The Tomb

In this spooky episode of Stuff You Should Know, Josh and Chuck get you ready for Halloween as they narrate H.P. Lovecraft's creepy tale "The Tomb." Tune in to learn more...if you dare!

Full Transcript:

Josh Clark: Hey, and welcome to the podcast - a very special podcast, right Chuck?

Chuck Bryant: A spooktacular, if you will.

Josh Clark: Happy Halloween to all of you out there. This should come out - what - a couple days before it? But we wanted to make sure that we weren't going to miss it.

Chuck Bryant: No.

Josh Clark: And so we're releasing a special Halloween podcast -

Chuck Bryant: - That's right.

Josh Clark: - for this year.

Chuck Bryant: A little something new.

Josh Clark: Yeah, and what we're doing is not in any way, shape, or form scientific. It is in fact, pure fiction, or is it?

Chuck Bryant: It is.

Josh Clark: Okay, we're going to read - just to make sure we scare you guys good and proper this Halloween - an H.P. Lovecraft short story that was published in 1922 and its entitled The Tomb, right?

Chuck Bryant: That's right.

Josh Clark: Did you like this?

Chuck Bryant: It was - it was good.

Josh Clark: I think it's a great short story. It's one of my faves.

Chuck Bryant: Awesome.

Josh Clark: Okay. I should probably preface this with Chuck is uncertain about how this is gonna go. So, if it goes good, that means you're hearing it. If not, it'll be locked away forever in a vault of some sort, possible a tomb, right?

Chuck Bryant: A tomb.

Josh Clark: Yeah, so Chuck, are you ready?

Chuck Bryant: I am. I'm feeling spooky.

Josh Clark: I'm loose. I'm a little nervous myself.

Chuck Bryant: Are you?

Josh Clark: Yeah.

Chuck Bryant: All right.

Josh Clark: All right. I'm gonna start, okay?

Chuck Bryant: Okay.

Josh Clark: All right, you ready?

Chuck Bryant: I'm ready.

Josh Clark: The Tomb, by H.P. Lovecraft. "In relating the circumstances which have led to my confinement within this refuge for the demented, I am aware that my present position will create a natural doubt of the authenticity of my narrative. It is an unfortunate fact that the bulk of humanity is too limited in its mental vision to weigh with patience and intelligence those isolated phenomena, seen and felt only by a psychologically sensitive few, which lie outside its common experience. Men of broader intellect know that there is no sharp distinction betwixt the real and the unreal; that all things appear as they do only by virtue of the delicate individual physical and mental media through which we are made conscious of them. But the prosaic materialism of the majority condemns as madness the flashes of super sight which penetrate the common veil of obvious empiricism."

So, I should probably say right here, Chuck, that it gets a lot better.

Chuck Bryant: Okay.

Josh Clark: Okay? "My name is Jervas Dudley, and from earliest childhood I have been a dreamer and a visionary. Wealthy beyond the necessity of a commercial life, and temperamentally unfitted for the formal studies and social recreations of my acquaintances, I have dwelt ever in realms apart from the visible world, spending my youth and adolescence in ancient and little-known books, and in roaming the fields and groves of the region near my ancestral home. I do not think that what I read in these books or saw in these fields and groves was exactly what other boys read and saw there, but of this I must say little, since detailed speech would but confirm those cruel slanders upon my intellect, which I sometimes overhear from the whispers of the stealthy attendants around me. It is sufficient for me to relate events without analyzing causes. I have said that I dwelt apart from the visible world, but I have not said that I dwelt alone. This no human creature may do; for lacking the fellowship of the living, he inevitably draws upon the companionship of things that are not, or are no longer, living. Close by my home there lies a singular wooded hollow, in whose twilight deeps I spent most of my time reading, thinking, and dreaming. Down its moss-covered slopes my first steps of infancy were taken, and around its grotesquely gnarled oaks my first fancies of boyhood were woven. Well did I come to know the presiding dryads of those trees, and often have I watched their wild dances in the struggling beams of waning moon, but of these things I must not now speak. I will tell only of the lone tomb in the darkest of the hillside thickets - the deserted tomb of The Hydes, an old and exalted family whose last direct descendant had been laid within the black recesses many decades before my birth."

