Review: The Mound by H. P. Lovecraft

Sitting in the dark with nothing but a few candles I felt the desire to read. There is nothing quite like reading a story by candlelight and no genre better suited to it than horror. So I started in on H.P. Lovecraft and The Mound. A story that appears to be a ghost story not set all that far away from where I live.

The story of the mound takes place in Oklahoma and is about ancient and unnatural mound. Likely created by someone in the distant past there are two ghosts which are seen almost constantly. During the day there is an Indian man, though he doesn’t have the typical features of an Indian. At night there is a woman, headless with a strange blue light. 

From there you learn that when people approach the mound during the day(no one goes at night) the Indian disappears so that no one ever sees him up close. But on occasion when people go there they disappear. If they do return there are either things wrong with them, such as the organs on the wrong side and their hair white or they are simply insane.

All of this feels like a great setup to a Lovecraft story, and if it stopped there it would almost certainly be better because in this story Lovecraft does the one thing he should not do with his strange stories. He goes on to explain everything.  These explanations turn the story from what appeared to be excellent horror to moderate to bad science fiction with a lot of names that don’t mean anything.

That isn’t to say that this is a really bad story as such. The beginning is very interesting, and there are ideas here which are very interesting, and throughout the first half of the story everything feels very strange and creepy even if it is a bit repetitive at times, it is simply the explanation that falls short and this is because every explanation of the strange, weird or horrible is likely going to fall short of what I imagine.

If you love H. P. Lovecraft this is a story which touches on mythos, gives some interesting ideas and could be a great setting for an RPG, but if you simply want to sit down and read a story then you’ll be better off with something else.