The Whisperer in Darkness
The Lovecraft, Citro, Bissette: “Whisperer” VT State Premiere October 20th 2011 Archive
This is the archived ballyhoo and followup from the October 20th, 2011 Vermont State Premiere of the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society‘s The Whisperer in Darkness (2011) and the “Floodraiser” Benefit Event(s) for the Rescue, Reconstruction, and Restoration of the Main Street Museum in White River Junction, VT. This special event took place at the historic Hotel Coolidge in downtown White River Junction:
* There was a special 6 PM-7:45 PM event for donations of $100+. This special event featured a one-of-a-kind lecture on the 1927 Vermont flood, the 1928 visit of H.P. Lovecraft to the Guilford, VT home of poet Vrest Orton, and other Lovecraftian Vermont lore, presented by Citro and Bissette from 6:45-7:45 PM. This event was preceded and accompanied with 1927 Victrola music and food (substantial hors d’œuvres), and a silent auction of Citro rarities, Lovecraft curios, and The Whisperer in Darkness feature film adaptation props, scripts, and rarities.
Note: All attending this event received two signed limited edition illustrated chapbooks created and published specifically for this event, and first-choice seating for the 8 PM premiere of The Whisperer in Darkness.
(Yes, this meant the $100 donation did include the movie premiere!)
A partial list (and pix!) of silent auction items appears below.
* There were two showings of The Whisperer in Darkness; the first (at $25 per ticket) at 8 PM, intro by Citro/Bissette; the second (at $15 per ticket) at 10 PM, intro by Citro/Bissette.
* The Hotel Coolidge offered, first come first serve, a $69 package deal for two for one Hotel Coolidge room (not including the event of your choice/participation; please note, you will still need a ticket for the event of your choice) for the night of October 20th.
A few participants did take advantage of this offer.
This was also the height of autumn foliage season in Vermont; a terrific package deal.
This made it viable for those from some distance away to attend.
(Note: The Hotel Coolidge was built in 1927—the very year of the fateful Vermont flood H.P. Lovecraft based “The Whisperer in Darkness” upon!)
We recommend you plan your visit to the Main Street Museum or White River Junction area around a stay at the Hotel Coolidge, 39 South Main Street, White River Junction, VT; call 802-295-3118 or 800-622-1124, for reservations, or email the innkeeper
On October 20th, 2011, there was a special one-night, two-tier event for White River Junction‘s Main Street Museum relief & restoration, which was damaged and closed in the high-water wake of the August 2011 Hurricane Irene flood.
The Hotel Coolidge, The Center for Cartoon Studies, WRIF, and The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society (and the producers of their brand-new feature film) sponsored a special Main Street Museum evening of fundraising entertainments unique to the season.
The evening opened with a special event featuring Vermont folklorist & novelist Joseph A. Citro and yours truly Stephen R. Bissette, followed by the Vermont state premiere of the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society‘s feature film adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s 1927 Vermont flood tale “The Whisperer in Darkness.”
There were many donation opportunities for all, including silent auctions (featuring auction items generously donated by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society, props from the feature film, etc.), a raffle, a special chapbook featuring new work by Citro and Bissette (whose original Lovecraft art for the chapbook will also be in the auction), and much more.
The story (and the film) are based on H.P. Lovecraft‘s 1928 visit to Vermont as a guest of beloved Vermont poet Vrest Orton, who even then recognized what precious few at that time did: that Lovecraft was a unique and important American writer.
Lovecraft wrote “Whisperer” after his exploration of portions of the flood-ravaged state, extrapolating from elements of the 1927 catastrophe—all of which are retained and expanded upon in the feature film adaptation—making this a unique, creative, one-of-a-kind conjunction of two Vermont flood legacies, all to raise funds for the rebuilding and reopening of one of White River Junction‘s historic buildings and most remarkable landmarks and institutions.
Whisperer Online: Want to Hear More?
Event organizer Stephen Bissette talked about the “Floodraiser” event and the Vermont State Premiere of The Whisperer in Darkness with the Sci-Fi Saturday Night Talkcast team; this was originally podcast on October 8th, 2011.
Whisperer in Darkness Props, Rarities, and Collectibles!
The following one-of-a-kind props from the feature film The Whisperer in Darkness were donated to the Main Street Museum by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society and the producers of the film.
Many of the items pictured are now part of the Main Street Museum‘s permanent collection, while a few were auctioned off on October 20th during the silent auction. Others will be available to discerning collectors via online auction in the near future.
