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Dunwich Horror chronology

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I have attempted to set out the chronology of the Dunwich Horror and am surprised to see I cannot get the latter date to agree with the statement that the Horror ''came between Lammas and the equinox'' unless it be interpreted loosely.


''The Dunwich horror came between Lammas and the equinox in 1928'' -- that is to say, between August 1st and September 23rd 1928.


Wilbur Whateley died on the morning of the third of August 1928.


At some unknown date between the third of August and the second of September 1928 Wilbur Whateley's property was cursorily examined (avoiding the house) and a report filed in Aylesbury. His diary and other books were delivered to the Miskatonic University no later than the middle of August and likely rather earlier to allow attempts of translation that failed.


''All through late August'' Armitage worked on the Whateley cipher. ''The last major barrier'' gave way on the evening of the second of September. He works at the process of translation , practically without break, up to the late night of the third.


On the fourth, Professor Rice and Dr Morgan visit Armitage and leave ''white and trembling''. Armitage resumes translation and annotation on the morning of the fifth, working til the small hours of the sixth. After a little sleep he resumed the work before the dawn of the sixth, rebuffing his family doctor at noon, finally finishing the work of translation and annotation ''towards twilight'' on the sixth. He is surprised semi-comatose by his wife, seals up his Dunwich papers and returned home, before collapsing and being put to bed by Dr. Hartwell.


Armitage passed the seventh of September semi-delirious, but regained full command of his reason late on the evening. On the afternoon of the eighth, Armitage, Rice and Morgan begin their conference, which lasts far into the night.


Sunday the ninth of September is passed by Armitage in chemical and occult research.


W.W.'s brother ''busts quarters... [and] gits out'' late in the night of the ninth of September, or early in the day of the tenth ''towards morning''.


At seven o'clock on the morning of the tenth, at Dunwich, Luther Brown, the hired boy at Corey's farm, observed the marks or tracks of the Horror. Also, early on the morning of the tenth, Chauncey Sawyer, who, we presume, was employed in service at Seth Bishop's house, saw the broken ''prison'' and finds his master's cows gone or drained of blood in the ''upper pasture'' near the 'Devil's Hop-Yard'.


Armitage continues his chemical and occult researches.


By the noon of the tenth, the Horror was in Cold Spring Glen, whither the men-folk of Dunwich tracked it, but did not enter. An attempt was made to contact the Aylesbury Telegraph, who treated the news as a joke.


On the night of the tenth, Dunwich houses and barns were barricaded against the Horror.


In the early hours of the eleventh (at two a.m.) the Fryes were wakened by a ''swishing'' and heard the destruction of their barn and the consumption of their cattle. The Horror returned to Cold Spring Glen. Selina Frye spread news of the new phase of the Horror.


Armitage developed a definite ''line of action'' and plans to travel to Dunwich within the week.


Some futile and rather desultory attempts at defence were made on the night of the eleventh, but this night, and the the twelfth, passed without apparent incident.


On the night of the twelfth, Dunwich houses were again barricaded.


On the twelfth, Armitage learns of the Dunwich Horror. Far into the night, he, Rice and Morgan discuss the Horror.


By the morning of the thirteenth, both the Frye and Seth Bishop households reported unease among their dogs and ''vague sounds and stenches from afar''. The tracks of the Horror are traced to, and around, the altar on Sentinel Hill and back to Cold Spring Glen.


The thirteenth is described as ''a whirlwind of preparation'' for Armitage, Rice and Morgan.


On the night of the thirteenth, Dunwich was again barricaded. In the early hours of the fourteenth (at 3AM) the Elmer Frye household was destroyed.


On Friday 14th, Armitage and his fellow-professors set out for Dunwich, arriving at 1. p.m. They learn of the annihilation of the Fryes and pass the afternoon questioning the Dunwich natives and observing the Frye ruins, the mauled Bishop cattle and the trails of the Horror. Armitage long studies the altar on Sentinel Hill.


Late in the afternoon they discover the empty police-car sent from Aylesbury and learn of the death of the hapless officers who went into Cold Spring Glen.


On the night of the fourteenth, Dunwich is yet again barricaded. The professors mount a guard at the Frye ruins.


On the fifteenth, the Seth Bishop household is destroyed by the Horror during the day. The men of Dunwich attempt to gather at Corey's farm and go to notify the party from Miskatonic.


From the tainted ruins of the Bishop household they take up the track of the Horror and follow it to Sentinel Hill. Morgan observes its ascent through a field-telescope. The party from Miskatonic ascend the hill with Curtis Whateley observing from the bottom through the telescope. Armitage, Rice and Morgan take up position on a small eminence on Sentinel Hill and use the powder they prepared to render the Horror visible. Curtis Whateley has a glimpse of the Horror and is rendered incoherent.


The party from Miskatonic recite the ritual that will banish the Horror, and in extremis it calls aloud upon its father, fulfilling Old Whateley's prophecy concerning a son of Lavinny ''a-calling its father's name on the top of Sentinel Hill''.


The professors descend the Hill as Curtis Whateley regains consciousness, warning the men of Dunwich to destroy the altar and stone circles and at last informing them that the Horror was Wilbur's brother, which took more after the father than he did.


It is rather hard to reconcile this deduced chronology with the statement that the Horror lasted until the equinox (the twenty-third). Is it merely a case of loose statement or have I blundered?

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Could the statement simply mean that the Horror came at some point between the start and end dates, not that it was there for the entire duration?

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Yes -- you're quite right. I think I have fallen into the trap of excessive systematisation that I personally dislike in the later work after HPL's death -- he was not to my mind constructing a coherent world, but rather catching often contradictory atmospheres of horror, that often contradict as real myths and legends do. I dislike very much the Tolkienian world and its fellows.

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Nick Storm

Subscribed! This is a much needed timeline for HPL Scholars, let alone gamers. Great start. I'm in the process of moving to new digs or I'd jump in an take a crack at this.

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Thank you. I will keep working at it in consequence -- particularly for HPL scholars as I am not a gamer myself.

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