Friday, July 11, 2014

Houdini's Secret

Lovecraft's "Under the Pyramids" is one of his most unusual works.  It was a contract piece commissioned by "Weird Tales" magazine and was originally published as the real-life experience of magician Harry Houdini.   The story lead to an ongoing relationship between Lovecraft and Houdini that only came to an end with the illusionist's death.  Intriguingly, it was also a precursor to the intentional blurring of fiction and non-fiction that would become an important part of the Mythos and, eventually, conspiracy culture.  There's a pretty straight line between Houdini's underground adventure and the "secret Hall of Records under the Sphinx" theories of late night radio.

Jason McKittrick is doing his part to further blur those lines with his latest project- Houdini's Secret.  It's a fantastic collection of ephemera and physical props based on the story.  The deluxe edition knocks it out of the park with a cool depiction of the Sphinx drawn directly from the text and a vintage shipping box.  

1 comment:

CoastConFan said...

I like the basalt look of the sphinx creature especially the base. It’s also nice that it reminds me a little of those orientalized Hittite stone lion figures. Of the composite figures that crop up in so commonly in Egyptology, the Sphinx is probably the most recognizable. The scarab actually looks like steatite and the inscription is aesthetically pleasing. This is really a nice assemblage.

Speaking of composite figures check out the Amen-Re figure at the Walters, which would be good as a prop idea.

Text of Under The Pyramids on The H P Lovecraft Archive

You might just want to cut to the chase via the Internet Archive to the “Nearly Complete HP Lovecraft Collection” of audio stories and get them all:

One of the lost Holy Grails of Lovecraft collecting is the missing original draft of this story at the Providence railroad station. It would be nice to turn it up at an antique shop stuffed into an old leather briefcase monogrammed HPL.