Having discovered H.P. Lovecraft’s literary work in high school, I can officially say that this year (2014), I have been a fan for almost 15 years. Since I first read one of his stories, I have felt that I could lose myself in his cosmic horror (weird fiction). The first story of Lovecraft I read was The Outsider, a story I am still fond of to this very day. One of my bucket list items was to visit the grave of Lovecraft in Providence (his home-town), to show my respect and just to say thank you for all the stories and inspiration he gave me in my life.
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In 2013, I had the opportunity to fulfil one of my bucket list items – by visiting Providence in America – the place that Lovecraft called home. One thing I learned is that the Providence of Lovecraft’s time is a completely different place than what Providence is now.
I stayed at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Providence and to be honest – I didn’t expect all the Masonic imagery in the hotel. Later I learned that there was a Masonic temple in the building – this really started to feel like I was walking in a Lovecraft story!
On my second day in Providence, I went to find Lovecraft’s grave. I had quite a bit of trouble finding it – fortunately a kind stranger who went for walks everyday in Swan Point Cemetery gave me a idea of where to find his grave.
Finally finding H.P. Lovecraft’s gravesite was a very surreal moment for me. This man who never really accomplished anything in his own lifetime, who died in almost obscurity from cancer in his beloved Providence – would one day influence a man from South Africa who’s stories of cosmic horror would inspire him to this day.
Although frowned upon and not allowed by locals, I left my own little keepsake at his grave (just like all his other fans). Even if someone removed my the keepsake, they will never be able to remove my own memory of visiting his grave.
Whilst I was in Providence, I was fortunate to go and see the WaterFire lighting on the Providence river. The whole show made me feel like I was in some story of H.P. Lovecraft – seeing mysterious figures in black, carrying torches to light the bonfires on the river, whilst a boat came by with a mysterious gargoyle on the front, looking at all the people.
Personally it was a great way to end my visit to Province and ready me for my next stop – Comic Con 2013 San Diego.