Lovecraft's Death

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bruce turlish

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Feb 1, 2016, 2:21:31 AM2/1/16
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Morbid as it may be, I have a few questions about HPL's demise:

*Did HPL get any visitors to his hospital room prior to his death?
*HPL was said to have kept a journal of the symptoms of his illness; does anyone know what became of it?
*Did he continue writing letters from his death bed?
*About how long was he hospitalized prior to his death?
*Has anyone in this NG seen the death certificate? If so, do you remember details of it?

This is just me doing my bit to keep the pot boiling here at this NG.

W. H. Pugmire, Esq.

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Feb 1, 2016, 2:24:22 AM2/1/16
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Lovecraft's death certificate may be viewed online.

bruce turlish

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Feb 1, 2016, 3:01:38 AM2/1/16
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Pugmire posted:
"HPL's death certificate may be viewed online"

Just looked--my first thoughts are why someone of HPL's mindset didn't request cremation. Also, I find it interesting that although the occupation is "author," the area of activity is described as "general subjects," not horror or pulp fiction. Further, "single" rather than "divorced." Was this shame or self-consciousness on HPL's part, or just a clerical issue on the part of hospital staff?

Magister

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Feb 1, 2016, 12:00:03 PM2/1/16
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Den måndag 1 februari 2016 kl. 08:21:31 UTC+1 skrev bruce turlish:
> Morbid as it may be, I have a few questions about HPL's demise:
>
> *Did HPL get any visitors to his hospital room prior to his death?

Yes. Harry Brobst visited him on March 11 (I think). Brobst died in 2010 and was in all likelihood the last person alive who knew HPL as an adult.
> *HPL was said to have kept a journal of the symptoms of his illness; does anyone know what became of it?
Barlow got it and apparently used to carry it around with him. It disappeared after he died, but a summary was copied and has been published (COLLECTED ESSAYS 5).
> *Did he continue writing letters from his death bed?
No.
> *About how long was he hospitalized prior to his death?
He came to the Jane Brown on March 10 and died on March 15.
> *Has anyone in this NG seen the death certificate? If so, do you remember details of it?
In addition to it being online it can also be found in NIGHTMARE COUNTRIES.

Magister

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Feb 1, 2016, 12:01:57 PM2/1/16
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HPL kept his marital status to himself in his later years -- in his autobiography, his marriage is just described as "when I lived in New York".

bruce turlish

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Feb 4, 2016, 1:48:54 AM2/4/16
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Magister posted:
"Yes. Harry Brobst visited him..."

Interesting. This Brobst chap apparently had a reminiscence of HPL published as "Autumn in Providence." Can you give the gist of what Brobst had to say about his contact with Lovecraft? Was it Brobst's role as a nurse that caused the two to meet? BTW, the ease with which you answered my questions about HPL's final days suggests to me that you are something of a Lovecraft specialist. Do you share Pugmire's conviction that he is a great writer? Have you written Mythos fiction yourself? You would appear to be posting from a Scandinavian country--which makes your passion for HPL all the more noteworthy, IMO.

Ramsey Campbell

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Feb 4, 2016, 9:26:14 AM2/4/16
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On Thursday, 4 February 2016 06:48:54 UTC, bruce turlish wrote:
> Magister posted:
> "Yes. Harry Brobst visited him..."

Brobst was one of Lovecraft's closest companions in the thirties. A fan of weird fiction, he was in touch before he moved to Providence, where he frequently spent time with Lovecraft in his last few years.

Magister

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Feb 4, 2016, 12:57:02 PM2/4/16
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Den torsdag 4 februari 2016 kl. 07:48:54 UTC+1 skrev bruce turlish:
> Magister posted:
> "Yes. Harry Brobst visited him..."
>
> Interesting. This Brobst chap apparently had a reminiscence of HPL published as "Autumn in Providence." Can you give the gist of what Brobst had to say about his contact with Lovecraft?

In general, or those last few days? IIRC, Brobst has lots of close-up personal details about Lovecraft. The one I recall off-hand is that he noticed that HPL's bed was very dirty and that he kept empty chocolate boxes in his bath-tub, or something, during one of Brobst's visits.
Brobst was also the last surviving guest at Lovecraft's funeral.

> BTW, the ease with which you answered my questions about HPL's final days suggests to me that you are something of a Lovecraft specialist.

It is a great hobby of mine, yes.

Do you share Pugmire's conviction that he is a great writer?

