Elixir of life
The elixir of life known as elixir of immortality and sometimes equated with the philosopher's stone, is a potion that grants the drinker eternal life and/or eternal youth. This elixir was said to cure all diseases. Alchemists in various ages and cultures sought the means of formulating the elixir. In ancient China, many emperors sought the fabled elixir with varying results. In the Qin Dynasty, Qin Shi Huang sent Taoist alchemist Xu Fu with 500 young men and 500 young women to the eastern seas to find the elixir, but he never came back; when Shi Huang Di visited, he brought 3000 young girls and boys, but none of them returned. The ancient Chinese believed that ingesting long-lasting precious substances such as jade, cinnabar or hematite would confer some of that longevity on the person who consumed them. Gold was considered potent, as it was a non-tarnishing precious metal; the most famous Chinese alchemical book, the Danjing yaojue attributed to Sun Simiao, a famous medical specialist respectfully called "King of Medicine" by generations, discusses in detail the creation of elixirs for immortality as well as those for curing certain diseases and the fabrication of precious stones.
Many of these substances, far from contributing to longevity, were toxic and resulted in Chinese alchemical elixir poisoning. The Jiajing Emperor in the Ming Dynasty died from ingesting a lethal dosage of mercury in the supposed "Elixir of Life" conjured by alchemists. Amrita, the elixir of life has been described in the Hindu scriptures. Anybody who consumes a tiniest portion of Amrit has been described to gain immortality. Legend has it that at early times when the inception of the world had just taken place, evil demons had gained strength; this was seen as a threat to the gods. So these gods went to seek advice and help from the three primary gods according to the Hindus: Vishnu and Shiva, they suggested that Amrit could only be gained from the samudra manthan for the ocean in its depths hid mysterious and secret objects. Vishnu agreed to take the form of a turtle; this mountain was used as a churning pole. With the help of a Vasuki the churning process began at the surface. From one side the gods pulled the serpent, which had coiled itself around the mountain, the demons pulled it from the other side.
As the churning process required immense strength, hence the demons were persuaded to do the job—they agreed in return for a portion of Amrit. With their combined efforts, Amrit emerged from the ocean depths. All the gods were offered the drink but the gods managed to trick the demons who did not get the holy drink; the oldest Indian writings, the Vedas, contain the same hints of alchemy that are found in evidence from ancient China, namely vague references to a connection between gold and long life. Mercury, so vital to alchemy everywhere, is first mentioned in the 4th to 3rd century BC Arthashastra, about the same time it is encountered in China and in the West. Evidence of the idea of transmuting base metals to gold appears in 2nd to 5th century AD Buddhist texts, about the same time as in the West, it is possible that the alchemy of medicine and immortality came to China from India, or vice versa. But the elixir of immortality was of little importance in India; the Indian elixirs were mineral remedies for specific diseases or, at the most, to promote long life.
In European alchemical tradition, the Elixir of Life is related to the creation of the philosopher's stone. According to legend, certain alchemists have gained a reputation as creators of the elixir; these include St. Germain. In the eight-century Man'yōshū,'waters of rejuvenation' are said to be in the possession of the moon god Tsukuyomi. Similarities have been noted with a folktale from the Ryukyu Islands, in which the moon god decides to give man the water of life, serpents the water of death. However, the person entrusted with carrying the pails down to Earth gets tired and takes a break, a serpent bathes in the water of life, rendering it unusable; this is said to be why serpents can rejuvenate themselves each year by shedding their skin while men are doomed to die. The Elixir has had hundreds of names, among them Amrit Ras or Amrita, Aab-i-Hayat, Maha Ras, Aab-Haiwan, Dancing Water, Chasma-i-Kausar, Mansarover or the Pool of Nectar, Philosopher's stone, Soma Ras; the word elixir was not used until the 7th century A.
