied up with the occult, there is no evidence to prove this fact. Themes in his literature might fall heavily on all things related to dark magic and bizarre happenings but throughout his life, Lovecraft remained a skeptic and atheist. He was, however, fascinated in a different side of magic, palling up with Harry Houdini on a number of his works. Together, the two worked on a manuscript entitled “The Cancer of Superstition” which was only cut short due to the illusionist’s untimely death in 1926.
Due in part to his childhood and irregular upbringing, Lovecraft developed a number of strange ticks over the years. From the age of 6, the writer began suffering from crippling night terrors that caused sleep paralysis, waking nightmares and screaming in his sleep. It might have been his dreams that inspired his work, helping to inform Lovecraft on the very darkest side of life.
While there is a famous Lovecraft headstone in place, the writer is not buried beneath it. In fact, the tribute to the writer was funded by a group of fans, and has nothing to do with the real man’s resting place. One particularly enthusiastic fan took the resting plot a little too literally, however, choosing to dig up the ground in order to find Lovecraft’s body. Of course, his search ended in disappointment, revealing an empty grave below.
Despite his death, Lovecraft has kept his place in the horror writer’s hall of fame, remaining for many the master of the genre. Now, legends about the man continue to fascinate fans of horror fiction and even decades after his death, Lovecraft remains a talking point for many.