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Updated: Jun 1, 2023

Written in August 1933, and first published in the January 1937 issue of Weird Tales, The Thing on the Doorstep is a story which incorporates part of the Cthulhu Mythos universe.

The idea for the story came to Lovecraft from a dream he had in 1928, which he wrote down in his Commonplace Book as:

Man has terrible wizard friend who gains influence over him. Kills him in defence of his soul—walls body up in ancient cellar—BUT—the dead wizard (who has said strange things about soul lingering in body) changes bodies with him . . . leaving him a conscious corpse in cellar.




The Crowninshields were one of Salem's liveliest and most ambitious families. This Georgian Colonial house was built by Captain John Crowninshield before his family rose to prominence and was home to four generations of Crowninshields up to 1832. The well-known Salem diarist, Reverend William Bentley, lodged here with the Crowninshields from 1791 to 1819. Lovecraft used the building as the home of Asenath Waite and Edward Derby after their marriage.

Asenath had bought the old Crowninshield place in the country at the end of High Street, and they proposed to settle there after a short trip to Innsmouth, whence three servants and some books and household goods were to be brought. - HPL ~ The Thing on the Doorstep

For example—although in the old days he could not drive a car, he was now seen occasionally to dash into or out of the old Crowninshield driveway with Asenath’s powerful Packard, handling it like a master, and meeting traffic entanglements with a skill and determination utterly alien to his accustomed nature. In such cases he seemed always to be just back from some trip or just starting on one—what sort of trip, no one could guess, although he mostly favoured the Innsmouth road. - HPL ~ The Thing on the Doorstep

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