D. and derives from the Arabic name for miracle substances, "al iksir". Some view it as a metaphor for the spirit of God. "But whoever drinks the water. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." The Scots and the Irish adopted the name for their "liquid gold": the Gae
Dagon (short story)
"Dagon" is a short story by American author H. P. Lovecraft, it is one of the first stories that Lovecraft wrote as an adult. It was first published in the November 1919 edition of The Vagrant. Dagon was published in Weird Tales, it is considered by many to be one of Lovecraft's most forward-looking stories. The story is the testament of a tortured, morphine-addicted man who relates an incident that occurred during his service as an officer during World War I. In the unnamed narrator's account, his cargo ship is captured by an Imperial German sea-raider in "one of the most open and least frequented parts of the broad Pacific", he escapes on a lifeboat and drifts aimlessly, south of the equator, until he finds himself stranded on "a slimy expanse of hellish black mire which extended about in monotonous undulations as far as could see.... The region was putrid with the carcasses of decaying fish and less describable things which saw protruding from the nasty mud of the unending plain." He theorizes that this area was a portion of the ocean floor thrown to the surface by volcanic activity, "exposing regions which for innumerable millions of years had lain hidden under unfathomable watery depths."After waiting three days for the seafloor to dry out sufficiently to walk on, he ventures out on foot to find the sea and possible rescue.
After two days of walking, he reaches his goal, a hill which turns out to be a mound on the edge of an "immeasurable pit or canyon". Descending the slope, he sees a gigantic white stone object that he soon perceives to be a "well-shaped monolith whose massive bulk had known the workmanship and the worship of living and thinking creatures." The monolith, situated next to a channel of water in the bottom of the chasm, is covered in unfamiliar hieroglyphs "consisting for the most part of conventionalized aquatic symbols such as fishes, octopuses, mollusks and the like." There are "crude sculptures" depicting: men—at least, a certain sort of men. Curiously enough, they seemed to have been chiseled badly out of proportion with their scenic background; as the narrator looks at the monolith, a creature emerges from the water: With only a slight churning to mark its rise to the surface, the thing slid into view above the dark waters. Vast, Polyphemus-like, loathsome, it darted like a stupendous monster of nightmares to the monolith, about which it flung its gigantic scaly arms, the while it bowed its hideous head and gave vent to certain measured sounds.
Horrified, the mariner flees back to his stranded boat and vaguely recalls a "great storm". His next memory is of a San Francisco hospital, where he was taken after being rescued in mid-ocean by a U. S. ship. There are no reports of any Pacific upheavals, he does not expect anyone to believe his incredible story, he mentions one abortive attempt to gain understanding of his experience: Once I sought out a celebrated ethnologist, amused him with peculiar questions regarding the ancient Philistine legend of Dagon, the Fish-God. Haunted by visions of the creature, "especially when the moon is gibbous and waning", he describes his fears for the future of humanity: I cannot think of the deep sea without shuddering at the nameless things that may at this moment be crawling and floundering on its slimy bed, worshipping their ancient stone idols and carving their own detestable likenesses on submarine obelisks of water-soaked granite. I dream of a day when they may rise above the billows to drag down in their reeking talons the remnants of puny, war-exhausted mankind --of a day when the land shall sink, the dark ocean floor shall ascend amidst universal pandemonium.
With the drug that has given him "transient surcease" running out, he declares himself ready to do himself in. The story ends with the narrator rushing to the window as he hears "a noise at the door, as of some immense slippery body lumbering against it." After reading Lovecraft's juvenilia in 1917, W. Paul Cook, editor of the amateur press journal The Vagrant, encouraged him to resume writing fiction; that summer, Lovecraft wrote two stories: "The Tomb" and "Dagon". The story was inspired in part by a dream. "I dreamed that whole hideous crawl, can yet feel the ooze sucking me down!" he wrote. Critic William Fulwiler indicates that Lovecraft may have been influenced by Irvin S. Cobb's "Fishhead", a story about a strange fish-like human. Fulwiler has suggested that Lovecraft took the story's theme of "an ancient prehuman race that will someday rise to conquer humanity" from Edgar Rice Burroughs' At the Earth's Core; the story mentions the Piltdown Man, which had not been exposed by the scientific community as a fraud and hoax at the time of writing.
