Episode 61 – The Very Old Folk & The Thing in the Moonlight

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Greetings all! Another two-fer! This week we going back to the Roman Empire with The Very Old Folk and drift off to a very different kind of Dreamland with The Thing in the Moonlight!

This week’s guest host is none other than our very own Michael J. Mann.

This week’s reader is Elliot Miller, a talented guy and all around kick-ass dude!

Next week: The Last Test!

Post Comment 31 comments on “Episode 61 – The Very Old Folk & The Thing in the Moonlight

  • Manndroid on

    A little trivia: I don’t normally announce the middle initial of my name, but in this case, the J stands for “Jesus, please don’t let Michael Mann, the Director, sue us for putting his name on our podcast.”

    Now, cringing, I’m going to listen to myself and hopefully not feel horribly embarassed.

  • Manndroid on

    Dah, you can totally tell my tongue was inflamed from biting it, lol. I gave myself a lisp! Ho boy… Oh well.

  • Keith McCaffety on

    The name Melmoth was associated with Oscar Wilde in some way. I believe he adopted it as a nickname for himself. Considering its origin, it sounds like something he would do. Someone else may know better.

    I liked both of these stories very much, by the way.

  • Ingólfur Halldórsson on

    I really liked the Roman dream story. Admittedly I’m something of a roman history nerd, but I really like how Lovecraft opens up the scope of his fantastical horror world. I love his fabricated north eastern setting just as much as the next guy, but the thought of Roman soldiers fighting Shoggoths is just another layer of awesomeness.
    The cone-shape-faced, tentacled humanoid is pretty cool too!

  • C.W. Wilkinson on

    You guys missed the best (and most disturbing) part about Elagabalus. Cassius Dio writes of him “he set aside a room in the palace and there committed his indecencies, always standing nude at the door of the room, as the harlots do, and shaking the curtain which hung from gold rings, while in a soft and melting voice he solicited the passers-by.” Some historians say this may have been part of the worship of Elagabal, the dude with the black stone.

  • Brown Jenkins on

    I’m glad this territory was covered. Lovecraft did a lot of revisions and collaborations. I’ll definitely read “The Last Test” before next week. I’m excited, since I’ve never read that one before.

  • Dan Hindes on

    I also came to Lovecraft late(r) in life. I knew of Lovecraft from friends at Comicon in the ’80s, and I knew of Cthulhu from Matt Howarth’s comic series Those Annoying Post Brothers (the cigar smoking Big C). Finally about three years ago I played the Call of Cthulhu computer game, watched the silent movie and started reading the stories. The real clincher was the plush baby Cthulhu I won off the Steve Jackson Games website. Now I see Lovecraft’s influence in every horror movie and find comfort in the cosmic indifference of his world view. To quote Bill Murray in Meatballs, “It just doesn’t matter.” That is a reassuring thought at any age.

  • Reber Clark on

    Another good ones, guys. Everyone was excellent – especially Elliot Miller. His voice does Lovecraft very well…and I am picky about VOs! 🙂 As always…hard to wait till next week. You guys do a great job.

  • Robert R. on

    A couple of obvious thoughts on The Very Old Folk. To me, it’s clear that Lovecraft is doing a witch cult thing, with Walpurgis and Halloween being the key referenced dates.

    The descriptions of the ancient evil also remind me very much of the Night Gaunts.

  • A Visit to Lovecraft Country | The Gaming Gang on

    […] Episode #61 features Elliott reading excerpts from The Very Old Folk and The Thing in the Moonlight, while Chad and Chris discuss the stories in their usual humorous and informative way. […]

  • Brown Jenkins on

    And those same nightgaunt-like creatures were seen by the swamp cultists in Call of Cthulhu. Could the Very Old Folk be ancient Cthulhu worshipers?

  • Justin on

    I wonder if the cone-face tongue-headed monster from “The Thing in the Moonlight” was the source for Chaosium’s Nyarlathotep avatar the God of the Bloody Tongue? I always wondered where that image came from since it had arguably become the most common representation of Nyarlathotep.

  • boysmithers on

    Maybe HPL calling Wandrei “Melmoth” was just a goofy pun on his surname – “Wandrei” and “Wanderer”???

  • Reber Clark on

    Methinks boysmithers has got it.

  • sgdurango on

    I’ll second that boysmithers has got it right. Melmoth the Wanderer being the name of a gothic novel by Robert Maturin. Maturin was grand uncle to Oscar Wilde and “Sebastian Melmoth” was a name that Wilde used while in exile after release from prison. The novel is intense (and very long!) and was a favorite of Lovecraft’s. It has been called the last great work of “high Gothic” fiction.

  • Ron on

    Actually guys, 66 College St. used to be behind the John Hay Library but was moved to 65 Prospect Street in 1959. The attic is the location of “Hunter of the Dark.” And certainly no one should bother the people living in that house.

  • Chuck on

    Has anyone else seen the 3-part South Park where BP drilling tears a hole into another dimension and Cthulhu comes through? Of course, Cartman (as his alter ego “The Coon”) uses Cthulhu to exact petty revenge on his classmates.

    The scenes with him flying around on the great beast’s back a la The Neverending Story left me staring speechless at my TV screen. (As did the reveal of Kenny’s “condition”, though that’s a spoiler and a threadjack.)

