Contradicting Marcus Aurelius, Emporer of Rome, the recalcitrant nineteenth century ethonographer Friedrich von Junzt wrote in his Unaussprechlichen Kulten that Time is not a river, but a rope of many strings. And where these strings twist and twine and criss and cross, the improbable become possible -- which is to say that no moment is beyond a mystery of infinite complexity and chaotic consequence. With this mishmosh in mind, we find ourselves entertaining an extraordinary question:
Were H.P Lovecraft and H.P. Maxim the same guy?
Ordinarily, we'd dismiss this as a classic snorting-milk-through-the-nose inference -- that is, that the hidebound cult horror writer, and the inventive father of ham radio, as well as the popular English condiment H.P. Sauce must be triplets because all share the same first two initials.
Yet as von Junzt and the New York Lotto slogan persuasively suggest, Hey, you never know.
You see, by sheer chance, we've uncovered some compelling evidence that if Maxim and Lovecraft were not exactly the same guy, both strange birds sat on some very contiguous threads along Time's Clothesline.
Enough with the rope? Then let's just say Lovecraft skewed literary and Maxim mechanical. And their respective childhoods took eccentric turns, each unto iself, situated on opposite points of one very odd cam.
Maxim's father Hiram Stevens invented the machine gun, made pots of money and Hiram Percy parlayed his upbringing into a few patents himself, most notably the gun silencer; Along the way HPM picked up an MIT degree and rustled up a public-spirited wireless fraternity, the American Radio Relay League -- to this day the cheerful can-do responsible adult looming over every ham's shack.
Lovecraft first appears to come from much farther elsewhere. From a tender age, bookworm Lovecraft lived much of his life as a shut-in who ate almost nothing but ice cream , wrote pulp fiction for peanuts, married badly. divorced quickly, died young and inspired most every fanciful writer ever since, from Ray Bradbury to Steven King to geniuses yet to pop.
All right, so those are the cover stories. At least that's what we think until at last we grow away from reading hokey horror and get around to digging up a little history of our other, more grounded ham radio hobby horse and its ritualistic ceremonial fetishes, like the Wouff-Hong.
Wouff-Huh? For the unfamiliar it's a hand-held, lashed-together wooden contraption for the corporal punishment of ill-mannered ham radio operators, in fact invented by H.P. Maxim and very much a lampoon of the late 19th century fraternal faux Dyonisian antics of outfits like Bohemian Grove. Of course, the line between lampoon and life is not exactly the most precise of demarcations, such that like a Ouija board, innocent tomfoolery may conjure dark forces.
Such dark forces were directly stock and trade of H.P.Lovecraft. He wrote stories of distant, ancient, evil rearing its manifold hideous heads in modern times, most often 1930s New England. And his single most enduring entity must be Cthulhu, pronounced variously, very often k-TOO-loo.
We suggest there may be less than a dime's worth of difference between Cthulhu and the Wouff-Hong. Could not the names be transposed, easily as Maxim and Lovecraft?
Strip away the baroque buncombe and Freemasonic folderol, and you've got a singular expression of a singular individual, historically expressed as two out of phase, yet clearly cloven from one, like a light beam split by a crystal of Iceland spar from an Olde Curiosity Shoppe.
Like, not for nothin', huh?
Here begins ten minutes of the darndest scratching, screeching, groaning, blowing off steam, blubbering that ever mortal ear heard. At its worst it goes on into -- -- fine fine how do u do it? ark r r r rubber band on vibrator—BANG. My friend with the one k.w. over on the other side of town explodes.
Hiram Percy Maxim AKA "The Old Man,"
Founder, American Radio Relay League,
QST Magazine, 1917.
These folk say that on a table in a bare room on the ground floor are many peculiar bottles, in each a small piece of lead suspended pendulum-wise from a string. And they say that the Terrible Old Man talks to these bottles, addressing them by such names as Jack, Scar-Face, Long Tom, Spanish Joe, Peters, and Mate Ellis, and that whenever he speaks to a bottle the little lead pendulum within makes certain definite vibrations as if in answer. Those who have watched the tall, lean, Terrible Old Man in these peculiar conversations, do not watch him again.
Howard Phllips Lovecraft,
"The Terrible Old Man"
Best Supernatural Stories of H.P. Lovecraft
World Publishing Company 1945
By arrangment with Arkham House
Creation of H.P. Maxim
Creation of H.P. Lovecraft