Take it, Chuck.

Chuck Bryant: So, there's a family called The Hydes.

Josh Clark: Yeah, and they're buried.

Chuck Bryant: And there's a tomb.

Josh Clark: Yeah.

Chuck Bryant: Okay.

Josh Clark: That's where The Hydes are.

Chuck Bryant: Got you.

Josh Clark: Okay.

Chuck Bryant: "The vault to which I refer is in ancient granite, weathered and discolored by the mists and dampness of generations. Excavated back into the hillside, the structure is visible only at the entrance. The door, a ponderous and forbidding slab of stone, hangs upon rusted iron hinges, and is fastened ajar in a queerly sinister way, by means of heavy iron chains and padlocks, according to a gruesome fashion of half a century ago. The abode of the race whose scions are here inurned had once crowned the declivity which holds the tomb, but had long since fallen victims to the flames which sprang up from a disastrous stroke of lightning. Of the midnight storm which destroyed this gloomy mansion, the older inhabitants of the region sometimes speak in hushed and uneasy voices, alluding to what they call divine wrath in a manner that in later years, vaguely increased the always strong fascination which I felt for the forest-darkened sepulchre. One man only had perished in the fire. When the last of the Hydes was buried in this place of shade and stillness, the sad urnful of ashes had come from a distant land, to which the family had repaired when the mansion burned down. No one remains to lay flowers before the granite portal, and few care to brave the depressing shadows, which seem to linger strangely about the water-worn stones."

"I shall never forget the afternoon when first I stumbled upon the half-hidden house of the dead. It was in midsummer, when the alchemy of nature transmutes the sylvan landscape to one vivid and almost homogeneous mass of green, when the senses are well-nigh intoxicated with the surging seas of moist verdure, and the sub tly indefinable odors of the soil and the vegetation. In such surroundings, the mind loses its perspective. Time and space become trivial and unreal, and echoes of a forgotten prehistoric past beat insistently upon the enthralled consciousness. All day I'd been wandering through the mystic groves of the hollow, thinking thoughts I need not discuss, and conversing with things I need not name. In years a child of ten, I had seen and heard many wonders unknown to the throng, and was oddly aged in certain respects. When, upon forcing my way between two savage clumps of briars, I suddenly encountered the entrance of the vault. I had no knowledge of what I had discovered. The dark blocks of granite, the door so curiously ajar, and the funeral carvings above the arch, aroused in me no associations of mournful or terrible character. Of graves and tombs I knew and imagined much, but had on account of my peculiar temperament been kept from all personal contact with churchyards and cemeteries. The strange stone house on the woodland slope was to me, only a source of interest and speculation, and its cold, damp interior, into which I vainly peered through the aperture so tantalizingly left, contained for me no hint of death or decay."

"But in that instant of curiosity was born the madly unreasoning desire which has brought me to this hell of confinement. Spurred on by a voice which must have come from the hideous soul of the forest, I resolved to enter the beckoning gloom in spite of the ponderous chains, which barred my passage. In the waning light of day, I alternately rattled the rusty impediments with a view to throwing wide the stone door, and assayed to squeeze my slight form through the space already provided, but neither plan met with success. At first curious, I was not frantic, and when in the thickening twilight I returned to my home, I had sworn to the hundred gods of the grove that at any cost I would some day force an entrance to the black, chilly depths that seemed calling out to me. The physician with the iron-gray beard, who comes each day to my room, once told a visitor that this decision marked the beginnings of a pitiful monomania, but I will leave final judgment to my readers when they shall have learnt all."

Josh Clark: So basically, where we're at, right, Chuck, is that we have a little weirdo kid, who discovered a family tomb that's been abandoned -

Chuck Bryant: - Yes.

Josh Clark: - in a grove, tried to get in -

Chuck Bryant: - Uh-huh.

Josh Clark: - and he realized that he can't because he's too puny.

Chuck Bryant: Yet, he's drawn to it.

