The Evil Clergyman
H. P. Lovecraft
Written in 1937
Published in April of 1939
The Evil Clergyman
I was shown into the attic chamber by a grave, intelligent-looking man with quiet clothes and an iron-
gray beard, who spoke to me in this fashion:
lived here- but I don’t advise your doing anything. Your curiosity makes you irresponsible.
never come here at night, and it’s only because of
will that we keep it this way. You know what
did. That abominable society took charge at last, and we don’t know where
is buried. There was
no way the law or anything else could reach the society.
"I hope you won’t stay till after dark. And I beg of you to let that thing on the table- the thing that looks
like a match-box- alone. We don’t know what it is, but we suspect it has something to do with what
did. We even avoid looking at it very steadily."
After a time the man left me alone in the attic room. It was very dingy and dusty, and only primitively
furnished, but it had a neatness which showed it was not a slum-denizen’s quarters. There were shelves
full of theological and classical books, and another bookcase containing treatises on magic- Paracelsus,
Albertus Magnus, Trithemius, Hermes Trismegistus, Borellus, and others in a strange alphabet whose
titles I could not decipher. The furniture was very plain. There was a door, but it led only into a closet.
The only egress was the aperture in the floor up to which the crude, steep staircase led. The windows
were of bull’s-eye pattern, and the black oak beams bespoke unbelievable antiquity. Plainly, this house
was of the Old World. I seemed to know where I was, but cannot recall what I then knew. Certainly the
town was not London. My impression is of a small seaport.
The small object on the table fascinated me intensely. I seemed to know what to do with it, for I drew a
pocket electric light- or what looked like one- out of my pocket and nervously tested its flashes. The
light was not white but violet, and seemed less like true light than like some radioactive bombardment.
I recall that I did not regard it as a common flashlight- indeed, I
a common flashlight in another
It was getting dark, and the ancient roofs and chimney-pots outside looked very queer through the