Lovecraft meets Atlas Obscura

Dylan Thuras is a guest blogger on Boing Boing. Dylan is a travel blogger and the co-founder of the Atlas Obscura: A Compendium of the World's Wonders, Curiosities, and Esoterica, with Joshua Foer.


As one who answers the Call of Cthulhu, I have a special interest in locations that have to do with Lovecraft or the Cthulhu mythos. Risking my grasp on reality and sanity I have assembled three places that display the distinct geometry of evil that occurs when Lovecraft and the Atlas Obscura meet:

The Witch House, Salem

The home of Jonathan Corwin, one of the judges involved in the Salem Witch Trials, which sentenced nineteen "witches" to hang and crushed one man to death in an attempt to make him confess to witchery. It is the only structure left with direct ties to the Salem witchcraft trials of 1692 and referenced in Lovecraft's "Dreams in the Witch House."

Danvers State Hospital for the Criminally Insane

The insane asylum was the basis for Arkham Sanatarium in H.P. Lovcraft's Horror stories and Batman's Arkham asylum but is now a horrifying condo. However a nearby cemetery where the residents of Danvers were buried went unmolested by the condo developers and is worth a visit. The hospital is referenced in "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" and "Pickman's Model."

Atlantic Ave. Tunnel

The Atlantic Avenue Tunnel was built in 1844, and is possibly the worlds oldest subway tunnel. The tunnel lay sealed and hidden under the busy Brooklyn street for almost 140 years until it was rediscovered by a twenty year old in 1980. One can take a tour of the site, which the discoverer of the tunnel still gives. Be prepared to enter via manhole in the middle of Atlantic Ave. Referenced (not by name, but Lovecraft was likely referring to it) as the location of devil worshippers in "The Horror at Redhook."

A much more detailed list of Lovecraftian sites can be found here at the HPLA , and great Lovecraftian travelogs here and here.