Josh Clark: So much like his Excalibur, getting into this tomb is like something he's sworn to do eventually, right?

Chuck Bryant: It sounds like it.

Josh Clark: But we find that he is in an asylum.

Chuck Bryant: Well, little Jervas Dudley.

Josh Clark: Little Jervas Dudley. I'm gonna take over now, okay?

Chuck Bryant: Okay.

Josh Clark: "The months following my discovery were spent in futile attempts to force the complicated padlock of the slightly open vault, and in carefully-guarded inquiries regarding the nature and history of the structure. With the traditionally receptive ears of the small boy, I learned much, though a habitual secretiveness caused me to tell no one of my information or my resolve. It is perhaps worth mentioning that I was not at all surprised or terrified on learning the nature of the vault. My rather original ideas regarding life and death had caused me to associate the cold clay with the breathing body in a vague fashion, and I felt that the sinister family of the burned down mansion was in some way represented within the stone space I sought to explore. Mumbled tales of the weird rites and godless revels of bygone years in the ancient hall gave to me a new and potent interest in the tomb, before whose doors I would sit for long hours at a time each day. Once I thrust a candle within the nearly closed entrance, but could see nothing save a flight of damp stone steps leading downward. The odor of the place repelled yet bewitched me. I felt I had known it before, in a past, remote beyond all recollection, beyond even my tenancy of the body I now possess."

"The year after I first beheld the tomb, I stumbled upon a worm-eaten translation of Plutarch's Lives in the book-filled attic of my home. Reading the life of Theseus, I was much impressed by that passage telling of the great stone beneath which the boyish hero was to find his tokens of destiny whenever he should become old enough to lift its enormous weight. This legend had the effect of dispelling my keenest impatience to enter the vault, for it made me feel that the time was not yet ripe. Later, I told myself I should grow to a strength and ingenuity, which might enable me to unfasten the heavily chained door with ease. But until then, I would do better by conforming to what seemed the will of Fate. Accordingly, my watches by the dank portal became less persistent, and much of my time was spent in other, though equally strange, pursuits. I would sometimes rise very quietly in the night, stealing out to walk in those churchyards and places of burial from which I had been kept by my parents. What I did there I may not say, for I am not now sure of the reality of certain things, but I know that on the day after such a nocturnal ramble, I would often astonish those about me with my knowledge of topics almost forgotten for many generations. It was after a night like this that I shocked the community with a queer conceit about the burial of the rich and celebrated Squire Brewster, a maker of local history who was interred in 1711, and whose slate headstone, bearing a graven skull and crossbones, was slowly crumbling to powder. In a moment of childish imagination, I vowed not only that the undertaker, Goodman Simpson, had stolen the silver-buckled shoes, silken hose, and satin small clothes of the deceased before burial, but that the Squire himself, not fully inanimate, had turned twice in his mound-covered coffin on the day after internment."

Chuck Bryant: So, what's going on here?

Josh Clark: So basically, the kid is resolved, like Theseus, that his destiny still awaits him. He's not ready for it yet. So instead, he's kinda going around, hanging around churchyards, burial places, and he's coming back the next day with weird knowledge, Chuck, like knowledge no living human should have.

Chuck Bryant: Knowledge that Jervas Dudley surely should not have.

Josh Clark: Right, Chuck. You taking over again?

Chuck Bryant: I'd like to.

Josh Clark: Okay.

Chuck Bryant: Okay. "But the idea of entering the tomb never left my thoughts," Josh, "Being indeed stimulated by the unexpected genealogical discover that my own, maternal ancestry possessed at least a slight link with the supposedly extinct family of the Hydes. Last of my paternal race, I was likewise the last of this older, and more mysterious line. I began to feel that the tomb was mine, and to look forward with hot eagerness to the time when I might pass within that stone door and down those slimy stone steps in the dark. I now formed the habit of listening very intently at the slightly open portal, choosing my favorite hours of midnight stillness for the odd vigil. By the time I came of age, I had made a small clearing in the thicket before the mold-stained façade of the hillside, allowing the surrounding vegetation to encircle and overhang the space, like the walls and roof of a sylvan bower. This bower was my temple," Josh, "The fastened door my shrine, and here I would lie outstretched on the mossy ground, thinking strange thoughts and dreaming of strange dreams."