  • Wilum Pugmire on

    Wilde’s maternal uncle was the author of MELMOTH THE WANDERER — and thus when Wilde went into exile in France after his prison release he adopted a new name, Sebastian Melmoth. Have any of y’all read Edward Lee’s way rad porn novel inspir’d by “The Thing in the Moonlight” — TROLLEY NO. 1852 (Bloodletting Press 2009)? It is superb, authentically Lovecraftian and dead cosmic.

  • Wilum Pugmire on

    Forgot to mention that S. T. Joshi has now removed “The Thing in the Moonlight” from all of his editions of Lovecraft’s fiction because it is not entirely Lovecraft’s work. It can still be found in various older pb editions of HPL’s tales, but I don’t know if it’s included in any current pb edition, except perhaps the Del Rey trade editions.

  • Reber Clark on

    Hello Wilum!

  • Chris Jarocha-Ernst on

    Glad to see you will be covering HPL’s revisions.

    BTW, with Chris’s new connection to the folks at yog-sothoth.com, have you thought of getting Fin Patterson as a reader?

  • Phil on

    Just to say – I loved “The Thing in the Moonlight” – it creeped me out – as I had a dream that was much like it when I was a younger man. No railway cars, just finding myself in my childhood house (that was old and empty and dusty and vacant) and seeing some shadow with its hands round its mouth calling upstairs. It noticed me and turned around only for me to discover it was not hands round its mouth, but its head had these flaps on its sides… any way great story HPL – I think I’ll sleep with the lights on tonight…

  • Reber Clark on

    Hey!! Where’s the snazzy new index page I saw earlier???!!! Was I being sent strange dreams by the Star-Winds or what?

  • Andrew on

    I just picked up Lovecraft in my mid 30’s. I had always seen the name, and just decided one night at Barnes & Noble to purchase “The Best of H. P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre”. I don’t remember what the impetus was. I think I just thought it might be something I would like, and I was right. Thank you guys for the podcast! I don’t get to chat with any other Lovecraft fans, so listening to you guys is a great next-best-thing.

  • Reber Clark on

    ‘Twas the day of the podcast
    and all thru the net
    not a story was posted,
    (mid-Thursday – not yet).

    My browser was up on my screen in full glow
    And visions of Lovecraft I awaited (ho, ho!)

  • Marcus on

    I got into HPL at around 13-14 in the early-mid 90s, after finding an omnibus (volume #3, with Rats in the Walls, CoC, Shadow Out Of Time, Colour Out Of Space, etc) and reading it cover to cover in almost a night. Eventually, I tracked down all three volumes for my own. I didn’t even know there was an RPG until several years later..

  • Grim Blogger on

    Fantastic work on these two particularly atmospheric Lovecraft tales.

  • Jeb Card on

    I’m kind of surprised that you guys didn’t like The Very Old Folk. I had never heard of it until I started going through the Selected Letters, and it was sort of shocking. Some comments

    – I do think he actually dreamed it. He had no problem saying “I made up a story,” but he really emphasized how this was a dream. Maybe other research shows problems with this, but I believe him. He was pretty obsessed with the Classical World, and especially the Romans, so I buy he had the knowledge in his head to flesh out the dream to that level of detail.

    – As Robert R. notes, this story can’t be understood without the full context of knowing that it is a witch cult story. As I wrote in this post,


    the witch cult was INTEGRAL to HPL’s fiction in the mid-1920s. He seems to shake its influence off a little in the 1930s. But I think it is defensible to say that without the witch cult notion he lifted from Murray (more on that in a sec), there would be no Cthulhu, and no Cthulhu Mythos. It marks the difference between his Poe and Dunsany works, and his Mythos works

    – As I note in that post, it’s the one bit of pseudoscience, other than scientific racism I suppose, that HPL really bought into. Heavily. He clearly believed Murray’s thesis for at least a few years, and he expounded on it at length to REH

    – Lastly, I believe HPL is referring to Lake Nemi in the story.


    This is the title inspiration for Frazier’s The Golden Bough, which spawns Murray’s Witch Cult book, and had another profound influence on HPL.

  • Jeb Card on

    PS: If the story is reminiscent of Michael Crichton’s “Eaters of the Dead” or the movie “The Thirteenth Warrior,” I’m not sure it’s a coincidence. In the faux monograph that makes up “The Eaters of the Dead,” the author cites as a general reference work

    Azhared, Abdul. Necronomicon [ed. H. P. Lovecraft], Providence, Rhode Island, 1934.

    The work is exactly as Lovecraft suggests, a winking literary hoax. Unfortunately, in the edition I own, Crichton had entered into his politically jerkish old man stage, and puts in an afterword that he wished he had never written it that way because of the post-modern degradation of truth blah blah blah, and then he probably denied global warming at the end, but I stopped reading.

  • David on

    Fiddly pronunciation comment- l?-?k’?-?n’ not lao coon. There is a cool classic sculpture of La-oc-o-on and his sons being attacked by serpents for trying to spill the beans about the “Trojan horse”. Appropriate for a Lovecraftian image.

  • T. Kelly Lee on

    Melmoth the Wanderer was a play on Donald Wandrei’s last name, which is actually pronounced “Wand-dry.” Lovecraft gave all his friends nicknames that were plays on their names, such as “Clark Ash-Ton” for Clark Ashton Smith.

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