As to the name of the story, Lovecraft seems to be referring to the ancient Sumerian god named Dagon, the fertility god of grains and fish, because in the story, the main character makes inquiries "....regarding the ancient Philistine legend of Dagon, the Fish-God." The Sumerian deity is sometimes depicted as being part fish, or wearing a fish. Since Lovecraft was fond of references to actual archaeological discoveries in his writings from time
"Cool Air" is a short story by the American horror fiction writer H. P. Lovecraft, written in March 1926 and published in the March 1928 issue of Tales of Magic and Mystery; the narrator offers a story to explain why a "draught of cool air" is the most detestable thing to him. His tale begins in the spring of 1923, he settles in a converted brownstone on West Fourteenth Street. Investigating a chemical leak from the floor above, he discovers that the inhabitant directly overhead is a strange and reclusive physician. One day the narrator suffers a heart attack, remembering that a doctor lives overhead, he climbs the stairs and meets Dr. Muñoz for the first time; the doctor demonstrates supreme medical skill, saves the narrator with a combination of medications. The fascinated narrator returns to sit and learn from the doctor; as their talks continue, it becomes evident that the doctor has an obsession with defying death through all available means. The doctor's room is kept at 56 degrees Fahrenheit using an ammonia-based refrigeration system.
As time goes on, the doctor's health declines and his behaviour becomes eccentric. The cooling system is continuously upgraded, to the point where some areas of his rooms are sub-freezing, until one night when the pump breaks down. Without explanation, the panic-stricken doctor frantically implores his friend to help him keep his body cool. Unable to repair the machine until morning, they resort to having the doctor stay in a tub full of ice; the narrator spends his time replenishing the ice, but soon is forced to employ someone else to do it. When he locates competent mechanics to repair the pump, it is too late, he arrives at the apartment in time to see the decomposing remains of the doctor, a rushed, "hideously smeared" letter. The narrator reads it. Refusing to surrender to death, he maintained the semblance of life past the point of death using various methods, depending upon refrigeration to retard decomposition. Lovecraft wrote "Cool Air" during his unhappy stay in New York City, during which he wrote three horror stories with a New York setting.
In "Lovecraft's New York Exile," David E. Schultz cites the contrast Lovecraft felt between his apartment, crammed with relics of his beloved New England, the immigrant neighborhood of Red Hook in which he lived as an inspiration for the "unsettling juxtaposition of opposites" that characterizes the short story. Like the story's main character, Shultz suggests, cut off from his native Providence, Rhode Island, felt himself to be just going through the motions of life; the building, the story's main setting is based on a townhouse at 317 West 14th Street where George Kirk, one of Lovecraft's few New York friends, lived in 1925. The narrator's heart attack recalls that of another New York Lovecraft friend, Frank Belknap Long, who dropped out of New York University because of his heart condition; the narrator's phobia about cool air is reminiscent of Lovecraft himself, abnormally sensitive to cold. Schultz indicates that "Cool Air"'s main literary source is Edgar Allan Poe's "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar", described as Lovecraft's favourite Poe story after "The Fall of the House of Usher".
Lovecraft had just finished the Poe chapter of his survey "Supernatural Horror in Literature" at the time that he wrote the short story. Lovecraft, stated years that the story that inspired "Cool Air" was Arthur Machen's "The Novel of the White Powder", another tale of bodily disintegration. Doctor Muñoz: A Spanish physician of "striking intelligence and superior blood and breeding", he is described as "short but exquisitely proportioned", with a "high-bred face of masterful though not arrogant expression", "a short iron-grey full beard", "full, dark eyes" and "an aquiline nose", he calls himself "the bitterest of sworn enemies to death", one who had "sunk his fortune and lost all his friends in a lifetime of bizarre experiment devoted to its bafflement and extirpation." Saying he feels a "repugnance" on first meeting Muñoz that "nothing in his aspect could justify", the narrator remarks on "the ice-coldness and shakiness of his bloodless looking hands" and that his breathing was imperceptible.