"The night of the first revelation was a sultry one. I must have fallen asleep from fatigue, for it was with a distinct sense of awakening that I heard the voices. Of these tones and accents I hesitate to speak. Of their quality I will not speak. But I may say that they presented certain uncanny differences in vocabulary, pronunciation of mode of utterance. Every shade of the New England dialect, from the uncouth syllables of the Puritan colonists, to the precise rhetoric of fifty years ago, seemed represented in that shadowy colloquy, though it was only later that I noticed the fact. At the time, indeed, my attention was distracted from this matter by another phenomenon - a phenomenon so fleeting that I could not take oath upon its reality. I barely fancied that as I awoke, a light had been hurriedly extinguished within the sunken sepulchre. I do not think I was either astounded or panic-stricken, but I know that I was greatly and permanently changed that night. Upon returning home, I went with much directness to a rotting chest in the attic, wherein I found the key, which next day unlocked with ease, the barrier I had so long stormed in vain."

The dude has a key in his attic to this tomb.

Josh Clark: And he went directly to it after this big night.

Chuck Bryant: This is heating up.

"It was in the soft glow of the late afternoon that I first entered the vault on the abandoned slope. A spell was upon me, and my heart leaped with an exultation I can but ill describe. As I closed the door behind me and descended the dripping steps by the light of my lone candle, I seemed to know the way, and though the candle sputtered with the stifling reek of the place, I felt singularly at home in the musty, charnel-house air. Looking about me, I beheld many marble slabs bearing coffins, or the remains of coffins. Some of these were sealed and intact, but others had nearly vanished, leaving the silver handles and plates isolated amidst certain curious heaps of whitish dust. Upon one plate, I read the name of Sir Geoffrey Hyde, who had come from Sussex in 1640 and died here a few years later. In a conspicuous alcove, was one fairly well-preserved and untenanted casket, adorned with a single name which brought to me both a smile and a shudder? An odd impulse caused me to climb upon the broad slab, extinguish my candle, and lie down within the vacant box."

Josh Clark: So, this guy is totally off his nut at this point. He's lying down -

Chuck Bryant: - Yeah.

Josh Clark: - in a coffin, in the tomb.

Chuck Bryant: "In the gray light of dawn, I staggered from the vault and locked the chain of the door behind me. I was no longer a young man, though but twenty-one winters had chilled my bodily frame. Early-rising villagers who observed my homeward progress looked at me strangely, and marveled at the signs of ribald revelry, which they saw in one whose life was known to be a sober and solitary one. I did not appear before my parents till after a long and refreshing sleep."

Josh Clark: You're good at this, Chuck.

Chuck Bryant: Thanks. You're good.

Josh Clark: So, you get what's going on here, right?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, I think was gonna be calling us any minute now.

Josh Clark: And say, "Please, stop."

Chuck Bryant: To read, yeah. "Well, sue you."

Josh Clark: All right, Chuck.

Chuck Bryant: You ready? So, what's going on is this kid is lying down in this tomb. He leaves the tomb. Is he older now?

Josh Clark: He's 21 now. Remember he first found the tomb at age 10.

Chuck Bryant: 10.

Josh Clark: Couldn't open it, resolved to figure out - basically, just turned into a weirdo in other ways. Then finally, when he's 21, he sees a light - in this place.

Chuck Bryant: - Yeah.

Josh Clark: - one night, is changed. When he wakes up, he goes directly to his own attic - his own attic -

Chuck Bryant: - Find a key.

Josh Clark: - finds a key.

Chuck Bryant: Gets in, lays down in the coffin - pretty new coffin.

Josh Clark: Wakes up the next day, stumbles back home in the morning, and it looks like he had been partying all night.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, and people are looking at him like he's weird, which I can't figure out. This all seems very normal to me.

Josh Clark: Okay. All right, you ready? May I?

Chuck Bryant: Please, do.

