Lovecraft comes to life


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Although he acknowledged a debt to Poe, H.P. Lovecraft is now recognized as a master of his own kind of horror, fantasy and science fiction. He created a fictional world -- complete with monsters and gods -- and encourages his friends to bring it to life in their own work.

That world includes Miskatonic University, which appears in several of his short stories and the novella ‘At the Mountains of Madness.’ Miskatonic U is in Arkham (not a real town) in Essex County, Mass. (a real place).


But that’s not quite good enough for the blog Prop Nomicon, which has been creating real-life memorabilia from Miskatonic. In the above photo, there are a newly made vintage postcard, a school pin, an embroidered school badge, and three notebooks of the kind used by the characters in Lovecraft’s work. The items sold out earlier this week, but will be available again, probably before the holidays.

Sales aren’t the blog’s main concern, though: It’s focused on bringing Lovecraft’s stories to life. Just take a look at this meticulously assembled kit. It brings to life the one used in the 1930 Miskatonic University Antarctic expedition (‘At the Mountains of Madness’). It includes decade-perfect binoculars and measuring instruments, core samples, fossils, expedition photos, maps and plans. Some materials have been restored, some aged (rubbed down with dirt and cocoa), others created from scratch.

It’s a monumental accomplishment, but one that the site’s proprietor doesn’t feel proprietary of. He’s enthusiastic about Creative Commons, and any of the documents he’s created -- the detailed map of the expedition, the mock-ups of the plane, the re-created vintage pilot’s license -- are available for download, remixing and re-use. Just like Lovecraft would have wanted it.

-- Carolyn Kellogg