Lost Hp Lovecraft Manuscript, Commissioned By Houdini Surfaces

Art & Culture

HP Lovecraft's The Cancer of Superstition has been found in a collection of magical memorabilia. Lovecraft was originally commissioned to write the exploration of the history of superstition by illusionist Harry Houdini. Houdini's wife Beatrice halted the project after the death of the great magician in 1926, and up 'til now Lovecraft's work has been considered lost, with only his notes remaining as evidence of the project. Now a Chicago auctioneer, Potter & Potter, has found the 31 page manuscript after acquiring the stock of a defunct magic shop. 

According to The Guardian

“The collection bounced around after Beatrice Houdini’s death in 1943 and was never truly catalogued or ‘mined’ in all that time. The papers were never researched or inventoried,” said Potter & Potter president Gabe Fajuri. “In all that time, no one seemed to realise the significance of the manuscript.”

"The Chicago firm, which will auction the manuscript on 9 April, says it is “further along than other surviving sources have indicated it had reached”, with three sections entitled “The Genesis of Superstition”, “The Expansion of Superstition”, and “The Fallacy of Superstition”.

"the document explores everything from worship of the dead to werewolves and cannibalism, theorising that superstition is an “inborn inclination” that “persists only through mental indolence of those who reject modern science… Most of us are heathens in the innermost recesses of our hearts.”

Lovecraft is a controversial figure in the horror and fantasy pantheon. An undoubted master of imagination, his Cthulu mythos continues to inspire writers to this day. His virulent racism has aged less well however, and is causing rifts in the world of fantastic literature to this day – in 2015 the World Fantasy Award decided to stop using Lovecraft's likeness on their award statues following sustained lobbying by writers objecting to the veneration of an outspoken bigot. 

Controversial or not, this collaboration between two foundation stones of magic and horror is sure to cause a great deal of interest upon it's eventual publication…