An H.P. Lovecraft Story Commissioned by Harry Houdini Was Just Discovered

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This strange bit of literary esoterica comes from our friends at The Guardian, who report that a “long-lost manuscript” written by H.P. Lovecraft, and commissioned by Harry Houdini, was just discovered amid a collection of magic memorabilia.

The 31-page story is called The Cancer of Superstition, and was commissioned in 1926 by Houdini. The famous escape artist died later that year, and his wife had no interested in pursuing the project, so it died on the the vine. Now, 90 years later, it was found among the odds and ends of a defunct magic shop. Several papers from Houdini’s wife, Beatrice, were also found.

“The collection bounced around after Beatrice Houdini’s death in 1943 and was never truly catalogued or ‘mined’ in all that time. The papers were never researched or inventoried,” said Gabe Fajuri, president of Potter & Potter auction house. “In all that time, no one seemed to realise the significance of the manuscript.”

The entire collection was bought by a private collector, who had no idea he’d inherit a never-before-seen Lovecraft story with his purchase. Potter & Potter will auction it off on April 9, with a starting price of $13,000 (though they estimate it will fetch over $25,000 by the end).

Lovecraft, a writer of dark, twisted science fiction, had a co-author named CM Eddy, and a Lovecraft scholar named ST Joshi believes that Lovecraft is only responsible for the synopsis, while Eddy wrote the text. This has not been firmly established. What we do know is that the content is typically macabre, covering topics like worship of the dead, werewolves, and cannibalism. The last line is classic Lovecraft:

“Most of us are heathens in the innermost recesses of our hearts.”