Certainly! :)

> Have you written Mythos fiction yourself?

Alas, no -- I'm basically a lazy person. I enjoy reading too much to do any writing of my own beside some apa-hacking for the EOD. My biggest contribution to Lovecraftiana is locating the text of "Prayer for Universal Peace", a poem that HPL revised.

> You would appear to be posting from a Scandinavian country--which makes your passion for HPL all the more noteworthy, IMO.

HPL is quite popular here. There is a Lovecraft Festival in Stockholm (has been for a few years) and last November Gothenburg had one as well (I was a speaker at that one). We even have at least one Swedish writer of Lovecraftian/Chambersian fiction of international calibre -- Anders Fager -- but so far he has been translated only into Finnish and French.

bruce turlish

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Feb 5, 2016, 8:05:56 AM2/5/16
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Magister posted:
"...HPL's bed was very dirty..."

When I read something like the above about HPL, I can envision just how wretched HPL's final days must have been. I have always thought of Lovecraft as a fussy person who would probably have tended to keep his personal life tidy. I can imagine that his intestinal cancer must have put him in great pain and probably resulted in his having bloody bowel movements. The fact that he spent only about 6 days in the hospital before dying suggests to me that he must have stuck it out at home in considerable pain and discomfort before being hospitalized. Is there anything to suggest that HPL was truly scared of his own death? His philosophy of cynical materialism would have provided only a limited amount of consolation, I should think. HPL was a very tragic figure, IMO. To have died before the age of 50 in virtual poverty is not a nice thing, although I guess it could be argued that HPL was very much a survivor compared to someone like R E Howard.

thang ornerythinchus

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Feb 6, 2016, 5:17:51 AM2/6/16
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Yep. HPL's death was rotten. RE Howard's was worse because he blew
his own brains out in his car and left bone splinters and meat all
over the place.

H Beam Piper's has stayed with me since I was a boy and read my
father's Astounding and Analog pulps. He was an aristocrat and his
death is best descrbed by Jerry Pournelle:

"Piper shut off all the utilities to his apartment, put painter's
drop-cloths over the walls and floor, and took his own life with a
handgun from his collection. In his suicide note, he gave an
explanation that "I don't like to leave messes when I go away, but if
I could have cleaned up any of this mess, I wouldn't be going away. H.
Beam Piper'"

Class.

Magister

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Feb 6, 2016, 6:53:07 PM2/6/16
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Den fredag 5 februari 2016 kl. 14:05:56 UTC+1 skrev bruce turlish:
>
> The fact that he spent only about 6 days in the hospital before dying suggests to me that he must have stuck it out at home in considerable pain and discomfort before being hospitalized.

Yes. A kind of condensation of his "death diary" survives, and some entries are just "pain - pain - intense pain" and "can't eat". He had to sleep propped up in a chair before going to the hospital, and at one point when the doctor called on him he was in the bath because it relieved his pain. The day before he died, six and three-fourths quarts of fluid was drained from his abdomen (a result of the edema caused by his inflamed kidneys). He did not go gentle into that good night.
(Brobst visited him on March 13, by the way -- I was wrong about the date.)

> Is there anything to suggest that HPL was truly scared of his own death? His philosophy of cynical materialism would have provided only a limited amount of consolation, I should think.

He seems to have been very brave about it and going about wrapping up his affairs in a calm and orderly fashion, writing his "Instructions in Case of Decease", telling his correspondents that he would be indefinitely out of touch, etc. He must have realised that his days were numbered by the end of 1936, and he definitely knew for sure from February 27 when his doctor told him, but you don't see him freaking out in any way.

> To have died before the age of 50 in virtual poverty is not a nice thing, although I guess it could be argued that HPL was very much a survivor compared to someone like R E Howard.

Howard was a survivor in his own way -- he wanted to go long before he did, but as long as his mother needed him as a caregiver he stayed. Once she no longer did that, it was time to exit the stage. Without this sense of responsibility, we would have lost him sooner.

osedax

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Feb 8, 2016, 8:14:14 AM2/8/16
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On Sat, 6 Feb 2016 15:53:04 -0800 (PST), Magister <klar...@spray.se>
wrote:

>Den fredag 5 februari 2016 kl. 14:05:56 UTC+1 skrev bruce turlish:
>>
>> The fact that he spent only about 6 days in the hospital before dying suggests to me that he must have stuck it out at home in considerable pain and discomfort before being hospitalized.
>
>Yes. A kind of condensation of his "death diary" survives, and some entries are just "pain - pain - intense pain" and "can't eat". He had to sleep propped up in a chair before going to the hospital, and at one point when the doctor called on him he was in the bath because it relieved his pain. The day before he died, six and three-fourths quarts of fluid was drained from his abdomen (a result of the edema caused by his inflamed kidneys). He did not go gentle into that good night.

