Tuesday, May 24, 2016

620 East Knapp Street

So, yesterday after wrapping up the first day's session at Marquette, I made a little pilgrimage to a literary spot. Or at least that was my intent; in practice it became more like a bit of literary tag.

Years ago, when I was reading through Lovecraft looking at Dunsany connections, I was bemused to discover that Robert Harrison Blake, the hapless protagonist of HPL's last tale, THE HAUNTER IN THE DARK, lived at 620 E. Knapp Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin -- this being in fact Robert Bloch's home, Bloch having been the model for Lovecraft's character. I'd made an attempt at the time to locate the address, only to find that whatever house once stood there had long since been knocked down to clear the margins of the highway. Too bad, but so it goes.

Except that Monday evening I noticed that I'd made a small but significant mistake: I'd gone to West Knapp Street, not to the actual address east of the river. So while making a run to buy some groceries to tide me over the next two weeks I parked the car and walked to E. Knapp to see what might be there.

The answer is: nothing that dates back to Bloch's day. Whatever house or apartment building Bloch once lived in, that street address has now vanished and the spot is now covered by block-long apartment complex, I think designated as housing for the elderly (though that may have only applied to the building across the street). Pity there's no little blue historical marker for the author of PSYCHO, or for its fictional significance through its use in Lovecraft's story. Had there been an oldish house still there I think I'd have spun a CALL OF CTHULHU scenario out of the idea that, just as part of the Haunter makes its way into Blake's consciousness in the latter's final moments, so too some part of Blake must have gone into the creature, so that it might later be found haunting the spot where Blake had once lived before his ill-fated journey to New England.

current reading: THE RETURN OF THE SHADOW (re-reading; excellent!); THE RISE AND FALL OF THE CTHULHU MYTHOS (resumed)

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