THE STRANGE HIGH HOUSE IN THE MIST
Updated: Apr 21, 2022
Written on November 9, 1926, the story was originally rejected by Weird Tales when submitted in July 1927. In 1929, Lovecraft agreed to let W. Paul Cook publish it in the second issue of The Recluse, but when it became clear that that issue would never appear, he resubmitted it to Weird Tales where it was accepted and published in the October 1931 issue. It concerns a character traveling to the titular house which is perched on the top of a cliff which seems inaccessible both by land and sea, yet is apparently inhabited.
An H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia suggests that the story may have been inspired by Lord Dunsany's Chronicles of Rodriguez, in which strange sights can be seen from a wizard's house on a crag. One model for the setting was Mother Ann, a headland near Gloucester, Massachusetts.
Marblehead would also be the inspiration for Lovecraft's fictional town of Kingsport, which is mentioned in several Lovecraft stories, first appearing in The Terrible Old Man (1920). The title character of that story makes an appearance in The Strange High House in the Mist as well, as the Old Man mentions that the House had been on the cliff even when his grandfather was a boy, which the main character comments "must be immeasurable ages ago".
The story makes reference to the Celtic god Nodens, who also appears in The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath. This entity was later incorporated into the Cthulhu Mythos by August Derleth as the leader of the Elder Gods. In the same passage in The Strange High House, Lovecraft also mentions the arrival of the god Neptune, but that Roman deity has not similarly been adopted by Lovecraftian writers.
The man in the House mentions Atlantis, which was also mentioned in The Temple as the possible identity of the mysterious underwater city. He also mentions Hatheg-kla and Ulthar from The Other Gods and The Cats of Ulthar.
DATE(S) VISITED: AUG 22, 2017
LOCATION: MARBLEHEAD, MA
Kingsport's crooked alleys. The Terrible Old Man wheezed a tale that his father had told him, of lightning that shot one night up from that peaked cottage to the clouds of higher heaven; and Granny Orne, whose tiny gambrel-roofed abode in Ship Street is all covered with moss and ivy, croaked over something her grandmother had heard at second-hand, about shapes that flapped out of the eastern mists straight into the narrow single door of that unreachable place - for the door is set close to the edge of the crag toward the ocean, and glimpsed only from ships at sea. - HPL ~ The Strange High House in the Mist
They do not wish the souls of their young men to leave the pleasant hearths and gambrel-roofed taverns of old Kingsport, nor do they wish the laughter and song in that high rocky place to grow louder. - HPL ~ The Strange High House in the Mist
But in Kingsport strange tales are abroad, and even the Terrible Old Man admits a thing untold by his grandfather. - HPL ~ The Strange High House in the Mist