Call it the crawl of Cthulu.
An aficionado of horror-author H.P. Lovecraft will lead a creepy yet compelling walking tour of significant sites from author’s brief time living in Brooklyn on Nov. 8. The pulp fiction writer is better known as a Rhode Islander than a Brooklynite, but the tour’s guide and creator said she wants to expose more people to this little-known period of the author’s life.
“There is so much focus on his life in New England, and his time in New York is overlooked,” said Jane Rose, who is herself a horror writer and filmmaker. “As a New Yorker, I want to claim a little piece of him for New York.”
Lovecraft only lived in Brooklyn for two years, from March of 1924 to the fall of 1926. At the time, the recluse was writing and publishing steadily, but had little money since his formerly wealthy family had fallen on hard times. He was forced to relocate from the then-wealthy neighborhood of Flatbush to the relative squalor of Brooklyn Heights, according to Rose.
“He probably would have considered it the worst time in his life,” said Rose. “But he also considered it very informative.”
Lovecraft’s time living in the Heights, in an apartment on the corner of Clinton and State streets, is said to have inspired his short story “The Horror at Red Hook.” The story — written in 1925 and published in 1927 — tells the tale of an Irish-American detective who develops a fear of large Brooklyn brownstones after uncovering an occult group performing demonic rituals in a Red Hook apartment. It is not considered one of Lovecraft’s better works, but it is widely regarded as one of his most racist — the famously xenophobic author imbued the text with his distaste for New York’s large immigrant population through his disparaging descriptions of Red Hook’s inhabitants.
Rose will give the tour in two parts — first Flatbush, then Brooklyn Heights — with a subway trip in-between.
“It is important to see both, because the two areas reflect different parts of his life,” she said.
Rose plans to take fans to both of his houses, as well as locations that set the scenes for many of his stories, including the Flatbush Reformed Church and the tunnels under Atlantic Avenue — both of which appear in “The Horror at Red Hook.”
H.P. Lovecraft Brooklyn Guided Tour at Prospect Park (Parkside and Ocean avenues in Prospect Park, www.morbidanatomymuseum.org). Nov. 8 at 2 pm. $20.