Indeed not having been able to find work among the large immigrant popuation-especially irreconciable with his opinion of himself as a privileged Anglo-Saxon, has been theorized as galvanizing his racism to the point of fear, a sentiment he sublimated in the short story "The Horror at Red Hook." A few years later, Lovecraft and his wife who were still living separately agreed to an amicable divorce, which was never fully completed. He returned to Providence to live with his aunts during their remaining years. Back in Providence he lived in a "spacious brown Victorian wooden house" at 10 Barnes Street until 1933. This is the same address given as the home of Dr. Willett in Lovecraft's "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward." The period after his return to Providence in the last decade of his life was Lovecraft's most prolific. During that time period he produced almost all of his best-known short stories for the leading pulp publications of the day (primarily Weird Tales), as well as longer efforts such as The Case of Charles Dexter Ward and At the Mountains of Madness.
Lovecraft's stories continue to inspire readers because of their convincing tying together fact and fantasy. His tales produce visions of extremely phantasmagoric realities that are somehow believable at the same time. Much of Lovecraft's work centers around varied tales of the "Old Ones"-creatures beyond human comprehension from other worlds and dimensions. The Old Ones include Cthulu, a winged octopus-squid like god who lives in a city beneath the Pacific Ocean, the mindless chaos Azathoth, and the Black Goat of the Woods, Shub-Niggurath. In the Earth's distant past, the Old Ones lived and ruled the planet. However, they eventually fell into an aeons-long sleep. Their worshippers include the fish-men known as the "deep ones," and the odd crustacean like fungi from the planet Yuggoth (Pluto). These beings are still awake and occasionally threaten humanity.
When Lovecraft introduced the Necronomicon into his writing he started a fascination that is still going to the present day. The Necronomicon was one of the most influential plot devices in all of horror. It is said to be a secret grimoire written by the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred, and contains spells and rituals to invoke the Old Ones. Many practitioners of magic and cults around the world work with a supposedly "real" Necronomicon that was produced many years after Lovecraft's death and I would like to talk about this famous-or-infamous book just a bit later in the series.
Due to the lasting power and influence of Lovecraft's vision over the years, many have wondered just how much he knew about the occult. Some occultists believe him to be a "natural adept" and claim that his fiction contains genuine traces of ancient knowledge and re-emerging archetypes from the depths of our collective unconscious. However, Lovecraft would have vehemently denied this. During his 46 years of life he wrote about 100,000 letters, perhaps making him the best documented author in literary history. It is very clear from these communications that Lovecraft himself had no belief at all in the occult -period. In his youth, he had come to doubt the Christian faith of his family. This led him to explore the beliefs of the Greeks, Muslims, Hindus, and Egyptians. Not one of these belief systems compelled him and he turned to atheism and scepticism as the only possible alternatives.
In 1925, he wrote to his friend Clark Ashton Smith: "I am, indeed, an absolute materialist so far as actual belief goes, with not a shred of credence in any form of supernaturalism-religion, spiritualism, transcendentalism, metempsychosis, or immortality". If a fan wrote a letter to him asking if the gods and occult books in his tales were real, they would receive a polite letter stating his disbelief in these things. In fact, Lovecraft was an active disbeliever in all of these occult and pseudo-scientific notions. He wrote many letters to local newspapers attacking everthing from astology to spiritualism to Hollow Earth theories. If he were alive in our time, Lovecraft would probably be a strong supporter of James Randi and CSICOP. To be continued...