Lesson: Bruce Lee died because he revealed the hidden martial arts.
HPL died because he revealed the Old Ones.


>(Brobst visited him on March 13, by the way -- I was wrong about the date.)
>
>> Is there anything to suggest that HPL was truly scared of his own death? His philosophy of cynical materialism would have provided only a limited amount of consolation, I should think.
>
>He seems to have been very brave about it and going about wrapping up his affairs in a calm and orderly fashion, writing his "Instructions in Case of Decease", telling his correspondents that he would be indefinitely out of touch, etc. He must have realised that his days were numbered by the end of 1936, and he definitely knew for sure from February 27 when his doctor told him, but you don't see him freaking out in any way.

You want bravery? Try David Bowies last record. You want balance? HPL
was rewarded for exposing the Old Ones. The rotten death brought
equivalence.
>
>> To have died before the age of 50 in virtual poverty is not a nice thing, although I guess it could be argued that HPL was very much a survivor compared to someone like R E Howard.
>
>Howard was a survivor in his own way -- he wanted to go long before he did, but as long as his mother needed him as a caregiver he stayed. Once she no longer did that, it was time to exit the stage. Without this sense of responsibility, we would have lost him sooner.

Cancer is a tiger. Once it has you, you have its tail. You daren't
let go.

W. H. Pugmire, Esq.

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Feb 8, 2016, 8:10:28 PM2/8/16
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On Sunday, January 31, 2016 at 11:21:31 PM UTC-8, bruce turlish wrote:
When I saw the Lovecraft bronze bust unviel'd in ye Providence Athenaeum Library I felt a strange calmness, as if some kind of eerie living aura was with us in the room. Lovecraft's presence has been felt by many, it appears. I think it was Stanley C. Sargent who told me that he felt the spirit of Lovecraft looking down on him, encouraging him, as Stan wrote his great story, "Nyarlatophis: A Fable of Ancient Egypt". (I had just the opposite experience when I stood before Lovecraft's grave at Swan Point--something whispering to me, "He isn't here." But then when I stood before 10 Barnes Street for the first time, with S. T. at my side, I fancied that I did indeed feel HPL's presence, or aura, or some damn thing.) There is an atmosphere I feel when I enter Joshi's house--an extra kind of "element" in ye air that seems centered on the wee Lovecraft bust on S. T.'s mantel. And then I dip once more into Lovecraft's publish'd correspondence and he seems absolutely alive in those lines that own every ounce of his persona. Not only dies Lovecraft seems alive--he THRIVES! O gawd, how I tremble to hold THE ANNOTATED FUNGI FROM YUGGOTH, and then, perhaps late next year, THE NEW ANNOTATED H. P. LOVECRAFT: BEYOND THE MYTHOS! And that 4th volume of H. P. LOVECRAFT: THE COLLECTED FICTION! HPL just keeps coming back, again & again, a potent literary presence.

W. H. Pugmire, Esq.

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Feb 8, 2016, 8:19:49 PM2/8/16
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On Sunday, January 31, 2016 at 11:21:31 PM UTC-8, bruce turlish wrote:
how ironic that I misspell'd does as dies in a comment raving about how alive HP: seems to-day....

bruce turlish

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Feb 9, 2016, 4:17:10 AM2/9/16
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Pugmire posted:
"Lovecraft seems alive--he thrives!"

Mr. P., it's all in your own mind--the Spice Girls are better! (just kidding)

Aardvark

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Mar 1, 2016, 1:09:38 PM3/1/16
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On Friday, February 5, 2016 at 8:05:56 AM UTC-5, bruce turlish wrote:
> To have died before the age of 50 in virtual poverty is not a nice thing,
> although I guess it could be argued that HPL was very much a survivor
> compared to someone like R E Howard.

Yes. I'd rather go HPL's way than REH's way. It's braver. And, while I love REH's work, I don't think anyone should ever sentimentalize or glorify suicide. You never know who is listening, and someday, someone may practice what you preach.

bocky...@gmail.com

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Mar 20, 2018, 8:59:37 PM3/20/18
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On Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at 5:09:38 AM UTC+11, Aardvark wrote:
> Yes. I'd rather go HPL's way than REH's way. It's braver. And, while I love REH's work, I don't think anyone should ever sentimentalize or glorify suicide. You never know who is listening, and someday, someone may practice what you preach.