Josh Clark: "Henceforward, I haunted the tomb each night - seeing, hearing, and doing things I must never reveal. My speech, always susceptible to environmental influences, was the first thing to succumb to the change."

He must have a thick tongue, too.

"And my suddenly acquired archaism of diction was soon remarked upon. Later, a queer boldness and recklessness came into my demeanor, till I unconsciously grew to possess the bearing of a man of the world, despite my lifelong seclusion. My formerly silent tongue waxed voluble with the easy grace of a Chesterfield or the godless cynicism of a Rochester."

I know you get that, Chuck.

Chuck Bryant: Oh, yeah.

Josh Clark: "I displayed a peculiar erudition utterly, unlike the fantastic, monkish lore over which I had pored in youth and covered the flyleaves of my books with facile impromptu epigrams, which brought up suggestions of Gay, Prior, and the sprightliest of the Augustan wits and rimesters. One morning at breakfast, I came close to disaster by declaiming in palpably liquorish accents an effusion of eighteenth-century Bacchanalian mirth - a bit of Georgian playfulness never recorded in a book."

So basically, what he's saying is he sounds like he's drunk in the mornings even though he's like a very sober, solitary, kinda -

Chuck Bryant: - Straight-edge?

Josh Clark: - kinda a reclusive kid. But he's starting to kinda change into a party boy.

Chuck Bryant: Nice.

Josh Clark: Now here, there's a few passages that we're not gonna read. We're gonna skip over these, okay?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, the poetry?

Josh Clark: We're actually editing Lovecraft right now.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah.

Josh Clark: "About this time, I conceived my present fear of fire and thunderstorms. Previously indifferent to such things, I had now an unspeakable horror of them, and would retire to the innermost recesses of the house whenever the heavens threatened an electrical display."

Chuck Bryant: Lightning.

Josh Clark: Yes. "A favorite haunt of mine during the day was the ruined cellar of the mansion that had burned down." Remember that?

Chuck Bryant: Oh, yeah.

Josh Clark: That's above the tomb. "And in fancy, I would picture the structure as it had been in its prime. On one occasion, I startled a villager by leading him confidently to a shallow sub-cellar, of whose existence I seemed to know in spite of the fact that it had been unseen and forgotten for many generations."

"At last came that which I had long feared. My parents, alarmed at the altered manner and appearance of their only son, commenced to exert over my movements a kindly espionage, which threatened to result in disaster. I had told no one of my visits to the tomb, having guarded my secret purpose with religious zeal since childhood. But now I was forced to exercise care in threading the mazes of the wooded hollow, that I might throw off a possible pursuer. My key to the vault I kept suspended from a cord about my neck, its presence known only to me. I never carried out of the sepulchre any of the things I came upon whilst within its walls."

I like that world "sepulchre." You've got it twice. That was my first one.

Chuck Bryant: So, what's going on here? The kid is afraid of lightning and thunder.

Josh Clark: Remember, that house -

Chuck Bryant: - Yeah.

Josh Clark: - this cellar, of which he's visiting, was struck by lightning and burned down.

Chuck Bryant: Well, exactly.

Josh Clark: And one person perished in it.

Chuck Bryant: - That's [inaudible].

Josh Clark: - And this is in the 18th century, I think.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah.

Josh Clark: Long before this kid is running around because this was supposed to be contemporary in like, the 1920s.

Chuck Bryant: Right.

Josh Clark: Okay?

Chuck Bryant: Okay. Jeri is in there laughing. You ready? My turn?

Josh Clark: I'm ready, bud.

Chuck Bryant: "One morning as I emerged from the damp tomb and fastened the chain of the portal with no too steady hand, I beheld in adjacent thicket, the dreaded face of a watcher."

See, that's creepy.

Josh Clark: Dun dun.