The mysterious “Black Stones” play an important role in the story and the film adaptation. There are two of these props, sculpted/molded in lightweight foam; the above photographs show all sides as best as possible.
The original The Whisperer in Darkness shooting script (dated August 2009), signed by the screenplay authors Sean Branney and Andrew Leman, both of whom also appear in the film.
This handsome H.P. Lovecraft Historial Society bust of the late, great H.P. Lovecraft will be offered to discerning collectors via a future online auction.
Whisperer Movie Props for Display Only
The following H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society The Whisperer in Darkness movie prop rarities were on display only (not for auction or sale) during the 6 PM-7:45 PM Joseph A. Citro event.
The good folks at the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society will be making duplicates of these one-of-a-kind props for display in the permanent collection of the Main Street Museum.
Photos ©2011 Marjory Bissette, all rights reserved.
The Whisperer in Darkness: The Trailer:
The Whisperer in Darkness by H.P. Lovecraft
The Original Story
“The Whisperer in Darkness” was originally published in the August 1931 issue of Weird Tales (Vol. 18, No. 1, pp. 32-73);
Whisperer Miniatures Donated to Main Street Museum!
The following The Whisperer in Darkness miniature sets have been donated by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society to the Main Street Museum. More information on their permanent display to follow….
Producer/co-screenwriter Andrew Leman offered the following descriptions: above:
“The Mi-Go Cave: 53″ x 63″, and about 4 feet high. Also has a lighting system built into it which, if used, needs an electrical outlet.”
“The Standing Stones of Round Mountain: Roughly 3′ x 3.5′, and about 27 inches tall. Has a plasma sphere built in which requires an electrical outlet, should you wish to turn it on. Also comes with a miniature airplane flying overhead, which is certainly optional, but adds a few feet to the height of it.”
“The Cliffs: Roughly 66″ x 33″, and again about 4 feet high.”
Above and below:
“The Masterson Barn: A replica of an actual barn in Spofford, New Hampshire, where we filmed on location. It is on a platform that is 4′ x 8′, and is about 8′ tall. The legs of the platform could certainly be shortened, but that would make it more difficult to look inside, which is part of the fun.”
We’ll share more about the Main Street Museum‘s plans for these incredible The Whisperer in Darkness miniatures in the near future. Stay tuned!
Flood Waters Rising:
More on the 1927 and 2011 Floods….
“At least five cameramen in different corners of the state captured the November, 1927 flood on film. Two reels of flood footage have survived: about 10 minutes of 35mm footage sheltered at the Northeast Historic Film Museum, and 25 minutes currently housed at the University of Vermont Bailey/Howe Library Media Resources Department. Together, this archived footage present a remarkable snapshot of the natural disaster, demonstrating how active newsreel photographers (professional and amateur) had become in the most remote corners of the state.
The man who’d already shot some of the first industrial films in the state (for the maple sugar industry), Harry Wendell Richardson, shot footage along the northernmost portion of the state, showcasing the wake of the flood in Newport, Orleans, Coventry, and areas along the Clyde River; this reel is in the Northeast Historic Film Museum collection. The UVM footage, entitled Vermont Flood of 1927, is the most publicly available of all (on display at the new Vermont Historic Society Pavilion in Barre, Vermont; excerpts appear in the VPT video Vermont’s Great Flood), featuring the towns of Winooski, Bolton, Waterbury, Jonesville, Jeffersonville, Cambridge, Rutland, Proctor, Richmond, Hinesburg, and White River Junction, as well as bordering New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Four photographers are credited: Edward V. Hoyt, L.A. Norcott, “ex-Governor Proctor, of Proctor, Vt., and Ralph R. Eno of New York City.”…”
Photo: Main Street Museum, as the flood waters rose toward it on August 28, 2011; photo ©2011 Melanie Gillman.
That was then; this is now. Why did we host this October 20th fundraiser for the Main Street Museum?
In short, Hurricane Irene hammered the Main Street Museum, as it did much of the state of Vermont in the final days of August, 2011.
which includes the first photos I saw of the damage to the Main Street Museum, along with MSM proprietor/curator David Fairbanks Ford‘s initial public statement, and links to various fundraisers for Vermont 2011 flood relief.
which I most recently visited this past Friday (donating my services to the Crossett Brook Middle School, at no charge to the school or community; hey, do whatever you can!). The damage to Duxbury (and other communities) simply cannot be overstated.
So, we’re doing what we can for one of our local landmarks, and a building and institution that has been a major booster and supporter of White River Junction, the Center for Cartoon Studies, and is in major need of reconstruction, restoration, and rescue in the wake of Hurricane Irene (see photo, below; that’s the lower level of the Main Street Museum the morning after the flood waters receded).
