Hear 14 Hours of Weird H.P. Lovecraft Stories on Halloween: “The Call of Cthulhu,” “The Dunwich Horror” & More

Image by Dominique Sig­noret, via Wiki­me­dia Com­mons

“The most mer­ci­ful thing in the world, I think, is the inabil­i­ty of the human mind to cor­re­late all its con­tents. We live on a placid island of igno­rance in the midst of black seas of infin­i­ty, and it was not meant that we should voy­age far.” So writes the nar­ra­tor of “The Call of Cthul­hu,” the best-known sto­ry by Howard Phillips Love­craft, who, before he burnt out and died young, spent his whole lit­er­ary career look­ing into that infin­i­ty and report­ing on the psy­cho­log­i­cal effects of what he sensed lurk­ing there. What bet­ter writer to read on Hal­loween night, when — amid all the par­ty­ing and the can­dy — we all per­mit our­selves a glimpse into the abyss?

Indeed, what bet­ter writer to hear on Hal­loween night? Once it gets dark, con­sid­er fir­ing up this four­teen-hour Spo­ti­fy playlist of H.P. Love­craft audio­books, fea­tur­ing read­ings of not just “The Call of Cthul­hu” but The Shad­ow over Inns­mouth, “The Dun­wich Hor­ror,” “The Thing on the Doorstep,” and oth­er sto­ries besides. (If you don’t have Spo­ti­fy’s free soft­ware, you can down­load it here.)

Though Love­craft has a much wider read­er­ship now than he ever accrued in his life­time, some of your guests might still nev­er have heard his work and thus strug­gle to pin it down: is it hor­ror? Is it sus­pense? Is it the macabre, the sort of thing per­fect­ed by Love­craft’s pre­de­ces­sor in fright­en­ing Amer­i­can let­ters Edgar Allan Poe?

The word they need is “weird,” not in the mod­ern sense of “some­what unusu­al,” but in the ear­ly 20th-cen­tu­ry sense — the sense of Weird Tales, the pulp mag­a­zine that pub­lished Love­craft — of a heady blend of the super­nat­ur­al, the myth­i­cal, the sci­en­tif­ic, and the mun­dane. Joyce Car­ol Oates once wrote that Love­craft’s sto­ries, sel­dom sen­sa­tion­al, “devel­op by way of incre­men­tal detail, begin­ning with quite plau­si­ble sit­u­a­tions — an expe­di­tion to Antarc­ti­ca, a trip to an ancient sea­side town, an inves­ti­ga­tion of an aban­doned eigh­teenth-cen­tu­ry house in Prov­i­dence, Rhode Island, that still stood in Lovecraft’s time. One is drawn into Love­craft by the very air of plau­si­bil­i­ty and char­ac­ter­is­tic under­state­ment of the prose, the ques­tion being When will weird­ness strike?” An ide­al ques­tion to ask while float­ing along the black sea of Hal­loween night.

This playlist of Love­craft sto­ries will be added to our col­lec­tion, 1,000 Free Audio Books: Down­load Great Books for Free.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

H.P. Lovecraft’s Clas­sic Hor­ror Sto­ries Free Online: Down­load Audio Books, eBooks & More

23 Hours of H.P. Love­craft Sto­ries: Hear Read­ings & Drama­ti­za­tions of “The Call of Cthul­hu,” “The Shad­ow Over Inns­mouth,” & Oth­er Weird Tales

Hear Drama­ti­za­tions of H.P. Lovecraft’s Sto­ries On His Birth­day: “The Call of Cthul­hu,” “The Dun­wich Hor­ror,” & More

H.P. Lovecraft’s Mon­ster Draw­ings: Cthul­hu & Oth­er Crea­tures from the “Bound­less and Hideous Unknown”

H.P. Love­craft Gives Five Tips for Writ­ing a Hor­ror Sto­ry, or Any Piece of “Weird Fic­tion”

Love­craft: Fear of the Unknown (Free Doc­u­men­tary)

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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