Monday, October 21, 2013

Reader's Diary #1076- Zealia Brown Bishop and H. P. Lovecraft: The Curse of Yig

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When we think of Halloween animals, most people first think of bats and black cats. Maybe spiders. Snakes, while certainly fear-inducing for many (my wife included), don't seem to enjoy the same connection to Halloween.

"The Curse of Yig," by H.P. Lovecraft (whose Octopus monsters also didn't take off as a Halloween staple) and Zealia Brown Bishop at least made an admirable attempt to make snakes a Halloween tradition. (Come on, they're easier to draw than bat wings.)

In this story Yig is supposedly "the father of serpents," a figure from Native American folklore. He is based loosely on the Mesoamerican Quetzalcoatl, a feathered serpent deity, but Yig himself seems to be a Lovecraft invention and appears in many later works. Native American drums are also used to instill fear; in the characters who fear what they don't understand, and presumably in the reader by mimicking a heartbeat.

The frame of the story is an investigation into Yig by an American Indian ethnologist whose research leads her to Dr. McNeill, who works in an insane asylum and reveals a weird, hissing human-esque creature locked in the basement. He tells her the story of how it came to be, beginning with a couple named Walker (who was deathly afraid of snakes) and his wife Audrey, who may have angered the evil snake god.

It's not so much scary as it is interesting (though if you've already a phobia of snakes, the story won't help any) and it's worth it to stick it out to the end.

(Did you write a post for Short Story Monday? If so, please leave a link in the comments below.)


Barbara Bruederlin said...

I quite like snakes, so I can't imagine that this story will disturb me. But insane asylums, now those are always good for a scare or two!

Jules said...

I don't think I've ever read anything by HP. Lovecraft - an author I keep telling my self to read, but never manga. This sounds like a fun read though - although I'm not a fan of snakes, I do like when an author makes a creepy atmosphere for reading