Join the Main Street Museum membership circle—donate what you can, via the many opportunities we present, and come and visit us. Thanks to the Whisperer miniature sets on display at the Museum, this unusual creative fusion of the historic 1927 and 2011 floods will continue to live.
SEE YOU THERE!
Lovecraft “Floodraiser” Pix
Shots from the October 20th Lovecraft/Citro/Whisperer Main Street Museum Event
These photos are all ©2011 Rachel Foss and the Main Street Museum, and are posted here with permission.
Below, too, is my letter to our local newspaper, The Valley News, which was published Halloween week.
The First Event: Silent Auction
As we were gathering items for the silent auction, Jen Vaughn sent a surprise email reading in part, “…AWESOME! This perfume and oils company, Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, is sending us a set of the LOVECRAFT inspired scents. …Miskatonic University (smells like dusty old tomes and coffee or to me, chocolate chip cookies).” Here’s Jen personally providing a potential bidder with a whiff of one of the scents; special thanks to Kathy Flynn at Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab for their very kind and generous donation;
David Fairbanks Ford (center) gifted all the kind donators to/participants in the evening’s first event with special vials of genuine 1927 Flood silt from the Main Street Museum collections, prepared as decorative necklaces. Take some of the 1927 flood home with you!
The Second Event: Conversation & Lectures
Here’s some of Rachel‘s snapshots from the evening’s intimate conversations and scheduled lectures. Special thanks to the hospitality and food provided by David Briggs and the Hotel Coolidge; what a host!
Survivors of the 2011 Brattleboro, VT flooding made the long drive up to White River Junction for the event, enjoying the fine conversation, food and beverage, and (below) a screening of 1927 Vermont flood footage.
The pre-lecture conversations afforded some lucky folks time to chat with our special guest Joseph A. Citro (above) while far less fortunate guests were plagued by my odious, interminable conversational banalities (below).
Main Street Museum proprietor/curator David Fairbanks Ford profusely thanked the community for its extraordinary support from the moment Hurricane Irene hit to today, with special thanks to everyone in attendance for their kind donations and for coming out for this one-of-a-kind event. He then introduced the speakers…
Joseph A. Citro spoke about his personal experiences as a Lovecraft reader (and Lovecraftian writer), and more;
We then adjourned to the screening room for the main event: the Vermont State Premiere of The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society‘s new feature film, The Whisperer in Darkness!
And now, that letter to the editor of The Valley News…
To the Editor,
I want to publicly thank an extraordinary organization of creative individuals who’ve gone above and beyond since the August flooding of White River Junction, Vermont. Though they live in California, they feel such a connection to our home state that they have generously graced this week’s October 20th Main Street Museum fundraiser at the Hotel Coolidge in ways that will continue to reward and enrich the community for years to come.
I approached the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society to suggest a fundraiser VT state premiere of their new feature film “The Whisperer in Darkness”—based on the 1931 Lovecraft short story, drawn from his 1928 visit to Guilford VT writer Vrest Orton—and they responded with startling generosity. Not only did they grant permission to exhibit their new film (set and partially shot in VT), but they donated signed scripts, posters, props from the movie, and the original miniatures constructed for the film. These detailed models of the Townshend, VT landscapes Lovecraft imagined are remarkable, as is the miniature of an actual Spofford, NH barn that appears in the film.
Some of these items will find new homes via the October 20th silent auctions; some will remain on permanent display in the Main Street Museum, making White River Junction a destination point for Lovecraft readers, fans, researchers and scholars from around the world.
For this, I wish to publicly thank the HPLHS and “The Whisperer in Darkness” producers/creative partners Andrew Leman, Sean Branney, Michael Dager, and Chris Lackey.
Thanks, too, to VT author/folklorist Joseph A. Citro for agreeing to lecture at the October 20th event, and to our sponsors: David Briggs (Hotel Coolidge), Michelle Ollie (the Center for Cartoon Studies), Nora Jacobson (WRIF), CCS alumnus Jen Vaughn, and all the CCSers who donated artwork to the event chapbooks and auction.
The non-profit Main Street Museum has been a constant supporter of CCS and the community, and the community has responded in kind throughout the flood ordeal. But the overwhelming generosity of the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society has been an unexpected windfall; our heartfelt thanks!
Stephen R. Bissette
The writer is an instructor at the Center for Cartoon Studies
Followup to the Floodraiser Continues:
Event organizer/coordinator Jen Vaughn (above, with the limited edition Whisperer program books in hand for our generous guests/donators/participants on the 20th) made sure everything ran smoothly and on-time.
