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Arkham is a fictional city in Massachusetts, part of the Lovecraft Country setting created by H. P. Lovecraft and is featured in many of his stories, as well as those of other Cthulhu Mythos writers.

Arkham House, a publishing company started by two of Lovecraft's correspondents, August Derleth and Donald Wandrei, takes its name from this city as a tribute.[1]

In Lovecraft's storiesEdit

What lay behind our joint love of shadows and marvels was, no doubt, the ancient, mouldering, and subtly fearsome town in which we live - witch-cursed, legend-haunted Arkham, whose huddled, sagging gambrel roofs and crumbling Georgian balustrades brood out the centuries beside the darkly muttering Miskatonic.
~ HPL , The Thing on the Doorstep



Arkham is the home of Miskatonic University, which figures prominently in many of Lovecraft's works. The institution finances the expeditions in both At the Mountains of Madness (1936) and The Shadow Out of Time (1936). Walter Gilman, of "The Dreams in the Witch House" (1933), attends classes at the university. Other notable institutions in Arkham are the Arkham Historical Society and the Arkham Sanitarium. It is said in "Herbert West--Reanimator" that the town was devastated by a typhoid outbreak in 1905.

File:Crowninshield-Bentley House - Salem, Massachusetts.JPG

Arkham's main newspaper is the Arkham Advertiser, which has a circulation that reaches as far as Dunwich. In the 1880s, its newspaper is called the Arkham Gazette.

Arkham’s most notable characteristics are its gambrel roofs and the dark legends that have surrounded the city for centuries. The disappearance of children (presumably murdered in ritual sacrifices) at May Eve and other "bad doings" are accepted as a part of life for the poorer citizens of the city.

LocationEdit

Lovecraft Country

Detailed map of Lovecraft Country, showing one possible location of Arkham.

The precise location of Arkham is unspecified, although it is probably near both Innsmouth and Dunwich. However, it may be surmised from Lovecraft's stories that it is some distance to the north of Boston, probably in Essex County, Massachusetts.

The actual location of Arkham is a subject of debate. Will Murray places Arkham in central Massachusetts and suggests that it is based on the small village of Oakham. Robert D. Marten rejects this claim and equates Arkham with Salem, and thinks that Arkham is named for Arkwright, Rhode Island (which is now part of Fiskville). Lovecraft wrote that "[his] mental picture of Arkham is of a town something like Salem in atmosphere [and] style of houses, but more hilly [and] with a college (which Salem [lacks]) ... [He] place[s] the town [and] the imaginary Miskatonic [River] somewhere north of Salem—perhaps near Manchester." (HPL: letter to F. Lee Baldwin dated April 29, 1934; EXP: An H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia)

A more recent mapping of Lovecraft Country reinforces this suggestion, with Arkham being situated close to the location of Gordon College; in Lovecraft's work this would presumably be replaced by Miskatonic University itself. The real-life model for Arkham seems to be, in fact, Salem, its reputation for the occult appealing to one who dabbles in the weird tale. August Derleth stated in his writings: "Arkham ... was Lovecraft’s own well-known, widely used place-name for legend-haunted Salem, Massachusetts, in his remarkable fiction". (AWD: "About Arkham House" web site)

Arkham Sanitarium appears in the short story "The Thing on the Doorstep" and may have been inspired by the Danvers State Insane Asylum, aka Danvers State Hospital, located in Danvers, Massachusetts.[2] (Danvers State Hospital also appears in Lovecraft's stories "Pickman's Model" and "The Shadow over Innsmouth".).

AppearancesEdit

Lovecraft's fictionEdit

Note: dates are the year written.

Other authorsEdit

Template:Unreferenced section

Arkham also appears in the Cthulhu Mythos tales of other writers since Lovecraft's death. Among them:

  • Bloch, Robert. "The Creeper in the Crypt" (1937)
  • Brennen, Joseph Payne. "Forringer's Fortune" (1975)
  • Brunner, John. "Concerning the Forthcoming Inexpensive Paperback Translation of the Necronomicon of Abdul Alhazred" (1992)
  • Campbell, Ramsey
    • "The Tomb Herd" (1986)
    • "The Tower from Yuggoth" (1986)
  • Jens, Tina L. "In His Daughter's Darkling Womb" (1997), mentions "Arkham Industries"
  • López Aroca, Alberto. Necronomicón Z (Spanish novel published by Ediciones Dolmen, 2012)
  • Lumley, Brian. The Transition of Titus Crow (1975)
  • Price, Robert M. "Wilbur Whateley Waiting" (1987)
  • Shea, Michael. The Color out of Time (1984)
  • Smith, Clark Ashton. "I Am a Witch" (19??)
  • Thompson, C. Hall. "The Will of Claude Ashur" (1947)
  • Wilson, F. Paul. "The Barrens" (1990)
  • Howard, L. Jonathan. "Johannes Cabal: The Fear Institute" (2011)

