STRANGE FAR PLACES has a direct connection to H.P. Lovecraft, author of speculative and horror fiction.
The new podcast STRANGE FAR PLACES is produced with a mandate from the Providence Bureau. The Providence Bureau was founded in 1936 on the wishes of H.P. Lovecraft, and established by several writers now known as the "Lovecraft Circle."
H.P. Lovecraft is recognized as one of the most important genre writers of the 20th century. His most famous works include "The Call of Cthulhu" and "The Shadow over Innsmouth," along with "Whispers in the Darkness" and hundreds of other works.

As noted on Wikipedia:

"Forbidden, dark, esoterically veiled knowledge is a central theme in many of Lovecraft's works. Many of his characters are driven by curiosity or scientific endeavor, and in many of his stories the knowledge they uncover proves Promethean in nature, either filling the seeker with regret for what they have learned, destroying them psychologically, or completely destroying the person who holds the knowledge."

Some critics argue that this theme is a reflection of Lovecraft's contempt of the world around him, causing him to search inwardly for knowledge and inspiration."

But at the end of his life, as Lovecraft suffered greatly from intestinal cancer, his interest shifted to documented rather than imaginary encounters with the unknown.

Through a series of letters (now housed in the Providence Bureau's archive), he recruited a group of like-minded "explorers of the unknown" from his friends and fellow writers to track down records of weird and otherworldly encounters throughout New England.

This was the beginning of the Providence Bureau.
Image Credit: Denis Pakowacz

Similar to many museums of the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Bureau was originally tasked with collecting and classifying information, rather than investigating it.

But in 2013, the Bureau started to evolve toward greater transparency and deeper investigation. This eventually lead to the development of the STRANGE FAR PLACES podcast.

The Name of the Podcast

The name of our show comes from the opening of Lovecraft's story "The Picture in the House" (1920):

Searchers after horror haunt strange, far places. For them are the catacombs of Ptolemais, and the carven mausolea of the nightmare countries. They climb to the moonlit towers of ruined Rhine castles, and falter down cobwebbed steps beneath the scattered stones of forgotten cities in Asia. The haunted wood and desolate mountain are their shrines…. But the true epicure in the terrible, to whom a new thrill of unutterable ghastliness is the chief end and justification of existence, esteems most of all the ancient, lonely farmhouses of backwoods New England; for there the dark elements of strength, solitude, grotesqueness, and ignorance combine to form the perfection of the hideous.

Regarding the paragraph above, Joyce Carol Oates writes "In Lovecraft, as frequently in Poe, style and self-parody are indistinguishable." Perhaps.

The phrase "strange, far places" was especially resonant when this podcast was exclusively focused on New England.

However, it continues to be apt because all of the mysteries investigated on the show appear to share a connective thread leading back to New England.

Are we "searchers after horror?" Not exactly. But we do feel the pull of the "haunted wood and desolate mountain."

The pull of stories exploring STRANGE FAR PLACES.

Producers Note
The producers of STRANGE FAR PLACES feel it's important to note that H.P. Lovecraft held views on race that were ignorant and repulsive. Some might say "it was a different time," but that's not our belief. We hope to advance the work of The Providence Bureau without ignoring this negative aspect of Lovecraft's personal belief system.
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