I forgot to mention in Friday’s post that David Fairbanks Ford set up his Victrola in the front lobby of the Hotel Coolidge to play a rotation of rare 78s, serenading the event entrance with hit songs from 1927…
All those who attended the opening event (and thus made generous donations to the Main Street Museum) also received genuine Main Street Museum 1927/2011 Flood Silt necklaces (the silt is in the vials) and not one but two special limited edition illustrated program booklets specially edited and published for the evening festivities, Whisperers and Whispers on Whisperer. The original artwork from Whisperers (by Pat Barrett, Denis St. John, Jason Week, Al Wesolowsky, and yours truly) and signed limited edition prints of Chris Warren‘s “The Whisperer in Darkness” comic adaptation were also showcased and sold via the silent auction (below).
Along with the auction items, the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society also allowed us to display rare, one-of-a-kind props specially created for the film The Whisperer in Darkness, including the incredibly detailed “Henry Akeley” files, photos, and drawings (below).
These included full-size printed replicas of 1927 and 1928 regional Vermont newspapers, three sets of which were available for in the auction, too (below).
These photos are all ©2011 Rachel Foss and the Main Street Museum, and are posted here with permission.
Though I’ve no photos of the audience just as the film began, we did fill the hall; there were over 50 folks (at $25 per seat) at the first show, and a modest turnout for the 10 PM show (at $15 a seat), with all proceeds going to the Main Street Museum.
Once everything was tallied up, including the silent auction, the evening was a success, raising over $4000 for the Museum‘s ongoing repairs and resurrection.
The Third Event: The Raffle
Yep, we raffled off a number of rarities to audience members before Joe Citro‘s official introductory comments to the feature film itself. Some folks went home with plenty of late-night reading!
And then, it was time for the final seating. Once everyone was in place, the projectionist dimmed the lights…
The Main Event: The Vermont State Premiere of The Whisperer in Darkness
All photos ©2011 Rachel Foss; all rights reserved. Posted with permission.
More photos (of the miniatures on display at the Main Street Museum) later this week; the best of these will be archived at
Jen and I are also sending a set of Rachel‘s photos to the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society, for their own use.
Support Our Benefactors & Sponsors!
We’re extremely thankful for the incredible generosity and support we received from the Hotel Coolidge, the Center for Cartoon Studies, WRIF (the White River Independent Film Festival), and especially the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society, who made this Vermont state feature film premiere possible, and who donated so many wonderful and absolutely marvelous items to the event, the silent auction, and to the Main Street Museum permanent collection.
David Briggs, proprietor and innkeeper of the Hotel Coolidge, has been a long-time supporter of the Main Street Museum, and immediately offered the Hotel venue without hesitation to support and host this extraordinary event.
Special thanks to Nora Jacobson of WRIF, who helped make this singular motion picture premiere possible.
Special thanks to Michelle Ollie at CCS, whose immediate response the morning of the flooding prompted this event.
Both CCS and WRIF are educational non-profits; your kind support and donations are always appreciated.
They’ll send you a custom printed Membership Certificate (8″x10″, suitable for framing) and a customized membership card, both of which declare your official membership in the HPLHS. And:
* Members get a 10% discount on any in-person sales from the HPLHS (when we’re at conventions, film festivals, etc…)
* Members can opt-in to a Members Only portion of the HPLHS website where they can (if they choose) share their contact info with other HPLHS members. This feature coming soon.
* Members can collect cool HPLHS issued stickers for their membership cards
* The Members Only area of the HPLHS website will provide free downloads, sneak previews, and other goodies only for members of the HPLHS
* Members will know their involvement helps support the HPLHS in its many strange ventures to promote the works of H.P. Lovecraft.
Special thanks to HPLHS founders and The Whisperer in Darkness producers/creative partners Andrew Leman, Sean Branney, Michael Dalager, and Chris Lackey (who thankfully initiated the response that led to the HPLHS support for this event and fundraiser) for all they’ve given the Main Street Museum and this event. A more kind, attentive, selfless, supportive, and generous benefactor could not be hallucinated in this lifetime.
Extra special thanks to Joseph A. Citro for his unflagging support and active participation; and to Jen Vaughn for seeing to the enormous organizational tasks essential to this event and the chapbooks. Special thanks to those who donated to the chapbooks, including Jen Vaughn, Joseph A. Citro, Jason Week, Christopher “Radical” Warren, and Al Wesolowsky.
And the obvious one:
Please, support the Main Street Museum with your patronage and membership.