Conference Adventures: Not exactly worthy of nightmares

Constance Crompton and I recently ventured South to the States for the Women in the Archives Conference at Brown University. Adventures were had, microbrews were enjoyed, architecture was admired, archives were discussed. We had some free time after the conference, and one of the conference organizers suggested we use it to visit Swan Point Cemetery. There were lots of old gravestones, she noted, as well as many bird-watching opportunities. Finally, she pointed out that H.P. Lovecraft was buried there and that his fans were always leaving “weird stuff” by his grave. Well, I am never one to turn down the promise of “weird stuff.” I have never even read H.P. Lovecraft, but I had created quite a vision of what might be there. I was imagining his grave might look like something along the lines of this:

Cthulhu

Or this:

hulhu

Or even this (we were in a university town, after all):

University Cthulhu

Sadly, after marching around in a freezing cold drizzle of rain for an hour while scrutinizing a cemetery map that would probably more accurately be described as Kafkaesque, rather than Lovecraftian, what we found was this:

H.P. Lovecraft's Grave

Oh. How understated. No wonder we couldn’t spot it from the car – I was looking for some sort of monstrous obsidian pyramid, possibly topped with some tentacled beast, possibly with a vortex opening in the sky above it. This rather pedestrian gravestone wasn’t WEIRD at all. The best effort towards “weird” was made by whoever left the toy dinosaur:

Toy dinosaur atop Lovecraft grave

We made our own “weird” offering of a Canadian penny. Sadly, Cthulhu did not make an appearance in order to thank (or eat) us.