An H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopaedia suggests that Muñoz may have been modelled on Lovecraft's Brooklyn neighbour, "the celebrated Dr. Love, State Senator and sponsor of the famous'Clean Books bill' at Albany...evidently immune or unconscious of the decay." This is William L. Love, a Brooklyn physician and freemason, a state senator from 1923 until 1932; the unnamed narrator who has come to New York to do "some dreary and unprofitable magazine work". He has drifted from one cheap boarding house to another before finding that the one on West Fourteenth Street "disgusted much less than the others he had sampled." After being treated by Muñoz, his upstairs neighbor, he becomes "a disciple and devotee of the gifted recluse". Submitted to Lovecraft's regular outlet, the pulp magazine Weird Tales, "Cool Air" was rejected by editor Farnsworth Wright, a decision, called "inexplicable...since it would appear to be just the sort of safe, macabre tale that he liked." It's possible that Wright feared that "its gruesome conclusion would invite censorship".
Peter Cannon calls "Cool Air" Lovecraft's "best story with a New York setting", proving him "capable of using an understated, naturalistic style to powerful effect." Issue #62 of Warren Publishing's Eerie features a comic adaptation of "Cool Air" by Berni Wrightson. It was reprinted several times, first by Warren, t
H. P. Lovecraft bibliography
This is a complete list of works by H. P. Lovecraft. Dates for the fiction and juvenilia are in the format: composition date / first publication date, taken from An H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia by S. T. Joshi and D. E. Schultz, Hippocampus Press, New York, 2001. For other sections, dates are the time of composition, not publication. Many of these works can be found on Wikisource. While considered to be collaborations, the status of these works as such is disputed, despite their traditional status as belonging to the Cthulhu Mythos; the Inevitable Conflict. This was published in Amazing Stories under the name P. H. Lovering. A variety of evidence, including statistical analysis of the writing structure, has been put forward to suggest that Lovecraft was not the author; the Poem of Ulysses, or The Odyssey Ovid's Metamorphoses H. Lovecraft's Attempted Journey betwixt Providence & Fall River on the N. Y. N. H. & H. R. R. Poemata Minora, Volume II Ode to Selene or Diana To the Old Pagan Religion On the Ruin of Rome To Pan On the Vanity of Human Ambition C.
S. A. 1861-1865: To the Starry Cross of the SOUTH De Triumpho Naturae The Members of the Men's Club of the First Universalist Church of Providence, R. I. to Its President, About to Leave for Florida on Account of His Health To His Mother on Thanksgiving To Mr. Terhune, on His Historical Fiction Providence in 2000 A. D. New-England Fallen On the Creation of Niggers Fragment on Whitman On Robert Browning On a New-England Village Seen by Moonlight Quinsnicket Park To Mr. Munroe, on His Instructive and Entertaining Account of Switzerland Ad Criticos Frusta Praemunitus De Scriptore Mulieroso To General Villa On a Modern Lothario The End of the Jackson War To the Members of the Pin-Feathers on the Merits of Their Organisation, of Their New Publication, The Pinfeather To the Rev. James Pyke To an Accomplished Young Gentlewoman on Her Birthday, Decr. 2, 1914 Regner Lodbrog's Epicedium The Power of Wine: A Satire The Teuton's Battle-Song New England Gryphus in Asinum Mutatus To the Members of the United Amateur Press Association from the Providence Amateur Press Club March 1914 The Simple Speller's Tale On Slang An Elegy on Franklin Chase Clark, M.
