I’m really bummed that we don’t get to hang out with George again tonight. Even though I know he’s made up, I have to tell you, I have an overwhelming desire to drive up to Gallatin and just check in on him, to make sure he’s okay. I imagine this time of year is hard on a man who doesn’t know he’s a werewolf. (He’s totally a werewolf! Come on! He survived a basement full of sulfuric acid!)
The most important thing, when you are doing anything–though it’s not always possible–is to have someone who knows more than you about what you’re trying to do on hand. When it comes to Phillips family genealogy, I have a distant cousin–down one of Luke’s other children’s line–who is really, really good at this stuff.
So, I sent him my guess on Luke’s father and he was able to discover, back in an article in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register from 1978 a discussion of the two Isaac Phillipses in the area.
“It seems possible that the first husband of Asahel Seymour’s wife was Esak Phillips, found at Sodus in 1810. There was an Isaac Phillips living in Williamston, Wayne Co., that same year, however, note that Rhoda Phillips, wife of Isaac of Williamson, joined her husband in executing a deed in 1817.”
The Isaac Phillips of my suspicions had a wife named Rhoda. One of Luke’s daughters was also named Rhoda.
Words cannot express how much I wish I were sitting in northern New York in an archive or library right now.
I am really pleased with how the whole “Allendale” thing worked out. It was a real blast to (re)write and I feel like I learned a lot about Lovecraft, specifically, what makes him good as a writer (and his shortcomings, though, perhaps those are more obvious). And also what makes a good haunted house story (for me at least). And I really loved the discussions in the comments as each section rolled out. I learned a ton from those as well.
I do feel like I might have been a little hard on the narrator’s poetry writing. It seems more ridiculous in “Allendale” than it does in “The Shunned House,” I think because “The Shunned House” has that early reference to Poe. It operates a little like a calling out to that beginning in a way it doesn’t in “Allendale” because “Allendale’s” scary author is Stephen King, a man not known for his poetry.
One thing I like to wonder about is in which ways history will not look so kindly on us. I mean, it’s good and I think important to keep Lovecraft’s shortcomings in the forefront of our minds, especially in a story like this, where it seems so obvious that the story could not end how Lovecraft thinks it does following the rules of the story itself, because Lovecraft’s evidence of safety and eradication is not good evidence. The ways you could write a sequel to “The Shunned House” are practically self-apparent.
And, you know, though I don’t want people to think that I am a sorry asshole in the ways that people think of Howard, I do love the idea of saying “I have looked in every room in this hallway and cataloged for you every fantastic and/or horrible thing in it” and have people say both “Hell, yes you did!” and “Oh, hey, look, she missed this room and that one. We should see what fills them.”
Anyway, I hope you all also enjoyed it.
This has been a really wonderful October and though I still have four more days of spookiness, in my neighborhood, I face these last few days by myself. It feels fitting. Perhaps I’ll write some shitty poetry. Ha ha ha.
No, really, I’ll be visiting with my parents and celebrating the return of the Butcher. But it sounded creepy there for a second, didn’t it?