Chuck Bryant: "Surely the end was near, for my bower was discovered, and the objective of my nocturnal journeys revealed. The man did not accost me, so I hastened home in an effort to overhear what he might report to my careworn father. Were my sojourns beyond the chained door about to be proclaimed to the world? Imagine my delighted astonishment on hearing the spy inform my parents in cautious whisper that I had spent the night in the bower outside the tomb. My sleep-filmed eyes fixed upon the crevice where the padlocked portal stood ajar! By what miracle had the watcher been thus deluded? I was now convinced that a supernatural agency protected me. Made bold by this heaven-sent circumstance, I began to resume perfect openness in going to the vault, confident that no one could witness my entrance. For a week I tasted to the full the joys of that charnel conviviality which I must not describe, when the thing happened, and I was borne away to this accursed abode of sorrow and monotony."

Josh Clark: So, did you get what just happened?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, he basically - the guy said this kid hasn't been going in there.

Josh Clark: He's just been sleeping outside of it.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, but he feels like he's going in there.

Josh Clark: Sure.

Chuck Bryant: He's losing it.

Josh Clark: Or is he?

Chuck Bryant: Or has lost it. Or is he? Or will he?

Josh Clark: Find out right now.

Chuck Bryant: "I should not have ventured out that night; for the taint of thunder was in the clouds, and hellish phosphorescence rose from the rank swamp at the bottom of the hollow. The call of the dead, too, was different. Instead of the hillside tomb, it was the charred cellar on the crest of the slope whose presiding daemon beckoned to me with unseen fingers. As I emerged from the intervening grove upon the plain before the ruin, I beheld in the misty moonlight a thing I had always vaguely expected. The mansion, gone for a century, once more reared its stately height to the raptured vision - every window ablaze with the splendor of many candles. Up the long drive rolled the coaches of the Boston gentry, whilst on foot came a numerous assemblage of powdered exquisites from the neighboring mansions. With this throng I mingled, though I knew I belonged with the hosts rather than with the guests. Inside the hall were music, laughter, and wine on every hand. Several faces I recognized; though I should have known them better had they been shrivelled or eaten away by death and decomposition. Amidst a wild and reckless throng, I was the wildest and most abandoned. Gay blasphemy poured in torrents from my lips, and in my shocking sallies I heeded no law of God, Man, or Nature. Suddenly a peal of thunder, resonant even above the din of the swinish revelry, clave the very roof and laid a hush of fear upon the boisterous company. Red tongues of flame and searing gusts of heat engulfed the house; and the roysterers, struck with terror at the descent of a calamity which seemed to transcend the bounds of unguided Nature, fled shrieking into the night."

"I alone remained," Josh, "riveted to my seat by a grovelling fear which I had never felt before. And then a second horror took possession of my soul. Burnt alive to ashes, my body disp ersed by the four winds, I might never lie in the tomb of the Hydes! Was not my coffin prepared for me? Had I not a right to rest till eternity amongst the descendants of Sir Geoffrey Hyde? Aye! I would claim my heritage of death, even though my soul go seeking through the ages for another corporeal tenement to represent it on that vacant slab in the alcove of the vault. Jervas Hyde should never share the sad fate of Palinurus!"

Josh Clark: Nice.

Chuck Bryant: He's Scottish all of a sudden.

Josh Clark: Yeah.

Chuck Bryant: Or whatever that was.

Josh Clark: You ready?

Chuck Bryant: Well, what's going on here is he clearly saw the mansion.

Josh Clark: And went and partied in it.

Chuck Bryant: Right? Yeah, I mean it was rebuilt. There were guests - ghostly guests - and he went and partied as a host, he felt like.

Josh Clark: As a Hyde.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, as a Hyde. And then - what - lightning came and took care of business all over again.

Josh Clark: Yeah, he was at the party on the night that it went down - that whole sad, ghastly business went down.

Chuck Bryant: Is he mad?

Josh Clark: Oh, let's find out.

Chuck Bryant: All right.

Josh Clark: You ready?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah.

Josh Clark: May I take it home?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, the exciting conclusion of The Tomb.