D. The Bay-Stater's Policy The Crime of Crimes Ye Ballade of Patrick von Flynn The Issacsonio-Mortoniad On Receiving a Picture of Swans Unda. R. Kleiner, Laureatus, in Heliconem Temperance Song Lines on Gen. Robert Edward Lee Content My Lost Love The Beauties of Peace The Smile Epitaph on ye Letterr Rrr........ The Dead Bookworm On Phillips Gamwell Inspiration Respite The Rose of England The Unknown Ad Balneum On Kelso the Poet Providence Amateur Press Club to the Athenaeum Club of Journalism Brotherhood Brumalia The Poe-et's Nightmare Futurist Art On Receiving a Picture of the Marshes of Ipswich The Rutted Road An Elegy on Phillips Gamwell, Esq. Lines on Graduation from the R. I. Hospital's School of Nurses Fact and Fancy The Nymph's Reply to the Modern Business Man Pacifist War Song—1917 Percival Lowell To Mr. Lockhart, on His Poetry Britannia Victura Spring A Garden Sonnet on Myself April Iterum Conjunctae The Peace Advocate To Greece, 1917 On Receiving a Picture of ye Towne of Templeton, in the Colonie of Massachusetts-Bay, with Mount Monadnock, in New-Hampshire, Shown in the Distance The Poet of Passion Earth and Sky Ode for July Fourth, 1917 On the Death of a Rhyming Critic Prologue to "Fragments from an Hour of Inspiration" by Jonathan E.
Hoag To M. W. M. To the Incomparable Clorinda To Saccharissa, Fairest of Her Sex To Rhodoclia—Peerless among Maidens To Belinda, Favourite of the Graces To Heliodora—Sister of Cytheraea To Mistress Sophia Simple, Queen of the Cinema An American to the British Flag Autumn Nemesis Astrophobos Lines on the 25th. Anniversary of the Providence Evening News, 1892-1917 Sunset Old C
The Other Gods
"The Other Gods" is a fantasy short story written by American author H. P. Lovecraft, on August 14, 1921, it was first published in the November 1933 issue of The Fantasy Fan. Barzai the Wise, a high priest and prophet learned in the lore of the "gods of earth", or Great Ones, attempts to scale the mountain of Hatheg-Kla in order to look upon their faces, accompanied by his young disciple Atal. Upon reaching the peak, Barzai at first seems overjoyed until he finds that the "gods of the earth" are not there alone, but rather are overseen by the "other gods, the gods of the outer hells that guard the feeble gods of earth!" Atal flees, Barzai is never seen again. Atal first appears in Lovecraft's "The Cats of Ulthar" as the young son of an innkeeper in Ulthar who witnesses the weird rites of the cats on the night that the old cotter and his wife are killed. In "The Other Gods", he becomes the apprentice of Barzai the Wise and accompanies him on his doomed climb to the top of Mount Hatheg-Kla to see the gods.
When Randolph Carter visits Atal in The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, he is the patriarch of the Temple of the Elder Ones and is now well over 300 years old, "but still keen of mind and memory". After many draughts of moon-wine, he reveals an important piece of information that helps Carter in his quest; as befits his age and station, Atal sports a long beard. In "The Other Gods", Barzai the Wise is high-priest of the Gods of Earth in Ulthar and one-time teacher of Atal. According to the story, he delved into the unknown, reading such works as the Pnakotic Manuscripts and the Seven Cryptical Books of Hsan, he is the son of an aristocrat of commoners' superstitions. He is said to have advised the burgesses of Ulthar, he vanishes shortly after climbing to the top of Hatheg-Kla to see the gods reveling on its peak. In "The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath", Nyarlathotep himself speaks to Randolph Carter in a brief and sardonic fashion of the ill-fated expeditions of other impertinent god-seekers, therein relates that when Barzai's hubris brought him to the baleful attention of the Other Gods, they "did what was expected".
According to the story, Sansu is "written of with fright" in the Pnakotic Manuscripts, having once scaled the mountain of Hatheg-Kla "in the youth of the world" and found "naught but wordless ice and rock". He is the last person to have climbed the mountain before Barzai. Though some readers assume that "The Other Gods" is set in Lovecraft's Dreamlands, critic S. T. Joshi points out the connections to the story "Polaris", which seems to be set in Earth's distant past, in arguing that "the clear implication is that this tale too takes place in a prehistoric civilization." Hatheg-Kla is a "high and rocky" mountain in the "stony desert" thirteen days' walk from the village of Hatheg, for which it is named. It is one of the places where the "gods of earth" once dwelt and sometimes return to when they are homesick. "White-capped Thurai" is another of the mountains. It is said. Lerion, whose "plaintive dawn-winds" are the sighs of the gods, is another mountain inhabited by the gods. In The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, Lerion is described as the source of the river Skai.