LiteratureEdit

  • Arkham is the setting for all of the stories in the 2006 anthology Arkham Tales published by Chaosium.[3]
  • In the novel The Arcanum, Lovecraft himself is said to have been involved in solving a case involving a witch cult in Arkham.[citation needed]
  • Arkham appears in several scenes in The Illuminatus! Trilogy. It is mentioned that the Arkham Police Department often has to deal with local cults and disappearing professors from Miskatonic.[citation needed]


Film and televisionEdit

  • Arkham also appears as the town in the movie Die, Monster, Die! starring Boris Karloff and Nick Adams, though in this film the town is located in England. (This film is based upon Lovecraft's "The Colour out of Space".)[citation needed]
  • Arkham appears in "The Collect Call of Cathulhu", an episode from The Real Ghostbusters, when members of the Ghostbusters go to Miskatonic University to get information on how to stop Cthulhu.[citation needed]
  • Arkham Asylum is the name of the heavily fortified insane asylum located on the outskirts of Gotham City in the various Batman media.[citation needed]
  • Arkham Sanitarium is both the name and the setting of a film currently in post-production by UK production company Survivor Films Ltd.[citation needed]
  • Arkham was also seen in the 2003 film Beyond Re-Animator starring Jeffrey Combs, the third installment of the Re-Animator series.[citation needed]
  • Arkham is used as the hometown of NXT professional wrestler Simon Gotch who has a man-out-of-time 1930s gimmick. [citation needed]


ComicsEdit

  • In the DC Universe, Arkham Asylum is a high-security asylum for dangerous psychopaths where many Gotham City supervillains, including the Joker, are kept under guard. There is also a graphic novel titled Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth. There are Batman video games known as "Batman: Arkham Asylum, Batman: Arkham Origins, Batman: Arkham City, and Batman: Arkham Knight. In the fictional universe, it was run by the Arkham family, namely Amadeus Arkham, giving it its name.[citation needed]


GamesEdit

  • Arkham Horror is a cooperative adventure board-game themed around H.P Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos. The game has players exploring the town of Arkham as they attempt to stop unmentionable horrors from spilling into the world.[citation needed]
  • In the game Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth, the main character, private detective Jack Walters, is admitted to the Arkham Mental Institution after seeing Yithian creatures and hence becoming seemingly insane during a raid of a Boston home.[citation needed]
  • In the stealth action game Batman: Arkham Asylum, gameplay takes place inside the Arkham Asylum Mental Health Care Facility. It also appears in its sequels Batman: Arkham City and Batman: Arkham Origins.[citation needed]

MusicEdit

  • Grindcore band Discordance Axis have a song entitled Radiant Arkham.[citation needed]
  • Avant-garde rock artist Bob Drake's song, "Kaziah's Pet," is set in Arkham.[citation needed]
  • Deathrock band Rudimentary Peni not only makes a reference to Arkham in their song "Arkham Hearse", but also numerous other H. P. Lovecraft references throughout their musical catalogue.[citation needed]
  • Alt-country musician Ryan Adams wrote a song called "Arkham Asylum," which he and The Cardinals have performed live since September 18, 2006.[citation needed]
  • Heavy-metal band High on Fire mentions Arkham in a song entitled "The Face of Oblivion" on the album "Blessed Black Wings".[citation needed]
  • Hip Hop group Common Market (band) wrote a song called "Escaping Arkham"[5] one of five songs on the album "The Winter's End EP".

See alsoEdit

  • Arkham Asylum, an institution in the DC Comics universe, named in honor of Lovecraft's Arkham
  • Arkham Horror, a board game set in Arkham, where the players war against the Cthulhu Mythos
  • Lovecraft Country

Other fictional settings from the stories of H. P. Lovecraft:

NotesEdit

  1. Cf. "About Arkham House" web site.
  2. Joseph Morales notes in his "A Short Tour of Lovecraftian New England" (web site) that Danvers "is mentioned in passing in some of Lovecraft's stories, and might also be the inspiration for HPL's fictional Arkham Sanitarium".
  3. Arkham Tales. Retrieved on 3 March 2015.
  4. The Atrocity Archives. Retrieved on 3 March 2015.
  5. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnB-gYeRT7U


ReferencesEdit

Primary sourcesEdit

  • Lovecraft, Howard P.
    • At the Mountains of Madness, and Other Novels (7th corrected printing), S. T. Joshi (ed.), Sauk City, WI: Arkham House, 1985. ISBN 0-87054-038-6. Definitive version.
    • Dagon and Other Macabre Tales, S. T. Joshi (ed.), Sauk City, WI: Arkham House, 1987. ISBN 0-87054-039-4. Definitive version.
    • The Dunwich Horror and Others (9th corrected printing), S. T. Joshi (ed.), Sauk City, WI: Arkham House, 1984. ISBN 0-87054-037-8. Definitive version.

Secondary sourcesEdit

BooksEdit

Web sitesEdit

External linksEdit