Josh Clark: "As the phantom of the burning house faded, I found myself screaming and struggling madly in the arms of two men, one of whom was the spy who had followed me to the tomb. Rain was pouring down in torrents, and upon the southern horizon were flashes of the lightning that had so lately passed over our heads. My father, his face lined with sorrow, stood by as I shouted my demands to be laid within the tomb, frequently admonishing my captors to treat me as gently as they could. A blackened circle on the floor of the ruined cellar told of a violent stroke from the heavens, and from this spot, a group of curious villagers with lanterns were prying a small box of antique workmanship which the thunderbolt had brought to light. Ceasing my futile and now objectless writhing, I watched the spectators as they viewed the treasure-trove, and was permitted to share in their discoveries. The box, whose fastenings were broken by the stroke which unearthed it, contained many papers and objects of value. But I had eyes for one thing alone. It was the porcelain miniature of a young man in a smartly curled bag-wig, and bore the initials "J. H." The face was such that as I gazed, I might as well have been studying my mirror."

You got that?

Chuck Bryant: That's messed up.

Josh Clark: "On the following day I was brought to this room with the barred windows, but I have been kept informed of certain things through an aged and simple-minded servitor, for whom I bore a fondness in infancy, and who like me, loves the churchyard. What I have dared relate of my experiences within the vault has brought me only pitying smiles. My father, who visits me frequently, declares that at no time did I pass the chained portal, and swears that the rusted pa dlock had not been touched for fifty years when he examined it. He even says that all the village knew of my journeys to the tomb, and that I was often watched as I slept in the bower outside the grim façade, my half-open eyes fixed on the crevice that leads to the interior."

"Against these insertions I have no tangible proof to offer, since my key to the padlock was lost in the struggle on that night of horrors. The strange things of the past which I learnt during those nocturnal meetings with the dead, he dismisses as the fruits of my lifelong and omnivorous browsing amongst the ancient volumes of the family library. Had it not been for my old servant Hiram, I should have by this time become quite convinced of my madness. But Hiram, loyal to the last, has held faith in me, and has done that which impels me to make public at least part of my story. A week ago, he burst open the lock which chains the door of the tomb perpetually ajar, and descended with a lantern into the murky depths. On a slab in an alcove he found an old, but empty coffin whose tarnished plate bears the single word "Jervas." In that coffin and in that vault they have promised me I shall be buried."

The end.

Chuck Bryant: And scene. Wow.

Josh Clark: The Tomb, H.P. Lovecraft - pretty good, huh?

Chuck Bryant: Ah - very creepy.

Josh Clark: Yeah.

Chuck Bryant: Absolutely.

Josh Clark: Different time back then.

Chuck Bryant: Well, much creepier, obviously.

Josh Clark: Yeah, yeah. I think this might have been in Amazing Stories at first or Weird Stories - one of the two.

Chuck Bryant: In the TV show, Amazing Stories?

Josh Clark: No, no, the old pulp comic book.

Chuck Bryant: Oh, okay.

Josh Clark: Yeah, so hopefully that creeped everybody out. Right, Chuck?

Chuck Bryant: I'm creeped out.

Josh Clark: I'm creeped out, too. What are you gonna be for Halloween?

Chuck Bryant: I don't know. The band is playing a gig and we're all gonna dress alike. So, something - I'm lobbying for something with moustaches.

Josh Clark: Okay.

Chuck Bryant: Or maybe the taint of the thundercloud.

Josh Clark: Yes, which took -

Chuck Bryant: - What are you gonna be?

Josh Clark: - eight times - eight takes?

Chuck Bryant: For me to read that without laughing?

Josh Clark: Yeah.

Chuck Bryant: Or you laughing or Jeri laughing?

Josh Clark: Yeah, it was - something messed that up.

Chuck Bryant: We should release the outtakes on this.

Josh Clark: That'd be good. So, I guess that's it.

Chuck Bryant: I got nothing.

Josh Clark: Happy Halloween, everybody. Thank you very much.

Chuck Bryant: Be careful.

Josh Clark: Yeah. Yes, be safe out there. Remember, if you're wearing an all-black costume, don't be stupid. Put some sort of reflective material on it. Be careful of kids if you're driving. Be careful of cars if you're a kid.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah.

Josh Clark: And have a happy, happy Halloween. And to Linus, sitting in the great pumpkin patch, there's always next year, pal.

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Topics in this Podcast: H.P. Lovecraft, Chuck, josh, scary stories