The Fragments at the Threshold

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Szerző: Howard Phillips Lovecraft • Év: 19??

 

THE ROUND TOWER

 

S. of Arkham is cylindrical tower of stone with conical roof—perhaps 12 feet across & 20 ft. high. There has been a great arched opening (     up?), but it is sealed with masonry. The thing rises from the bottom of a densely wooded ravine once the bed of an extinct tributary of the Miskatonic. Whole region feared & shunned by rustics. Tales of fate of persons climbing into tower before opening was sealed. Indian legends speak of it as existing as long as they could remember—supposed to be older than mankind. Legend that it was built by Old Ones (shapeless & gigantic amphibia) & that it was once under the water. Dressed stone masonry shews odd & unknown technique. Geometrical designs on large stone above sealed opening utterly baffling. Supposed to house a treasure or something which Old Ones value highly. Possibly nothing of interest to human beings. Rumours that it connects with hidden caverns where water still exists. Perhaps old ones still alive. Base seems to extend indefinitely downward—ground level having somewhat risen. Has not been seen for ages, since everyone shuns the ravine.

 

OF EVILL SORCERIES DONE IN NEW-ENGLAND
OF DAEMONS IN NO HUMANE SHAPE

 

“But, not to speak at too great Length upon so horrid a Matter, I will add onlie what is commonly reported concerning an Happening in New Plymouth, fifty Years since, when Mr. Bradford was Governour. ‘Tis said, one Richard Billington, being instructed partly by evill- Books, and partly by an antient Wonder-Worker amongst the Indian Salvages, so fell away from good Christian Practice that he not only lay’d claim to Immortality in the Flesh, but sett up in the Woods a Place of Dagon, namely [a] great Ring of Stones, inside which he say’d Prayers to the Divell, and sung certain Rites of Magick abominable by Scripture. This being brought to the Notice of the Magistrates, he deny’d all blasphemous Dealings; but not long after he privately shew’d great Fear about some Thing he had call’d out of the Sky at Night. There were in that year seven slayings in the Woods near to Richard Billington’s Stones, those slain being crushed and half-melted in a Fashion outside all Experience. Upon Talk of a Tryall, Billington dropt out of Sight, nor was any clear Word of him ever after heard.

“Two months from then, by Night, there was heard a Band of Wampanaug Salvages howling and singing in the Woods; and it appeared, they took down the Ring of Stones and did much besides. For their head Man Misquamacus, that same antient Wonder-Worker of whom Billington had learnt some of his Sorceries, came shortly into the town and told Mr. Bradford some strange Things: namely, that Billington had done worse Evill than cou’d be well repair ‘d, and that he was no doubt eat up by what he had call’d out of the Sky. That there was no Way to send back that Thing he had summon’d, so the Wampanaug wise Men had caught and prison’d it where the Ring of Stones had been.

“They had digg’d a Hole three Ells deep and two across, and had thither charmed the Daemon with Spells that they knew; covering it over with Great Rocks and setting on Top a flat Stone carved with what they call’d the Elder Sign. On this they made a Mound of the Earth digg’d from the Pit, sticking on it a tall Stone carv’d with a Warning. The old Salvage affirm’d, this mound must on no Account be disturb’d, lest the Daemon come loose again which it wou’d if the bury’d flatt Stone with the Elder Sign shou’d get out of Place. On being ask’d what the Daemon look’d like, he gave a very curious and circumstantiall Relation, saying it was sometimes small and solid, like a great Toad the Bigness of a Ground-Hog, but sometimes big and cloudy, without any Shape at all.

“It had the Name Ossadagowah, which signifys the child of Sadogowah; the last a frightfull Spirit spoke of by old Men as coming down from the Stars and being formerly worshipt in Lands to the North. The Wampanaugs, and Nansets and Nahiggansets, knew how to draw it out of the Sky, but never did so because of the exceeding great Evilness of it. They knew also how to catch and prison it, tho’ they cou’d not send it back whence it came. It was however declar’d, that the old Tribes of Lamah, who dwelt under the Great Bear and were antiently destroy’d for their Wickedness, knew how to manage it in all Ways. Many upstart Men pretended to a Knowledge of such antient Secrets, but none in these Parts cou’d give any Proof of truly having it. It was say’d by some, that Ossadogowah often went back to the Sky from choice without any sending, but that he cou’d not come back unless summon’d.

