“Horror at Martin’s Beach, The“
- Short story (2,410 words); written in collaboration with Sonia H.Greene, probably in June 1922. First published (as “The Invisible Monster”) in WT(November 1923); first collected in Cats;corrected text in HM.The crew of a fishing smack kills a sea creature “fifty feet in length, of roughly cylindrical shape, and about ten feet in diameter” at Martin’s Beach (an unspecified and imaginary locale, but presumably near Gloucester, Mass., which is mentioned several times). Scientists prove the creature to be a mere infant, hatched only a few days previously and probably originating from the deep sea; the day after it is placed on exhibition, it and the vessel that caught it disappear without a trace. Some days later a terrified cry for help emerges from the sea, and the lifeguards throw out a life-preserver to assist the stricken individual; but the life-preserver, attached to a long rope, appears to have been grasped by some nameless entity that pulls it out to sea, and when the lifeguards and other individuals attempt to reel it in, they not only find themselves unable to do so, but also find that they cannot release the rope. They are inexorably dragged to their deaths in the sea. The idea is that the parent of the infant creature has not only grasped the life-preserver but also hypnotized the rescuers so that their wills no longer function. (This is why Prof. Alton’s article “Are Hypnotic Powers Confined to Recognized Humanity?” is cited early in the text.) The tale bears a striking (but accidental) similarity to the British horror film Gorgo (1961).
An H.P.Lovecraft encyclopedia. S.T. Joshi, David E. Schultz.
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