Turns out that last year the blog Grim Reviews scattered a few kind words about a pre-Halloween feature I wrote three years ago about Rhode Island native C.M. Eddy Jr., a pulp writer for “Weird Tales” and a close friend to H.P. Lovecraft and Harry Houdini. Eddy’s grandson, Jim Dyer of Narragansett, had compiled a partial collection of his work – 13 stories titled “The Loved Dead and Other Tales,” published by his homegrown company, Fenham Publishing. Previously, Dyer had published Eddy’s work in “Exit Into Eternity, Tales of the Bizarre and Supernatural.”
Given that Halloween is just around the corner, it seemed like a good time to resurrect a couple of quotes from the piece that serve to illuminate Lovecraft and Houdini, two artists in different disciplines whose influence on modern horror writers (in Lovecraft’s case) and illusionists (in Houdini’s) is unquestioned, from Stephen King to David Copperfield.
Lovecraft, of course, was a Providence native and Rhode Island lifer, while Houdini was a frequent visitor to our humble state. The words are Dyer’s:
On Eddy’s relationship to Lovecraft:
My grandparents became friends with Lovecraft in the early 1920s. He used to walk to their house in Fox Point and stay late into the night. My grandfather and he would take late-night walks in the streets of Providence, looking for interesting places or just talking about ideas for stories. My grandmother typed some of his manuscripts…He wasn’t competitive at all. Lovecraft had a hand in a lot of stories that he never got any credit for. He had a circle of friends, who would mail each other different stories and make comments.
On Eddy’s relationship to Houdini:
He worked as a ghostwriter and an investigator for Houdini. Houdini paid writers to write stories that had his name on them in popular magazines. He also used to go around the country breaking up séances and exposing mediums as fakes. My grandfather would travel to a town ahead of him and find out everything he could. He’d figure out how the voices were coming from the walls, how the table might be moving. Then he’d type up a report for Houdini, who would show up with all of the newspapers and expose the act as if he was doing it on the spot.
The runaway cow that fell out of a truck last Tuesday on the Jamestown Bridge while on its way to the slaughterhouse captured the attention and imagination of locals. The bovine avoided capture for two hours before being shot by police and state environmental officials at the request of its owner. We’ll have more on the paper side in “Flotsam & Jetsam” this Thursday, but for now we’d like to know where Jamestown Bridge Cow ranks in Rhode Island’s cow pantheon. Here’s my take:
1) Golden Cow. (Newport Creamery logo.)
2) Jamestown Bridge Cow. (RIP)
3) Diva Cows. (Two of the seven Cows on Parade owned by Imagine, a boutique store in Warren. The colorful cow-sized sculptures graze eternally outside the second story of the store along Route 114. Warren has embraced the kitschy cattle, unlike denizens of Imagine’s previous home in Barrington, who raised a hue and cry to ban the cows from their town.)
4) Colt Park Bulls. (Two Jersey bulls owned by Colonel Colt that now stand as sculptures on marble pedestals at the entrance to Colt State Park in Bristol. Colt raised the finest Jersey herd in the world. On the right is a Grand Champion. On the left is a bull that killed a farm worker.)
5) The Purple Cow. (A boutique store in Wakefield.)
6) Rhody Fresh. (The logo for Rhody Fresh, local milk from local farms.)
Years ago, after someone shot an elephant in Chepachet, the town’s residents honored its memory with a statue and an annual holiday. This week’s question: How should we honor the late, lamented Jamestown Bridge Cow?