A bit of a creepy "real life" story that reflects a bit upon a creepy scene from Lovecraft's "The Temple"

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Summary: There is a great scene in Lovecraft's The Temple about a corpse swimming off. When I heard of the SS Watertown ghosts, I didn't believe it for a second, but I did like the synchronicity with the Lovecraft story.

BLOT: (05 May 2014 - 07:26:10 PM)

A bit of a creepy "real life" story that reflects a bit upon a creepy scene from Lovecraft's "The Temple"

Let's start off with the obvious, the SS Watertown ghosts did not happen, and to back this up I would like to point you to the Fortean Times analysis, but the story is kind cool. Couple of crewmen die, are buried at sea. They are spotted, later, out in the waves, following the boat. That's pretty creepy, right? Sure, some details are pretty meh, but think about being in the Gulf of Mexico and then you see the faces of your dead friends churning your wake like pale dolphins in the night. Ooooo.

I especially love the resonance to a bit from a fairly neglected H.P. Lovecraft story, "The Temple" which involves a German U-boat late in World War I. After torpedoing a British freighter, and sinking the lifeboats, they submerged. Later when they resurface, a young man—dead, of course—is found clinging to the railing. They go to dispose of the body, and the following occurs:

The fellow's eyes had been closed; but in the dragging of his body to the rail they were jarred open, and many seemed to entertain a queer delusion that they gazed steadily and mockingly at Schmidt and Zimmer, who were bent over the corpse. The Boatswain Müller, an elderly man who would have known better had he not been a superstitious Alsatian swine, became so excited by this impression that he watched the body in the water; and swore that after it sank a little it drew its limbs into a swimming position and sped away to the south under the waves.

Ah, that's the stuff. Interestingly, this story is right up there with "Dagon" as a story that peppers the start of the Lovecraftian vibe, with them finding on the dead man's body a Machenian "very odd bit of ivory carved to represent a youth's head crowned with laurel," and with the captain seeing, at the end, the eponymous temple, on the sea floor, and not only does he detect some sort of singing from it, but "the door and windows of the undersea temple hewn from the rocky hill were vividly aglow with a flickering radiance, as from a mighty altar-flame far within."

Ah, so good...



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