Ulthar, the hometown of the story's main characters, was introduced in the story "The Cats of Ulthar". It is said to be a neighbour of Hatheg. Lovecraft mentions the mountain of Kadath for the first time in "The Other Gods". Lovecraft's novel The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath involves Randolph Carter's attempt to reach Kadath in order to consult the gods. In addition to Dream-Quest, the mysterious mountain is mentioned in several other Lovecraft stories, including "The Strange High House in the Mist", "The Dunwich Horror", At the Mountains of Madness; the story resembles the many tales of hubris written by Lord Dunsany, like "The Revolt of the Home Gods" from The Gods of Pegana. The Seven Cryptical Books of Hsan appear for the first time in "The Other Gods"; the Pnakotic Manuscripts make their second appearance in "The Other Gods", having been introduced in "Polaris", along with Lomar. Both reappear in Dream-Quest. S. T. Joshi, "The Real World and the Dream World in Lovecraft", The Horror of It All, Robert M. Price, ed. S. T. Joshi and David E. Schultz, An H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia.
Works related to The Other Gods at Wikisource The Other Gods title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
The Tree (short story)
"The Tree" is a macabre short story by American horror fiction writer H. P. Lovecraft, it was written in 1920, published in October 1921 in The Tryout. Set in ancient Greece, the story concerns two sculptors who accept a commission with ironic consequences. Lovecraft wrote "The Tree" early in his career, he was dismissive of the story in a 1936 letter. It was one that, he said, "if typed on good stock make excellent shelf-paper, but little else." The assessment of Lovecraft authority S. T. Joshi was that although the story "may be a trifle obvious… it is an effective display of Lovecraft's skill in handling a historical setting." On a slope of Mount Maenalus in Arcadia is an olive grove that grows around a marble tomb and the ruin of an old villa. There, one gigantic tree resembles a frighteningly distorted man, the roots of the tree have shifted the blocks of the tomb; the narrator explains that the beekeeper who lives next door told him a story about the tree: Two renowned sculptors and Musides, lived in the colonnaded villa, "resplendent" in its day.
Both men created works that were known and celebrated. They were devoted friends, but different in disposition: Musides enjoyed the nightlife, while Kalos preferred the quiet of the olive grove, it was there he was said to receive his inspiration. One day, emissaries from "the Tyrant of Syracuse" ask the sculptors each to create a statue of Tyché; the statue, they are told, must be "of great size and cunning workmanship", since it is to be "a wonder of nations and a goal of travellers." The most beautiful statue will be erected in Syracuse. Kalos and Musides accept the commission. Secretly, the Tyrant expects the sculptors not only to compete but to cooperate, resulting in statuary that will be magnificent; the work proceeds, although Musides is still social and active, he seems morose—apparently because Kalos has fallen ill. Despite Kalos' weakened state, his visitors detect in him a serenity. Despite the efforts of his doctors and his friend Musides, Kalos weakens; when Kalos' death seems imminent, Musides weeps and promises to carve for him an elaborate marble sepulchre.
Kalos asks. Soon after, Kalos dies in the olive grove. Musides buries the olive twigs. From the burial place of the twigs an enormous olive tree grows at an incredible rate. An large branch hangs over the villa and Musides' statue. Three years Musides' work on the statue is complete; the Tyrant's agents arrive head to town to stay the night. That evening, a windstorm whips down the mountain; when the Tyrant's people return to the villa the next morning, they find. Musides himself is nowhere to be found; the end of the story recalls the Latin aphorism that precedes the text: "Fata viam invenient". Lovecraft, Howard P.. "The Tree". In S. T. Joshi. Dagon and Other Macabre Tales. Sauk City, WI: Arkham House. ISBN 0-87054-039-4. CS1 maint: Extra text: editors list Definitive version. Works related to The Tree at Wikisource The Tree title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database The Tree public domain audiobook at LibriVox
"Herbert West–Reanimator" is a horror short story by American writer H. P. Lovecraft, it was written between October 1921 and June 1922. It was first serialized in February through July 1922 in the amateur publication Home Brew; the story was the basis of the 1985 horror film Re-Animator and its sequels, in addition to numerous other adaptations in various media. The story is the first to mention Lovecraft's fictional Miskatonic University, it is one of the first depictions of zombies as scientifically reanimated corpses, with animalistic and uncontrollable temperaments. Lovecraft serialised the story in Home Brew Vol. 1 #1–6, an amateur magazine published by his friend George Julian Houtain. The narrator recounts his history with the title character, who has disappeared; as a medical student at Miskatonic University, the narrator becomes fascinated by West's theories, which postulate that the human body is a complex, organic machine which can be "restarted." West realizes he must experiment on human subjects.
