The Devil Queen

How my wife and I sold our souls to the Queen Anne Victorian we tried to save.

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Location: Crow Mountain, Arkansas, United States

Synopsis: This is a cautionary tale. A seriously disturbed couple find the charming, old ruin of a Queen Anne Victorian in Russellville, Arkansas, and buy it for $1.00. They tore the roof off, cut it in half, and had it moved to some land they owned sixteen miles away because they didn't know any better. Since then, they have hired and fired contractors, had all of their tools stolen, re-wired, re-plumbed, insulated, and essentially rebuilt the entire house. Their only problem is that after four years it still isn't finished. Now they are tired, broke, and wonder what in the hell it is they've done to themselves. And, it's haunted.
(Last updated on April 3, 2008)

Press: Russellville Courier Article - December 2003, HGTV website article, AP story - October 2006, and Victorian Homes Magazine - February 2008 (link coming soon).
Art: From time to time, I receive requests for my art. If you would like to look at more of my art, go to The Failed Artist. If you would like to buy my art, email me. I am more than happy to answer any questions you might have. Thanks!

Friday, October 28, 2005

The H.P. Lovecraft - Devil Queen Connection

Halloween is fast approaching, and I thought I might post a little something to get in the mood for the holiday.

Halloween has been my favorite holiday for a long while. What other holiday glorifies freakishness, the supernatural, wild behavior, criminal mischief, and parties sans distant, awkward 3rd cousins, asshole uncles, or unsavory in-laws? Hmm. Well, Mardi Gras for one.

Sorry, I digress.

After Edgar Allen Poe, H.P. Lovecraft has the distinction of being one of the fathers of the American horror story. Admittedly, Lovecraft is an acquired taste that some never acquire.

I wasn't too impressed with Lovecraft the first time around. Louis, a ninth grader at my junior high, was an avid fan. Loaned copies of Lovecraft's work soon circulated among us bookwormish seventh graders. I wasn't impressed. The stories were full of weird prose and followed a slow pace. In hind sight, I don't think I was mature or knowledgeable enough to really get his books at that time. I moved on to more exciting fare, but something about those stories suck with me. They were insidious. A couple years later I returned to his works, and I was hooked. By the time I graduated from college, I'd bought copies of all his works in print.

So, why should a houseblogger give a damn about H.P. Lovecraft unless they are a horror story aficionado? Lovecraft's stories often focus old decaying families and old decaying homes. What DIY houseblogger couldn't love that? For instance, the story The Rats in the Wall is essentially about a home improvement project gone bad. The story opens with:

"On July 16, 1923, I moved into Exham Priory after the last workman had finished his labors. The restoration had been a stupendous task, for little remained of the deserted pile but a shell-like ruin; yet because it had been the seat of my ancestors, I let no expense deter me."

It almost sounds like Enon Hall. Of course the ending is much different. Once completed, ravenous hordes of flesh eating beasts come boiling up from the pre-historic caverns beneath the home to devour most of the supporting cast of characters. I certainly hope nothing of the like befalls the good folks at Enon Hall.

One of my favorite Lovecraft stories is Dreams in the Witch House. A college student and mathematical genius rooms in an old colonial house in New England. The home's original owner was a witch who used the odd architectural design to open doorways to other dimensions. Once again, the story ends badly for the protagonist; he's eaten alive by the witch's demonic familiar.

I think this story resonates with me because I always seem to live in places that have odd architectural features: weird angles, strange protrusions, windowless rooms, crooked walls, and sloping floors. It seems well within the realm of possibility that the unwholesomeness of my dwellings extends well beyond shoddy craftsmanship; infernal uses are entirely probable.

And for those of you still wondering what in the hell the connection between Lovecraft and the Devil Queen is, it is that they share the same birth year, 1890. I know, kind of tenuous, but it's there none the less.


Blogger Kristin said...

I've heard about old Lovecraft but have never read any of his stuff. Maybe I should check out a book from the library to get in the Halloween mood.

7:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a big fan of both the Devil Queen and H.P. Lovecraft. I would highly recommend "The Best of H.P. Lovecraft" as a great starting point for anyone interested. Keep up the great work.

9:49 PM  

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