As someone who has seriously contemplated suicide in their life, this statement reads very alien to me, and completely disrespectful of all those who have ended their lives early in the past. If anything, suicide is harder and braver to do than surviving until your body can no longer survive. What comes natural is the easiest to follow, if not the least painful...

That's not to say that suicide is necessarily the right choice and action -- often what we see is not all that is there, and life has more to teach us -- but it certainly is brave.

thang ornerythinchus

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Mar 31, 2018, 12:44:22 AM3/31/18
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I utterly agree with you. There is no doubt whatsoever that suicide
is conditional on extraordinary bravery. To end one's life and leave
everthing in one's universe (which to that person, *is* the universe)
with finality is heroic in the extreme.

People who have never been certain that they will suicide that night,
or later that day, or then and there, find it easy to say that suicide
is the coward's way out. It is the precise opposite.


The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense
tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light
between two eternities of darkness.

VLADIMIR NABOKOV,
Speak, Memory: A Memoir

---
This email has been checked for viruses by Avast antivirus software.
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Aardvark

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Jul 17, 2018, 2:51:43 PM7/17/18
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My priority is to discourage suicide. I am not overly worried that, by doing so, I am "disrespecting" those who have already killed themselves. Such people are beyond my aid, and are incapable of being hurt by my disapproval. I am more worried about the people who have NOT killed themselves, but might be feeling temptation. How should I influence them?

You obviously have very different values. You do not hesitate to endorse and encourage suicide. You say how "brave" it is, implying that if you kill yourself, others will think well of you. You do not care if some disturbed teenager reads your words, and gets nudged in he direction you advocate.

Bravery means your duty in the face of fear. A person who sacrifices his life for duty is a hero and a martyr, not a suicide. His goal is not death; death is merely what he is willing to face, for the sake of duty (whatever his duty is).

Suicide is merely killing yourself because you want to die. The fact that you must overcome your natural and healthy instinct of self-preservation, in order to do so, does not make it brave. It is merely one selfish temptation overwhelming another selfish temptation.

I admire many things about R.E. Howard, not least his fiction. Shooting himself in the head is not anything to admire. I'm not judging him. Maybe he was so overwhelmed with grief that it conquered his free will. But I do not believe that anyone (assuming they have a choice) should follow his example.

I'm glad that you did not kill yourself. I would never encourage you to kill yourself. PLEASE, stop encouraging people to kill themselves. It is wrong. You never know who is reading.

Aardvark

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Jul 17, 2018, 3:34:23 PM7/17/18
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On Saturday, March 31, 2018 at 12:44:22 AM UTC-4, thang ornerythinchus wrote:
> I utterly agree with you. There is no doubt whatsoever that suicide
> is conditional on extraordinary bravery. To end one's life and leave
> everthing in one's universe (which to that person, *is* the universe)
> with finality is heroic in the extreme.
>
> People who have never been certain that they will suicide that night,
> or later that day, or then and there, find it easy to say that suicide
> is the coward's way out. It is the precise opposite.

I cannot wish you luck with your suicide advocacy campaign. If it succeeds, children and others will die. So I hope your campaign fails. And I hope you find something more worthy do do with your life.

blackw...@gmail.com

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May 7, 2020, 12:11:31 AM5/7/20
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On Tuesday, March 1, 2016 at 6:09:38 PM UTC, Aardvark wrote:
> Yes. I'd rather go HPL's way than REH's way. It's braver. And, while I love REH's work, I don't think anyone should ever sentimentalize or glorify suicide.


So very easy to judge others when they are dead, isn't it?

blackw...@gmail.com

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May 7, 2020, 12:13:05 AM5/7/20
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On Tuesday, July 17, 2018 at 6:51:43 PM UTC, Aardvark wrote:
> PLEASE, stop encouraging people to kill themselves.

You are indeed a hypocrite in your self-righteousness.

Aardvark

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Aug 2, 2020, 5:36:07 PM8/2/20
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I am not judging anyone. Maybe REH was a victim of temporary insanity, produced by extreme grief, and could not help himself. All I am saying is that if I had caught REH sticking that gun in his mouth, I would have tried to talk him out of it. I would have told him it was the wrong thing to do, and I would have meant what I said.
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