The two men spirit away supplies from their medical school and set up their lab in an abandoned farmhouse. At first, they pay a group of men to rob graves for them, but none of the experiments are successful. West and the narrator rob graves themselves. One night, they steal the corpse of a construction worker, they take it back to the farmhouse and inject it with West's serum. An inhuman scream is heard from within the room containing the corpse. Moved by instinct, they flee into the night. West accidentally tips over a lantern on the way out. West and the narrator escape; the next day, the newspaper reports that a grave in potter's field, violently molested the night before, displays the claws of a beast. Some time after the fire, West's research is stunted when Dr. Allen Halsey, the dean of the medical school, refuses to allow him access to human cadavers or the university's dissection lab. West has a stroke of luck, when a typhoid epidemic breaks out and West and the narrator are called to help tend to the many dying victims.
West begins injecting his patients with a new serum, which has no greater effect than to cause some of the bodies' eyes to open. Halsey succumbs to typhoid, and, as a final act of twisted respect for his former rival, West steals his corpse to reanimate. West and the narrator take Halsey's body back to West's room at a boarding house, where they inject it with the new serum. Halsey does, in fact, but, inexplicably, he is less intelligent and more violent than their previous experiment. After beating West and the narrator into unconsciousness, Halsey embarks on a killing spree and murdering over a dozen people before he is apprehended by the police; the cannibal murderer is soon committed to a local mental institution. West curses the fact that Halsey's brain has deteriorated. Now licensed doctors and the narrator go into practice together in the small New England town of Bolton, purchasing a house near the local cemetery to have easy access to corpses. Still intent upon reanimating a human being, they claim the body of a black boxing champion who died of a head wound in an illegal back-alley street fight.
Gamblers betting on the fight arrange for West to dispose of the body, as it clears them of any crime. West and the narrator hurriedly inject it with another new serum; when nothing happens, they bury it. Several days there are reports around town of a missing child; the child's mother dies during a fit of hysteria, the father tries to kill West in a fit of rage because West couldn't save her. That night and the narrator are startled by an aggressive pounding on their back door. Opening the door and the narrator come face to face with the boxer's corpse, covered in mildew and dirt and hunched over at the back entrance. Hanging from his mouth is the arm of the missing child. West empties an entire revolver into the creature; some time after West's killing of the reanimated boxer, the narrator returns home from vacation to discover the preserved corpse of a man in the home he shares with West. West explains that during the narrator's absence, he perfected a type of embalming fluid that preserves a corpse as it is the moment the chemical is injected into the bloodstream.
West reveals to the narrator that the dead man is a traveling salesman who had a heart attack during a physical examination. West injects the body with his latest serum. Signs of life begin to appear; when the narrator questions the man, he mouths words with seeming intent. Just before the man returns to the dead, he begins screaming and thrashing violently, revealing in a horrible scream that he was in fact murdered by West. Five years West and the narrator become involved in World War I as a means to procure more bodies. Serving as a medic in Flanders, West has gone beyond the point of trying to reanimate corpses. On the battlefield, West befriends his commanding officer and fellow medic, Major Sir Eric Moreland Clapham-Lee, shares with him his theories and methods on reanimation. Shortly thereafter, Clapham suffers near-decapitation and dies when his plane i