“This much the antient Wizard Misquamacus told to Mr. Bradford, and ever after a great Mound in the Woods near the Pond southwest of New-Plymouth hath been straitly lett alone. The tall Stone is these Twenty years gone, but the Mound is mark’d by the Circumstance, that nothing, neither Grass nor Brush, will grow upon it. Grave Men doubt that the evill Billington was eat up, as the Salvages believe, by what he call’d out of the Sky; notwithstanding certain Reports of the Idle, of his being since seen in divers places, and that no longer ago than the late monstrous Witchcrafts in Essex-County, in the Year 1692.

 

* * *

 

But in respect of generall Infamy, no Report more terrible hath come to Notice, than of what Goodwife Doten, Relict of John Doten of Duxbury in the Old Colonie, brought out of the Woods near Candlemas of 1683. She affirmed, and her good neighbors likewise, that it had been borne that which was neither Beast nor Man, but like to a monstrous Bat with humane Face. The which was burnt by Order of the High-Sherill on the 5th of June in the Year 1684.

 

[THE ROSE WINDOW]

 

Rumours about nameless evil in the house before legatee’s ancestors bought it in 1758. Nothing definite—villagers dislike to talk of it. Builder probably Edward Crane who lived much in Europe. Mysteriously rich. Disappeared 1723—house long vacant and shunned.

Very ancient house on Central Hill, Kingsport inherited. Thick walls—date circa 1700 (some parts older). Labyrinthine plan. He has often visited it and felt an odd fear, especially in high-oak-panelled library, but ancestors have never shewn fear. Hard to figure what lies beyond library’s N. wall. (Staircase and cupboards.) During repairs, plane wooden front comes off triangular pediment of huge, built-in bookcase in library’s N. wall, revealing strangely carved surface with convex glass circle 7” diameter in centre. This was original surface, later covered over. //House a very early classical specimen//case 9 ft high 8 ft wide small step-ladder used for top shelves//circle 8 ft above floor//legatee Dudley Ropes Glover//

Carving very baffling. Possibly just classical conventional designs, possibly something else. Disquieting resemblance under certain lights to huge octopus-like thing—yet not like anything of earth—of which glass circle is a huge, single central eye. Signs in corners of pediment uncomfortably familiar. Glass itself also baffling. Opaque—evidently convex mirror like many in old houses—but curiously devoid of reflective power. Also too high up to reflect anything but top of room. What one sees in it is generally only cloudy light. This light seems to shift oddly, and one acquires a perverse tendency to keep staring at the thing as if one expected something to appear. Suggestion of self-luminousness at night. Cleaning does no good. Owner decides to let it alone. Moves in.

In back garden, ruins of a brick tower 12 ft in diameter. Rumours of evil annual use—lights—signalling—answered. Doorway now bricked up. Ivy-clad. Windowless—30 ft standing—once 50 with windows and flat railed roof.

Told by father?

Stimulates hereditary memory. Is lens, prism, or mirror reflecting vision from other dimension or dimensions—time or space. Or rather, reflecting obscure rays not of vision but operating on vestigial and forgotten extra senses. Constructed by outside Entities in effort to inspect human world—or rather const. by elder wizard under their direction.

Outer beings peer through it. Influence humans by opening up other senses and dimension-perceptions possibly including hereditary memory. Explains odd dreams of strange horror. Also works through dreams.

Principal effect, perhaps, to hold the attention and make mind susceptible to outside influence.

Supply details of effect on occupant//hered. mem. ? //going for door now closed. //Discovering books in attic//shadowy companion? //wanders around tower//final denouement

[In secret room deep black shaft 5 ft. diam. leading down from hole in floor through house and foundations. Swish of the tides heard far below.]*

*Crossed out.

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