New England’s Bedrock Darkness

Here is a post I contributed to the short lived New England Folk Horror website.

New England Folk Horror

Witchcraft 005AIn a letter to his friend Robert E. Howard, H.P. Lovecraft wrote, “It is the night-black Massachusetts legendary which packs the really macabre ‘kick’. Here is material for a really profound study in group neuroticism; for certainly, none can deny the existence of a profoundly morbid streak in the Puritan imagination.”

The lightning rod that is Lovecraft understood the quiet darkness that inhabited New England. Today many view the region as the home of lobster, Revolutionary War history and the Red Sox. Yet go back to the period of the 17th century New England was a strange place teeming with devils and temptations. Expectations of boundless resources were tempered in those first years by starvation and want. As William Cronon wrote In Seasons of Want and Plenty those early colonists who saw Natives freely plucking fruits, but never realized the bounty wouldn’t last, “many initially seemed to believe that strawberry time would last…

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